Can Anger Management Help Salvage Cityites?

Can Anger Management Help Salvage Cityites?Can Anger Management Help Salvage Cityites?

It is almost impossible to live in a huge metropolis like Tehran and not see a street brawl every other day, or stand in line for public transport without witnessing some sort of an argument, says Dr. Zahra Rahnama, head of Tehran’s first anger management center.

Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion, however, when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems at the workplace, in personal relationships, and in the overall quality of life. It can make people feel as though they are at the mercy of an unpredictable and powerful emotion, Rahnama said in an interview with the Persian daily ‘Etemad’.

Iran’s Legal Medicine Organization (ILMO) reports that in the first two months of the current year (started March 21), 95,643 individuals were injured in street fights. The figure has declined by 8.2% compared to the same period last year.  During the period, Tehran, Khorasan Razavi and Isfahan provinces, with 16,429, 8,289 and 6,671 cases had the highest rate of street fighting.

The ‘Center to Prevent and Control Anger’ was inaugurated in January in southeastern Tehran, but was relocated to Police Street (Municipal District 7). It was planned to train teenagers in life skills, restraint and how to control aggression.

“One of the main reasons for the center’s establishment was to study the problem of anger in a comprehensive manner. The emotion is destructive, and not all angry people are extroverts, so the problem needs a more in-depth study,” she said.

Iranian society suffers from “high level of tension that overshadows all aspects of one’s private and social life. I cannot fathom why an Islamic nation cannot follow the footsteps of exemplary figures in self-constraint and serenity like Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Imam Ali (PBUH).”

People’s level of tolerance has considerably reduced over time due to political, economic, or cultural reasons, prompting rash responses.

The majority of the 150 visitors to the center so far belong to the age group 26-36, among whom 89 were married and sought help to deal with marital problems, 56 were bachelor’s degree holders and 16 master’s degree holders. Of the total, 95 were from the surrounding localities and most were self-employed. None of them were referred by another center.

Most applicants had communication problems. Contrary to marriage counseling in which men are reluctant to partake, 79 of them were men who voluntarily sought help and admitted to being helpless in controlling anger. Only four had parents who were divorced, which goes to show that divorce by itself does not lead to aggression, says Rahnama.

 Talking Therapy

The center offers individual counseling. The methodology is based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of talking therapy that can help people manage problems by changing the way they think and behave. It is most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can be useful for other mental and physical health problems. CBT does not remove problems altogether, but helps people deal with them in a more positive way.

Unlike some other talking therapies, CBT deals with current problems, rather than focusing on past issues. It looks for practical ways to improve the state of mind and focuses on the concept that one’s thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap one in a vicious cycle.

The method basically aims to help one crack this cycle by breaking down overwhelming problems into smaller parts and showing people how to change negative patterns to improve the way they feel.

“Other practices include special tables which applicants fill out by explaining what happens to them during the week and how they react to the circumstances.” The counseling sessions are affordable (each 45-minute session costs $4.5). People with severe conditions may be referred to a psychological center.

“We need specialized workers to join our efforts voluntarily to efficaciously address and eradicate anger-induced problems in the country,” Rahnama added.