Although most of us know that anger is a natural emotion, in our culture there is little tolerance for those who cannot control their tempers. As a result, many learn to keep anger inside and ignore its roots, while setting themselves up for spontaneous, and often damaging, outbursts. PC&CC’s Kathleen Scheg is specially trained in anger management and she says there is hope for those who want more constructive ways to deal with their anger.
“Anger management refers to a variety of ways that people attempt to control or manage their anger,” Scheg explains. “Anger is a normal human emotion that can even serve positive purposes, such as when a parent yells at a child who is about to go into a street or stick a finger into an electrical socket. It can also serve to let someone know that we are serious in wanting them to desist in behavior that might harm us or others.” Scheg notes the Biblical example of Jesus cleansing the temple by expressing anger in order to make his point.
Yet, Scheg adds that destructive anger must be managed and not expressed inappropriately. She notes “For example, the person who has a difficult day at work and comes home and expresses the anger at the spouse or children. Or the boss who vents anger on an employee.” Scheg says that such clients can benefit from a formal anger management program such as “RTA: Releasing and Transforming Anger.”
“Most of the people who come to the program are self-referred. Interestingly, even those who are referred by the court, employer or spouse, know that their anger is keeping them from being the kind of person they want to be,” Scheg adds. Over the years, her RTA groups have included stay-at-home moms, lawyers, business people, college students, nurses, and ministers.
The first breakthrough that an anger management client may expect is the actual experience of controlling his anger – even for a millisecond, Scheg says. “From that new found ability to pause, participants learn to respond rather than react to situations,” she notes.
Comprehensive anger management includes some exploration of a person’s history, so as to understand the roots of the anger, identification of what triggers the person and education based on modern neuroscience about how anger affects the brain and body. As a certified Core Energetics body-psychotherapist, Scheg also includes physical exercises to release stress and raise awareness of the signs of anger and ways to manage it within the body.
“It is humbling and gratifying on the last day, when each participant shares an individual commitment and maintenance plan that includes the physical, mental, emotional, volitional, and spiritual tools they will use to go beyond just managing their anger into releasing and transforming that energy, so that they can be more loving and creative people,” Scheg notes.