Men’s Anger Management at WLCAC in Watts – an SCCC Outreach program

WLCACThe Southern California Counseling Center has partnered with the Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC) to offer Anger Management programs to men and women in the community.  We asked two of the group’s facilitators, Michael Manzo and Lance Tango, to share a bit about their experience with the group.

“The class itself is of great benefit”, confirms Michael. “Most of the men come from a rough upbringing consisting of violence, drugs and negative behavior.  I think as men, opening up and sharing feelings is something that is not presented to them as a child.  Some men, who have struggled with their feelings since elementary school find that sharing their feelings among a group of other men allows them to express themselves.  Much of the time, the way to release any pent up tensions, stresses or emotions has been to guzzle up a few bottles of their favorite alcoholic drinks. The class provides a safe platform for a man to open up to those of a similar background, without fear of being judged or ridiculed.

The class itself presents the opportunity to discuss many different issues, which we often discover stems from some type of pain. As someone shares their story, the input from the other men is amazing. The men are able to learn from mistakes they had made in their own lives and give out informed advice and options for any future situations. It’s a common occurrence that the older men speak and direct some of their comments and advice towards the younger participants in the class. Most of the men have been incarcerated over their anger and thus begins a topic that again, comes back to the subject of pain or being emotionally hurt. I strongly feel that acknowledgment of another man’s insecurities, hurtful past and their yearn for love is beautiful. The class presents an opportunity for these men to change their lives, not only for themselves, but for their children, who mold and copy the behaviors and mannerisms of these men. The class is a stepping stone for a transformation to a new chapter.”

Lance, who has been facilitating the group for more than two years, sums up the impact he has witnessed over time:

“If you are sitting with a group of men who have endured chronic mistreatment and oppression and create an environment that allows them to feel dignified and respected, then ask them to share their stories with each other, what happens is powerful.  What generally emerges over time is a group of men who naturally express understanding, comradery, compassion, accountability, support, and vulnerability.  The more I do this work, the more I am convinced that unparalleled wisdom comes from women and men who have endured hardship, and who are then given a chance to tell their stories with dignity and respect.”

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