When somebody lands in my Melbourne office for anger management hypnotherapy, one of the first things I hear them say is how irrational their anger is. I interrupt here and point out that their fly-off-the-rails aggressive reactions are in fact entirely rational and understandable. That's one of the first things anybody suffering from reactive, angry tendencies needs to realise.
Anger issues are common. In a nutshell, an anger problem can be identified if you find you are aggressively reacting over something seemingly minimal. The same can be applied for any emotional overreaction. The reason? You have been triggered. And triggers happen due to our own unique past experiences, many of which occurred when we were too young to have the depth, wisdom and perspective to understand the situation clearly and take stock of our own personal responses to them. Sometimes, it is just one major dramatic event, more often however, smaller experiences over time build-up our own responses - such as watching unhappy parents fight all the time and being thrown in the middle of these conflicts as a young child. No 5-year-old or even 15-year-old has the level of mental development to handle this kind of situation well.
Over time and repeated experience, we grow up and become sensitive and emotional over related events: a trigger is created. Then, when we experience a similar event in adulthood that other's may handle adeptly, we dramatically explode and find our emotions taking over all rationale and logic.
Are you with me? Let me outline what is happening in neuroscience terms.
Your amygdala senses warnings and threats in your environment and sends out alarm bells. When you are in true danger, enter: the sabre-tooth-tiger, this is a brilliant system because it kicks off a physiological response to the threat before you even have time to logically think about it. So, before you can sit, analyse and assess the situation, your amygdala forces your body in to overdrive to get the hell outta there or fight to the bitter end. A potent mix of chemicals flood your brain and body that force you to react in that split second. Exactly what we need to survive. But here's the thing, we are evolutionarily wired to adapt to all sorts of environments. It mightn't be the sabre-tooth-tiger that roams your neck of the woods, but it could be the grizzly bear or a red-bellied black snake (*blimey*). Or now getting a little clever, there could be more subtle threats, threats to your own emotional wellbeing, that your brilliant mind learnt to register.
So how does this system apply to anger? Your angry emotional reactions that overpower your logical mind in split-second environments are due to the specific events that you experienced in your past, that caused you to register these types of events as threats to your own environment. Following my drift?
Let's get creative about how your own unique upbringing might've shaped the 'threats' you sense. Did you experience an abusive parent? Or a school bully? Did you witness parental arguments? A violent sibling? Did family members suffer addiction or mental health issues? What in your childhood scared you? In what situations did you need to hide or stand up for your self? Whatever it was.. your amygdala learnt about this threat and sharpened itself accordingly to keep you safe.
But the way I react is no longer appropriate
Exactly. Whilst you might have been validly scared as a child when, say, your father flew-off-the-rails at your mother for a minor car incident, it isn't at all appropriate to react with huge emotion and aggression when you find your self in a minor car incident (or any for that matter) as an adult today. It doesn't serve any use or benefits. In fact, getting emotionally out-of-control in any situation tends to serve us more negatively than it ever can positively.
Rewiring Your Responses
RTT Hypnotherapy is in unique in that it explores your memory under hypnosis and uncovers the specific experiences in your past that lead to your presenting issue today. So if you emotionally overreact in relationships, or get unreasonably angry when you see people interact in certain ways, RTT enables you to take a self-check and get to the bottom of why that is. After re-surfacing past memories, I apply a range of psychodynamic techniques to start shaking up your subconscious mind.
Once we know exactly why it is you overreact, I can record your own personalised hypnosis mp3 to change your thinking patterns for good.
Anger Management is a Learnt Technique
The final aspect I'd like to add is that anger management is learnt. That's why babies, toddlers and little children get out-of-control angry over little things. As we grow up, we learn to deal with our emotions in more appropriate ways using our higher functioning (prefrontal cortex) rather than fall in to a reactive emotional mode.
For all anger management clients, an aspect of re-learning how to control emotions in trigger situations needs to be applied. Our brain needs to be toned and exercised just like any other part of our body. When anger is an issue, it's as if the amygdala has become overly sensitive whilst the prefrontal cortex has become overly relaxed in certain situations. Accordingly, I work anger management techniques in to my client's hypnosis to exercise and re-set the brain's own natural responses and give clients a relevant mental workout.
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