Update July 22, 2014: I am still not aware of any anger management groups in Sonoma County for teenagers. If you find one please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the last two weeks I have had several inquiry calls about anger management groups or classes for teenagers. Each time I was at a loss, without a resource to recommend. One call was from a resource specialist from a large insurance company. He had made 15 calls looking for an anger management group for teens in Sonoma County without any luck.
I made a few calls myself, starting with the largest counseling agencies in Santa Rosa and I couldn’t find much. Parents Place has a class titled “What To Do With The Mad You Feel” that teaches parents how to manage their own anger and help their kids. One other agency said, “We have been asking ourselves the same question. If you decide to start a group, let us know.” So, naturally I started thinking about putting together an anger management group in my practice.
A common problem
I often talk with parents who are concerned about their teenager’s difficulty with understanding and controlling their anger. The behaviors range from disrespect towards authority to punching holes in walls, from emotional breakdowns to drug abuse or from mild depression to self-harming. Much of my work with teenagers focuses on helping them to become aware and learn to cope with the intense emotions that are a normal part of adolescent development. Often teenagers need support in learning important skills that will increase their emotional intelligence and their ability to be successful in life.
Why a group might be ideal
Often times individual and/or family counseling can be an appropriate and effective way to address anger issues. However, a group might be ideal for several reasons. In a group setting, teenagers can listen to other people’s experiences, which can help them understand themselves and not feel so alone. Teens are often more open to advice and feedback from peers as opposed to adults. A group setting is a perfect format for this type of experience. An anger management group can also be more cost effective than individual therapy.
For now, I am going to keep looking for any local resources that I can find. I am also going to seriously consider starting a group in my practice.