Working with Anger and Young People

Working with Anger and Young People

Working with Anger and Young People

Working with Anger and Young People


"Working with Anger and Young People explores the many meanings and roots of anger, including the other feelings and dilemmas that anger sometimes disguises and protects young people from facing. Nick Luxmoore warns against 'quick fix' solutions in dealing with anger, and draws on his extensive experience of youth counselling and training workshops to propose helpful interventions for addressing anger effectively. A wealth of case examples illustrate tried-and-tested techniques and creative approaches for working with anger rather than against it. While the focus is on effective work with young people, the book begins and ends with a crucial but often overlooked subject - the anger of professionals themselves."


Anger is healthy. Anger is passion, resilience, being alive, engaging. Anger is sometimes an ethical response to a situation. It fuels creativity. It gets things done.

Of course, the way anger is expressed matters hugely: smashing things up, bullying, hitting and swearing at people are neither healthy nor acceptable ways of expressing anger. But for some young people those become the only ways of expressing anger when no one appears to be listening.

Working with edgy, unpredictable young people–working and never having enough time to get everything done–it's easy for professionals to conclude that anger is best suppressed. Otherwise, it gets in the way. It spoils things. 'Anger management' has therefore become a behavioural panacea. Whenever young people are misbehaving, the cry goes up, 'They need anger management!' I am one of the people then invited to administer the pill.

Work called 'anger management' does go on with young people–identifying triggers and coaching appropriate responses – though not half as much as is popularly supposed. The materials I've seen (Faupel, Herrick and Sharp 1998) are no different from basic classroom materials. They contain lots of common sense but they're not magical. Yet I think we so badly want to believe in the myth of anger management as the solution to behaviour problems that we believe this work is happening all around us; that magicians are out there, teaching young people the trick of how to recognise, curb and extinguish their own anger. We hope that someone will . . .

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