ANGER is only one letter short of DANGER
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Anger is an emotion related to one's psychological interpretation of having been offended, wronged or denied and a tendency to undo that by retaliation.
Being angry is not always bad. Anger is a normal human emotion, which prepares a person for dealing with the anticipated threat. Anger becomes a problem when due to various factors it becomes excessive, persistent, poorly controlled and starts interfering a person’s usual routine or social life.
Anger Management Therapies are tailor made as per the requirements of the clients. The personality, psychological mindedness of the clients, perspective on life and how the client has led one’s life is all crucial for determining the progress of therapeutic intervention. The number of sessions depends upon the severity of the problem. It can range from 5-10 sessions with adequate spacing in between.
Cognitive Restructuring is the treatment of choice. It is the process of guided self- discovery whereby the client realises that anger is just one of the many responses that can be given to any dissatisfying situation. Anger is felt when some goal is not achieved, things do not function the way they are planned or when dissatisfaction is felt over one’s life. The result is frustration and subsequently anger is felt. In Cognitive restructuring the clients are made to see the power of cognition as to how it can affect behaviour either positively/negatively which thereby determines the consequence. Cognitions are nothing but the belief system of the client. The situation is not held responsible for the action but the thoughts and beliefs are. One experiences anger and expresses it because there is fear of loss of control over the situation. This inability within oneself to tackle the situation fruitfully is hidden behind the facade of getting anger and hiding the insecure selves. So belief is generated within oneself and the clients are made to realise that they are not passive recipient of the harsh environmental forces but with ones beliefs, can change the consequences. Clients are made to realise with the help of techniques of Reflective listening, Motivational interviewing, Socratic questioning and empathetic understanding that anger at some point can serve some functional utility but if crosses the threshold then can be self destructive and debilitating. Other better options also exist which the clients fail to see which are then made more visible therapeutically. If one changes the belief regarding a situation and doesn’t feel threatened, then the consequences can also change.
A-B-C Model of anger management works by the understanding that the anger is a behaviour which has antecedents (i.e. the situations and conditions leading to Behaviour of being angry) and consequences (i.e. the after-effects of anger, e.g. being angry repeatedly can further sour a strained relationship, increasing chances of being angry). By manipulation of these antecedents (e.g. by trying to repair a strained relation) and consequences(e.g. delaying an angry response) in such a way that decreases the likelihood of thebehaviour of being angry.
Stress Inoculation Therapy is an option too, where the clients are inoculated against stress and trained to deal with stress effectively as the need arises. Anger is just one of the responses to frustration.
Mindfulness training where clients are trained towards self awareness and understanding that both good and bad are parts of the big picture and not isolated phenomena, leading to less violent reactions.
Metacognitive therapy is a higher order form of therapy where clients are trained to think about one’s own thoughts and to develop discrepancy between self owned thoughts. The clients can see, as a result, the fallacies in one’s own thinking process.
Other techniques are also taught which helps the clients to channelize their anger more productively. When in anger, analogy is given of a traffic signal. The clients are encouraged to “stop, look, think and act” which when followed can save oneself from accidents. Withholding ones immediate response can give some time to think and this can save oneself from impulsive decisions. One can drink a glass of water or box out ones anger on the bed are probably withdraw from the situation which can at least bring some momentary relief.