What is your vision of who comes to anger management classes or takes anger management courses online?
People often wrongly envision that our classes are filled with people who physically abuse their spouses, are court ordered, and are generally the type of people you wouldn’t necessarily invite into your home.
That got me to thinking of who actually has attended my classes in the last 9 years in both Long Beach and Orange. For starters, both men and women attend my classes, but more men. Some are court-ordered, but nobody attends for physical violence. In California domestic violence( DV) or spousal abuse is a separate program which is regulated by the state (anger management is not). We see our program as a prevention to the more serious DV issues.
The most common reason for attendance is “voluntary” although there are varying degrees of volunteerism. Commonly people are required to attend our classes if anger is an issue in divorce or custody battles. Some are “spouse” ordered, but others are mandated to come by their workplace (to keep their jobs). Most are very nice people- in anger management class. Nobody gets angry in class – it is other people they get angry at.
In terms of occupation, clients are all over the board, from physicians to lawyers to oil rig operators. We had a priest once who was required by his Bishop to attend 60 hours. We have had mortgage brokers, air traffic controllers, and teachers. Other interesting occupations have included bar tenders, business executives, and professional musicians.
Some people come to class to appease someone else without really seeing themselves as the problem in a conflictual relationship. Others admit they have an anger problem and want to do something about it. More and more parents are attending because they are fearful that their anger may negatively affect their children, if it continues. A small minority resent having to attend but generally have a change of attitude by the time they complete the program.
Often participants feels that “the other person” should also attend classes and learn the skills taught. For this reason, we offer a reduced rate for some of our programs for family members of our participants. While most clients attend by themselves, couples are also welcome, although it is not always appropriate to place partners in the same class.