Monday, July 9, 2012

The gift of anger: 7 steps to uncover the meaning of anger and gain awareness, true strength, and peace

The gift of anger: 7 steps to uncover the meaning of anger and gain awareness, true strength, and peace
By Marcia Cannon

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II

“The power of anger comes from its narrowed focus, from the blinders it puts on your vision so that you can’t see the whole of the person you’re angry at.  All you can see is their injurious behavior.  Take the blinders off by completing this step and you make room for the other person, for their difficulties as well as their shortcomings.  With this widening focus, this increased ability to see the other person, your anger is much more likely to dissipate” (p. 130).

With a Ph.D. (and an MFT—marriage and family therapist) and fifteen years as a marriage and family therapist, Cannon writes practical information with confidence and knowledge.  The quotation above reveals the practical nature of her approach, the basic viewpoint she holds, and her writing style.

From the California Marriage and Family Therapists’ website it says this about marriage and family therapists: “Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) are relationship specialists who treat persons involved in interpersonal relationships. They are trained to assess, diagnose and treat individuals, couples, families and groups to achieve more adequate, satisfying and productive marriage, family and social adjustment.”  

With respect to California requirements for an MFT, this site goes on to say,”Requirements for licensure include a related doctoral or two-year master's degree, passage of a comprehensive written and oral examination and at least 3,000 hours of supervised experience.“  I mention this for two reasons: 1) I knew nothing of an MFT, and 2) an MFT truly adds credibility to Cannon’s expertise and experience.

After discussing anger, its power, and the nature of beliefs and feelings (an excellent background into the roots, causes, and persistence of anger) she offers seven steps: 1) Acknowledge your anger and safely regain your emotional balance, 2) Notice your thoughts and feelings, 3) Give yourself validation, 4) Identify your unmet need, 5) Take action to meet your need, 6) Explore the other person’s frame of reference, and 7) Free yourself with forgiveness.
The book is full of case studies, exercises, and summaries in the form of “The Gift-of-Anger Process” found at the end of each chapter.
This is a practical, valuable, and handy reference tool for those who have anger issues.  It is a great book to give to others you know who have anger problems.  To have this book available is useful (once you have read it) to be able to pull it off the shelf and review it.  It is that practical; it is that effective; and it is that important.

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