How to Manage Anger? | Happiness Counseling | My Fit Brain

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Using ‘Art’ as A Tool to Manage Anger | Happiness Counseling

“Anger, whether it is a destructive emotion to be managed or a constructive emotion to be welcomed and expressed.”Anonymous

Anger has a cultural element – their occurrence and acceptable expressions vary in different societies. It involves the mind, the body, and behavioral habits built up over the years to cope with emotional stress. Often managing anger needs to include three elements: The mind: helping people to identify their perceptions and interpretations that generate anger. The body: teaching relaxation and cooling-down techniques to help people to calm down because when people are at the height of their anger, they are so aroused that they cannot think at all. Behavior: teaching new skills, such as assertiveness. Art therapy works with all these three elements mind, body, and behavior. Therefore anger is a complex emotion, and therefore needs a complex response. Art therapy is a mental health profession in which an art therapist facilitates the client's use of art media and the creative process to reach a number of treatment goals or personal goals such as exploring feelings, reconciling conflicts, improving self-awareness, behavior management, and social skills.

Psychologist emphasized the importance of working out on the meaning of anger first, seeing it as a valuable warning sign that things are not all right, and need attention immediately. Some focus to keep it to the ‘ here and now’, while others find anger links with the past to enhance current understanding. Although a few valued more on ‘cushion-bashing’ as a release of the anger. Art can express things that are not expressible verbally. That's a huge advantage for people who don't have the language to talk about what's inside of them, children or adults. In many ways, it bypasses the kinds of defensive thinking that can get expressed in verbal therapy. Such as, "Oh, I didn't mean to say that," or, "What I really meant was…" Art therapy is a very rich avenue for self-expression.

Several art media used to express different aspects of anger. Sometimes materials like clay and thick paint for more cathartic and expressive uses, while finer materials for symbolic expression and reflective work. However, the most important thing is to follow clients’ choice of art form and help them use it to express what is important to them. In this way, Art therapy provides a healthy way to communicate for people who find it hard to articulate verbally why they get angry. The process of doing the artwork slows down clients and helps them to reflect more on what is going on in the present. Also Using art provides the possibility of including many thoughts and feelings, often contradictory, on one page that help clients to look at these and develop an ‘ observer self’  that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way of doing art.  Art therapy also provides relief from the pressures of goal-oriented therapies. Neurological research suggests that art therapy can help different parts of the brain to communicate, linking creative processes with language and long-term memory. This can then facilitate the ability to use cognitive skills to learn. In group work, doing artwork enables a group to include both those who ‘act out’ their anger on others and those who ‘act in’ their anger on themselves.


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