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In the early morning hours of January 7th, 43-year-old
Derrick K. Miller walked up to a security guard at the entrance to the San Diego
Courthouse, where a family court had recently ruled against him on overdue child
support. Clutching court papers in one hand, he drew out a gun with the other.
Declaring: "You did this to me!!" he fatally shot himself through the
skull. Miller's suicide is symbolic of a frightening global trend. That trend
is an alarming rise in male suicides.
In this track we'll look at the "Anger Diary". As you listen,
how I used this technique with Neil think of a male client you are currently treating
and evaluate whether this technique would be beneficial.
Technique: Anger Diary
I told Neil that his anger diary would help him to get a better idea of how often and how intense his anger incidents were. Also, I told him that the anger diary would help me to see what kinds of things were provoking his anger. From there, we could decide the best way to go about treating his depression. At the beginning, Neil was skeptical. He knew that something was wrong, or at least that his girlfriend Maggie had told him he was too volatile. However, he didn't see his anger as a problem. When Neil came back the next week, he said he was surprised by what he recorded in his anger diary.
Neil told me that he hadn't realized how much he got angry. He began to recognize a pattern in his anger experiences. "I guess I got mad the most after meetings at work, especially meetings that were really non-productive. Then I'd get home and still be angry." He also noticed that he "lashed out" most of the time in response to his anger. I asked Neil what he thought of his anger diary. He said, "I had no idea how much of a problem this was. I think I'm beginning to see what my girlfriend was talking about."
In the next track, we'll look at systematic desensitization, another method you can use with angry male clients.
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