Anger Management therapy is a specialty of mine, as it should be for anyone doing Brooklyn psychotherapy. I have a unique concept as to what causes anger and a very specific set of cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to teach you how not to become angry. Once you become angry, relaxation exercises or counting to 10 will not help. You will be too upset to concentrate and you will not want to calm down. People will tell you that anger is an honest, natural emotion which, if used properly, can be useful. Holding it in is agreed upon by almost everyone to be bad for your health, but recent research has shown that expressing anger is worse for your health than holding it in. This seems like a Catch-22 situation if there ever was one. What to do with anger. I will teach you how not to get angry in the first place, thus avoiding the choice between 2 bad alternatives. If it is your spouse or significant other that you are angry at, marriage counseling or couples therapy might be most helpful.
What Causes Anger?
Anger results from expecting and demanding one thing and getting something else. Examples of what you are likely to expect are, good service in a restaurant, courtesy from drivers on the road, a friend being “on-time” for a movie, etc. If you are expecting your chronically late friend to be “on-time” this time, you have set yourself up to become angry when, once again, she is late.
Most of what you are likely to become angry about are reasonable requests or expectations. Expecting your husband to put his dirty clothes in the hamper instead of on the floor, is reasonable. The fact that he repeatedly fails to do it doesn’t result in you adjusting your expectations, it makes you get angrier and angrier. Now he’s been told hundreds of times and still doesn’t do what you asked. “What is so difficult about putting your dirty clothes in the hamper?”
Saying to yourself, “it’s awful and terrible”, over and over again when there are inconsiderate drivers on the road”, when your friend is late, or at other times when people behave inconsiderately, adds to the anger.
What Reinforces (Rewards) Anger?
- The thought that you are right and that the other person is wrong justifies and rewards your anger.
- Other people sympathize, with you and tell you that you were right to get angry.
- You will reward yourself by deciding that when you are angry you are assertive and take action.
- The idea that anger is a natural and honest emotion that can be useful if directed properly.
Why not get angry?
Anger decreases your feelings of self-worth because in order to be angry you have to identify yourself as a victim. Think about it, if you are angry it is always because someone or some situation has done something to you. You are a victim because most of the time you are unable to do anything to prevent being taken advantage of or disrespected, etc. Frequently identifying yourself as a victim who needs emotional support and validation that you were wronged cannot be an ego booster.
- Anger is extremely bad for your health. It raises your blood pressure and blood sugar
- Research shows that expressing it is actually worse for your health than holding it in.
- Anger interferes with your ability to resolve problems more creatively and with better outcomes.
- Anger leads to arguments which weaken and destroy relationships.
- If you are angry much of the time, you can’t be happy.
- You can’t enjoy people or experiences if you are always angry and disappointed.
How Will Dr. Schwartz Teach Me How to Avoid Getting Angry?
There are short term and longer term goals related to learning to be less angry. In the short term we will identify some of the specific situations that you repeatedly become angry about. It is important to discover what exactly you are expecting in those situations, and exactly what you are getting instead. It is what you are actually getting that we will focus on the most. Anger is the result of the difference between what you expect and what you get. Those two things need to be as close as you can get them in order to not become angry, but you usually can’t control situations or other people. That leaves adjusting your expectations as the only way to close the gap. What you should expect and how to change your expectations to reflect reality is the key. Also, we will discuss how to change any attitudes that might interfere with your ability to follow the plan. I will teach you how to do that, through cognitive behavioral therapy techniques.
Dr. Merny Schwartz is a dedicated and caring licensed clinical psychologist and certified school psychologist serving patients in Brooklyn, NY for more than 35 years.
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A Warm and Inviting Environment
Our practice offers a warm and inviting environment for our patients to meet with Dr. Merny Schwarz. Our office is conveniently located off the B & Q subway lines in the Flatbush-Ditmas Park area of Brooklyn, NY.
Dr. Merny Schwartz, PhD