Howard Kassinove on Anger Management
Anger management expert Christian Conte, PhD, interviews fellow anger management expert, Howard Kassinove, PhD, on the history of anger management treatment, the fundamentals of practice, the importance of humor and the woefully inadequate programs offered to violent offenders in most states in the U.S.
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"I can see your bald head"
|Christian Conte:||Dr. Howard Kassinove, how did anger management became a central focus for you?|
|Howard Kassinove:||When I went to graduate school, the central focus seemed to be anxiety, and the physiological or biophysical aspects of emotion. So we studied heart rate, sweating, pupillary response to light—but all with regard to anxiety. I then went out to study with Joseph Wolpe and of course his major area was anxiety. But he really put me in touch with this notion of approach versus avoidance behaviors—moving towards, moving against, or moving away from. I was also trained by Albert Ellis and he was very interested in emotionality in general.|
But with that background, once I went into private practice what I discovered was that lots of my patients were angry at each other. Husbands angry at wives, parents angry at children, adolescents angry at their parents, and I had been ill trained. I really didn't know much about it, because anxiety was the major focus of my training. So I began to study and read and my practice moved along. But then in about 1992, I really decided I had to get some kind of a handle on this. So with my then Ph.D. graduate student Christopher Eckhardt, now a professor at Purdue, he and I just started cold calling people in the field of anger: Charlie Spielberger, Jerry Deffenbacher and a range of figures. We put together an edited book, which included all aspects of anger from Spielberger's measurement to Sergei Tsytsarev and Junko Tanaka-Matsumi's cross-cultural perspective, and this was the beginning of me becoming centrally involved.
Then I started doing more cross-cultural research—in India, Russia, Romania and many other countries. We collected data on anger in all these other countries and I did a number of doctoral dissertations on anger. One of the most important was with my colleague Chip Tafrate, who of course is doing books with me and did the video released this month by psychotherapy.net. He did a very interesting study in which we would try to insult people—“I can see your bald head!”—and Chip would ask people to respond in different ways. One was, "How could you say that to me? That's terrible. I can't stand it!" And the other was, "It's unpleasant that you're saying that. I wish you weren't saying it, but I can tolerate it."
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Howard Kassinove, PhD, is a board-certified clinical psychologist who served for 14 years as Chairperson of the Psychology Department at Hofstra University. Past Director of their PhD program in Clinical & School Psychology, he is currently Director of the Institute for the Study and Treatment of Anger and Aggression. Dr. Kassinove is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, the Albert Ellis Institute, and the Behavior Therapy and Research Society. He has authored more than 65 published papers, and edited Anger Disorders: Definition, Diagnosis and Treatment. He has also lectured worldwide. Christian Conte, PhD is a psychologist, author, and professional speaker who specializes in anger management and communication, and was an award-winning, tenured professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. He co-founded a center in South Lake Tahoe, California, to work with people who have been convicted of violent crimes. Conte’s programs always focus on helping people change and improve their lives. His latest book is Life Lessons. He was the co-host of the Spike TV series, Coaching Bad. You can learn more about him at www.drchristianconte.com.