How to Run an Anger Management Group

by Linda Ray; Updated September 26, 2017

Trained counselors and psychologists typically run anger management groups. Because clients may be volatile, the person running the group needs the expertise to keep participants safe and to provide a healing environment. Once you've decided to offer your services as a certified group counselor, consider the issues you need to address.

Step 1

Earn specialized certification in anger management, even if you hold a psychology or counseling degree. Research certificates from training courses such as The Anger Coach, which can help you deal with professionals or married couples. The National Anger Management Association offers courses for counseling professionals that provide certifications and additional knowledge to be an effective group leader.

Step 2

Find an established program to use as a guide for the group. Consider the population that you will be serving, and look for a program designed to facilitate that type of group. Use the program as a guide. Look at sites such as Your Mental Fitness, which offers programs for adults, or Chill Out for adolescents.

Step 3

Create a relaxing space where group participants can feel comfortable. If you use a clinical room with folding chairs, make sure they are in a circle, with space between each chair. Use a room without windows, so that clients can protect their anonymity and not fear exposure.

Step 4

Set boundaries at the first group meeting, and hold participants to the consequences of crossing those thresholds. Give each group member a set amount of time to speak; do not allow one person to dominate the discussion or speak beyond a set time limit. Use a timer that buzzes, if necessary. Let group members know the level of anger that can displayed in the group, and when they will be asked to leave if they cannot maintain control.

Step 5

Have access to outside help, if it becomes necessary. Let local law enforcement officials know about your group sessions, if they are in the evening and no other workers will be in the building. Keep a phone with a preset ready to call for help if you need it. Recognize when a participant is elevating and could pose a threat to you or the other members of the group; take action to stop it.

Tips

  • Stick to your program; do not deviate from the plan of each session. It can be easy in a therapeutic session for complaining to dominate the discussion, which is counterproductive.

Warnings

  • Do not set up your room like a classroom, where the "teacher" stands in front of the class and preaches. An anger management group leader is a facilitator, and the group should be set up to encourage participation.

About the Author

Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."