Margaret Van Ackeren

MA, LMFT
10 years in practice

About Margaret Van Ackeren

Margaret's approach to anger management treatment:

Phase 1: Understand the problem

1. Define anger in terms of how it looks and get baseline information (specific behaviors, frequency, consequences of actions).

2. Set collaborative, measurable goals.

*Throughout this phase, building a rapport through active listening and validating is essential.

Phase 2: Learn new ways to cope

1. Learn what is at the root of the anger and where it originates.

2. Psychoeducation- teach client replacement behaviors and about the short and long term consequences of both the maladaptive behavior and replacement behaviors. Teach cognitive strategies such as use of thought records and behavioral strategies such as deep breathing. Practice these with the client during sessions.

Phase 3: Practice and apply

1. Practice new behavior via use of hypothetical scenarios and role-play.

2. Assign homework. Have client journal daily, recording how he/she was feeling, the action taken, and the consequences of the actions. During sessions review journals and thought records and provide feedback.

3. Anticipate and discuss future situations that may trigger anger and have client discuss how to apply their learned strategies in order to prevent relapse.

Answers  (28)

One of the most difficult challenges we face is not being heard! It is incredibly frustrating and hurtful when others, especially parents, do not listen. While your parents surely love you and want to understand you, it may be difficult for them to fully understand your feelings and experiences... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

I believe that counseling (and finding a GOOD therapist) will be of significant help when the individual seeking therapy desires change, improvement, and overall growth. Most counseling involves homework and a level of commitment outside of session that also contributes to resolution of... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

Thanks for your question. Becoming a good listener is an essential piece in being a better communicator. Being an effective communicator will almost always improve the quality of your relationships. What stands in your way of listening to her? Do you find yourself becoming defensive when she brings... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

What exactly is it that you are looking for? Different people define themselves in different ways. For example, one person may define himself by his values and morals while another identifies herself by her personality and characteristics. Still, another person may define himself by his interests... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

Taking accountability for your actions and seeking help is an excellent first step. I wonder where the anger is coming from. Learning what is at the root of it can shed some light on what the problem is and can provide some relief in itself. I would also suggest doing some self-exploration and... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

Hello, It doesn't feel good when it seems that your partner no longer cares or cares less for you, especially if your feelings have not changed. It can be scary, frustrating, and lonely. Have you tried talking to him about your concerns? I would suggest to start there. There may be several reasons... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

What a tough situation you must be in, feeling torn between your parents and someone who is very special to you. I would say the first thing you want to do is (if you haven't already), have a calm reciprocal conversation with your parents, telling them how you feel and letting them know what you... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

I can imagine how incredibly difficult this must be for you. Having past traumatic experiences creap up on you without warning can be very scary and stressful. You may be suffering from symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder. Getting evaluated by a professional would be a good step to... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

That's a good question. I would say learn to pick your battles. What types of behavior/situations can you let go of? If you allow yourself to worry about the various areas in life that you cannot control, you will find yourself stressed out and unable to manage everything. Know that toddlerhood... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

Good for you for recognizing that a change has to be made quickly. Regardless of whether or not your girlfriend leaves your relationship, taking control of your anger needs to happen sooner than later. If left unresolved, it will follow you into any relationship you have. Have you talked to a... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

First off, I think it is great that you are willing and able to help out your friend with issues regarding his current relationship, despite the fact that you have feelings for him. I think that the best thing you can do is let him know that you are there for him if he wants to talk about things... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

It sounds like there is a bit of confusion regarding how you two feel about each other. Do you know what type of relationship you want with him? A friendship only, casual dating, or an exclusive relationship? I would encourage you to first figure that out and then communicate to him how you are... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

I am sorry to hear that you are going through such a tough time. It sounds to me like you are suffering from depression to some degree. Have you seen a therapist or talked to anyone about your problems? If not, I would advise that you do so sooner than later so that you can learn what is causing you... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

Hello. Being unable to trust your significant other certainly can cause one to feel unsettled. Has your spouse ever done anything questionable that would cause you to not trust her? If so, then it will take time and some work to gain the trust back. Couple's counseling would be of benefit. If not... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

First off, it is great that you recognize that some changes need to be made. It is also really good that you understand where the source of your anxiety and stress comes from. Fortunately there are many self help books and internet sources that provide free tools to help you cope with life's... more

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.