Beyond Anger: A Guide for Men
Recently, while on vacation I picked up the book "Beyond Anger: A Guide for Men" for a little light reading.
The book is only about 220 pages in length and is written by Thomas J. Harbin, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in private practice in North Carolina.
This is considered a “self-help” book for men struggling with issues around both explosive external anger (i.e. yelling and cursing…even assaulting others) and internal anger (i.e. constantly beating yourself up over minor mistakes).
Beyond Anger, A Guide for Men is easy to follow, lacks clinical jargon and is full of simple exercises (called “Action Plans” in the book) the reader can complete in order to actively work on their behavior.
I like that Dr. Harbin addresses both types of negative behaviors. In many books (or training courses) on anger management I have read, it is usually only changing the explosive angry behavior that is addressed.
Many men I see in my clinical practice in Fairfax do not struggle with violent outbursts. Many of my clients struggling with anger issues that center around always trying to stay in control, feeling cynical about others’ motives or worse yet when they begin to experience anger, they do everything possible to ignore these strong feelings, what Dr. Harbin calls the “Stuffers.”
In fact, Dr. Harbin puts all of the angry men into one of five different categories which cover a wide range of external and internal angry behavior.
The first part of Beyond Anger A Guide for Men covers various definitions of what constitutes problematic angry behavior and how this behavior impacts the lives of the angry man.
It is educational and succinct and again Dr. Harbin does not lecture the reader with clinical therapeutic language, making it accessible for anyone with a basic education.
The second portion of the book focuses exclusively on ways to change the problematic behavior, many of the exercises are designed to replace the old unhelpful patterns with a new more positive pattern so that a man won’t default to old programming in anger-provoking situations.
Finally, the book discusses how many angry men can get help by listing various resources, as well as common negative coping mechanisms used by angry men (e.g. drugs and alcohol).
Dr. Harbin has a chapter for those families who live with angry men and how they can help institute a plan for change, if the angry man is willing, as well as receive help themselves.
If you struggle with anger or know a man who does, this is a great primer on learning more about this all too common issue and how to change it.
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