CBT is the combination of two psychotherapies, cognitive psychotherapy and the earlier behavioural psychotherapy or behaviourism. Cognitive psychotherapy is especially useful for anger management. |
Cognitive psychotherapy is the therapy of thoughts... cognitions are just thoughts. The basis of cognitive psychotherapy is that a thought creates an emotion, therefore our emotions are a product of our thoughts. Emotions make behaviours which is why behaviourism combines so well with cognitive psychotherapy.
A thought creates an emotion which creates a behaviour or action. This means that by changing our thinking we change the way we feel and hence the way we act. The behaviour or action for anger is to want to lash out, either physically or verbally. Once the action is taken the emotion dissipates. The anger, however, has no idea of consequences.
Where Does Anger Come From?
Anger can be created when you have thoughts that seem unfair, unjust or break a personal rule. Alternatively they can be thoughts that are a threat to your self esteem. It is then you want to even the score and lash out. Another cause of anger is when frustration builds and builds to exploding point.
One common factor in the "hot thoughts" of anger is the word 'should'. Another person should do or have done something. This is very illogical. The other person has their own 'shoulds' and will follow them, they don't even know what your 'shoulds' are! Also, hot thoughts about the world include, 'The world should!' Well, you are onto a complete looser here! The world was here first, and it'll do whatever it wants to.
So What Can I Do About Anger?
First you must appreciate that everybody gets angry. Socrates realise thousands of years ago that "even good people get angry". What is more important is how you express it. Some people are aggressive and lash out, some are passive and "swallow it", and some are assertive and deal with it. The first two options have negative consequences and the last has positive consequences.
If there are things or situations which regularly make you angry then you are recommended to practise mental rehearsal. Work out in your mind what is the best way to handle the situation beforehand, because when your mind is in rage mode, it is very hard to think of good solutions.
In a situation that you have not had time to plan for then, if possible, your first recommended action is to walk away. After a few minutes calming down then deal with the situation.
One of the best ways to deal with anger is to get thinking! Your anger will make you do irrational acts which feel great at the time; but when you start to think, then you can override the anger. You must act quickly though, as once you are raging it can be very difficult to let go.
In order to start thinking you can follow this preplanned thinking plan:
One - Picture six people round a table. Then someone says something and one person goes berserk! However, another person laughs, someone else shrugs, another is embarrassed, and so on. The anger is in you, no-one makes you angry except yourself and your thoughts. Do you want to give someone else power over you, and have them decide when you will be angry?
Two - Ask yourself if it will help to get angry? Well, generally not. This question will help you to think of the consequences of your anger. However, be aware that sometimes a burst of controlled anger can be very useful in sorting out a situation, but it is very rare.
Three - Get into the other persons head. They have upset you, why? Was it deliberate? If you realise it wasn't deliberate then it helps to calm you. If you realise they are trying to wind you up, then find out why. Once you understand what's going on in the others head then the anger dissipates.
Anger is one of a range of emotions that we all share. Cognitive behavioural therapy is very useful with managing emotions. CBT is a skill set or knowledge that anyone can learn. Once learned it can help you throughout your life.
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