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On the last track, we discussed five myths that perpetuate anger. They are history of rejection leaves a client emotionally depleted, letting go of anger means conceding defeat, no one understands the client’s problems, the client doesn’t deserve to be happy, and there is nothing to look forward to anymore.
#1 Pride Influences Anger
Kyle’s anger builds each day through frustration at work. His pride compounds that anger with self-preoccupation, resulting in Kyle directing his anger toward others. To help Kyle overcome his pride-anger management trigger, I had him try the Relationship Developing exercise, which we will discuss later on this track.
#2 Fear’s Effects on Anger
Kyle stated, “I know I have a hard time trusting people, but it’s difficult to let someone get close after my ex-wife, Lorie, hurt me so much. I mean, not only did she sleep around, but she left me with nothing! Just because I smacked her around a little, the judge gave her everything!” Kyle’s fear of being hurt made him untrusting, resulting in defenses which only frustrated him further and added to his anger. Do you have a Kyle who feels they have been hurt, gets defensive, and creates a vicious cycle?
#3 Loneliness Can Create Anger
Cognitive Behavior Therapy: 3-Step Relationship Developing Technique
Second, I emphasized those needs which could only be met through personal relationships and asked Kyle to focus on nurturing the relationships he had to fulfill those needs. Kyle’s next journal entry included his plans for positively developing relationships with his family.
Third, clients can include any positive relationship developments in the journal. I have found this technique also works well for clients whose anger has negatively affected relationships. Do you have a Kyle who is an anger management client who might benefit from journaling regarding unmet needs?
#4 Anger Reflects Feelings of Inferiority
I spoke with Ron, 42, whose feelings of inferiority stemmed from a mentally abusive father. Ron’s feeling were evident in his open aggression. Ron gave me a few examples of his behavior. When his son was working slowly on his chores, Ron would shout, “Why do I have to yell at you to get you move?” If his wife overspent her monthly budget, Ron would ask, “Do I look like I’m made out of money? Get with the program!” His daughters argued over bathroom time and Ron would shout, “I didn’t come home to hear this. Quit you’re grumbling!”
Clearly, Ron’s inferiority made him feel obligated to gain a superior edge even over his wife and children. This edge provides clients with temporary relief from inferior feelings, but perpetuates the manifestations of anger.
Underlying Values CBT Technique
a. For example, Ron labeled the first column “Verbal Dialogue.” In this column, Ron wrote the things he said. When his son was doing his chores slowly, Ron would yell, “Why do I have to yell to get you to move?”.
b. The second column was labeled “Inner Monologue”. Ron wrote what he thought his son may be thinking. Ron wrote, “Dad is an asshole. He yells and is always mad because he thinks that keeps him on top of everything.”
c. In the third column, Ron wrote what he could have said to illicit the response he wanted. This column was labeled Equality Response. Ron wanted his son to work faster, so he wrote, “I know chores aren’t any fun, but as soon as you’re done you can go play.” Ron and I discussed the benefits of recognizing underlying values and how he could apply the technique to become more assertive.
On this track, we discussed how other emotions create anger. These methods of anger creation are: pride influences anger, fear’s effects on anger, loneliness creates anger, and anger can reflect inferiority feelings.
On the next track, we will discuss the two intentions of anger displays. Anger is displayed by choice as negative anger or positive anger. I’ll also explain Rational Emotive Therapy.
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