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Category Archives: Blog

Defusing anger: A case study

defusing anger

Defusing anger can be a challenge as it often shows up unexpectedly and sometimes with terrifying intensity.

I had a situation where a mandated client turned up for his first appointment at my office clearly ready to explode.  He stomped into the reception area with rigid body language, leaning forward with narrowed gaze and fists at the ready. Almost from the moment he walked in the door he was speaking so loudly, rapidly and forcefully that it was clear that he had an axe to grind.  As I had scheduled the appointment, I became his target.

From the moment he appeared, all my senses were on high alert for danger.  It was tense and uncomfortable and had the potential to turn violent.

But it didn’t.

Here’s what helped in defusing anger in this situation.

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Should you make friends with your anger?

Anger is an unlikely candidate for Most Popular Emotion.

And no wonder!  It has become almost inextricably linked with violence, destruction, volatility and fear-inducing reactions.  Even in the animated movie “Inside Out”, Anger is represented as a fiery red character who is prone to exploding.

But does anger deserve such a reputation?  Are there times when the presence of anger is a good thing?

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What do YOUR emotions signal?

Have you ever thought of emotions as signals that give you important information?

They have a reason for showing up!  As such, they are neither good nor bad.

So what do emotions signal?

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Why it’s OK to ‘get emotional’

“Our feelings are not there to be cast out or conquered.  They’re there to be engaged and expressed with imagination and intelligence.”
T.K. Coleman, Freedom Without Permission: How to Live Free in a World That Isn’t

I cannot count the number of times I have heard people apologise for ‘getting emotional’ in both personal and therapeutic conversations. In most cases the apology followed the emergence of tears, angry outbursts or other expressions of distress that clearly caused discomfort for the person experiencing them.

Having a cool head and a buried heart seems to be the expected norm in the workplace, with emotional control being highly prized – particularly among men.  In my own experience, ‘being emotional’ has been presented as something undesirable and best kept in private.

What is our problem with emotion?

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7 tips for receiving feedback well

Receiving feedback

Receiving feedback can be infinitely harder than giving feedback. Why?

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