Why Anger Management might be bad for all of us

“One obstacle to innovation...is branding of psychological interventions...branding prevents dissemination and implementation of psychological therapies, and stifles innovation by implying ownership.”

Anger management, ACT, Solution-focused therapy, DBT, CAT.

Powerful brand names in the therapeutic marketplace.

A recent article in The Lancet has suggested that the branding of psychological treatments might be preventing knowledge from being shared and helpers from developing new skills for helping.

Branding is about one thing - money. It raises brand awareness for therapists and It controls who can use their treatment - only those trained by them or trainers trained by them. It allows governments and service providers to feel safe about using discreet treatments that have an endpoint and that lend themselves to being tested through randomised controlled trials.

Heaven help those therapists who haven't attended the latest PD, or spent hundreds on training packages that are marketed as "the answer" to drinking, domestic violence, anxiety or depression. We all know that these and the many other mental health problems that plague us and our clients are multi-faceted and have multifactorial causes including structural ones. These are not things that can be cured by a one-size-fits-all approach or a package of limited sessions.

Insights to be found in all modalities, but in the large grey area that is human emotion and personal growth, none of us has all the answers. 

Just being able to sit with someone who is in pain without trying to find a solution  -  without attempting to distract, or dazzle them with a clever interpretation, can be the greatest challenge of all.

Especially when we (and our clients, funding bodies, organisations and governments) desperately want (and need) to believe in a quick fix. 

Psychotherapy is not designed to be an easy or fast solution and that can be a barrier to some of those who need it most. It can be expensive, challenging, at times disappointing, exhausting and frustrating, yet it can also provide us with some of the greatest moments of connection and help us find meaning - and deeper healing.


For The Lancet article click here.