Change your language-reduce your anger
Posted May 5, 2007on:
Change your language–reduce your anger
I am a firm believer in the idea that how humans express language holds one of the keys to reducing anger. The world renowned anger management from Anderson and Anderson proposes that anger management, stress management, emotional intelligence and communication skills are fundamental to anger management. I believe that this model holds the keys to furthered exploration of new research areas in anger management especially as it relates to emotional intelligence and an emotional vocabulary. Again and again the
Anderson model has been beneficial to individuals and organizations. What is needed is more intense work to fully realize the unlocked potential of this model.
My interest is in the area of emotional intelligence. There is a lot of talk about emotional intelligence but little conversation about the idea of an emotional vocabulary/literacy. I have done something very interesting in my anger management sessions to further my increase on EI and at the same time increase the emotional literacy of my clients–I created a rule where during the session no one can use the word anger but me. I am amazed how clients struggle to express themselves without the use of the word anger/angry. I observe long pauses as children and adults search their mind for the “real emotions” that let to anger outburst. (Remember anger is a secondary emotion which is always driven by anther emotion). I have taught my clients new words to express their feelings. The results are that clients feel a since of relief when they locate their true emotions.
What else does a greater emotional vocabulary do? I am finding that as client learns to express their real feelings they are less likely to be explosive. With time the client is able to name and own their feelings. Without the language the client tends to eternalize their feelings which creates what I have described in the past as mental noise which fuels anger. One client even reported a sense of feeling whole when she knew exactly how she felt. So the next time you feel to use the “a” word think about what you are really feeling and express it. Consult with an Anderson and Anderson Provider in your area at www.anger-management-resources.org for more information on learning communication skills as part of anger management. Here are a few unconventional feeling words-concerned, weakened, cased aside, sub-human, challenges. Check out my other posting for more information on this topic.
Carlos R. Todd, LPC, NCC, CAMF
Diplomate, American Anger Management Association
Carlos Todd is an anger management facilitator in