According to TMZ, recording artist Brown has entered a rehabilitation facility in Malibu, California, to deal with his anger management issues. Some observers speculate that Brown’s decision to seek treatment for his emotional problems is a way of avoiding punishment for violating his probation.
Brown is on probation because of a 2009 assault on his then-girlfriend, fellow recording artist Rihanna. This past weekend, Brown allegedly assaulted an individual in Washington, D.C. — the type of activity generally considered a probation violation.
What can Brown expect in anger management rehab? What does the latest research say about anger and other emotional and psychological issues?
First, it seems clear that one of Brown’s health care providers should have seen red flags and recommended counseling earlier. A study published in the September / October 2013 issue of the Annals of Family Medicine demonstrates the efficacy of a tool called eCHAT (electronic case-finding and health assessment tool) in detecting (among other things) problemating drinking, drug use, and anger control issues. eCHAT works by asking patients to take a self-examination on an iPad in the primary care physician’s waiting room, scoring the examination, and prompting the physician to discuss warning signs and possible courses of treatment to the patient.
Given the fact that Brown’s alleged drug use and domestic violence have been reported in the media, his primary care physician and other members of his health team would not even need Brown to alert them to his problems; they could have broached the subject themselves.
Further testing is required to determine the level of Brown’s anger management skills. According to a Turkish research team studying teens, anger “mediate[s] the relationship between automatic thoughts and physical aggression.” Anger management skills training, according to the researchers, should involve “the development of an awareness of dysfunctional and anger-triggering automatic thoughts, and how to change them.”
It is unclear whether Brown participated in any anger management training after his arrest for assaulting Rihanna. Anger management training programs in the criminal justice system have been shown to “reduc[e] feelings of anger” and “positively change the use of aggression in reaction to provocation,” according to recently published research from a British team. However, data on criminal justice anger management programs is limited.
Based on information from the Mayo Clinic, Brown’s clinical anger management training will likely involve several key items: learning to identify situations likely to trigger anger — and learning to respond to these triggers in non-aggressive ways; recognizing when he is not thinking rationally, and correcting those irrational thought patterns; focusing on using his energy to solve problems rather than to commit acts of aggression; and other skills.
The Mayo Clinic offers ten tips for reducing anger-related aggression. These tips include taking a “timeout” and counting to ten before reacting to a situation that triggers feelings of anger, limiting oneself to “I” statements to express one’s dissatisfaction with a situation, and practicing relaxation skills by doing breathing exercises and similar activities. Tip number ten? “Know when to seek help.”