Anger management can be integrated into family focused interventions. This involves understanding how the family functions as a system rather than isolating the young person as the angry one needing to be changed. Hemphill & Smith (2010) suggest practitioners focus on helping families establish patterns of interaction and communication that:

  • Reduce the likelihood of anger events being triggered and reinforced
  • Increase the likelihood that anger is expressed and managed in healthy and constructive ways

Family-based interventions attempt to reduce risk and enhance protective factors by working with family members and parents to increase their use of effective parenting skills and other strategies to improve family relationships overall. Therapy focuses on changing maladaptive patterns of family interaction and communication (Hemphill & Smith 2010).

The focus is on exploring patterns of behaviour and communication within the family that precede anger and violence. Discussions assist parents or partners to understand how arguments develop and how their own needs and feelings can fuel escalations in their young persons behaviour. Family members are encouraged to reflect on their own experience of anger. For some family members this may necessitate individual work.

It is also important to note that in some families the young person will be the parent or partner, not the child.

Within this toolbox there are a full suite of elements designed to inform effective family work (the ‘working with families’ module). The focus of these elements is on substance using behaviour but the same processes can be applied for anger-related problems.

F6. Family Communication Skills
Whilst many of the Family Focused Intervention elements would be useful when approaching anger issues from a family perspective, this element provides an introductory set of techniques to introduce into family work to improve communication.