As the title implies, this site will continually update changes and trends in anger management services, research,referrals and provider training. In addition, books,CDs,videos and DVDs used in anger management programs will be introduced.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Venting Anger is Always Counterproductive

Anger is a normal human emotional. "A universal trigger for anger is the sense of being endangered. Endangerment can be a signal not just by an outright physical threat but also, as is more often the case, by a symbolic threat to self-esteem or dignity: being treated unjustly or rudely, being insulted or demeaned, being frustrated in pursuing an important goal" (Goleman,1995). Anger is an emotional response to a stressful situation.

There are a number of situations in which anger is unhealthy:

  • When it is too intense
  • When it occurs too frequently
  • When it lasts too long
  • When it leads to person directed aggression
  • When it destroys interpersonal relationships
  • When is impacts health

The Myth of "Venting"

There’s a myth that simply "venting" your anger will make you feel better. In reality, it often makes you feel worse. "Venting" is a concept, which began in the 1960s. We thought at that time that venting, or letting it all hang out, would serve to free the psyche of pent up feelings and somehow lead to healing.

Unfortunately, volumes of research studies have demonstrated that "venting" actually increases anger, rage and other intense emotions. It is counterproductive and serves to reduce any potential gains from an anger management intervention. Venting is banned in most anger management programs in the United States.

An alternative to venting is to recognize and label your feelings. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Is it important or unimportant?
  • If it is important, can you influence or control it?
  • If it is important and you can control it, are there strategies that are necessary in order to implement the actions? (If so, then list them)
  • If the incident is not important, dismiss it and move on to other more healthy issues.

Learn to use "self-talk" to calm down, take a deep breath, and use positive affirmations to assist in this technique. This serves to allow the rational mind to take over. Hopefully, this will lead to a more reasonable resolution of the conflict.

George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF, CEAP
Diplomate, American Association of Anger Management Providers
Anderson & Anderson®, The Trusted Name in Anger Management


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