When clients refer for anger management the issue can concern the individual or it can extend to the whole family. Every family has a different style like every company has a different organizational culture. Some theorists believe that the family issues that could lead to aggression or passive aggressive behaviour could be caused by pathological issues in the family system or by one individual and the issues within the family are then secondary.
During the family or one-to-one session, it gradually becomes more evident where the issue is in the communication style. So for instance, a client may come for anger management session and explains which family member agrees with that client and who disagrees with that client, who initiates and who undermines any success with the family system. These communication styles can provide information about alliance among family members and passive aggressive communication styles that can fuel resentment and lead to outbursts of anger. These communication styles can repeatedly emerge in the anger management sessions which then highlight a typical family stereotype. This means that one session is not normally sufficient in order to get to the bottom of the anger issue and to propose the best course of action. The client might be provided in the initial session with anger management techniques to contain the inflammable chronic situation at home but more sessions will be needed to get to the bottom of the issue. As the sessions continue, a hypothesis about the issue within the family system is gradually created and a relevant plan for a course of action within the family is created.
The biggest likely problem within a dysfunctional family that self-refers for anger management could be either parents or one of the parents because they have the authority and are expected to guide and mentor children through life. If one or both parents have personality issues with anger outbursts, mental health issues, physiological issues, substance misuses, work stress this then can negatively impact the whole family system because both or one of the parents do not have means how to manage the situation successfully. A lack of appropriate means could lead to children adopting maladaptive coping strategies such as high aggression in order to cope with the aggression at home and this could later mean that not only one or both parents might need the anger management but also the children. When more than one family member becomes highly aggressive or the family members start feeling chronically oppressed, it is at this point that the multiple aggression at home or lack of resources to protect oneself becomes unbearable. The whole family system starts falling apart and people start looking for anger management.
The aggressive outbursts of aggression or anger are not the only issues that are addressed in the anger management session. What seems to emerge in anger management sessions involving dissatisfied family members are also members of the family who do not feel comfortable expressing their anger but feel angry and resentful and they end up expressing this anger in indirect or passive-aggressive manner. The passive aggressive anger experienced by victims in highly aggressive families is equally damaging as aggressive outbursts of anger and it creates a negative damaging dissatisfying atmosphere for all family members involved. Therefore, in a typical anger management session, some members of the family will be required to understand causes of their outbursts of anger and to adopt relevant anger management skills. The passive-aggressive family member or someone who perceives themselves as the victim of domestic violence will also explore in anger management sessions what being angry means to them, what being in conflict situation means to them and will be also provided with anger management skills as a conflict resolution and peace restorative tools. In this sense, as you can see the aim of anger management at Anger Therapy London is to not disintegrate family system and separate the abuser from the target but to empower both the victim and the aggressor and to restore the peace within the family.