Psychological Services offers alternative to deal with anger

Stress and anxiety mount for students as midterms and research papers approach their deadlines.

Blood pressure may rise due to insignificant details or events.

And, as a result anger may erupt toward a friend or family member.

Anger is a common symptom that can affect personal behavior because of daily responsibilities.

However, negative behavior sometimes needs to be modified with professional help said William Sacco, a professor and clinical psychologist at USF.

After years of serving individual clients in the Tampa Bay area, the USF Psychological Services Center will host a weekly anger management session to help USF students.

The sessions will guide students as a group to cope with stress and anxiety properly, as well as recognizing what triggers the intense emotions of anger.

“Psycho-education groups are a cost effective way of (training students) and delivering psychological services,” Sacco said.

Stress management and problem-solving skills, Sacco said, will be the focus of each session, which will last an hour and a half.

Anger Management 101 represents the first in a series of psycho-educational classes offered to the USF community beginning in the last week of October.

Sacco said negative behavior can often be modified with outside help, and people can benefit greatly by learning techniques to employ in future situations.

Because students’ schedules might be time conflicting, Sacco said the program will only last for five weeks during the evenings. But Sacco said anger management skills can be acquired quickly.

“Participants can learn a great deal in a limited number of sessions,” Sacco said.

Identifying and validating the problem or situation before responding can help a person avoid a situation where anger is used as a solution.

Advanced students in the university’s psychology department will help instruct group sessions, while Sacco supervises, to learn similar techniques to control anger.

Sarah Spain, a pre-doctoral student of clinical psychology at USF and one of the class instructors, said people who have anger frustration problems can benefit from the class.

“We will target students with anger frustration problems and teach them how to effectively deal with their emotions,” Spain said. “We will teach coping techniques and show how to channel negative energy.”

Spain and the others instructing the course are students in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Training Program, but Sacco said he guarantees the sessions will be instructed professionally.

“These are experienced therapists, too,” Sacco said. “They’ve done quite a bit with psychological services and groups.”

This first program will only target students of the university in order to promote cohesiveness and prevent uneasiness, but future classes will be open to faculty and staff.

“We thought having students and staff together might make it more uncomfortable,” Sacco said. “We want to keep the group more homogenous.”

The entire course costs $10, and classes will be held in PCD 1132.

Students interested in participating can call 974-2496 by Oct. 8 to register for the class.