Anger is an unavoidable part of life, but how you deal with your own and other's anger affects your health, your relationships and your work.
How I would work with you on your anger
To begin, it would be important to look at your life experience of anger. What angers you the most and why? How is/was anger modeled in your family, your peer group and your community? Then we would explore your beliefs and values and how they are connected to your anger. You will learn and try various approaches to managing your anger.
Anger can be a useful emotion if it helps us to connect to effective solutions for personal difficulties. However, chronic anger covers and causes pain for oneself and others. An inability to express anger can be as detrimental as acting it out. Whether we act out our anger or bury it there are physical, emotional, cognitive and social effects. In intimate relationships anger can isolate people from each other and create an inability to resolve conflict that can lead to long-term disappointment and frustration.
Anger is a learned response that can be unlearned through awareness, understanding and changing your thoughts and behaviours. Part of the problem is that we are bound by the rules we learned early in life about appropriate and inappropriate anger. It is important to assess if those rules are still valid, and what is the cost or benefit of keeping or letting go of some of them.
Counselling for Anger
There are two approaches to counselling for anger: one is through individual work, the other is group work. Group work can be useful in providing opportunities to learn and practice new skills with people with a similar problem. They also help participants to realize that they are not alone with problem anger. The learning and practice can also occur in individual counselling, but the sessions are more tailored to your specific needs and experiences and scheduling appointments is more flexible.
There are three types of groups for anger on a continuum of potential harm, intensity and length of group. Anger awareness is usually a brief introductory group and is appropriate for people who have occasional anger with minimal harm to themselves or other. Anger management is more intensive and is appropriate for people with chronic anger that is broadly targeted at others with medium levels of harm to themselves or others. Violence prevention is intensive work, and is the preferred approach when there is anger and physical harm in intimate relationships.
I have experience working with all levels of violence, from the perspective of both the victim and the offender.
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