Family Advocacy helps individuals gain control of their anger

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Lauren M. Johnson
  • 23d Wing Public Affairs

Anger is considered a normal, healthy emotion that everyone experiences, but has the potential to become destructive, or even deadly, if it is built up and becomes out of control.

To prevent this, the 23d Medical Operations Squadron’s Family Advocacy program is hosting monthly anger management courses for individuals seeking guidance on how to take control of their frustrations, beginning March 8, here.

“One of the primary ways that individuals deal with anger is by stuffing [their feelings inside],” said Lawanna Barron, 23d MOS family advocacy outreach manager. “They keep it all inside and, when something unrelated to their anger happens, it’s like a pressure cooker – ‘boom!’ The lid just bursts.”

The anger management classes are designed to help individuals formulate an anger control plan to reduce acts or threats of violence, develop self-control, receive support from others and learn how to handle their anger through effective communication skills.

“When individuals are going through [difficult times], they think they’re alone,” said Barron. “Being able to integrate with individuals confronting some of the same challenges is rewarding because they [can familiarize] and understand the same issues that they are going through.”

Although the environment is open and honest, the class offers confidentiality in which attendees who are suffering from similar problems can help each other without fear of their personal information being released.

In addition to confidentiality, participants gain knowledge of techniques to identify their emotions, communicate them properly, and stop to take a time-out when they recognize feelings of anger.

“One of the activities we use in our class is the ABCD model,” said Barron. “We focus on an activating event, the person’s beliefs and expectations about what happened, what they were thinking cognitively, and then we dispute what happened and whether or not it was rational or irrational.”

This exercise, along with others, teaches individuals to find the cause of their anger in order to find a more effective way to express it.

 “The most important piece of controlling your anger is [knowing] what you can and can’t control,” said Barron. “We have to recognize anger and [what causes it]. In our training, we identify [this] by finding positive responses to that anger.”

While anger is primarily managed through mental and cognitive thoughts, the anger control plan also has a primary focus of physical exercise and relaxation to ensure individuals are taking care of their bodies and making time for their selves.

 “Individuals struggling with anger might have verbal tirades or outbursts, or they might turn it inward and attack themselves,” said U.S. Air Force Major Brian Petrovich, 23d MOS family advocacy officer. “If these things are happening, someone should come in and seek services before it becomes a bigger problem.”

Barron and Petrovich both agreed that while anger can’t be completely eliminated, it can be expressed in a healthier, more constructive way and it is important to receive help before an individual’s anger becomes out of control.

For those interested in attending anger management classes, please contact Family Advocacy at (229)257-4805.