Psychology - Educational psychology and anger management

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Helping a child with anger management problems

An educational psychologist (Ed Psych) can deal with cases that involve anger management. There is often an 'incident' in a classroom that draws in the Ed Psych, or there may have been several incidents before advice is sought. Teachers have many pupils in their classroom and having a very disruptive child can be extremely hard to deal with. The Ed Psych will want to help the child, the teacher and the other children by solving any issues.

Anger refers to an outburst, which could be brief or sustained. The child will not be learning if they are emotionally aroused, and other children, as well as adults in the situation will be affected, so it is important for the child to be able to control their anger.

Observing the child and the situation

The starting point, as with most individual assessments, is observation. The Ed Psych may go into the classroom to watch the child to see what triggers the behaviour and to look for patterns. The teacher is also asked to observe and keep records - and is often given a form to help them to know what to record. They need to know about the environment and the situation, often before any 'incident'. The aim is to try and find out what causes the anger, and how to identify an 'incident' before it occurs. Often there is no specific trigger for an outburst, so general features of what goes before an incident need to be identified. 

Gathering as much information as possible

The Ed Psych needs to gather specific information about what happens in the classroom, and also other information, such as whether the child displays the same behaviour at home.

Parents are always invited to the school to discuss issues, and sometimes the Ed Psych will visit the child's home to make observations there. Parents are asked questions such as 'Is the child's behaviour like that of anyone else in the home?' or for other times or occasions…

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