Monday, March 19, 2007

Is your anger brining you down

Lindsay Ferguson, LMFT, CAMF

There are many consequences of expressing anger. When anger is a problem, the signals are usually as follows: it lasts too long, it is too intense, it happens too frequently, it leads to aggression, and/or it destroys work or personal relationships. On the positive side, anger provides a signal that change is needed and, when expressed and dealt with appropriately, can lead to assertive communication of unmet needs.

At Marin Anger Management Services I see people courageously facing their anger issues when various anger episodes arise.

After being cut-off in traffic, a client followed the car to their home, and verbally aggressed, and destroyed property belonging to the driver.

A woman called to seek anger management for herself and her fiancée stating that she could not marry him or have his children until his anger issues were dealt with.

A woman called seeking help due to an altercation involving a friend of 25 years, in the parking lot of a shopping center. The police intervened and she could not control herself, was arrested and mandated to anger management.

A man sought help with his anger issues at the request of his wife of 30 years, stating that she would not take his anger episodes any longer.

An elderly couple, recently married, is working on a solution to escalating, heating arguments that end in hurt feelings and silence that lasts for days before resolution.

Whether court ordered or self- referred, people are becoming more willing to address and deal with anger motivated acts of aggression towards each other in the advent of available Anger Management Services. The Anderson and Anderson model, as taught by George Anderson, begins the process by administering an assessment to determine strengths and limitations in the areas of anger management, stress management, emotional intelligence, and communication. This model teaches a set of skills designed for recognition and transformation of the anger episode. The Anderson methodology is incorporated into a rich format conducive to the effective delivery of the skills necessary to identify, process, and change maladaptive patterns of expressing anger.

When anger is triggered, here are seven steps to anger control,
1. Identify your upsetting feelings.
2. Identify the upsetting thoughts making you angry. What upsetting things are you telling yourself?
3. Counteract your upsetting thoughts with positive self-messages.
4. Clarify the situation for yourself. What is really going on in the situation?
5. Set a realistic goal in regard to the problem. Find an alternative solution to change the situation.
6. List the constructive options that are realistic and possible to resolve the issue and reach your goal.
7. Choose a constructive option to reach your goal and act on it.

Lindsay Ferguson, LMFT, located in San Rafael, California, is currently developing anger management services in the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California. He uses the Anderson and Anderson Model and sees individuals, groups, couples, and executives.

You can reach him by calling 415-258-4515 or visit his web site at:

--- Mr. Ferguson is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Certified Anger Management Facilitator. He received his graduate and post graduate training from the Dominican University of California in Counseling Psychology.

Posted by Shannon Munford

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