SPECIALTIES

Anger Management

Years in Practice

25 years +

where

New York NY 10005 - United States

Credentials

M.Psych, NCSP

Additional Expertise

Author, Consultant, Counselor/Therapist, Marriage Educator, Marriage/Couples Counselor, Parenting Coach, Psychotherapist, Speaker/Presenter

I Practice in

All areas, please inquire

I AM FLUENT IN

English

I Believe

Most relationship problems are the result of an illusion. The very things we are doing to solve the problem are usually what's causing the problem to continue and escalate.

About Israel "Izzy" Kalman

I'm Izzy Kalman, a school psychologist (MS in Clinical Psychology) and therapist since 1978. For the past two decades, I have been teaching other mental health professionals my method for stopping bullying, controlling anger, and solving relationship problems. I welcome you to Your Tango. As they say, "It takes two to tango."

The popular tango slogan expresses the essence of relationship problems. We complain about the way someone routinely treats us. We are not aware that we are part of the dance that keeps them treating us the way we can't stand.

I underwent long term therapy a few times in my early adulthood. I wish that one of my therapists had taught me what I now teach. I could have avoided so much unnecessary strife and my life would have been better. 

Improving relationships doesn't necessarily require years of intensive therapy. In many cases, all that's required is understanding how our efforts to solve our probelms are actually what's causing them to continue.

The culprit is our biological programming. We possess animal bodies, and animals are biologically programmed for life in nature, where they eat each other for dinner, they need to do their own fighting and protection, and there are no laws against violence and murder. When threatened or attacked in nature, we need to defend ourselves, and if we can't escape, to get angry to scare off our enemies or to tear them to pieces before they tear us to pieces. This is how we win in nature.

Today, we live in civilization. We don't eat each other. We are not allowed to injure or kill each other no matter how angry we are. The rules for winning today are very different. However, our instincts are still designed for the lawless life of nature. The biological responses that are designed to help us win in nature are more likely to make us lose in civilization, thereby achieving the opposite of what we want. Instead of putting a stop to the abuse, our anger, defensiveness and retaliation unwittingly make the abuse continue. While we experience the other person as an enemy, we don't realize that in our tango we are simultaneously treating them like an enemy. 

The recipe for creating harmony has been known by wise people for thousands of years. It's the Golden Rule. It instructs us to treat others like friends even when they treat us like enemies. But it's hard to do this because it's against our nature. We need to be taught why and ho it works.

These are things I never learned in all my psychological training. Chances are, you didn't learn them either. That's why we continue to get angry and defensive with our partner, spouse, child, colleague, boss, parent or whoever it is that we experience as the source of our misery. It's why they continue to treat us like an enemy.

When I began working in schools in 1978, I quickly discovered that the number one complaint of students is that their peers are bullying them. Teachers complained to me that their students were bullying them. Parents complained their children were bullying them. Principals complained that everyone was bullying them. Using role-playing, I would teach them why they were being bullied and how to make it stop by staying calm and treating their antagonists as friends. The results were quicker and more effective than anything I had learned of in my professional training.

On April 20, 1999, an event happened that shocked the world of education to its core. Two students at Columbine High School in Colorado attempted to destroy their school. They killed 13 people and injured another couple of dozen. They had produced videos in advance presenting themselves as victims of bullying. Researchers had already discovered that most school shooters had been victims of bullying, eventually seeking revege via mass murder. And it had been known for even longer that many youth who take their own lives do so because they can no longer tolerate being bullied.

The world decided it had enough with bullying. It had to be stopped in order to put an end to the misery of victims that was leading them to acts of ultimate violence against themselves and others. The previously obscure field of bullying psychology stepped up to the plate with the promise that it had the answer to bullying. However, when I examined what this field recommends, I knew it couldn't possibly work. It was the negation of the basic principles of the psychological helping professions. It was actually encouraging kids to think and act like victims, and instructing adults to do the very things that cause hostilities to intensify, namely, to play detective, judge and punisher between children. I began warning that this approach would only make matters worse. In time, all of my predictions have come true. Here we are, more than two decades later, and bullying is still considered an epidemic and researchers are still trying to figure out how to make the anti-bullying policies work. Mass murder by people who experience themselves as victims occurs with tragic frequency, and the suicide rate of youth has skyrocketed during the same period society has been committed to eradicating bullying.

We will never put a stop to bullying by trying to teach people to stop being bullies. That's because no one thinks they are a bully. We all think the bully is the other person. The only reliable way to put a stop to bullying is by learning how not to be a victim. Armed with this knowledge, no one can bully us.

Fortunately, in 2002, I hooked up with a leading seminar company that provides continuing education for mental health professionals throughout the US. They conracted with me to teach my approach to reducing bullying and solving relationship problems, and I gave a thousand full day seminars to about 50,000 professionals. I have presented at major conferences to rave reviews. Those using it are experiencing unprecedented success. Some of my students, such as youth speaker Brooks Gibbs and organizations like Be Strong, are spreading my approach throuthout the world.

Do you have someone in your life that is driving you mad and all your efforts to stop them aren't working? Do your children fight constantly and you have no idea why? Do you have a child who's being bullied in school? I invite you to discover that the reason may be right under your nose but you couldn't see it, and that the solution may be easier than you thought possible.

For many of my writings, please visit my Psychology Today blog, Resilience to Bullying.