Nfld. & Labrador

Women's anger management program a 'positive motivator' for change

For the second time, Stella's Circle is offering a program aimed at helping women deal with their anger.

'A lot of women turn anger inward,' says social worker

Amy Sheppard is a social worker with the Just For Us Women's Centre at Stella's Circle. (Anthony Germain/CBC)

A group in St. John's is offering a program aimed at helping women manage their anger.

Stella's Circle is offering the Women's Anger Management Group, which will be offered at the Just Us Women's Centre beginning Feb. 2 and will run for seven weeks.

Anger can be quite a positive motivator to do change, to make things different.- Amy Sheppard

The program was created specifically for women who have been involved with the criminal justice system.

But Amy Sheppard, a social worker with the centre, said this program is open to any woman who feels they have anger issues that need to be resolved.

"Anger can be quite a positive motivator to do change, to make things different," said Sheppard.

That anger, she said, can also be a major contributor for putting people at risk getting in trouble with the law.

Many people are referred for counselling as part of their probation orders, Sheppard said, but a person can also submit their own referral for assessment.

The program is based on a cognitive behavioural therapy model, where a person's thoughts impact their feelings, which in turn impacts behaviour.

Right place, right time

Sheppard said a program geared towards women is beneficial because many women tend to experience anger differently than men.

"A lot of women turn anger inward, which would mean it might manifest like depression, in self harm behaviours or addictions issues," Sheppard told CBC's St. John's Morning Show.

A lot of women turn anger inward … it might manifest like depression, in self harm behaviours or addictions issues.- Amy Sheppard

"Women a lot of times are socialized to not experience anger, like it's not OK for us to be angry or to display that outward stuff," she said.

"Men lots of times are socialized where anger is the only emotion they're allowed to experience."

Sheppard said some women do express anger by yelling or having outbursts, and hopes the program shows them that can happen at an appropriate time and place — like yelling in your car to facilitate an emotional release.

"It's very much about identifying what's going on for them at the time … to kind of really feel what you're feeling and really get down deep and understand what's going on."

Sheppard hopes the program will continue and they can build on the success they've had in the past.