How you can tell if counseling might be helpful.

As a licensed professional counselor and Austin’s anger management resource for the past twelve years, I have had the privilege to serve clients from all walks of life and from a wide array of life experiences. From this I have learned that regardless of our backgrounds, income or life experience there are many things that we share. Whether dealing with anger management, couples counseling, or personal counseling, I think we arrive to a place of questioning. Most of us at one time or another wonder, “are our problems due to things and people beyond our control or are they mostly of our own making?”

Recalling my own personal experience, when I entered therapy in 1984 it was a matter of life or death. Either I was going to figure out what was making my life unendurable or I felt I was going to die. Thankfully, most of us are not in such dire circumstances when we begin to think about counseling.

After years working with clients, I’ve come up with a little different way of looking at whether entering counseling is a good idea. I like to say that I have two kinds of clients. If you find that these descriptions feel familiar, you may be a good candidate for therapy:

The two kinds of clients:

Clients who think too much, who obsess, ruminate and can’t turn off their brains.

OR

Clients who think too little, who don’t self-reflect, who go from one moment to the next without ever thinking about the consequences of their thoughts, feelings and actions.

Clients who spend too much of their time in the kid or child part of themselves, lost in play, having fun, planning fun, thinking about fun, lost in their feelings of having fun, fun being mostly what their lives are about.

OR

Clients to spend too much of their time in the parent or adult part of themselves, working, working, working, worrying, saving for the future, thinking about what they have to do to create security in the future, and basically putting all or most of their energy into their future.

Clients who think, feel, and act mostly about others rather than themselves. They are focused on other people. They take care of other people. They worry about other people. Almost all their time and energy is about other people.

OR

Clients who are mostly about themselves. They are consumed with their own needs, wants, wishes, dreams, hopes, problems, hurts, feelings, thoughts and behaviors. They often feel badly because other people are not living up to their expectations and they often feel discouraged that they are not able to change people in ways that would be better for themselves.

Clients who take things too personally. They are convinced that people or things are out to get them, that the deck of life is stacked against them or that even their boss, employees, spouse, partner, kids, or other members of their family are pretty much determined to make their lives miserable.

OR

Clients who don’t take things personally enough. They think that life is just a random jumble of crummy experiences that eventually lead to the grave. That there are no patterns, templates or cause-and-effect relationships. It’s all just a set of unpredictable unfortunate or fortunate events that they have no influence over.

While these examples may convey extreme ways of approaching life, they can fit how we feel. I’ve been all of these at one time or another, so I know the experience from the inside-out. Counseling provided an effective and powerful pathway for me. If any of these perspectives feel close to how you may be viewing your life you may benefit from counseling. Whether you contact Austin Anger Management Associates or another professional, entering counseling can be one of the healthiest decisions you can make. The first step is recognizing the need, the second is making a phone call.

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At Austin Anger Management, we explore a deeper understanding about why we get angry. These six myths are important to understand:

Six Myths about Anger

1. My anger is caused by someone other than myself. If I make other people the cause of my anger I give power over myself to others. When I speak calmly about my feelings, needs, and wants I take back my power.

2. If people didn’t provoke me I wouldn’t lose my temper. No one can make me act in an angry way without my permission.

3. Getting angry is healthy and leads to a reduction of tension or “clearing the air”. When I get angry bad things happen and there is a great deal of collateral damage that takes days, weeks, months or even years to heal.

4. Anger turned inward leads to depression so expressing anger is healthy. Expressing anger in aggressive or hurtful ways leads to more anger and a downward spiral of negativity as well as negative consequences to my relationships.

5. Someone has wronged me and I deserve to get angry. Getting angry just makes the situation worse. Either the situation escalates or the other person backs down out of fear and builds resentment that comes out later.

6. If I don’t get angry when provoked, I’m weak. Staying calm is a superpower. If I am able to stay calm any situation is more likely to turn out better.

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Alcohol, even in small quantities, can cause me to misperceive the motives and actions of others. Behaviors that might otherwise be viewed as neutral, unintended or accidental are now seen as dangerous, threatening and intended to inflict harm.

Alcohol has a dis-inhibitory effect on emotions and behavior. Alcohol lowers the nervous system's threshold for emotional expression, allowing, encouraging and supporting me to do things I otherwise wouldn't do, if I were sober. Alcohol also transforms behavior and makes me feel I have the "right" to act opposite to my normal self.

Alcohol disconnects the part of the brain that controls executive functioning.

When I drink:

  • I lose affect regulation - the ability to know what I'm feeling and keep my feelings from taking over.

  • I lose hindsight, insight and foresight - the ability to connect the past, present and future.

  • I lose response flexibility - the ability to pause before action and pick from a number of possible options before taking action.

  • I lose empathy - the ability to feel what someone else is feeling, put myself in their shoes and stay out of judgment.

  • I lose perspective - the ability to think about how my behaviors are affecting other people.

Alcohol amplifies feelings

If I am feeling angry, anxious, hurt, sad, helpless, disappointed or overwhelmed, drinking will make all those feelings more powerful. Alcohol affects mood in the aftermath of drinking. The more I drink, the worse I'll feel after I sober up.

Alcohol is a very dangerous choice

  • If I don't have an "off" switch

  • If I can't stop with one or two drinks

  • If I'm not able to predict what will happen when I drink

  • If I ever can't remember what happens when I drink

  • If I ever lose my temper when I drink

To discuss this topic or your anger management questions, Contact Austin Anger Management

#addiction #angermanagement #Austintherapist #Resources #alcohol

© 2006 - 2021 Austin Anger Management - Jim Hoadley, LPC, LMFT. All rights reserved.

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