This brief article is prompted by an increase in the last 2 years of people who, when they hear that one of our areas of expertise is Anger Management, ask the question “So are you like Charlie Sheen?” A few years ago as a result of the film Anger Management the question would have been the same but the name referenced was Jack Nicholson. Despite the critics knocking the quality of scripts and the acting the show is popular and getting a lot of interest. This is because Charlie Sheen is a master of self publicity and the king of Twitter. It is purely fiction and is made only for laughs but people still suspect that there may be grains of truth in it and some of these are potentially damaging if people let them settle in their minds. As a result I thought I would briefly list the differences between what we do and what is portrayed in both the film with Jack Nicholson and the TV series with Charlie Sheen.
- It’s not that funny – Anger Management is easy to poke fun at. The reality of it is that it is about people who are causing damage to their relationships, themselves and others with their unhealthy relationship with anger. The effects are serious and we take what we do seriously.
- We do it differently over here – In the US there is a lot of Anger Management available. It’s often court mandated and it’s portrayed as rather sad individuals getting over analytical about them and their behaviour in an almost geek like way whilst sitting in a circle. In the US it is heavily therapy biased whereas what we do is based firmly in personal development.
- The characters are Stereotypes and caricatures – You expect that in a sit come. It’s designed for laughs. Making fun of people, however, can start a myth that people who attend anger management are actually like that. This can lead to the stereotypes and caricatures being believed and it putting normal people (all of my clients are normal by the way) off dealing with their emotional issues. Anger Management is for real people with real challenges around their emotional control, their stress levels and their self esteem.
- We are respectful to our clients– every time I see Charlie Sheen’s character roll his eyes and use sarcasm with his clients I cringe. Anyone who is brave enough to start working on themselves through Anger Management deserves respect and receives it.
- It’s not all about us – Whilst we allow our own personal experiences to inform the work we do it is not all about us. When watching Charlie Sheen in character it would be easy mistake him as the one getting therapy.
- We don’t let our friends and family interfere with our work. – Charlie’s wife (played by Shawnee Smith) and friend and neighbour (played by Michael Boatman) amongst others are a constant draw on his attention and dedication to his clients.
That’s the big issues that I have with the Sit Com Anger Management. On the plus side, the fact that it exists at all is a big bonus because may be it will help drag Anger Management (or Emotional Resilience work as I prefer to think of it) in to main stream. This is where it needs to be. Through our own issues with self esteem, stress and anger we are role modelling to our children unhealthy emotional reactions and thought processes which means we are breeding and angry generation see previous blog.
For those of you familiar with the film Anger Management with Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson here’s a few more things we do not have in common.
- Our facilitators are not manipulative and devious people who wind up clients and put them in difficult and potentially damaging positions deliberately.
- We don’t sing happy songs…..unless you really want to.
- We don’t take road trips with you
So that’s cleared that up.
If you want really good personal development that you can commit to and thus produce long term positive change for you then join our Weekend Keeping Calm Intensive. We would love to work with you.