Thursday, 14 July 2011

Six Hour Anger Resolution Session = Cure?

The Institute of Meridian Psychotherapy
She sits
With time wrapped                                                                    
Round her wrist
To count the seconds, minutes
Of the six hour session. 
Above her, displayed
The (achieved online) certificate
Of her profession;
Anger Resolution Therapist,
The therapist who amateurishly
Probes the minds of those
Who come to her for frank confession.

They confess to her unbounded rage
And hope that she through therapy
Their smouldering anger will assuage.
But she plays with her online learned
Anger shafting mumbo jumbo;
(Her self perceived psychology diploma)
Her self importance well unearned
She talks of Freud's oral, anal stages
Mechanisms of repression, thought regression
Goals achieved and thought suppression
And all the other dangerous 'knowledge'
Gleaned from the spurious pages
Littering the path to her
Worthless online paper.

They come to her, her lab rats,
In hope that she might be the one
To set them free from their injurious rages
That bleeds red into their tumultuous lives
Of battered husbands, battered wives,
Lost hopes, lost jobs, lost dreams, lost friends.

And as she plays her dangerous game
Tearing their minds to raw emotion,
She has this ridiculous, egotistic notion
That her therapy will set them free
While the whole disaster descends
Into some horrific exposure of sorely damaged souls,
She sees this as success and realised goals;
Insensitive to the damaged reeked she seeks not closure
And blind, she is not the least bit curious
Why her 'clients' leave without grateful thanks
But with raped emotions and darkly furious.

This post was inspired by Maffick Mondays prompt – Anger management classes – and as usual I let the prompt take me where it wanted.  I researched anger management classes and was not surprised that anyone in the USA (sorry USA) could become an anger management therapist – however I was surprised that this applied to the UK too.

Sites will suggest that courses are aimed at professionals – but then add that anyone with a personal interest in anger management can take the online course too.  Professional or not – I would worry re any so called qualification earned on distance learning.

One of the sites I visited was the UK College of Holistic Training and for £225 and a recommended training period of three months or less – you will receive (I'm quite sure you will) a Diploma in Anger Management, be accredited with The Institute of Meridian Psychotherapy and the world will then become your counselling oyster.  All this on line – no face to face with a real person; no checks to see if you are able to deal with the can of worms you might open up, are psychologically suited to the task in hand, nothing.

Counselling, if carried out by amateurs is a dangerous thing and indeed those who are professionally qualified, really professionally qualified, may not possess necessary skills, can become complacent, fail to recognise opened wounds and thus do not close them.  People are left damaged by the very thing intended to aid them.

Some years ago I attended a course in bereavement counselling – discussing death poses no problems for me and I wanted to help those who were 'stuck' in the bereavement process.
The course consisted of ten one hour sessions and at the end I would be a bereavement counsellor.  I never became one as the course worried me, all of it screamed at me that I would be playing with peoples minds as there was no clear instruction, no learning of potential pitfalls or the wounds that I might open up and the skills, the knowledge base for closure.  The course consisted of mere role play and an awareness of bereavement stages and to me that was not good enough.  Although several of us raised this concern – it was never addressed.  So does it still continue?

The poem itself may be a gross exaggeration of the potential for damage, damage of those unfortunate souls who enter, eyes open, to therapy, but unknowing that their therapist may be an individual who completed an on-line diploma course and have absolutely no idea of the dangerous games they are playing with peoples lives – but it may not be.

Anna :o]


Friko said...

shouldn't you also have the syrupy inflection to go with it? Or maybe a nice mid-European accent? Or is that no longer fashionable?
It is horrendous to realise how many non-pofessionals 'practise' in the field of mental health.

Sue J said...

What a powerful piece. I'll bet you could become a brain surgeon through external studies somewhere in the world.
I think you'd probably get more help from a friend who listens, and a good cuppa - but maybe not for anger management. That's a difficult one.

Doctor FTSE said...

A timely warning and a strong piece of writing. Have you seen the movie "The King's Speech" The speech therapist who helped the UK King George VI (father of our present Queen Elizabeth II) to overcome his stammer, had no professional qualifications.

Frances Garrood said...

Brilliant, Anna! And your comments, as well. When I trained as a Relate cousellor, we had to undergo a rigrorous selection process before our (very thorough) training. Many were turned away at the beginning, and many others fell by the wayside. I think counselling is over-used, but when it is used, should be chosen very carefully. I met someone who went for bereavement counselling who told me: "but I couldn't tell the counsellor my probems. She'd lost a son and husband herself; she was even worse off than I was". Oops!

NorthernTeacher said...


Enjoyed your post, Anna - so much so that I did some reading round on anger management myself. Very interesting, too, especially as I've been accused of 'having outbursts' in the past! Now I understand that I'm entitled to be angry, though I would rather my so-called outbursts were described as frustrations :-)

Yes, the 'experts' thing has worried me for a long time. In my work in higher education, for example, I've been continually amazed at how a piece of paper/certificate can put people on a pedestal. It only matters when these 'experts' then have to deal with rather vulnerable people who are not able to think critically and help themselves. Some issues are nowhere near life-threatening, but some certainly are.

Touta said...


i keep trying to remember to come here more often, and now i realise why, you have amazing posts!! This post is especially emotional, and I love the anger between the lines, its controlled within the poem.

it also reminds me of those amateur-ish 'vent your anger' websites, it seems violent and dangerous at times to take those routes.

anyway, keep writing, and hope to read more from you soon!

Alicia said...

I really like the image of time wrapped around her wrist. Also, I was thinking as I read this that the idea of being an anger management counsellor without sufficient training, especially in such an environment as this, was interesting. I love that you researched this topic before writing on it. Thank you for contributing to Maffick Monday.

thingy said...

How frightening. I am shocked at the ease of how one receive such a bogus paper.

Your poem was amazing.

HyperCRYPTICal said...

Thanks for your kind comments folks.

Friko ~ syrupy inflections and nice mid-European accents are not now a must, I think. Nor I fear, are any skills or true understanding of the human psyche.

Sue ~ Nothing like sharing a problem with a friend who is prepared to listen - but I think you are correct re anger management.

Doctor FTSE ~ No I haven't yet seen the film - I shall endevour to do so. Some folk have natural skills in understanding others problems and have the ability to think outside of the box - we are richer for them. Others, well, are downright dangerous.

Frances ~ The course I took was with a very respectable organisation dealing only with bereavement counselling and was held in NHS premises.

Perhaps the person you met bereavement counseller attended the same course. 'Sharing' like experiences is sometimes helpful, that is if you know when to stop, or otherwise your own agenda comes to the forefront and you cease to be effective and in a sense, become dangerous.

Northern Teacher ~ There are too many paper experts out there who are only interested in ticking boxes - I am thinking of the health field here, and regretably too many so called experts - or self perceived experts - who mess about with peoples minds in the counselling 'industry'.

Can't believe you are a angry person and, venting off frustrations is good for personal well-being as long as it is not misdirected.

Touta ~ I have visited websites where you can be diagnosed with any mental health condition and I agree it is a very dangerous route to take.

Alicia ~ Thankyou - and thanks for the inspiration.

Thingy ~ I was rather shocked too - realised you could get fake University degrees, etc - but not aware that anyone, literally anyone, could set themselves up as a counsellor.

Anna :o]

Isabel Doyle said...

great post Anna

I have a 'friend' who is a 'counsellor' and she scares me witless!

120 Socks said...

Great poem and post Anna - really scary state of play!

MorningAJ said...

This is terrifying. Given that I have occasional sessions with the mental health system. Some of the experts I've seen in the past have done more harm than good - dabblers like ths would probably have ended up killing me.

HyperCRYPTICal said...

Thanks for your kind comments folks.

Isabel ~ A good, good many years ago a bereavement counsellor came to my place of work - the very same bereavement organisation I attended a course for many years later - to give a talk to staff as how she intended to 'counsel' several residents in the rehab hostel.

I was absolutely livid re her proposed actions! One of the residents who I 'key' worked for was one of her intended 'victims' - a very manipulative - yet also very vulnerable individual; the resulting and almost certain damage from her intended 'bereavement counselling' would have been catastrophic.

This 'counsellor' scared me witless too.

120 Socks - Thank you my friend.

MorningAJ ~ One of my relatives receives regular doses of group counselling and I really worry about counselling - whether given by professionals or not. It has made him needy, dependant - he requires his regular 'fixes' of counselling, can't 'move on' and surely the intended outcome of counselling is just the opposite?

Anna :o]

Dr Phil said...

"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them". To quote Thoreau, writing in 19th century New England.

I share your concern with poorly trained counsellors. Historically there were both clergy and family who would provide this sort of support to those with internalized anger, now we have a commercialised market without the long term pastoral interest.

There are many ways to manage ones anger, from the destructive behaviour of the wife beater to the constructive activities of the righteously angry. By this I mean the productive use of anger to motivate and undertake the changes that remove the source of the discontent. It is right to be angry about injustice and be motivated to right the wrong, and wrong to just retaliate.

Another perceptive poem Anna.

Dr phil

HyperCRYPTICal said...

Thanks for your kind comment Dr Phil

The Cockroach Catcher wrote an excellent post here on the subject of counselling. Todays counselling 'industry' where all are expected to confront raw emotions almost immediately after a traumatic event - and not deal with them naturally across time is often damaging.

Of course some idividuals will need additional help - even outside that given by family and friends - and then it is essential that counselling be given by someone who understands and is capable of dealing with the task in hand.

Anger management perhaps a little different as as you rightly say justifiable anger is often a driver of change for the good - but those unfortunate folk who have uncontrolled rage, who find discontent in almost every situation do need help to change their focus, their way of thinking that reeks damage on others and indeed their own lives.

I will sign off now as I am beginning to ramble. It is late and I should retire.

Anna :o]

Dave King said...

This is finely written. I take it as a clear warning not to become involved with meddlers. A strong post.

HyperCRYPTICal said...

Thanks Dave - your comment is much appreciated.

Anna :o]