Anger Management – A Client’s Testimony of How Therapy Helped

The name of client and certain details of the story have been changed in order to preserve confidentiality.

Carmen, a 33-year-old woman, came to therapy contemplating to file a divorce. Reason was client keeps fighting and arguing with her husband and the situation was getting worse, that she started to be violent with her husband. Since she was very ashamed about her behavior, it was initially very difficult for her to access the state of mind she had been in during the fight. By the time of the third session, she was able to tell about the intense feelings of anger that would inappropriately come up in her.

I used EMDR to target the present-day trigger with husband situation that had triggered strong emotion in her. During the 2nd EMDR session, she has an early image of her memory with her mother, Carmen began to feel the intense anger rising in her body.

Through more discussion, Carmen came to realize that the unresolved childhood event with her mum. A clear memory image around the age of 18. She remembered she was asking mum for her tuition fee and mum made she signed a contract stating how much she owe and she will need to pay her back. She was shocked by mum’s request and was feeling very angry and hurt how come mum can be so calculative, so cold, so mean and unloving, she felt like an outcast. She felt she was not important and unloved by mum, she felt she was just a burden or an item to mum.

During the sharing, Carmen was visibly shaken and angry. To check her state of mind, I asked her, “When you think of that now, how disturbing is it for you now on the scale of 0 to 10?” She said “10!” “I hate her so much. How can a mother be so cruel”?

In that session, she was able to recognize that her anger had been covering other, more basic feelings of helplessness and unloved. Following session, Carmen reported that she had had better control over her anger, and she recognized that her husband was not deserving of this reaction.

The good news was Carmen therapy with me ended after 8the sessions. A year later, Carmen message me she was pregnant with second child, and she has been enjoying her marriage and time with her husband, they did a lot more activities together.

After reading about Carmen, do you feel you have a similar issue like her?

A lot of my clients came in with something they struggle in life that keep them from being a better person, in work and in relationship. Just like Carmen, she has no clue of her anger outburst, she struggles not to get mad at things and her husband, but she just can’t help it.

Sometimes, our daily struggle is just the surface of the problem. Like an iceberg, the bulk of behaviour’s “mass” is found below the surface; it is what gives rise to the part that is visible. Behaviour is triggered from feelings, which stem from the more deeply rooted needs of a person.

In many cases, the counselor and client will explore much more than just the client’s presenting problem—the issue that first brought the person to counseling. In counselling session, we don’t just talk, we explore what lies beneath the symptoms eg. Anger, depression, anxiety, panic, chronic pain, and more. We helped clients explore where is the root issue. When the root is healthy the symptoms fade eventually. The help of the right counselor can promote self-actualization, empower self-growth, improve relationships, and reduce emotional suffering.

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