In the words of the Greek philosopher Aristotle, “Anybody can become angry – that is easy; to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”
Anger is a feeling common to everyone, but may be experienced in different ways by different people, for a number of reasons. Similar to other emotions, such as happiness and sadness, anger needs to be acknowledged and expressed. Despite the taboo around it, anger is a valid feeling, which can also be a positive force. Anger helps people to push themselves to make significant changes in their lives, to stand up to bullies, to fight for things they believe in and much more! However, when this powerful emotion is uncontrolled it can lead to a number of negative consequences. This is where therapy and anger management comes in.
As a counsellor working in a number of different settings, I find that anger is often a prime reason for clients to seek therapy. At times, they are encouraged to seek help by people in their lives, since the unpredictable nature of this powerful emotion can disrupt relationships, both at work and in their personal life. Anger management is all about learning how to be more in control of this emotion, by choosing to act in a different, more proactive manner to challenging situations.
In therapy dealing with anger management we work through a number of issues that involve:
- Identifying different emotions and focusing on your personal experience of anger. You would be supported to look into past traumas and difficulties which caused a lot of pain and anger in your life.
- Gaining a better understanding of your level of anger and aggressive outbursts to work on a plan for changing this behaviour.
- Learning to evaluate and to take into consideration the consequences to different actions.
- Working towards acknowledging responsibility for aggressive actions by reducing defences and justifications.
- Relaxation and timeout training
- Assertiveness training; learning to deal with difficult situations rather than avoiding them. This leads to increased self-respect as well as more respect from others.
- Working on empathy and communication skills to help clients understand and relate to others in a more helpful way.
To feel is to be human. My wish for anyone reading this is to be patient and kind with yourself whilst aiming to achieve self-growth. Working on yourself in therapy is a special journey, which requires courage and determination to undertake!