Anger Management: A Professional Guide for Group Therapy and Self-Help is intended to help mental health professionals fill in the “missing components” in anger management programs.” Jeffrey Charles Bruteyn, a Christian psychologist, and Marc Noblitt, a self-described prodigy specializing in yoga and other Eastern philosophies, note that their book is different from others because they incorporate physiological calming techniques, nutrition, positive psychology and a plan for how to address backsliding.
The book begins by noting that the authors’ “positive psychology” approach provides a unique lens for anger management, primarily because it can be paired with traditional philosophies, including those of Aristotle, the Bhagavad-Gita, and Confucius, which inform the “core strengths” the authors developed: “optimism, self-control, kindness (empathy), and forgiveness (both of self and others).” These qualities, the authors write, are invaluable in helping patients avoid anger situations and reducing “residual emotions of anger episodes.”
Subsequently, the book discusses ways anger can appear, including generalized anger, shame-based anger and habitual hostility, and how each type can best be addressed, ideally with a counselor’s help.
Appendices include worksheets as well as tools and techniques counselors can use to structure their programs according to the authors’ principles. (Curiously, one worksheet is entitled “Anger Control Today (ACT).” ACT is a well-known counseling acronym for “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy,” an approach to psychotherapy influenced by Buddhist philosophy and often applied to anger management skill-building.)
This book is clearly laid out, easy to read and comprehensive. It, indeed, offers some unique tools, such as incorporating music and yoga exercises. The program is easy to apply, and the authors’ suggestions are useful. Still, their claims of uniqueness are overblown: The application of progressive relaxation, diaphragmatic breathing, nutrition and positive thinking can be found in many bestselling anger management manuals currently available.
Nonetheless, this book would be appropriate for both laypersons and mental health professionals seeking structure around anger management, particularly those wanting to incorporate more philosophical or moral principles than found elsewhere.
Also available as an ebook.