Magazine article Industrial Management

Anger: A Barrier to Overcome

Magazine article Industrial Management

Anger: A Barrier to Overcome

Article excerpt

I was having a consultation with one of my colleagues when she told me of a personally disturbing incident that I believe we can all relate to. One of her therapy patients decided to terminate without giving any reason. As the patient was leaving, she angrily blurted out, "If you want to know why I'm so angry, you can call me to find out!"

As my colleague relayed the story to me, it was obvious that she was quite hurt and angry. When I asked if she had called the patient to allow for some feedback and a defusing of the situation, she told me that she had no intention of calling her. "There's a tug of war only if you pick up the other end of the rope, and I'll not join in that battle. Let her find someone else."

What she had envisioned as a "tug of war" could also be seen as a way of getting together in order to discover what went wrong and attempt to ameliorate the situation. The objective of her discussion was not to get the patient back, but to learn why the patient left. Why was the patient so angry? Why did she suggest the doctor call her rather than discuss the situation in person? What happened that caused such an angry outburst?

In your professional and personal life, how can you get past the anger being displayed and the hurt inflicted upon you as the recipient? This is, indeed, a daunting and difficult task. If my colleague could only have put her feelings of humiliation aside, she might have found this a great opportunity for growth, albeit not an easy process. In situations like this, it is of benefit to both parties to discover what went wrong. The dialogue between the two is an opportunity for the future, not the past.

What about my colleague's curiosity as to what prompted such an outburst? What could have happened? The knowledge of discovery plus the process necessary to elicit this information would have lent to her future proficiency as a therapist. It also would serve to quell her anxiety in trying to guess what she had done to elicit such drastic behavior. By being reluctant to obtain feedback about a distressing incident, you not only fail to lower your stress level but also sacrifice a chance to grow in understanding and confrontational skills.

As a supervisor, how do you deal with someone's anger and disparagement? Do you ignore another person's negative emotions or poor performance and simply move on because it is less stressful than confronting the issue? …

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