Early in my career, “anger management” with clients involved a set of techniques such as deep breathing and the development of varied coping skills. While those are certainly important areas on which to focus, I was missing a piece of the puzzle at the time that is also critical in managing anger.
Ughly children demand others’ energy. They break things. They often rub people — including their peers — the wrong way. That is what makes them “ughly” — they cause us to go “ugh.”
Counselors may want to help clients by providing court testimony, writing letters of documentation and other methods of advocacy, but clinicians should be careful not to extend themselves beyond the limits of their training and expertise.
There are many reasons why our clients deceive us, but a common one is because they are testing our trustworthiness. How easy it is to test us with one story when there is a much more important story they really need to tell.
Every time a client comes through my office door, I have my agenda and activities ready to go, but it may be just one serendipitous moment — maybe even a moment I don’t recognize at the time — that changes them forever.