Seven Steps to Anger Control

by T.L. Wentz, Ph.D

(Excerpt from Anderson and Elder, 2008. T.Wentz, PhD. (Ed.) The Practice of Control: Executive Coaching/Anger Management for Physicians. Anderson and Anderson, Brentwood, CA)

1. Identify Your Feelings.

Start with your upsetting feelings. Identify those feelings.  Use your recognition of those feelings as a STOP Sign!  Upset feelings are a sign or signal that your self-talk (internal dialogue) is escalating your upset feelings.

2. Identify Your Thoughts.

Identify your upsetting thoughts or internal dialogue that are contributing to your anger about the situation or person.  Question yourself and ask…

   1.) “Why must I get my way?”

   2.) “Why should others do what I want?”

   3.) How would you answer those questions?

3.  Reframe Your Thoughts.

Counteract your upsetting/angry thoughts with a positive self-message. Put the brakes on your feelings. You no longer have to react to your first impulse. Tell yourself, “Slow down, easy does it.”

4.  Clarify the Situation.

Take the time to clarify the situation for yourself. Ask yourself, “What is really going in this situation?” Then, you may acknowledge feeling disappointed or hurt by the person or with the situation.  Being enraged is self-defeating and no longer an option.

5.  Set Realistic Goals.

Ask yourself, “What alternative solution(s) can I use to resolve this situation?” Set more realistic goals for yourself in regard to the problem. Be specific and concrete. What can you do to change the situation?

6.  Develop Options.

List the constructive options you have in order to reach your goals.  Ask yourself, “What constructive actions can I take to reach my goals?”

7.  Take Positive Action.

Choose a constructive option to reach your goal and act on it. The end result of the ABCD process is positive action on your part!

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