Download ACT on Life Not on Anger: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Guide to Problem Anger PDF

TitleACT on Life Not on Anger: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Guide to Problem Anger
Author
TagsAnger Management
LanguageEnglish
File Size1.2 MB
Total Pages198
Table of Contents
                            ACT on Life Not on Anger: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Guide to Problem Anger
Contents
Foreword
Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction: A New Way of Approaching Anger
	FREEDOM FROM ANGER MANAGEMENT
	CHOOSE A NEW APPROACH—ACT
	WHAT IS ACT ABOUT?
		How ACT Helps Problem Anger
		Three Core Steps of ACT
			Step 1: Accept thoughts and feelings
			Step 2: Choose directions
			Step 3: Take action
	APPROACHING ANGER WITH ACCEPTANCE
	APPROACHING ANGER WITH COMPASSION
	APPROACHING ANGER WITH GENTLE AWARENESS
	DON’T BELIEVE US OR YOUR MIND—TRUST YOUR EXPERIENCE!
	BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY
1 Debunking the Myths of Anger
	MYTH 1: ANGER AND AGGRESSION ARE INSTINCTUAL TO HUMANS
	MYTH 2: FRUSTRATION INEVITABLY LEADS TO AGGRESSION
	MYTH 3: VENTING YOUR ANGER IS HEALTHY
	MYTH 4: ANGER IS ALWAYS HELPFUL
	MYTH 5: A PERSON’S ANGER IS CAUSED BY OTHERS
	WHY ARE THESE MYTHS SO PERSISTENT?
	TAKING CHARGE: ASSERTING PERSONAL RESPONSE-ABILITY IN YOUR LIFE
	THE TAKE-HOME MESSAGE
2 Struggling with Anger Is Not a Solution
	ASSESSING THE COSTS OF ANGER
	YOUR ANGER MANAGEMENT HISTORY
	I’M STUCK AND AT MY WITS’ END; NOW WHAT?
	THE TAKE-HOME MESSAGE
3 The Heart of the Struggle
	ENDING THE TUG-OF-WAR WITH ANGER
	DISCOVERING THE HEART OF THE STRUGGLE
	BECOMING AN IMPARTIAL OBSERVER
	MAPPING YOUR ANGER PROCESS
	THE BIG QUESTION: ARE YOU READY FOR A CHANGE?
	THE TAKE-HOME MESSAGE
4 Controlling Anger and Hurt Is the Problem
	TWO PLACES WHERE CONTROL DOESN’T WORK
	CHOICES, ACTIONS, DESTINY: THREE AREAS WHERE YOU DO HAVE CONTROL
	THE TAKE-HOME MESSAGE
5 How Your Mind Creates Anger
	HOW THE MIND MANUFACTURES ANGER
	WHAT TO DO
	THE TAKE-HOME MESSAGE
6 Getting Out of the Anger Trap with Acceptance
	ACCEPTANCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE
	THE FOUR STEPS OF ACCEPTANCE
	ACCEPTANCE AND PATIENCE
	DEBUNKING SOME MYTHS ABOUT ACCEPTANCE
	THE TAKE-HOME MESSAGE
7 Practicing Mindful Acceptance
	YOU ARE NOT YOUR ANGER
	MINDFULNESS WHEN YOU’RE ANGRY: STOP, LOOK, AND LISTEN
	THE TAKE-HOME MESSAGE
8 Taking Control of Your Life
	STOP FEEDING THE ANGER TIGER
	WHAT ARE MY VALUES?
	IS IT A GOAL OR A VALUE?
	WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR LIFE TO STAND FOR?
	THE TAKE-HOME MESSAGE
9 Facing the Flame of Anger and the Pain Fueling It
	LEARNING TO FORGIVE
	FACING YOUR ANGER AND HURT
	THE TAKE-HOME MESSAGE
10 Commit to Take Positive Action in Your Life
	SETTING AND ACHIEVING GOALS
	PRACTICE ACTS OF TLC AND KINDNESS
	THE TAKE-HOME MESSAGE
Further Readings, References, and Other Resources
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

“Any one who sees their anger as a strug gle, as some thing to con front,

sup press, con trol—or, worst of all, ignore—will find this book to be a

gift of life and hope. The authors offer prac ti cal ways of under stand ing

the prob lem and debunk ing the myths of anger, all with gen u ine accep -

tance and com pas sion. This feel ing is trans lated into prac ti cal exer cises

which are easy to use, and most impor tantly, they really work! I have

been for tu nate to wit ness this in my own prac tice, even with cli ents

with severe trauma his to ries and self-destruc tive ness. Use these tech -

niques on your own, use them in ther apy, but by all means use them

and find a gen tle path toward heal ing in the pres ence of anger.”

—Francis R. Abueg, Ph.D., founder and owner of TraumaResource

and former associate director for research for the National Center

for PTSD at the VA in Palo Alto/Menlo Park, CA

“Empowering and com pas sion ate, this book was writ ten for peo ple who

strug gle with anger and who find it hard to con trol their feel ings of

rage. The book describes a counterintuitive and extraor di narily insight -

ful approach to liv ing effec tively with anger. In a lively and acces si ble

voice, the authors describe sci en tif i cally based behav ior ther apy skills

for let ting go of our futile strug gle to con trol anger and offer strat e gies

to pro mote ‘response-abil ity’ for the one thing we can truly con trol:

our actions. Through real-world exam ples, cre ative met a phors, and

pow er ful expe ri en tial exer cises, the reader learns to prac tice accep -

tance at even the most try ing times. This book essen tially is about love

and free dom from unnec es sary suf fer ing—it teaches us to open up fully

and to live com pas sion ately with what is.”

—Laurie A. Greco, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department

of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical School and

John F. Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development

“It is pos si ble to find a place from which you can patiently and com -

passionately ride a wave of anger as it rises and falls inside you and

simul ta neously choose to live a val ued life with your hands, feet, and

mouth. This book will show you how to do that with patience and

compassion for your self and oth ers. If you reg u larly prac tice what it

teaches, you will find your self hav ing more LIFE in your life.”

––Hank Robb, Ph.D., ABPP, past president of the American Board

of Counseling Psychology

Page 99

Con tinue this exer cise until you feel a real emo tional dis tance

from your thoughts. Wait until even the judg ments are just a moment

in the room—no lon ger impor tant, no lon ger requir ing action.

SEPARATING THOUGHTS

FROM ANGER FEELINGS

This exer cise will help you learn to detach your thoughts from angry

feel ings.

Start by recall ing a recent sit u a tion where you felt angry. Try to

visu al ize what hap pened, what was said. Take some time to care fully build

a pic ture of the event. Now remem ber some of the thoughts you had dur -

ing the epi sode. As you recall what you were think ing, notice if the actual

feel ing of anger is start ing to return. If it is, that’s good. Let it hap pen.

Keep focus ing on the judg men tal or blam ing thoughts con nected

to the inci dent. Really get into them. And if your anger feels a lit tle

sharper, a lit tle stron ger, that’s fine, too.

Now go back to the white room. Imag ine that your anger is

hurling those judg men tal and blam ing thoughts through the front door.

Take a deep breath. Inhale slowly, then let your whole body relax as

you release the breath. Keep this up while you start watch ing your

mind. Observe and label the thoughts. Watch each thought from a

distance—with out believ ing or get ting entan gled in it. Don’t make the

thought big ger or smaller, don’t agree or dis agree. Just watch and

breathe, notic ing that the thought even tu ally leaves and a new one

takes its place. Keep this up until you feel a grow ing dis tance from the

thoughts—and per haps from the anger itself.

Your anger and judg men tal thoughts each tend to trig ger the

other, esca lat ing in a ris ing spi ral. But you can inter rupt that pro cess by

sim ply observ ing and label ing your thoughts. They will, after a while,

feel very sep a rate from the anger, detached. And they will lose the

power to make rage burn hot ter. What you can learn by prac tic ing this

exer cise is that you can become an observer of your thoughts. This will

help you see just how auto mat i cally your mind reacts to all that you

expe ri ence. It might also help you not get tan gled up so much in your

thoughts.

82 ACT on Life Not on Anger

Page 100

Emotions Are Like Waves

Imag ine for a moment an ocean wave as it approaches shore. It’s

steep and tall, but has n’t yet crested into a breaker. Now imag ine the

wave near ing a lit tle group of gulls float ing on the water. The birds

don’t fly away. They sim ply ride up the fac ing slope, round the top, and

drift down the long back of the wave.

That’s what you can learn to do with anger. All emo tions are

wave like and time lim ited. They ebb and flow. They slowly build up,

and get big ger and more pow er ful. Even tu ally, the wave will reach its

peak and dissipate. Anger comes and goes in a sim i lar way. It does n’t

last for ever, even if it feels like it will.

We encour age you to ride the wave of your anger. You must

initially face the steep lead ing edge. At this point, the wave is tall and

scary. You may feel that it will go on for ever, that you may some how

drown. Finally the emo tion reaches its zenith; instead of get ting

stronger it starts to recede. You may feel your self slip ping down the

back of the wave, the anger quieting.

That’s how emo tions work if you don’t try to con trol or block

them, if you let the wave run its course. But if you try to fight the

wave, if you refuse to ride it out, some thing very dif fer ent hap pens.

You’ll never get over the top. You stay stuck on the wave’s lead ing

edge, and it keeps push ing you. Even tu ally—some times after hours or

days—the emo tional wave crests and crashes. Then you’re caught

churn ing help lessly beneath the sur face of the water, at the mercy of

the full force of the crush and undertow.

RIDING THE WAVE OF ANGER

Right now you have a chance to learn to ride the wave of your anger

rather than be tum bled about by it. Think of a recent sit u a tion where

you felt mis treated and upset. Visu al ize the scene; try to recall any

irritating things that were done or said. Notice your judg ing or blam ing

thoughts. Keep focus ing on the upset ting scene, as well as on the

judgments you made about it. Let your anger rise till it’s a four or five

on a scale of one to ten.

Good. Now go back to the white room. Observe your thoughts.

Label the judg ments. The thoughts aren’t right or wrong, true or false.

Acknowl edge their pres ence with out try ing to con trol or change them,

How Your Mind Creates Anger 83

Page 198

Georg H. Eifert, Ph.D., is pro fes sor and chair of the depart ment of

psy chol ogy at Chap man Uni ver sity in Orange, CA. He was ranked in

the top thirty of Research ers in Behav ior Anal y sis and Ther apy in the

1990s and has authored over 100 pub li ca tions on psy cho log i cal causes

and treat ments of anx i ety and other emo tional dis or ders. He is a clin i -

cal fel low of the Behav ior Ther apy and Research Soci ety, a mem ber of

numer ous national and inter na tional psy cho log i cal asso ci a tions, and

serves on sev eral edi to rial boards of lead ing clin i cal psy chol ogy jour -

nals. He is also a licensed clin i cal psy chol o gist.

Mat thew McKay, Ph.D., is a pro fes sor at the Wright Insti tute in

Berke ley, CA. He is the author and coau thor of more than twenty-five

books, includ ing The Relax ation and Stress Reduc tion Work book,

Thoughts and Feel ings, Mes sages, When Anger Hurts, Self-Esteem and The

Self-Esteem Guided Jour nal. He received his Ph.D. in clin i cal psy chol ogy

from the Cal i for nia School of Pro fes sional Psy chol ogy. In pri vate prac -

tice, he spe cial izes in the cog ni tive behav ioral treat ment of anx i ety,

anger, and depres sion.

John P. Forsyth, Ph.D., is asso ci ate pro fes sor of psy chol ogy and direc -

tor of the Anx i ety Dis or ders Research Pro gram in the Depart ment of

Psy chol ogy at the Uni ver sity at Albany, State Uni ver sity of New York.

He has pub lished numer ous arti cles on accep tance and expe ri en tial

avoid ance and the role of emo tion reg u la tory pro cesses in human

suffering. He has been doing basic and applied work related to accep -

tance and com mit ment ther apy (ACT) for more than ten years. He is a

clin i cal fel low of the Behav ior Ther apy and Research Soci ety and a

licensed clin i cal psy chol o gist in New York. He serves on the edi to rial

boards of sev eral lead ing clin i cal psy chol ogy jour nals, and is asso ci ate

edi tor of the Jour nal of Behav ior Ther apy and Exper i men tal Psy chi a try.

He is coau thor of Accep tance and Com mit ment Ther apy for Anx i ety

Dis or ders.

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