Man’s Anger Burns More Than Just Within

Sept. 22, 2011

When a 20-year-old man in Haverhill Massachusetts didn’t get what he wanted for his birthday, he used his cigarette to express his anger. Robert Coleman was charged with burning his mother on the arm when she refused to give him $200 for his birthday on August 30th. When his mother didn’t give him what he wanted, he hit her in the head and burned her arm. He also threatened to burn down his parents’ home; this is obviously not the right way to express your anger. Despite his mother being unwilling to pursue legal action, Coleman was charged with assault and battery and threatening to commit a crime. He was also ordered to attend anger management counseling as well as undergo a mental health evaluation. Coleman’s anger cost him $115 in probation and victim/witness fees, an 18 month jail sentence, as well as having to spend his twenty-first birthday behind bars. Since it might not apply completely to Coleman (since he is undergoing a mental health evaluation) some simple techniques for controlling his anger could have proved beneficial. Such as, if he had adjusted his expectation of getting $200 for his birthday and instead had just been happy with whatever his parents had given him, he might have not reacted that way. Also, if he had exercised even a little bit of empathy and actually took the time to understand why his mother could not give him the money (she had just paid off a credit card bill and didn’t have the cash to give him), then he might not have had to spend his birthday in jail.

David Grange Intern

Daybreak Counseling Service provides anger management classes in Orange County and Los Angeles, Califronia. For more information call  855 NO ANGER /855 662-6437 or visit You can also follow us on Twitter


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Negotiations in Anger Management

Learning adaptive negotiations skills is essential to anger management therapy. In many cases people assume negotiation positions of either hard or soft which leads to conflict. The best thing to do in these situations is to separate the people form the problem. In order to do this we must first recognize that emotions and egos can become intertwined with the problem in negotiations, and that this will negatively affect your ability to see the other party’s position clearly. This results in adversarial rather than cooperative interactions. In order to separate the people from the problem we must do the following:

  • Clarify perceptions
  • Recognizie and legitimizing emotions
  • Communicate clearly

If perceptions happen to differ it is best to test their assumptions and educate accordingly. In order to recognize and make emotions legitimate it will be very important to help the other party feel heard. We can accomplish this by staying curious and not jumping to assumptions. Most peole have several core concerns that if not attentted to could cause more damage to the realtionship. These core concerns consist of: automony, identiy, affiliation, appreciation, role and status. The best way to identiy these is to simply ask, “ What are your concerns?” Communication has to be a two way street. The way to practice this is to use reflective listening skills. You could say, for example, “ So, let me make sure I understand what you are saying…”

Once you have reached this stage you will be well on your way to creating empowering negociations that will be win-win agreements for both pariteis involved.

 By: Diana Bonilla, M.A.

Daybreak Counseling Service provides anger management classes in the city of Yorba Linda, California serving the Orange County area.

855 -662- 6437


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Anger Management and the Discipline of Forgiveness

When in anger management therapy, a crucial and important step is to practice forgiveness. Many people think that forgiveness is a onetime deal that all we have to say is “I forgive you” and be done with the business of “forgiveness.” In reality, this is not the case. Forgiveness is a discipline; it is something that must be practiced every day. Dr. Gerald Jampolsky, M.D. is a leading expert in this subject and he has written many books on the subject. In his book Forgiveness the Greatest Healer of All, he identifies the root of unhappiness, what it means to forgive and how we can remove the obstacles to forgiveness work. Dr. Jampolsky states that the root of unhappiness is our ego. Our egos keep us trapped in our victimhood, and in the belief that happiness comes from external sources. Our egos keep us blinded to the fact that we actually have a choice. We can choose love rather than fear. Just the same we can choose to forgive rather than to hold on to grudges, resentments and judgments. “To not forgive is a decision to suffer. To be happy, all I have to do is give up my judgments.” –A Course in Miracles. What does it mean to forgive? To forgive does NOT mean that you are condoning the actions of those who have hurt you. It does NOT mean that you agree with the actions of the person who hurt you. What it does mean is that you are no longer willing to suffer, that you have a willingness to let go of the hurtful past. It is a commitment to heal your heart and soul and more importantly it is a CHOICE to no longer find worth in hatred or anger. When we forgive we practice empathy and compassion not just for those who have hurt us but more importantly for our own selves. Forgiveness is the pathway to inner peace and happiness. “We can look upon forgiveness as a journey across an imaginary bridge from a world where we are always recycling our anger to a place of peace.” (Dr. Jampolsky) The gifts of practicing forgiveness are endless and unlimited and they include release from our fear, anger and pain as well as from the need to change the past or hope for a better past. In removing the obstacles to forgiveness, we must first choose the thoughts we put in our minds. Practicing forgiveness means that we must stop the cycle of destructive and painful thoughts and actions. We must change our belief systems and challenging our own beliefs about who and what we are. When we can choose to stop blaming others for when things go wrong in our lives we are practicing forgiveness. Blaming, seeking revenge and punishment cannot bring to us the happiness we desire only forgiveness can. Change can occur when we can learn to shift our perspective of other people as either being loving or being fearful. If we perceive them as being fearful rather than attacking then we can then intuitively see that they are really giving a call for help. “To forgive is the prescription for happiness.” (Dr. Jampolsky)

For more information about Orange County Anger Management Classes please visit or call 855-662-6437

Daybreak Counseling Service

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Anger Management Expert Shannon Munford on The Dr. Phil Show -Is Rage Genetic

Shannon Munford MS the owner of Daybreak Counseling Sevice was invited to  Dr. Phil Show to give advice to three rage filled guests. Each guest appeared on the show in an effort to determine if they carried the “anger gene”  This genetic marker is said to predict if an indvidual has a disposition to become aggressive.  
Shannon Munford had an opportunity to study the three guests at the Dr. Phil House and was invited on the show to share his insights. All three guest were identified to carry the “anger gene”. Mr. Munford suggested that every indvidual has an opportunity to learn how to manage their anger despite its origin. The clients were advised to seek help in an anger management class. The guests were instructed in stress management techniques, how to adjust their expectations and how to communicate their feelings more authentically.   
Shannon Munford has appeared on several other national television shows to share his expetise on the field of managementThese show include Keeping up with the Kardashians, MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan Show, MTV Real World Hollywood and E! Entertainment News.
Daybreak Counseling Service is a nationally recognized anger management education center serving Los Angeles and Orange County.   
Daybreak Counseling Service

19831 Yorba Linda Blvd. Suite D

Yorba Linda, CA 92866

855 662-6437

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Anger Management: The value of emotional intelligence

As Emotional Intelligence (EQ) became well known, people began learning more about how to handle their emotions, especially anger. Many businesses as well as anger management classes use this to help teach communication between people. Understanding your emotional intelligence is an important part of everyday life because it teaches to be more aware of your surroundings, more sensitive to how your actions affect others and help to regulate any anger issues. Emotional Intelligence has nothing to do with Intelligent Quotient (IQ). Instead, it is about people skills. Specifically, it is the ability to recognize, understand and regulate your own emotions and those of others. By being able to make better choices about emotions as they relate to anger you can understand how to better act or react in any situation. In fact, research has shown that people who are able to manage their own feelings and work more effectively with others are more likely to live happier lives. In the workplace, Emotional Intelligence has become more important because employers use it as a predictor of which employees will make the best leaders on projects. There are certain assumptions that are made about employees who score high on Emotional Intelligence. For instance, an employer would expect that this employee was able to control their own emotions, understand how to communicate well with others and how to be a strong problem solver. This person may have a great sense of humor and be able to show empathy to other people. All traits that are important in the workplace. Emotional Intelligence is also important in personal relationships because it helps everyone communicate more effectively. Let’s face it, emotions are a big part of relationships and they can run rampant if they are not controlled, especially anger. When we understand Emotional Intelligence and how to use it we can strengthen existing relationships and increase our ability to communicate more effectively. It will also help us manage our anger more effectively and learn more about ourselves. Some people can become angry and abusive when confronted with certain situations. Without Emotional Intelligence there can be a tendency to strike out with fighting or other violence. When Emotional Intelligence is learned it can stop edgy situations from becoming more difficult and it can empower individuals to take control instead of taking revenge. Relationships can also break up because the two people (whether friends or married) cannot seem to get past the hurt feelings that accumulate if people do not learn how to regulate emotions and anger. Emotional Intelligence helps you sort out communication challenges as well as be more aware of another’s feelings, which is a powerful anger management tool.

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Daybreak Counseling Serivce holds anger management courses in the city of Yorba Linda, serving the Orange County, California

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Michael Lohan joins Celebrity Rehab for anger management treatment

According to Radar Online Michael Lohan the father of troubled child star Lindsay Lohan has joined the case of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew Pinskey. Michael Lohan does not have a drug or alcohol addiction but admits he has a problem with rage. In some ways anger can be an addiction. Instead of getting high on a foreign substance  chemicals produced in your own head during violent outbursts and acts of aggression.

Daybreak Counseling Service

19831 Yorba Linda Blvd. Suite D

Yorba Linda, CA 98266 

855 – NO ANGER

855- 662-6437

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Anger Management Challenge- Name that Feeling!

Recently, in my anger management class, I asked a client to identify what other feeling or feelings he had felt before in addition to anger. He looked puzzled for a few moments. After some thought, he admitted he couldn’t think of more than a few basic feelings. My immediate thought and response was, “how can I ask you to learn how to effectively express your feelings if you aren’t sure what you’re feeling to begin with?” One of the homework assignments I send students off with in my anger management class is simple – study a list of feelings. I usually provide a 3 page list of a variety of feelings, both negative and positive, in order to get people thinking outside of the basic one’s they’re used to. Other times I simply have students write down as many feelings they can think of and together we add on. I have found that many people lack a full vocabulary of emotions. People tend to be pleasantly surprised at how helpful this exercise is. Expanding on our feelings vocabulary allows us to have access to more accurate feelings that better define our emotional state. Falling back on anger as one of our only feeling words holds us hostage in a feeling that may not be the one we really want to express. How many times are we simply frustrated, peeved, irritated, annoyed, tense, jealous, disappointed, or offended, but quickly turn to the word “anger” to describe our emotional state? We just can’t learn to express our feelings or implement the “magic formula” of assertive communication if we are not equipped with or comfortable using other feeling words. Students in my class study this list and come in the next session discussing how they thought of several occasions where other feelings may have been more appropriate. They simply didn’t have them in their regular vocabulary at the time. After going around and having students practice actually saying these other feeling words and thinking of situations where these feelings are more appropriate, they can begin to practice assertive communication more effectively. Try it! Not only will it help you feel more confident when expressing your thoughts and feelings, but it will be impressive to others how well you know yourself. Here’s a list to get you started of difficult/unpleasant feelings usually associated with anger. Good luck naming that feeling! Irritated Uncertain Guilty Disillusioned Lousy Insulted Jealous Bitter Upset Fatigued Vulnerable Distressed Incapable Ashamed Hateful Inflamed Enraged Powerless Shy Infuriated Disappointed Perplexed Empty Provoked Doubtful Annoyed Unpleasant Uneasy Alone Embarrassed Miserable Tense Hostile Inferior Frustrated Helpless Discouraged Upset Resentful Confused……The list goes on and on.

 Diana Gutierrez, MS

 Daybreak Counseling Service

 19831 Yorba Linda Blvd. Suite D., Yorba Linda, CA 92866

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Los Angeles County Court Ordered Anger Management Classes

Treating Anger for Profit

Courts: Many judges order offenders to take courses to control their tempers. But there are no standards for such classes and teachers may have no training in the field.

Sandra Whatley threw a soda at a police officer who stopped her for jaywalking. Kazutoshi Yakota brawled with a fellow college student over a woman. Moheb Helmy got into a shouting match with his mother and yelled at the cop who came to break it up.

The explosions landed all three in Los Angeles courtrooms–and as a result, in anger management classes. At the weekly sessions that are part of their sentences, they discuss their outbursts and describe their feelings in their anger control workbooks. The aim is to learn how to reduce rage by taking timeouts, breathing deeply and using such phrases as “I did wrong” rather than “When will you ever learn?”

Criminal and traffic court judges in California are increasingly using such programs to punish–and treat–defendants convicted of battery, road rage and disturbing the peace.

Anger management classes, however, are not certified or monitored by state or local agencies. With the exception of Orange County, there are no court-approved lists of programs or guidelines on class length, curriculum or teacher qualifications. In fact, some teachers have no training at all.

“Anybody can set up a program, call it anger management and hope to get court referrals,” said Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Peter Meeka. “You keep your fingers crossed and hope they are doing a good job.”

Anger management classes are an offshoot of domestic violence programs, which are subject to legislative standards, including required levels of training and experience for teachers. Meeka, who spent five years presiding over a domestic violence court, said he would support statewide legislation to apply the same standards to anger management classes.

An advisory committee of the Judicial Council of California is reviewing the use of court-mandated anger management classes statewide.

Aside from the lack of standards, there are virtually no data on whether the classes actually help reduce recidivism. Because statistics are unavailable on how many people are being sentenced to anger management, authorities cannot gauge whether the programs work.

Skeptics say it’s nearly impossible to change people who are angry by nature. Supporters maintain that willing participants learn useful techniques to calm themselves.

These people are still in the terrible twos, even if they are 45 years old,” said Sandra Cox, an anger management teacher and executive director of the Coalition of Mental Health Professionals in South-Central Los Angeles. “The classes give them positive ways to channel their anger rather than acting out violently.”University of Wisconsin researcher Pamela Hollenhorst, who has reviewed studies of anger management programs throughout the country, said classes help some minor offenders but do not work for most violent criminals or as the sole treatment for spousal abusers.

“Anger management is sort of a Band-Aid approach,” said Hollenhorst, assistant director of the university’s Institute for Legal Studies. “It doesn’t address the underlying problems.”

Critics cite Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold as extreme examples of anger management failures. Before the teens opened fire on fellow students at Columbine High School in Colorado, they had been ordered by a court to attend anger management classes for breaking into a van and stealing electronic equipment.

Some Judges Like the Idea

Though road, air and workplace rage are hardly new behaviors, psychologists and judges finally started identifying them as common problems in the late 1990s.

Some judges see the classes as an ideal sentence for first-time offenders convicted in bar brawls or fistfights with fellow motorists. Those judges say classes can help teach defendants how to keep their emotions in check, as well as ease crowded jails and clogged court calendars.

Defendants are typically sentenced to from 10 to 52 weekly classes as a condition of probation or as an alternative to time behind bars.

Because there are no approved lists, defendants must find their own classes, often by surfing the Internet. Probation officers keep a list of agencies that offer approved batterers’ programs and might also provide anger classes.

In recent years, several celebrities who pleaded no contest to criminal charges in connection with temper flare-ups have been ordered by judges to attend anger management classes. Actress Shannen Doherty hurled a beer bottle at a car window outside a West Hollywood bar; rapper Tone Loc smashed a woman’s car with a baseball bat in Los Angeles; boxer Mike Tyson struck two drivers after a traffic accident in Maryland.

“It’s sort of this self-feeding frenzy,” Hollenhorst said. “It gets a lot more publicity every time an athlete or a movie star gets sent to anger management.”

The number of referrals further increased with a road rage law that took effect in January. The state law, written by Assemblyman Herb Wesson (D-Culver City), gives judges the authority to order defendants to complete a “court-approved anger management or ‘road rage’ course” in addition to suspending their driving privileges. Wesson, however, admitted recently that he was not aware that court-approved programs don’t exist in most counties.

Wesson said he will talk to members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee about setting statewide standards. “If you don’t have these things in place, it could lead to abuses,” he said.

Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Roberta Kyman estimates she has sentenced more than 200 defendants to anger management classes over the last four years. She advised them to choose a class from the approved list and report back after finishing. Until late August, she didn’t realize there was no such list.

No Standards, Many Differences

With no standards, classes differ widely in length, format and curricula. Some programs resemble therapy groups, while others teach specific skills in a classroom setting. Teachers’ qualifications also vary. Some have doctorates in psychology and others do not even have a college degree.

Sharon Hartwig studied music and theater for two years at a community college and spent 1 1/2 years as a social services counselor before starting an anger management class recently at Joint Efforts Inc., a San Pedro nonprofit agency that serves low-income families.

In preparation, she attended a one-day seminar taught by a fellow teacher and wrote a manual of policies and procedures.

Some say any standards are unnecessary because many anger management teachers already lead domestic violence courses and have met the state requirements to do so.

Cox, the South-Central Los Angeles anger management teacher, insists that her clients benefit, even if it takes them a while to get the message. She said the courses also help participants lower their blood pressure or stop the progression of diabetes or heart disease.

“We know it works,” said Cox, who has a doctorate in social psychology. “They block us for three to four months. Once they let that guard down, they start hearing us. And they start telling us, ‘I heard your voice telling me to check my anger.’ ”

In Orange County, probation officials took the initiative four years ago by preparing guidelines for courses and identifying teachers qualified to deal with volatile clients. The Probation Department conducts annual reviews.

The 10-week Orange County courses cost up to $50 a week and last 90 minutes each. Instructors focus on the telltale signs of potentially violent anger: upset stomach, clenched fists, dry mouth. Then they provide tips on how students can tame their tempers.

Colorado State University psychology professor Jerry Deffenbacher, who has studied anger management, said programs work only if the participants want help. Even then, he said, the classes may help lower their anger but won’t turn them into pacifists.

Each Week, a New Skill

On a recent Tuesday night in Brentwood, Whatley the jaywalker, Yakota the college student and Helmy the shouter sat in a circle holding their workbooks, “Gaining Control of Ourselves.” Each week, George Anderson or one of his fellow teachers covers a new skill: Active listening. Identifying high-risk situations. Controlling negative emotions.

This week: Communicating effectively.

The participants took turns introducing themselves, telling why they got referred to the class and what they could have done differently to prevent getting arrested. Then they watched a video about communication styles and practiced ways to express anger and frustration without provoking a fight.

Anderson described the pretend situation: You’ve cooked a nice meal and your partner comes home two hours late and the food is ruined. His students’ responses–though a bit formal–hit the mark: I feel hurt when you come home late for dinner because it makes me feel like you don’t value our time together.

Moheb Helmy, 22, said his rage consumes him and he is constantly slamming doors, cursing and fighting with his family. “I have so much anger,” he said. “I would love to change because it hurts everybody around me.”

Helmy, who has been ordered by a judge to attend 12 weeks of classes, said the skills he is learning seem logical. “But when it comes time to do it, I forget it all,” he said.

Anderson, a clinical social worker and former UCLA lecturer, has been teaching anger management for three years and currently has about 200 students at four Los Angeles locations. “I don’t know if it works or not,” he said. “But anger management teaches practical skills. I think if they come for a long period of time, they’ll benefit.”

Some clients come voluntarily, but most are required to attend and aren’t happy about it. Inevitably, a few bring along an attitude: I don’t have a problem. I don’t need to be here.

Sandra Whatley, a native Texan with a self-described temper problem, had those exact feelings when she first started the class. She thought the police officer needed anger management more than she did.

But during a year of classes, Whatley said, she has realized that she has to take take some responsibility for getting arrested. Now, she leaves her workbook open on her dresser to remind her to take a deep breath when she is about to explode.

“I’ve had an aggressive personality my whole life,” said Whatley, 40. “It’s in my blood. I need this. But I cannot even begin to tell you I have toned myself down.”

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Anger Management Tips-Adjusting Unrealistic Expectations

One of the skills taught in our Orange County anger management classes is to keep our expectations realistic. When our expectations are not based in reality, we set ourselves up for disappointment and anger. If we expect that life will always be easy or that people will always do what we want them to, we are not gounded in reality. One example is getting married and expecting your partner to fulfill all your needs. When they can’t it can lead to anger, resentment or damage to the marriage. The truth is that no one person can meet all your needs and to expect this is a set up for negative feelings. Another example relates to road rage. If we expect to arrive at our destination smoothly and without challenges along the way, we are going to be very upset when the reality of traffic and unexpected events impact our trip. This is what usually leads to “road rage” – a prevalent and dangerous reality. Our expectations of ourselves need to be grounded in reality as well. If they are idealized we can damage our self-esteem and confidence. “Perfectionism” is a dangerous game leading to constant disillusionment with ourselves. Expectations are particularly important when dealing with children. Many of us expect children to do exactly what we want them to do, disregarding age appropriate behaviors. Remembering what it was like to be a child can help. Learning how children think and what is important to them can afford us the understanding that they are not doing anything “to us”, they are simply being children. Judging them with our adult standards is unfair and can lead to unnecessary strife and anger. It takes maturity and humility to understand that not everything will meet our expectations. We always need to evaluate if what we anticipate conforms to the actuality of “what is”. If we can lower our expectations from “demands” to “preferences”, we will reduce the level of our response when they are not met. We might be disappointed or perturbed, but we will not be furious or vindictive.

Daybreak Counseling Service

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Anger Management Classes and Goal Setting

The New Year brings an opportunity to recommit ourselves to a deeper purpose. If you have been working with an anger management group or in individual therapy this is the most ideal time to set a clear and SMART goal for your healing journey. A SMART goal is defined by:

S – specific, significant, stretching
M – measurable, meaningful, motivational
A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T – time-based, timely, tangible, track-able

Apply this criterion to your goal and you will find it incredibly fulfilling to achieve your intention. I encourage you to create you SMART goal today, share it in your anger management class or with your teacher and let the group/ teacher be a witness to your declaration of change. Allow them to hold you accountable for your set intention. Change is a process that requires teamwork and patience. You must stand fiercely for your goals. Once you accomplish it then set another SMART goal. One after the other like stepping stones you will arrive to the self you dreamed of. A willingness to change is the first step the ones that follow with be the path charted out for the transformation to occur. So whether your first SMART goal is to:

S – (specific) Use the breathing exercise: Inhale for six counts through my nose and exhale for four counts out through my mouth.
M – (measurable) I will implement this exercise every time I feel disturbed for one week with out loosing control of my emotions so that I may learn to respond vs. react.
A – (attainable) I will practice this discipline for one week.
R – (rewarding) After one week of practice I will reward myself by doing something nice for me.
T –(time-based) After one week I will decide if this tool was useful and if so decide to implement it while setting a new goal toward my anger management.

Good luck and Happy New Year.

Daybreak Counseling Service provide Orange County Anger Management Classes in Yorba Linda, California and through our Los Angeles County.  

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Written by: Diana Bonilla, M.A.

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