Anger Management

Anger management approach for a polarity responder

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Hi Everyone,

This is a fascinating case that will be particularly useful for professionals wishing to improve their languaging skills.

Dr. Alexander Lees from Canada tells the story of an angry young man ("David") who, as a polarity responder, is inclined to do the exact opposite of any instructions you might give him. This, of course, poses a major challenge for getting the client to do EFT. Not only does EFT look silly but it also comes with instructions about what one should DO. A polarity responder is not likely to comply, of course, UNLESS an artful use of language leverages off of the client's "you can't be right" attitude.

This is what Alex does....and masterfully so. You may wish to print this out and underline the creative language.

Hugs, Gary


by Dr. Alexander Lees

"I'm curious David," I said, " how does one fail an Anger Management course?" The boy, seated as far down in the chair as he could, was idly tapping the glass coffee table with his left foot.

David's eyes only reached my knees, it seemed, before returning to a point fixed somewhere between his feet and mine. "People tell me the couch feels the most comfortable," I offered, as I turned and headed for MY chair. David beat me to my chair, and it was from this position in the room that his left foot was exploring the edge of the coffee table.

"It wasn't my fault, the instructor provoked me," David replied. "And did he pay you for hitting him?" I asked, noticing the wad of bills clutched in his left hand. "Naw, Mom said we could only afford two visits, and if this doesn't work, I'll have to go to the Maples, but I don't care!" (The Maples is a juvenile lockup where the beds are bolted to the floor, the mirrors are stainless steel firmly anchored to the walls, and food comes with plastic utensils, all of which must be recounted before the 'inmates' return to their 'rooms.')

When I started out in this profession, David's behaviour would have easily annoyed me, and that annoyance would have expressed itself quite readily. I might have said, "Look David, this is my office, I have to sit here all day, and that's my chair. You have no boundaries, no respect for others or yourself, and that's why you are in so much trouble." This would be one scenario I could easily have snared us both in, and David would tell the guards, "That guy provoked me, it wasn't my fault." Now much older, and a little bit wiser, I proceeded in the following way.

To begin with, that inner voice I listen to once in a while told me David was highly kinesthetic -- that is -- how he feels from moment to moment dictates his behaviour -- and he was also a polarity responder. The books tell us that polarity responders are wired differently. Experience has shown me that it is usually based on a belief system -- that to agree, can lead to pain or disappointment.

Since two appointments wouldn't allow enough time to explore all that, using it effectively was the only option. "Well David," I began. "You have selected The Therapist Chair, but I'm not certain you realize by doing that, some part of you knows you are the one that knows how to change things, not others." For a brief moment, we had eye contact, and as the foot started again, the gaze returned to the floor. "Anyway, because you don't believe that, I know you also won't believe you don't want to 'manage' anything, you want to get rid of it."The foot stopped again.

"And, because your NO foot has stopped moving, I'll bet you all the money in your left hand you can't learn to get rid of it in two sessions." "My NO foot?" asked David. "What about a YES foot?" "That's right, said I, "What's left is the NO foot." "I can do anything I want," replied David, with just the hint of a smile. "You're the therapist," I responded, "and therapists just need tools,secret tools, but my guess is it probably wouldn't work for you."

"What if it does, then what?" asked David, eyes now about level with my chest. "I get the money, which will annoy you, you'll clear your anger, which you'll try and get back, and your mother will visit you on Sundays in the lockup, and you will tell her not to." "None of that will happen" replied David, now sitting up, leaning forward, with full eye contact."David, it takes too long to change these things, more than you can afford," I sighed, "I've had adults in here that can't learn The Technique, remember to apply it, and fix it all in two short sessions."

"Besides your problem is special, it's unique, and there isn't another 16 year old I've met that could remember to tap this point (P.R.) and say, 'Even though I'm justified in being angry, I completely and deeply accept myself,' repeat that three times, with any meaning, and then tap these other points, as well as a trained professional could."

A short time passed after th is session when I recieved David's first phone call. "Have you got any other stupid word patterns that don't work?" , he said. "Sure, but don't try too many in one go," I said. I then offered David the following,"Even though this probably won't work, I completely and deeply accept myself." Then, "Even though anger is an impulse I can't control, and tapping all these buttons probably won't do much, my unconscious also works in ways I don't control." And finally, "Even though most guys my age can't change all this, I can."

The second phone call explored variations on those themes, further validating he could do this, when some of his peers could not. The call concluded with, "By the way, I don't like the way you cut the lawn, I'll come over and do it right." When David showed up, he handed me an envelope. "I told Mom not to pay you, but she wanted to anyway. Have you been talking to her?"David asked, as he cranked up the lawn mower. "Why?" I asked, looking pre-occupied. "She said I probably wouldn't give you the envelope," David said, as he shoved the mower into gear and picked a line along the hedge. "It runs better flat out," I yelled over the noise. "Naw, that's too hard on it," he yelled back, as he slid the throttle back a couple of notches.

It would be nice to report a complete success for David. However, the presented problem (anger and violence) was now under control. He was still a polarity responder, but both his mother and his teacher quickly learned to adjust their respective ways of dealing with him. David had been re-instated in the school for a trial period of three months. At the end of that period, David showed up with an interim report card, which read in part: "Minor, occasional annoyance observed. No outbursts. Congratulations, David." I stared at his chest, looked down and right, and said,"That's great, David, but I don't know if it will last." "Wanna bet?" he asked. This time I didn't.

At the end of the school year, I called David's mom. She reported he'd had no suspensions, not even a time out, and had passed the year with a C+ average. Before getting off the phone, she added, "Oh, by the way, I hope you don't mind, but I told David he probably was too young to teach me about the secret buttons." "What happened?" I inquired. "He proved me wrong," she laughed.

Dr. Alexander R. Lees

 

 

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