In Francis Bacon’s essay On Anger he quotes from the philosopher, Seneca:
“Anger is certain like ruin which breaks itself upon that it falls;’ However it falls,
it is certainly one of the major areas of our work. Maybe one of the chief uses of
psychotherapy can be to intervene in this ruin and use the anger to re-focus the
energy and sense of creativity in the client.
The articles in this issue will look at aspects of the emotion itself and its re-
focussing potential. In Kip Flock’s contribution, “action work with anger”
(beating cushions) is endorsed because of the direct connection with the somatic
and cognitive processes. Shirley Ward talks about moving from a negative kind of
anger to a postive and healthy one, and a number of articles take this into the social
context. In her article on her experiences in Rwanda, Maeve Lewis begs the very
important question: has therapy anything to offer those who have witnessed and
experienced unimaginable atrocities?
All the contributions, without exception, accept that anger is inter-personal and
has social dimensions. An American marriage counsellor, David Mace, had said:
“Marriage and family living generate in normal people more anger than those
people experience in any other social situation in which they habitually find
themselves.” Anger can often be political to the point of war, as we are now
witnessing in the Balkans. It can form the focus for criminal and violent
behaviour and, as Mavis Arnold says in her article, results in prisons being
cauldrons of suppressed anger. Depression can be anger turned in upon ourselves.
Suicide is an act which is profoundly outward reaching, creating angry emotions
which are not easily resolved. This issue also deals with conflict resolution which
is increasingly seen as something to be addressed by counsellors and society.
Our remaining two issues will look at Gain and Loss, and the Future of
Psychotherapy. We look forward, as ever, to hearing from our readers and would
welcome any opinions and comments you would like to make about the Journal
over the past ten years, either in letters or articles.