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Anger Management


What's wrong with getting angry? Isn't it just a normal human emotion that we all experience at one time or another? The answer? Of course it's normal. Yes we all experience it at one time or another. So what is the PROBLEM? The problem is in what it looks like and/or what we do with it. Anger in and of itself is simply information. It's telling us something. It's telling us we don't like something we're experiencing. What we do with that experience can be either reactive, as in an aggressive response, or proactive, as in making a healthy choice given what we may be facing.

I like to describe anger as a secondary emotion. It's more just the physiological reaction that occurs when we go into our "fight or flight" response; our muscles tense up, our heart beats faster and we get hot and bothered. The problem here is when "fight or flight" goes too far. This is when we "loss it". What are we losing? Our ability to think rationally. Going back in time, rational thinking didn't do us much good when facing a Sabre Tooth Tiger. We didn't need to ponder when it had its last meal as it was breathing down our neck. We had to take action NOW or we were it's breakfast. We either fought it if we had our spear with us or we ran like hell. We had to be pumped and react with an immediate burst of energy. Where did we get that extra energy? Other parts of the body had to shut down- like rational thinking- didn't need it. Now however, losing it tends to get us into trouble. Instead of reactive, we need to be proactive, which translates into managing the anger and make healthy choices in our problem solving.

Anger management starts with being able to explore what the primary emotion is under the anger - is it frustration? is it fear? or guilt, resentment, feeling abandoned, jealousy, shame, sadness or a combination of several emotions. Once we figure that out, we can move into healthy problem solving. MORE TO COME.


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Rod Chant is a registered clinical counsellor with the B.C. Association of Clinical Counsellors