Mindfulness training helps men manage anger – Health News Today

“Some people who are violent are easily offended. Much of the treatment we offer is about understanding yourself,” says Merete Berg Nesset, a PhD candidate at NTNU. Ill. Credit: Colourbox

The last few weeks have been particularly difficult for people living in a violent relationship.

But a few glimmers of hope are finally emerging from the coronavirus nightmare.

After weeks at home, Norway’s children can start attending school again. Norwegian society is gradually returning to a new normal everyday life.

“For a lot of people, the weeks of shutdown have been an extreme situation with a lot of stress. Those of us who work with people on anger management have felt really concerned about what might be going on within the four walls of their homes,” says Merete Berg Nesset.

Fewer opportunities to get away

For many years Nesset has worked on treating angry people who beat, yell and threaten. Now she is on the flip side, working on a doctorate at NTNU on the same topic.

COVID-19 has taken a toll. People have lost their jobs. No one is quite sure what will happen with the economy. Many people are feeling uncertain about the future.

“We know that financial difficulties, unemployment and psychological challenges are linked to aggression and violence. The level of stress clearly increases further when parents also become responsible for teaching their children at home. Situations that are already difficult have escalated for a lot of people who have conflicts from before or a prior mental health problem, because there are fewer opportunities to get away,” says Nesset.

But there is hope.

Treatment very effective

Nesset has just published a study showing that treatment can work very well. What she did was to divide 125 men who applied for help with anger management into two groups.

One group received cognitive-behavioural group therapy using what is called the Brøset model.

The other group participated in a stress management course based on mindfulness. Partners in both groups participated through several surveys conducted before, during and after treatment.

The results following treatment were equally good for both groups:

  • Prior to treatment, 60 percent of the men had committed sexual violence against their relationship partners. That is, they demanded sex or threatened sex with a partner. Almost no one reported such violent episodes after treatment,.
  • Prior to treatment, 85 percent of the men reported physical violence. A large percentage had committed violence that resulted in harm to their partner. After treatment, this percentage dropped to ten percent.
  • Prior to treatment, 87 percent of participants reported psychological or emotional violence, such as threats and derogatory comments. This number declined by 25 percent but was not…

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