UTSA Professor Ephrem Fernandez examines causes of anger in new book

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(Oct. 10, 2013) -- What is anger dysfunction? Who is at risk, and does it differ according to age, gender and culture? How can clinicians help patients struggling with anger?

These questions and others are examined in "Treatments for Anger in Specific Populations," a new book edited by UTSA clinical psychology scholar Ephrem Fernandez and published by Oxford University Press. The book, written for clinicians, researchers and students, examines the roots of dysfunctional anger, the variety of treatments available and the effectiveness of those treatments in particular populations.

Fernandez conceptualizes anger as a subjective feeling tied to perceived wrongdoing and a tendency to counter or redress that wrongdoing in ways that may range from resistance to retaliation. Apart from physical assault, perceived wrongdoing may be psychosocial as in insults, insensitivity, deception and betrayal, abandonment and rejection, breach of promise, ingratitude or exploitation.

"Treatments for Anger in Specific Populations" includes contributions from 29 anger management scientists and professionals across the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia. Collectively, the contributors examine treatments for anger related to trauma, combat and PTSD, substance abuse, intellectual disabilities, psychosis, borderline personality disorder, forensic settings and even road rage.

Treatments range from cognitive change to behavioral skills training to experiential psychotherapy. Fernandez points out the common ingredients in these scenarios as well as the unique features of these treatments. Also emphasized are the ways in which a patient's developmental stage, gender and culture are taken into account.

Fernandez notes that over the last few years, the topic of anger management has attracted interest in the mass media. More notable are the new developments in the science and application of anger treatment.

"The industry is now recognizing that, in many cases, dysfunctional anger is an underlying cause of many of the challenges patients face, so a thorough understanding of anger treatments is very beneficial, particularly in the clinical setting," said Fernandez. "It is our hope that this book helps clinicians, students and others understand that a variety of treatments are available to manage a patient's anger, and the best treatment may be one that takes the patient's developmental age, gender and culture into account."

Fernandez is a psychology scholar, consultant and practitioner who specializes in anger assessment and treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy, pain assessment and management, and psychosomatic processes. He has more than 70 scholarly publications. This is his third book. The others include "Anxiety, Depression and Anger in Pain: Research Findings and Clinical Options" and "Handbook of Pain Syndromes: Biopsychosocial Perspectives."

Fernandez joined the UTSA faculty in 2006 and currently serves as a professor of psychology. He has also held faculty positions at Southern Methodist University and the University of Queensland in Australia. Additionally, he has been a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health. Additionally, he has received teaching awards and delivered workshops and invited talks internationally.

Professor Ephrem Fernandez is available to speak about anger management. Contact him at ephrem.fernandez@utsa.edu or 210-458-5755 to schedule a talk.