Sunday, March 14, 2010

Anger Management and Parts Psychology

Anger management work is a major sub-industry within counseling. The fact that anger in the form of rage so often becomes a matter for the courts is another reason for the demand for this sort of therapy. Courts often mandate that a person take a class in anger management as part of a sentencing agreement.Unfortunately, anger management classes are not very helpful except in the short term--when fear of incarceration is likely to have a greater effect on a person than learning rules for dealing with anger. The problem with anger management courses is that they appeal to the language-based, rational, left brain. Unfortunately, rage is a product of the emotion-based right brain. By the time a left brain rule for calming oneself has been put into effect, the right brain rage has already been triggered, leaving the person without the ability to reason himself/herself to a state of calm.

Parts Psychology offers a means for working directly that part of a person which carries the rage. In principle the treatment is simple: differentiate the angry part of the self; collect the early memories that created the rage; neutralize those memories so that negative emotions no longer attach to them. Memories that are neutral for a person cannot trigger that person into rage. Often, once you have differentiated the angry part of the self you will encounter fierce resistance to the idea of neutralizing the memories. Fortunately, with perseverence, you will generally be able to convince the angry part to cooperate in its own healing. A more serious problem in working with angry persons is in getting their cooperation in working with the angry part of themselves. In a minority of cases angry patients are simply unable to believe that their angry parts are different from the Self. Sometimes, the patient will say something like, “That is ridiculous!” when the therapist suggests that the patient can have a conversation with the angry part. Such a patient may never return for another session. Another means of resisting the work, especially if the patient is only there to please a partner or a court, is for the patient to insist upon “venting,” which might feeling good for a while but has no lasting effect. There is little that the Parts Psychologist can do when the patient rfefuses to accept the premise that he/she has an angry part and that angry part must have its memories neutralized.

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