Anger is slowly killing the country, what can be done

Anger Management Counselling

Anger in itself is a naturally occurring state and can be considered a natural emotion. It should be noted from the start that “feeling anger” and “acting angry” are two different things.

Sometimes we get the “feeling” of anger. This can be for good reason, or inappropriate. An example of a good reason might be when you are in danger of violence, you can not avoid it and the “fight and flight” response kicks in. This is a natural example of where feeling angry and aggressive might save your life!

The problem with “feeling” angry is it does not always kick in when we want it to. This is because of mis-association between events, people, things, or places and a feeling of unease or danger. Thus we inappropriately respond to something with the “feeling” of danger or anger.

There are two main reasons for this:

  1. We have learnt a lesson somewhere in life that causes us to associate something with an angry feeling. This might be because of abuse, trauma, unusual circumstances, bereavement, grief or unnatural events. We then associate elements of whatever happened with the feeling of anger. This is the perception process at work and is thus a Cognitive area for therapy.
  2. We are in a physical or mental state that causes an inappropriate response. This might be a fever, a manic or depressed state, hallucinations, PMT, Low blood sugar, or a high pain level. In this state, our cognitive processes are compromised.
    Therefore there are times when the “feeling” is there when it should not be, and therefore needs cognitive work to resolve. This is an area that “off the shelf” anger management books, pack and self-help aids virtually ignore, and frankly only qualified therapy can help resolve.
  3. We may have a deeper psychological issue based on relationships, dysfunctional emotional relationships, psychological development, grief, bereavement or other such issues. This is best addressed through psychoanalytical assistance.

The second area is “acting” angry. This is where we have a “feeling” of anger or irritation, and this results in an “action” or “behaviour”. This is the area of anger management most commonly talked about since it is the “behaviour” that is displayed to people around you. Most websites and counselling deal just with this area.

Unresolved Anger is often seen as a symptom of addiction.

When we have felt the”anger feeling”, whether for good reason or not, we tend to respond with angry “behaviours” such as aggression or passive aggression. There are actually a variety of display types, from the most obvious violence to sulking, shouting, being an angry manipulative person who seems like a “victim”, and various other variations. These are all outcomes of the behaviour being “angry”. Help for an addict.

Between the “feeling” and the “behaviour” are occurrences that “trigger” that response. These are the people, things, smells, sounds, places, actions, words etc that “trigger” the person into feeling angry. What happens then is the “feeling” is felt, the person goes into a kind of “autopilot” and the “behaviours” result.

The “autopilot” is a lay man’s term for a learned response or conditioned response. Over time we learn to respond to certain triggers with certain behaviours. As these become “natural” responses for us, they become unconscious rather than deliberate.

Thus we automatically respond that way without thinking about it consciously. While the person continues to automatically respond with “angry behaviours”, the problem persists. The most common advice for dealing with this is “to count to ten before responding”. It is sensible advice, but most clients need help in making this possible!

So what can be done about it?

1. Deal with underlying causes, the reasons why the person has high stress or aggression levels. This can involve counselling, psychotherapy or psychoanalysis. Occasionally hypnotherapy.

2. Deal with the perceptions that cause a person to tend to be angry by “seeing things” a certain way. These are the learnt perceptions or the way you have learned to see/understand things. Psychotherapy, CBT, hypnotherapy and mindfulness are options here.

3. Change responses to triggers. This means unplugging the autopilot! The behaviour can thus be addressed, and freedom of choice returned to the client! Part of this is the client choosing new responses that work for them. Behavioural change methods include hypnotherapy, NLP, CBT and mindfulness.

4. Environmental factors. Addressing any factors, relationships or other things that may have caused the client to get stuck in this mindset initially, or kept them there since. This helps to prevent slippage back into the old patterns. Life coaching and CBT are often key here.

CBT is highly effective in dealing with anger management, especially when combined with hypnotherapy, personal development counselling skills, psychological therapy and other methods. Primarily these should be combined as necessary in a fairly seamless way.

Cognitive therapy helps to resolve perceptual issues. Counselling skills or psychological therapy methods help to look at deeper issues. Hypnotherapy and behavioural therapies help to change responses to triggers and give back freedom of choice.

Life coaching helps to resolve environmental factors. NICE recommends CBT as an appropriate psychological therapy for a range of mental health issues.

The most important part of anger management is to ensure that the problem is addressed on all levels, thus preventing reoccurrence.

We are complementary health practitioners, not alternative health practitioners. This means that we work WITH the medical profession. If you have an illness or injury, or if you are going to embark on a new diet, fitness plan or if you have any uninvestigated symptoms, you must consult your medical doctor.