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Mandated Anger Management Treatment

Harry Mills, Ph.D.

It is not always a choice to participate in an anger management program. More and more, courts are willing to require that people who have demonstrated an unwillingness (or inability) to control their anger attend anger management classes. Employers may also mandate that quarrelsome employees attend anger management programs, often sponsored through the employee assistance program.

gavel and scales of justiceIf you have been mandated to attend anger management classes or programs it is especially vital that you make the best of of the situation and participate fully in the offered program. Although it may not have been your decision to seek help for your temper, it is important that you realize that the object of the anger management program is ultimately to help you; to give you more options and to help you control yourself so that others don't have to control you instead (e.g., by firing you, divorcing you, or putting you into jail). Learning how to use anger more productively will make your life better and decrease your risk for serious disease and an early death. Keeping this understanding firmly in mind will help you participate in and benefit from your mandated anger management program.

You must commit to follow through with the program and be open to learning and practicing the techniques offered in the program if your behavior is to change. The only way you can be successful in an anger management program is to do what it takes to make the program work. Keep in mind that there will be likely be negative consequences if you fail, such as the loss of your spouse or the loss of your job. Should you fail at a mandated anger management program, your failure will not be a reflection of the program’s inability to help you, but rather a reflection of your unwillingness to cooperate. Real change cannot take place without your cooperation. Regardless of how you come to an anger management program, don’t abuse a sincere opportunity to change your life for the better.