Anger gets a bad rap
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: James L Smith Dip. Psych, UKCP
22nd January, 20170 Comments
Anger is an important healthy emotion. Experiencing anger does not have to be destructive. Anger does not have to be expressed to be experienced. Increased awareness of one’s anger can be a safe and transformative experience.
Is your blood starting to boil as you read this? So often in society, especially somehow British society, anger is seen as bad - just think of the Incredible Hulk! But anger is an emotion as natural as love, fear or curiosity.
There is a difference between the feeling of anger and how it is expressed. Violence and aggression are all too often expressions of anger and these forms of expression are frequently confused with anger itself. Another common way to deal with anger is to turn it on ourselves, resulting in self-persecution or self-harm. Or we can attempt to bury the feelings of anger altogether through drink, drugs, over-work, or a million other ways that we can think of to push it deep down and try to forget about it.
A pressure cooker needs an escape valve to prevent it from exploding. In the same way, we need to let our feelings escape in some way, or the internal build up will be too much. Experiencing our anger does not have to mean violence or aggression, we just need to listen to what is going on inside and give our anger the same attention we would to other feelings. This can be done in creative ways such as drawing or role-play. Allowing our anger this space to be experienced immediately has a transformative effect. With the pressure released, the danger of an explosion is averted. The worst thing we can do with our anger is pretend it doesn’t exist and think that, by ignoring it, it will go away.
Psychotherapy offers a safe space where all emotions can be allowed the space to be experienced safely without boiling over!
About the author
James L Smith is a UKCP registered integrative psychotherapist with a special interest in finding our own internal balance between thinking and feeling. James has a private practice based in London.
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