BALTIMORE -- Cognitive-interpersonal therapy is an effective treatment for angry people who are mired in interpersonal conflicts for which they hold others responsible.
The "price they must pay to get better" is to let go of their need to blame someone else and accept personal responsibility, Dr. David D. Burns said at an anger management meeting sponsored by the Institute for the Advancement of Human Behavior.
According to Dr. Burns, who developed cognitive-interpersonal therapy (CIT), angry people convince themselves that they are the victims of those whom they blame, and they deny their role in the interpersonal conflict.
Since CIT requires people to face some unpleasant truths about themselves, therapists who use it should be prepared for nearly constant resistance from their patients.
CIT requires three things of motivated patients: Patients must list the pros and cons of remaining angry. The list enables them see all of the ways in which they have benefited emotionally from remaining angry with another person, as well as all the ways that they themselves have been hurt by their anger. (See …