«By Equilla Luke-Johnson and Harry E Klinefelter, III The Clearinghouse for Structured/Thematic Groups & Innovative Programs Counseling & Mental ...»
DP 001 - Developmental Intervention
Equilla Luke-Johnson and Harry E Klinefelter, III
The Clearinghouse for Structured/Thematic
Groups & Innovative Programs
Counseling & Mental Health Center
The University of Texas at Austin
100 East 26th Street
Austin, Texas 78712 • 512-471-3515
http: / / www.utexas.edu/student/cmhc
EXPRESSING AND DEALING WITH ANGER
Harry F. Klinefelter, ffl Equiiia Luke-Johnson Counsel ing-Psychological Services Center The University of Texas at Austin
1. To expand awareness of the concept of anger.
2. To identify some personal barriers to the constructive expression of anger,
3. To learn alternative means of expressing anger effectively.
4. To identify some coping strategies for successfully dealing with anger expressed by others.
TARGET POPULATION:Interested members of the university community (i.e., students, faculty, staff).
1. Introduction and self-disclosure by leaders and audience volunteers of their personal interest in anger.
2. Participants identify associations related to the word, "anger".
3. Lecturette on defining and differentiating anger.
4. Participants discuss how they manage anger.
5. Sources of anger and typical styles of expressing anger are reviewed.
6. Group brainstorms barriers to expressing anger (fears).
7. Leaders role play heal thy/unhealthy ways of handling anger.
8. Participants discuss their reactions to role plays.
10 I. Introduction.
A. Introduce group members and leaders if group is small; otherwise, just introduce leaders.
B. Leaders present overview of the workshop.
C. Leaders and participants self-disclose about their interest in the topic of anger.
10 II. Free Association Exercise.
A. Audience (if small enough) is seated in a circle. One leader asks members to mention the first word association that comes to mind when they think about "anger".
B. Other leader records responses on blackboard and processes the exercise with participants.
10 III. Lecturette - Defining and Differentiating Anger.
A. People often experience ambivalent attitudes toward anger.
B. Many different views are held about anger: religious, mental health, famous quotations.
C. Multiple meanings of anger.
D. Different ways of conceptualizing anger.
E. Perspective on anger that forms premis
II. Free Association Exercise A. Words associated with "anger" are solicited from audience until a sufficient quantity is produced to illustrate the complexity of this emotion.
F. Basic assumption and bias underlying workshop.
Anger is a value-free emotion that provides the opportunity for emotional growth (both intrapersonally and interpersonally) when acknowledged and dealt with in an assertive manner.
IV. Leader-led group discussion of how participants express anger.
Helpful to ask audience to recollect previous memories stimulated by word associations to "anger".
V. Lecturette - Common Ways Anger is Expressed and Where Anger Comes from.
-5A. Overreacting (acting out behavior)/underreacting.
Style of expressing anger is a function of individual's belief system and learning history (e.g., parental edicts and admonitions regarding anger).
1. Often frightens others and distances them from person who acts out anger by screaming, hitting, kicking, or somehow assaulting an object or person.
2. Overreactors often vent anger without regard for other people's feelings.
1. Frequently deny experiencing the feeling.
2. Acknowledge angry feeling while smiling outwardly in face of object of anger.
3. Person may internalize anger - store it up, and explode later (delayed reaction is out of proportion to magnitude of irritating stimulus).
^. Women in Western society most often portrayed as underreactors, but significant number of men also suppress their anger.
D. Society's mixed messages concerning demonstrations of anger.
1. OK in athletic contests and more acceptable for men to do.
2. Taboo in public places (e.g. restaurants, offices, etc.).
E. Physiological reactors Tension headaches; stomach aches; neck, shoulder, and arm tension;
high blood pressure; ulcers; migraines; skin reactions (rashes, hives).
F. Emotional reactions Crying and depression.
G. Physical activity as means of expression.
1. Sublimation (e.g. vigorous exercise) - anger channeled in a socially accepted way.
2. Displacement - acting out on object other than source of your anger.
A written evaluation was performed at the end of the workshop in the form of a brief questionnaire (sample included). This data is summarized and included in this appendix.
The audience for this program was larger than anticipated, but the size did not seem to inhibit their willingness to participate actively in either the free association or brains terming exercises or group discussions. Audience involvement and energy level were consistently high throughout the program with peak interest stimulated by the leaders' role-plays. These "in vivo" demonstrations provoked numerous comments and an extended discussion period. It was clear that participants represented a diverse range of expectations for the workshop. For example, a small but distinct minority of women expressed specific difficulties in communicating anger in an intimate relationship with men, while another person's concerns with angry feelings were related to a weight problem. Despite careful efforts by the co-facilitators to establish limited expectations, several participants seemed reluctant to adjust their goals for the workshop to a more realistic level.
However, both formal and informal feedback confirmed the workshop's value to the audience as a whole.
TIPS ON COMMUNICATING ANGER
Healthy communication is based on the assumption that we all have the right to have feelings -- and to express these feelings in ways which show respect for others as well as ourselves. Personal relationships become more authentic and satisfying when we share our honest reactions with others and allow them to do the same. Below are some helpful hints to assist you in dealing openly and effectively
with natural emotions such as anger:
1. Use "I" statements. For example, use the statement "I am angry with you" rather than "You make me angry". This increases the likelihood that your message will be heard rather than reacted to in a defensive manner.
2. Make statements which are descriptive rather than evaluative. By describing your own reaction, it leaves the other person free to use it or not to use it as he/she sees fit. By avoiding evaluative language, you reduce the need for the other person to respond defensively.
3. Statements need to be specific rather than general. If you are told that you are "dominating", it will probably not be as useful as to be told that "3ust now when we were deciding the issue, you did not listen to what others said, and I felt forced to accept your arguments or face attack from you."
4. Make statements based on observations rather than on inferences. They need to be on what you can see or hear in the behavior of another person, not on interpretation and conclusions.
5. Take into account the needs of both the receiver and giver of feedback.
Feedback can be destructive when it serves only your own needs and fails to consider the needs of the person on the receiving end.
6. Direct statements toward behavior which the receiver can do something about. Frustration is only increased when you remind someone of some shortcoming over which he/she has no control.
7. Make well-timed statements. In general, feedback is most useful when spoken at the earliest opportunity after the given behavior (depending of course, on the person's readiness to hear it, support available from others, etc.)
8. Check to insure clear communication. One way of doing this is to have the receiver try to rephrase the feedback he/she has received to see if it corresponds to what you, the sender, had in mind.
Suggested Readings: Your Perfect Right by Alberti and Emrnons The Angry Book by Rubin mb 7/25/S3 Handout
Use of these suggestions can help you gain a sense of control when confronted by an angry attack. At the very least, they will enable you to develop skills that will allow you to avoid becoming entangled in a "no-win" argument. Continued practice will provide you with the potential ability to defuse the other person's verbal assault and convert a potentially destructive encounter into an opportunity for a healthy exchange of feelings and the creative resolution of interpersonal conflict. Armed with these tips to guide your responses, you can choose not to submit to accepting the role of helpless victim of someone's aggressive "anger attack".
Counseling, Learning, and Career Services invites your help in evaluating the effectiveness of this program. Your responses to the following questions will enable us to improve future services. Thanks.