Anger Management

Do You Have an Anger Management Problem?
During this relatively long trial by combat, John learned that his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer with whom he was very close. John knew immediately that this not only would be a tragic loss but he would be called upon to assist the family both emotionally and financially. To John, this was not how his life was to unfold. Presently, John is an angry person and an angry attorney.
Stressed and tired, John was in Court today. Unfortunately, the Judge reprimanded John for his unacceptable tone and unprofessional behavior against the Prosecutor and State's witness. John could not shake the Judge's comments regarding the difference between assertiveness vs. bullying. At first, John thought he was being singled out for zealously representing his client. However, that night John took a long look into the mirror and asked himself: "Am I too aggressive and unprofessional?" John decided to rethink how he was handling his emotions and anger. He also agreed to sharpen his anger management tools.
Unfortunately, attorneys are said to be even more vulnerable to anger because of the adversarial nature of their profession, the fear of being perceived as weak, and the perception of some that anger can foster success. Realistically, the same components of professionalism: courtesy and civility, candor, loyalty to the client, meritorious claim, and zealous representation are affected directly by poor anger management skills.
Anger Management Tools
Some suggestions are:
  1. Take several deep breaths while sitting or lying down.
  2. Change your environment.
  3. Exercise
  4. Slowly count to 10 (or 20 or more) and think before responding.
  5. "Laugh away" your anger by finding the humor in minor upsets.
  6. Take a break and listen to your favorite soothing music.
  7. Think before you speak. Then express yourself in a way that helps you find solutions to the problems that contribute to your anger.
  8. Show respect for the other person and yourself.
  9. When the person responds, give your full attention.
  10. Speak clearly and assertively, but avoid sounding or acting pushy.
Take time to relax and enjoy hobbies, friends, family, and pets. Talk out minor problems before they escalate. Simplify your daily routine, and don't be afraid to say "no" to avoid getting stressed out.
Recognizing that much of his anger shared space with his deepest fears, our attorney John decided that he needed both an anger-management workshop and counseling. Additionally, John learned problem-solving techniques, stayed in shape, turned complaints into requests, learned to let go of resentments, and made sure that he put a statute of limitations on his anger.
For more information on this subject, or if you or someone you know needs support and help, contact the Delaware Lawyers Assistance Program (DE-LAP) at (302) 777-0124 or 1-877-24-DELAP or e-mail

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