Help for Anger problems using Psychotherapy, EMDR, Cognitive Therapy, Hypnotherapy at 1066 Therapy
covering East Sussex, Battle, Hastings, Bexhill, Rye, Heathfield, Hailsham, Eastbourne, Brighton, Crowborough, Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Ashford and Kent.
I am often consulted for help with anger problems at my practice just outside of Battle, East Sussex. Many anger problems can be helped successfully using the right therapy approach for the individual.
Releasing healthy anger appropriately, at the right person, about the right thing, in the right proportion, at the right time, and without hurting anyone, can be liberating and cathartic, but this is a very difficult skill to acquire! So, what about the times when it’s unhealthy, e.g. someone really ‘loses it’, or it is out of proportion, or inappropriate in a given situation? Such as might be illustrated in the photo on the right.
Unhealthy anger – e.g. rage – is the type that people have most problems with, and it is different in many ways to healthy anger. It tends to originate from ‘suppressed anger’, connected to insufficiently processed, negative past events, and then it usually leads to one of two ways of behaving:
Acting it out ~ Inappropriate and unrestrained anger (aggression / rage), as opposed to the healthy variety, can lose jobs, ruin relationships and it can also, on occasion, be violent and destructive. This is not very helpful!
Acting it in ~ I am often consulted by people (usually with other problems as their main reason for having therapy) who do not, as a rule, express anger (of any type) and they say to me ‘I don’t get angry’ or ‘I don’t do anger’ or ‘I don’t like confrontation’. They do experience anger though: e.g. they might get frustrated, impatient, irritable, tetchy, with lots of relatively minor things, or they may ‘hate the world’ sometimes. What they mean is that they don’t express anger to other people, except perhaps from the relative safety of their car! Because they don’t like ‘confrontation’, when they feel angry with someone, they tend not to express it in a healthy, assertive way. They may sometimes slam doors or throw things as a reaction to a situation, but most often they hold it all in, suppress it and turn it against themselves. And then I hear ‘the only person I get angry with is myself’. The trouble is that, suppressing emotions in this way can lead to other problems with perhaps tension being held in the body; or it can develop into other problems such as depression, self-hate, self-loathing, feelings of powerlessness, and so on.
Sometimes people can swing between acting out and acting in, and sometimes being angry is the default emotion for a person.
Is it a Primary, or Default (and secondary) emotion ~ Anger can be a primary emotion, like love and fear for example, where it is normal, natural part of our survival response – the ‘fight’ part of fight/flight/freeze – helping us to protect ourselves or our loved ones if we are in real danger, or we are in pain, or if we perceive a threat to our well-being such as when being bullied or our boundaries are being crossed. It can also be a secondary or default emotion ‘masking’ other, usually more uncomfortable, feelings such as hurt, shame, fear, insecurity, vulnerability etc. When it is a ‘default’ emotion, a person will tend to get angry when they are feeling any uncomfortable emotion – they simply default to anger.
Most people are not regularly experiencing actual danger to their life and limb, or anything causing physical pain, or bullying, any of which would explain their anger very well. In contrast, when people ask me for help it’s often because they are ‘acting out’ suppressed anger, and their anger is usually out of proportion to the situation. Their anger is very often inappropriate and unhealthy; or it is a default emotion for them, covering up a more uncomfortable emotion.
Anger management and CBT have become popular in recent years to help people cope with these problems, and they can help people to manage their ‘short fuse’ and loss of temper to varying degrees BUT these approaches usually don’t help to resolve the underlying problems. The root causes for these problems are most often found in negative past experiences, often but not always from childhood, so these will need to be worked through to enable a resolution to anger issues. The causes are usually long-forgotten by the time someone develops problems.
I offer different approaches for this (and every problem) and the choice of which one (or more) to take depends on the individual and their circumstances – the decision is usually made during the initial consultation.
Please browse my site for information on the various therapies / approaches that I practise.
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