Chris Brown Anger Management Incident

Anger Management Interview

Chris Brown was interviewed about his new album, F.A.M.E. (Forgiving All My Enemies) on Good Morning America yesterday.

Forgiveness is a difficult concept for individuals, clinicians, and even scientists (although some of the physiological studies on forgiveness are fascinating). Reports indicate that there was a significant anger outburst following a line of questions by Robin Roberts about the domestic violence case involving Rihanna from a few years ago.

Unlike a mood disorder like major depression, where sufferers often experience episodes that may pass (although they may reoccur later), anger disorders can be chronic if left untreated. Anger is an emotion that can be incredibly adaptive given the right set of conditions. I often reference Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) as an example of a prosocial use of anger to help produce considerable positive changes in society. And it is clear that anger can provide the energy and action tendencies that helped our ancestors survive when they were defending themselves against a competitor. And many times, anger will go away on its own when it isn’t avoided or left unchecked. But, for those of us who really struggle- anger experiences, grudges, rumination, etc. can go on for decades.

In today’s modern society anger is still incredibly common, which is what makes it particularly difficult to understand. If we all experience it, unlike major depression, how can it be that it is abnormal? And that is just it, anger isn’t abnormal. But, for those of us who aren’t able to fully experience and tolerate it without engaging in self-destructive (or aggressive) acts to dissipate it, it can be associated with all kinds of detrimental outcomes including violence, heart attacks, drug abuse, GI problems, bad relationships, etc.

Fortunately, similar to major depression, there is scientific evidence that anger problems can be successfully treated. There are four techniques that have support, and I believe a few more methods will likely demonstrate effectiveness soon.

1)Relaxation Training
2)Cognitive Restructuring (questions remain about mechanisms)
3)Problem Solving
4)Communication Skills

These have all shown significant treatment success. So, there is reason to believe any of us, or our loved ones can find some help, if anger has become a problem. Unfortunately, many methods still used by clinicians may even make things worse, so it is always important to ask a therapist what techniques they are using and what scientific evidence supports that approach.

Above is a quick video link to an interview The Daily conducted yesterday about the specific incident, but it isn’t intended to reference too many specifics, because those are largely unknown. Rather it is intended to address general issues regarding anger management, and how celebrities may have to deal with things a little differently (This was an interesting line of questions by the journalist that hasn’t been asked before). But, it is clear that in this day and age, celebrities often focus our attention on serious societal issues. Anger management from a cognitive behavioral therapist can be scheduled by contacting a specialist at New York Behavioral Health.