Anger Management

Reporter: Andrew Bourke

Michael Douglas was the symbol, of a life falling apart from anger, in the movie falling down. It's something more of us are experiencing. Money worries. Longer hours at work. Relationship breakdowns. While anger is nothing new, some therapies are. Clinical Psychologist Dr Tim Sharp specialises in Anger Management. He's like the Jack Nicholson character from the film Anger Management, minus the eccentricities.

"One of the first steps of anger management is increasing your awareness, becoming more insightful and realising that the way you're responding is not necessarily appropriate or constructive." Anger issues have now become so common that magistrates are sending offenders to anger management courses. Vision of an angry customer berating a shop assistant, threatening, punching the counter, kicking the door until ending his scathing attack with this final gesture.

In another vicious out burst a customer turned on her hairdresser after a bad hair cut - slashing the hairdressers hair before fleeing the scene. Airline staff cop it from angry customers... real estate agents too.

Rob Reroni is concerned with the amount of anger he sees everyday. So much so, he's now started an anger management phone service where people can 'get it off their chest'. It's called the Abuse Me Hotline and its goal: "To save an innocent bystander or a loved on from being hurt, physically or emotionally by someone who's got way to much stuff built up inside them."

Ian Roberts knows a thing or two about overreacting. The former rugby league star an emotional timebomb on the field just waiting to go off. "I carried that off the field and into my social life and into places that it shouldn't have been" said Ian. "We need to take responsibility for what we do, we're all responsible for how we respond to situations" says Ian.

After some expensive court cases, Ian Roberts had to get his anger under control and take responsibility for his actions, before it was too late. "Honestly I'd have been locked up... without a doubt" adds Ian.

"People expect either too much of themselves or others and when those expectations aren't met they often experience high levels of distress." Actor with a temper, Russell Crowe didn't think it was too much to expect for a phone to work in a fancy New York hotel. But the telephone was broken, so big Russ let fly, with the telephone of course. That phone got what it deserved - too bad for the concierge who copped it in the head.

Supermodel Naomi Campbell is the queen of dummy spits. The Diva threw what has become the angry persons weapon of choice, the telephone, when she couldn't find her favourite pair of designer jeans. Unfortunately, her Personal Assistant was in the wrong place at the wrong time and could have retired, on the proceeds.

Campbell blames her anger on childhood neglect. Something Dr Tim Sharp calls the supermodel defense; which isn't a defense at all. "What we know about people who experience emotions like anger is they tend to blame other people. Its never my fault, its always your fault or someone elses fault."

Dr Tim Sharp has simple strategies for managing anger:

  • Get in early - don't wait until your about to boil.
  • Know your warning signs, what your triggers are; thoughts/behaviours/tension in body.

If you can identify those things early you can then apply relaxation techniques - the old count back from ten is just as effective today as ever. Check your thoughts. Are you making more of this than it is?

Remember these are the basics. A good anger manager will help you be even calmer, and achieve more.

If you feel you maybe having difficulty in dealing with you emotions and you'd like to get in touch with Dr Tim Sharp from The Happiness Institute visit the website: or call 1300 733 743.