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Anger Management


Angry Face

Definition (Wikipedia):
"The term anger management commonly refers to a system of psychological therapeutic techniques and exercises by which someone with excessive or uncontrollable anger can control or reduce the triggers, degrees, and effects of an angered emotional state. In some cases, courses in anger management may be mandated by the legal system.

One technique for controlling anger is finding agreement with another person rather than conflict. The use of deep breathing and meditation can be used as a means of relaxation. Other interventions include learning empathy, stress management skills, forgiveness, changing how you speak about yourself or others and improving optimism. As the issue of anger varies from person to person, the treatments are designed to be personal to the individual".



Methods of anger management
Many Psychologists recommend a balanced approach to anger, which both controls the emotion and allows the emotion to express itself in a healthy way. Some descriptions of actions of anger management are:

  • Direct, such as not beating around the bush, making behaviour visible and conspicuous, using body language to indicate feelings clearly and honestly, anger directed at persons concerned.
  • Honorable, such as making it apparent that there is some clear moral basis for the anger, being prepared to argue your case, never using manipulation or emotional blackmail, never abusing another person’s basic human rights, never unfairly hurting the weak or defenseless, taking responsibility for actions.
  • Focused, such as sticking to the issue of concern, not bringing up irrelevant material.
  • Persistent, such as repeating the expression of feeling in the argument over and over again, standing your ground, self defense.
  • Courageous, such as taking calculated risks, enduring short term discomfort for long term gain, risking displeasure of some people some of the time, taking the lead, not showing fear of other’s anger, standing outside the crowd and owning up to differences, using self-protective skills.
  • Passionate, such as using full power of the body to show intensity of feeling, being excited and motivated, acting dynamically and energetically, initiating change, showing fervent caring, being fiercely protective, enthusing others.
  • Creative, such as thinking quickly, using more wit, spontaneously coming up with new ideas and new views on subject
  • Forgiveness, such as demonstrating a willingness to hear other people’s anger and grievances, showing an ability to wipe the slate clean once anger has been expressed.
  • Listen to what is being said to you. Anger creates a hostility filter, and often all you can hear is negatively toned.

A common skill used in most anger management programs is learning assertive communication techniques. Assertive communication is the appropriate use of expressing feelings and needs without offending or taking away the rights of others. It is typically started with the use of “I” statements followed by a need statement. For example, “I feel upset when you don't take my feelings into consideration when you talk about your past relationships. I hope you can be more thoughtful and know what you should and should not say the next time.”
The main issue of anger management is that anger is regarded as an incorrect projection of the mind, so that wisdom and insight can ultimately correct the mind and eliminate anger completely.


Why Anger Management counseling?

Clients who have not learned to manage their anger are at-risk for aggression, perhaps even violent explosive behavior. The goal of anger management is to help clients with high levels of aggression or anger learn how to control their emotions. Helping clients learn how to understand and manage their feelings may provide them with tools to avoid escalating negative feelings so as to avoid serious confrontations with students, teachers, supervisors, and other authoritative figures in their lives.

Not only for adults, these skills can be taught at a young or adolescent age and considered life skills that may enable children to go from adolescence to adulthood with less fear and rage and more harmony in their lives. In the end, this will help evolve the young client into a less angry adult who can deal with their anger under most if not any, circumstances through using their tools and techniques provided in this counseling.

Anger is not aggression. Assertiveness is not aggression. In the most general sense, anger is a feeling or emotion that ranges from mild irritation to intense fury and rage. Many people often confuse anger with aggression. Aggression is behavior that is intended to cause harm or injury to another person or damage property. Anger can be felt in your thinking, in your body and through emotions. Feeling angry doesn't mean you have to feel "bad". The most common responses to being angry are handled through expression (act of conveying your anger) or suppression (holding your anger in or ignoring it). This tends to make clients feel aggressive, whether they are using expression or suppression as their coping skill to feeling angry.


Assertiveness vs. Passivity

One alternative to aggressive behavior is to act passively or in a nonassertive manner. This behavior is undesirable because you allow your rights to be violated. You may resent the person who violated your rights, and you may also be angry with yourself for not standing up for your rights. The basic message of passivity is that your feelings, thoughts and beliefs are very important but my feelings, thoughts and believes are unimportant and inconsequential.

From an anger management perspective, the best way to deal with a person who has violated your rights is to act assertively. Acting assertively involves standing up for your rights in such a way that is respectful of other people. The basic message of assertiveness is that the feelings, thoughts and beliefs of each person on both sides are equally important.

By acting assertively, you can express your feelings, thoughts and beliefs to the person who violated your rights w/out suffering the negative consequences associated with aggression or passively.

It is important to emphasize that assertive, aggressive and passive responses are learned behaviors. They are not innate or unchangeable traits. You can learn to develop assertive responses that will allow you to manager interpersonal conflicts in a more effective way.

At Parker Counseling, we can help you answer questions such as:

  • What are some problems that you may experience if you act aggressively during conflicts with others?
  • What are some problems that you may experience if you respond passively during conflicts?
  • What are some of the advantages of actiing assertively when trying to resolve conflicts?
  • How can I use assertiveness appropriately to improve my quality of life?