So how do you get your client to recognize that their anger is an issue . . .
. . . without making them angry at you (and stalling therapeutic progress even further)?
In the video below, Marsha Linehan, PhD shares her approach.
Check it out.
Anger is an excess of emotion and it can go way up, so we developed a number of skills around that. One of the skills that worked so well – and this I learned from a course I took in spirituality – had to do with the concept of willing hands. Willing hands is a strategy where you put your hands like this – I’ll show you. You tell them: If you get angry and you’re trying to get your anger to go down – this is when you’ve already convinced them that getting their anger down is a good idea – then put your willing hands by your side or on your knees. It turns out that it’s really very difficult to stay angry with willing hands. I had a friend from Europe calling me up after I’d taught it to him, and he said, “Oh, my god, Marsha, I can’t be angry anymore. This is really terrible! I’ve lost my ability to be angry.” I said, “That’s good – keep doing willing hands.” It’s a really good strategy for all of us – and extremely good if you’re at a meeting!
For more interventions to help clients who struggle with anger, please check out Practical Skills for Working with a Client’s Anger. You’ll hear from top experts including Marsha Linehan, PhD; Peter Levine, PhD; Steven Hayes, PhD; Bessel van der Kolk, PhD; and more.
Now we want to hear from you. What strategies have you used with clients who struggle with anger? Leave a comment below.