Anger Or Rage?

Is it Anger or Rage?

Anger noun: A strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong Rage noun: A fit of violent anger

Everyone gets angry. This may seem to be an overly simplistic statement, however, it is worth considering that while we easily acknowledge happiness, sadness, jealousy or guilt as valid emotions, somehow we often feel it is wrong to express anger. This may be because we often confuse anger with rage. Therefore, it seems the true question is, what is the difference between anger and rage:

  • What exactly is anger verses rage?
  • What is it like for you to get angry as opposed to feeling enraged?
  • What makes you angry or pushes you into a state of rage?
  • What, if any, is the use of anger as opposed to the destructive force of rage?
  • What is the impact of anger or rage on you and those you love?

The underlying issue that needs clarification is the distinction between anger and rage. In truth, anger is a highly motivating feeling. We experience heightened reasoning and cognition. Anger can propel us to stand up against injustice or defend ourselves and those we care about in times of need. We often, in short, make better decisions when we are angry. It can help us with something as simple as settling up a mismanaged account with the telephone company, if we learn to regulate its affect and harness its power. Anger, when used effectively, can change our worlds. We rarely change our worlds when we are happy with them.

Rage, however, is something very different. It is rage, not anger that pushes us into a highly stressed state where our reasoning and cognition become impaired. We are apt to lash out, become aggressive and do or say things we will later regret. Whereas anger can support us when it is constructively harnessed, rage and its destructive nature is an issue that needs to be managed, controlled and understood.

It can be a complex undertaking in and of itself for us to learn to distinguish between these closely aligned states of being. One constructive place to begin, can be to consider the accompanying feelings we experiences with anger verses rage. By doing this, one can create a starting point through which one can begin to recognise and understand what is going on in a moment of intense emotion. Where anger can make us feel righteous and energised into action, rage is more often than not followed by feelings of shame and guilt; a desperate desire to repair the damage done with no ability to know where to begin. These accompanying feelings most often induce more stress, can lead to further feelings of anger or frustration, and a cycle begins to emerge.

The goal then, is to be able to distinguish between these two states, embrace the positive attributes that anger can provide, while containing the elements of anger that can spin off into rage and destructive behaviour. This may sound easy or over simplistic but, with practice, it can create a framework through which effective emotional management can begin.

Recognising the triggers of your rage can be difficult as they are different for everyone and they often arise quickly. These are often hidden as underlying causes within situations but, inevitably, it is the nature of the trigger that is likely to be the same even if settings or events appear different. It is, therefore, your reaction to a given situation, more than the situation itself, that one must be alert to. You may experience feeling or feelings of being:

  • Ignored (unseen or unheard)
  • Marginalised (set apart from others or undervalued)
  • Humiliated (your feelings are seen as ridiculous)
  • Dismissed (your feelings are seen as unimportant)

It is these responses to situations or events that may set you down an emotionally responsive path, resulting in an overwhelming feeling of anger, which, if unchecked, can lead to rage. The challenge in this moment is to recognise this feeling and make time and space for you to process it as very few situations in the long term are sorted out by a short-term explosive confrontation.

The first and most important step is to understand that defusing the extreme feeling in the moment can enable you to focus on the true source of your rage. Simple things like:

  • Walking away from the situation no matter how abrupt this may seem
  • Telling someone that you are unable to speak with them at that moment and you will return when you are feeling more calm
  • Stay away from alcohol or other behaviour altering substances.
  • Tell someone you will ‘give some thought’ to what is being said and walk away. Even if you do not mean it, it may give you the time you need to reflect, calm down and consider what you hope to gain from the exchange when you return.
  • Ring someone you trust.

Whichever one or combination of the above you choose, the objective is to break or disrupt your pattern or spiral into a state of rage. If you still find that your rage interferes or impinges upon your quality of life, the lives of those you care about, or interferes with work, your next course of action is to seek specialist support.

In short, anger can propel you to fight for a cause, change an injustice or make a change for the better. While in this state you can learn and evaluate the situation when new information comes to light. Anger is a powerful tool when used appropriately. Rage can leave you feeling ashamed and often humiliated by your actions. It can leave you feeling physically exhausted and more isolated having damaged those you care about and who care about you.

Anger is a skilled surgeon, to rages bull in a china shop.

What is Anxiety and How can Therapy Help You?

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear that can be mild or severe, it is something that, from time to time, we will all experience. It differs from stress, as stress will come and go in relationship to the external factor causing it, such as an issue at work, relationships or money problems. Anxiety is different from stress in that it persists whether or not there is a clear cause, or a trigger event in ones surrounding environment or relationships. Acute Anxiety affects approximately 5% of adults in Britain. Slightly more women are affected than men. The condition is most common in people in their 20’s.

There are many affects resulting from anxiety. Some of these can make you feel as if things in your life are worse than they actually are, potentially preventing you from confronting your fears or concerns and impinging on your enjoyment of life. You even may, at times, feel you are going mad, or that some psychological imbalance is at the heart of your problems. However, it is important to recognize that anxiety is ordinary and human. It is, in reality, the last vestiges of an essential, evolutionary, psychological system designed for our protection from the earliest stages of human development.

It may be useful to view anxiety as an internal alarm system, programmed to alert us to perceived dangers in our surrounding world. In truth, anxiety is a mechanical response to feeling under threat. Historically, it is designed to boost the adrenaline we would have needed to increase our heart-rate and the amount of oxygen flowing to our mussels, thus insuring we were better able to escape from, or fight, a perceived threat. This is known as the “fight or flight” response. In the modern world, we tend to experience this as the ‘butterflies in the stomach’ feeling we often associate with anxiety. However, as we no longer live in the untamed world of our ancestors, the dangers we perceive are, most often, normal, everyday situations where stresses have built up, often unknowingly and over a period of time.

Some short-term anxiety is ordinary and can be useful, such as feeling nervous before you sit an exam or prior to a job interview. This can help you feel more alert, and improve your performance. However, if the feelings of anxiety become overwhelming, they may affect your ability to concentrate and the outcome may suffer. For some people, anxiety becomes so overwhelming that it takes over their lives. They may experience severe or very frequent panic attacks for no apparent reason, or have a persistent ‘free-floating’ sense of anxiety. Some people may develop a phobia about going out, or may withdraw from contact with people – even their family and friends.

How can Therapy help?

If you’re finding yourself feeling anxious without an obvious cause, there are steps you can take that may help alleviate the immediate symptoms of anxiety. It is very important to ensure that you are getting enough rest, eating a well balanced diet and take note of your levels of alcohol or caffeine based drinks, such as coffee, as both are acknowledged as having a negative impact on levels of anxiety.
Perhaps most importantly, it is advisable to seek support, as these shorter term strategies, while helpful, are unlikely to address any underlying issues that may be at the root. Anxiety exists in a number of realms, past, present and future. It can be caused by:

• Historic events which are as yet unresolved
• Events or situations in our immediate lives
• Concerns about the future, fearing things or outcomes that may or may not happen.

A particularly distressing form of anxiety is Existential Anxiety. This is when anxiety is acutely felt but there is often no immediate link to the past present or future, and there is no knowledge and little language to be able to express or explain your distressing and confusing feelings. This is where therapy can be most helpful. With therapy you can build, not only an understanding of your feelings, but also develop the vocabulary you need to be able to better understand yourself and more effectively express yourself to others. It can also support you in finding more appropriate and constructive methods of managing anxiety provoking situations.

Depression is more than just feeling unhappy for a few days.

Depression is more than just feeling unhappy for a few days.

We may all go through spells of feeling down and distressed but, when you’re depressed, you feel persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days.

Some people still think that depression is trivial or not a real health condition. They’re wrong.

Depression is a real illness with real and painful symptoms, it’s not a sign of weakness or something you should feel ashamed of. Nor can you just snap out of it, or just pull yourself together.

However, there is good news. With the right treatment and support, most people can make a full recovery.

How you can tell if you are depressed

Depression affects people’s lives in different ways and can have a wide range of symptoms. These range from a lasting feeling of sadness and hopelessness, to losing interest in the things you enjoy and feeling very tearful. It may even come with feelings of anxiety. There are often physical symptoms too, such as feeling constantly tired, sleeping badly, having no appetite or sex drive and complaining of various aches and pains.

My Emotional Symptoms

  • I feel down in the dumps most days
  • I feel restless and agitated
  • I become tearful easily
  • I feel numb, empty and full of despair
  • I feel isolated and unable to relate to other people
  • I am unusually irritable or impatient
  • I find no pleasure in life or things I usually enjoy
  • I feel helpless
  • I am disinterested in sex
  • I feel a sense of unreality

MY Behaviour

  • I’m not doing the things that I usually enjoy
  • I am avoiding social events
  • I have cut myself off from others and can’t ask for help
  • I am self-harming
  • I find it difficult to speak

 My Thinking

  • I am finding it difficult to remember things
  • I find it hard to concentrate or make decisions
  • I blame myself and feel guilty about a lot of things
  • I have no self-confidence or self-esteem
  • I have a lot of negative thoughts
  • My future seems bleak
  • I wonder what the point is
  • I have had thoughts and I am thinking about suicide

MY PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS

  • I have difficulty in sleeping
  • I am sleeping much more than I usually do
  • I feel tired and I have no energy
  • I have lost my appetite, and I am losing weight
  • I am eating more than usual and putting on weight
  • I have physical aches and pains with no obvious physical cause
  • I am moving very slowly
  • I am using more tobacco, alcohol or other drugs than I usually do

The above are all symptoms of depression and, if you ticked off five or more of them, you may well have depression.

The presentation and causes of depression are different for everyone that experiences it.

You may not realise what’s going on because, sometimes, your problems seem to be physical, rather than mental or emotional. There are also some other mental health problems often linked to depression.

These can vary in their severity. At its mildest, you may simply feel persistently low and, at its most severe, depression can leave you feeling suicidal and that life is no longer worth living.

For a more detailed list, read more about the symptoms of depression.

Many people experience feelings of stress, sadness or anxiety during difficult times. A low mood may improve after a short time, rather than being a sign of depression.

If you’ve been feeling low for more than a few days, please contact me for an informal and confidential chat.

Many people wait a long time before seeking help for depression but it’s best not to delay. The sooner you see a doctor and a counsellor, the sooner you can start to feel like yourself and be on your way to recovery.

Sometimes, there is a trigger for depression. Life-changing events, such as

  • Bereavement
  • Losing your job
  • Having a baby

can all bring on an episode of depression.

However, other contributing factors are that people with a family history of depression are also more likely to experience depression.

But it is also possible to become depressed for no apparent or obvious reason.

Depression is quite common and affects about one in 10 of us at some point. It affects men and women, young and old. Depression can also strike children. Studies have shown that about 4% of children aged five to sixteen in the UK are likely to be affected by depression.

 

Symptoms of Depression

What is the difference between depression and just feeling low?

In general, a low mood can include feelings of sadness, an anxious feeling or feeling worried. It can also come with tiredness, low self-esteem, frustration and anger.

Under normal conditions, a low mood will tend to improve by itself after a short time. This can be helped by making some small but significant changes in your life, such as taking steps to resolve a difficult situation or talking about your problems with a trusted friend, getting more sleep and drinking less can improve your mood. A low mood that doesn’t go away can be a sign of depression.

 Symptoms of depression can include some or all of the following:

  • a continuous low mood or sadness
  • feeling hopeless and helpless
  • having low self-esteem 
  • feeling tearful
  • feeling guilt-ridden
  • feeling irritable and intolerant of others
  • having no motivation or interest in things
  • finding it difficult to make decisions
  • not getting any enjoyment out of life
  • having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself
  • feeling anxious or worried

Read more about the symptoms of depression, including the physical and social effects. Depression can also come on at specific points in your life, such as the winter months (SAD) and after the birth of a child (Postnatal Depression).

 

Some Considerations on the Causes of Depression 1.

What are the causes of Depression?

The causes of depression vary for each individual and can happen for one or more reasons. It is also possible that it may appear for no obvious reason.

Loss and Bereavement

Events or experiences can often trigger bouts of depression. It could be following the death of someone close or a major life change such as losing a job, moving home, the loss of a much loved pet or simply moving from one phase of life into another, e.g. retirement, children leave home, or you come to realise that you may never have a family of your own.

Recovery is not just surviving the negative experience that causes the depression but how we deal with it. If the feelings provoked are not expressed or explored at the time, they can fester and contribute towards depression.

Anger

In some cases, people call depression “Frozen Anger” or view it as anger turned inwards or at yourself . You may have experienced something which left you feeling angry and helpless, and if you were unable or not allowed to express your feelings at the time – perhaps because you were a child at the time, or your feelings were unacceptable to others – the anger may become internalised and this is then expressed as depression.

Life events

In many cases, the first time you become depressed may have been triggered by an unwelcome or traumatic event like being sacked, divorced, physically or sexually assaulted or suffering the loss of a loved one.

Childhood experiences

It may also occur if you experienced a traumatic or disturbing event in childhood or were abused physically or emotionally, or were not helped or taught good coping skills as you grew up. This can leave you feeling less able to cope with difficulties as they arise as an adult.

Physical conditions

Some physical conditions may also cause depression, but this is sometimes overlooked because the focus is on physical symptoms:

  • conditions affecting the brain or nervous system
  • hormonal problems, especially thyroid and parathyroid problems
  • symptoms relating to the menstrual cycle or the menopause
  • low blood sugar
  • sleep problems

It is worth considering that, if any of the above conditions apply to you, make sure your doctor knows about them. Some of these problems can be diagnosed by simple blood tests and your doctor may suggest that these are done to help make the right diagnosis, or you can ask for blood tests if you think they might be relevant for you.

Side effects of prescription medication

Depression is often a side effect of different medicines; an example could be that some people become depressed after a heart attack and this may be because they are taking beta blocker medicine as part of their treatment.

If you are feeling depressed after starting a course of medication, it is worth first looking at the patient information leaflet that came with the medication to see if depression is listed among the side effects. If you think a medication may be causing your depression, you could discuss this with your doctor to see if there is an alternative medication that you could take, particularly if you expect the treatment to continue for some time.

Diet

Poor diet and general lack of fitness can both contribute to depression. Trying to take some exercise, even simply taking a walk each day, may contribute to feeling more at ease.

Street drugs and alcohol

You may feel tempted to have a drink to make yourself feel better. Alcohol is a recognised depressant and this will tend to make you feel worse. Drugs can also make you feel more depressed, especially if you use them on a regular basis.

Counselling Trainees

Theory to Practice and Keeping it Personal

Congratulations! You’re embarking on a career in counselling and psychotherapy, a subject I care passionately about.

Having been offered a place at a training establishment, you will understand that there is a course requirement for you to undergo personal therapy with a qualified counsellor or psychotherapist throughout the duration of your course. This may seem or feel like an unnecessary encumbrance added to an already demanding (and costly) training; equally, you may be relived that you will have a place to unload and work through the issues and pressures of an intense course as it impacts on your personal life.

Either way or somewhere in between, choosing a therapist for your training is an important decision. Finding a therapist with an in-depth knowledge of both theory and practice who works within the ethical framework set out by the BACP is essential. It is also vital that you are able to build an effective psychological connection (“working alliance”) with a therapist who sees you as an individual and not just as a student fulfilling a course requirement.

Understanding the theories of Freud, Klein, Bion, Jung, Rogers and others can seem, at first, to be complicated and unconnected to our personal experiences. Gaining an understanding of the vast array of psychological theory and approaches (“modalities”) on offer can often feel impenetrable as each modality arrives with a bewildering language and style of its own.

The use of ourselves and reflection upon ourselves through the experiential processes that make up counsellor training offer invaluable insight as wisdom and provide the competent counsellor sure-footedness when working at relational depth with clients. Seeing the connections, overlaps and relationships between the modalities (and they are there) takes wide experience and learning, hence initial training seeks to concentrate on one primary modality. Gaining an understanding and appreciation of your chosen modality’s underpinning theory is essential, enabling you to grasp meaning from your unconscious worlds. This, in turn, enables counsellors to develop the skills needed to work effectively with those issues that impact upon our client’s lives and, of equal and ethical importance, our own lives. The development of clear boundaries is just such a skill. Working within the BACP ethical framework allows for both the client and the therapist to feel safe and secure within the counselling relationship. The therapist who experiences turbulence and anxiety within their private life and has no skill with or knowledge of boundaries will leak, unethically and potentially toxically, all over their client and is likely to do more damage than good.

Utilising theories and concepts gleaned in a therapeutic relationship presents a different challenge: how to keep the client in the room and not replace them with a set of theories. When working with real people, it is necessary to put the theory around the context and not the other way about. Observing an individual and then attempting to describe this person, a therapist can get lost in their own observations distracted by their own psychopathology and, at the same time, disabusing fragments of others’ theoretics, they can “invent” their client or even develop new words to describe a phenomenon. Within this process, the true person of the client is lost, a victim of the therapist’s desire to fit the person into the theory as if squeezing a square peg into a round hole. “Nothing destroys a good theory quite like the truth”.

Cost of Counselling for Counselling Trainees

With the costs of training within organizations increasing dramatically year on year, once we agree your fee, reassuringly it will not increase during the duration of your course which could be for up to 3 years.

Counselling or Psychotherapy

COUNSELLING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY:

These are often described as ‘talking therapies’. The primary difference between them, is when compared with other forms of care, assistance or intervention, is the way in which the therapist uses their skills, training and experience to help you discover the underlying cause of your current difficulty. In doing this, therapy can help offer relief for more immediate problems, or resolution to long standing or reoccurring issues.

As a therapist providing both counselling and psychotherapy, I strive to understand things from your unique point of view. My role is to work in a co-operative and supportive relationship with you, helping you to move forward in life in the way that is best for you.

ISSUES THAT ARE OFTEN BROUGHT TO COUNSELLING OR PSYCHOTHERAPY:

Anxiety and panic attacks 
Abuse: emotional, physical and sexual, 
Bereavement: loss and grief
, Bullying,
 Career development and problems at work, 
Chronic conditions — e.g. diabetes, epilepsy, 
Compulsive behaviours,
 Depression, 
Disability issues and support, 
Low self-esteem and low self-confidence, 
ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis, chronic fatigue symptom)
 MS (multiple sclerosis)
, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), 
Redundancy
Relationship issues
, Separation and divorce, 
Substance abuse, 
Stress, 
Trust issues.

Choosing Counselling or Psychotherapy: The words “Counselling” and “Psychotherapy” are often used interchangeably, however, in my view, they are distinctly different forms of therapy.

COUNSELLING:

Tends to refer to shorter-term, or a relatively brief course of treatment. It focuses, primarily, upon a particular behaviour or feeling. Counselling often targets a particular symptom or problematic situation, offering suggestions and advice for dealing with these more specific issues. When an important decision needs to be made in one’s personal or professional life, or a specific crisis has occurred, such as a bereavement, shorter term counselling can help to provide a framework in which an overwhelming situation or feeling can be managed constructively.

PSYCHOTHERAPY:

Tends to refer to longer-term treatment. We work at a deeper level, exploring your past while simultaneously looking at your life as it is today. We work to access root causes of difficulty, striving to resolve long-standing issues or patterns so they will no longer impact on your quality of life. Psychotherapy focuses on your individual thought processes and your way of seeing the world in relationship to your place in it.

COUNSELLING,  PSYCHOTHERAPY – APPROACH AND MODALITY:

There are many differing styles and theoretical approaches within Counselling and Psychotherapy. Therapists train in a particular style of working (modality) which generally guides the course of treatment, although it is important for the therapist to think flexibly and creatively to ensure they can meet each client’s individual needs. Once qualified, current guidelines for best practice strongly recommend registration with the appropriate regulatory body based on modality training. I work in the psychodynamic modality and I am registered with the “British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy” (BACP). Regardless of a practitioner modality, the quality of the relationship between therapist and client is always of primary importance.

Dyslexia and other Learning Difficulties.

The Hidden Cost of Learning Differences.

The educational and employment implications of dyslexia and other learning difficulties are well documented. While there have been many books written on Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, ADD, ADHD and more, these often overlook the emotional cost and impact that you may have experienced as a result of struggling through school or working life with little or no support.

In the past, Learning Differences were call Difficulties, and in doing so failed to acknowledge the many people who, with or without an official diagnosis, went onto achieve their goals and aspirations. It also implied that there was little that could be done by way of help or assistance.

What you may experience

1. Everyone’s experience of their Learning Difference is unique to them and effects different aspects of their experience of work or education.

2. Some of the possible emotional effects of having a Learning Difference can leave the individual with lifelong feelings of Inadequacy, Shame, Guilt, Ignored, Stupid, Thick, Misunderstood and Unseen.

3. You may have had the wish to expand your world, but are left feeling that certain doors are closed to you, leaving you with the frustration of feeling that you are never able to reach your full potential.

4. Feeling lost or adrift within education or that education is just not for you. This can stop you from approaching re-training and career advancement or turning your life in a new direction, feeling able to follow a lifelong ambition or dream.

5. You may find yourself with feelings of anger at you experience in school or at your employer.

The challenge for an individual with a Learning Difference lies in feeling able to take control of their own learning, understanding their unique needs and in finding ways to gain access to the learning and opportunities they desire. The answer is found in understanding that nothing is beyond a truly independent learners grasp.

Some Solutions

1. Talking to a Counsellor or Psychotherapist that really understands the difference and the impact that your Learning Difference has had on your life can help, by offering you a new perspective on your experiences and by accessing parts of your Learning Differences to enhance your time whether this is at work or studies when back in education.

2. It is important to understand that Learning Difference does not mean an inability to learn. These labels simply indicate that different people access information in different ways. The true ‘difficulty’ lies, not in the individual, but in the surrounding environments inability to meet an individual learners needs. Differences in learning styles do not lessen what any individual has to offer.

3. What appears to be a disability from one perspective may be a gift from another. Learning Difference often come with untapped natural abilities that are ignored as being unimportant. Acknowledging and accessing these abilities can help to promote your self-esteem, understand more clearly the contribution you are able to make and improve your experience in an educational or work environment.

4. Understand the nature of your learning and working style. There is now a great deal of practical assistance within the education system and the workplace for adult with learning differences:

a. Diagnosis is the first step. Being assessed for Dyslexia, Dyspraxia Dyscalculia and others to find the right level of support is quick, painless and most often a very positive experience. There are various avenues though which assessment is possible (see links page).

b. A legal diagnosis is likely to entitle you to educational or work place adjustments. This can include providing you with computerised hardware and software designed to accommodate your working needs, as well as adjustment in working spaces, deadlines and methods of communication. This can offer you the opportunity to work in a manner better suited to your style. This can support you in unlocking your true potential and allow you to demonstrate your true level of understanding and expertise in your chosen field.

c. Colleges and Universities have Learning Support Departments, and can make Need Assessments for their organizations based upon your course requirements. These are normally free. Learning Support Departments will also ensure that your course leaders understand and acknowledge your individual learning style, and will inform you as to your educational entitlements under law.

d. It is also worth bearing in mind the law surrounding learning issues exist because they are far more common than you may think. You are not alone. Millions of people are working though similar issues and discovering that they do not, in fact, create a barrier to success. They merely mean you need to develop your understanding of how to access the success you deserve.