The People's Perspective on Medicine

Show 1190: The Best Way to Deal With Anger

Dr. Christian Conte has developed an effective way to deal with anger. It has three steps: Listen, Validate, Explore options.
Christian Conte, PhD, author of Walking Through Anger. Photo (c) Candace Lang
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The Best Way to Deal With Anger

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At a time when opinions about nearly everything are highly polarized, how can you have a civil discussion? What do we do when we encounter a person who is extremely angry? For that matter, how do we handle our own emotions? What works to defuse anger and what sorts of responses just make it worse? We’ll find out how to deal with anger.

Can You Listen?

Dr. Christian Conte has worked with angry people in many different situations. The first step in an interaction with someone who is extremely upset is simple to explain, but it is hard to do: you have to really listen. Then you have to find a way to let that person know that you have actually heard them. This takes discipline!

Most of us get defensive when we are criticized. Sometimes people get angry. Is there a way to frame criticism so that it is less likely to arouse ire and more likely to lead to a change in behavior? These are skills that coaches and teachers use all the time.

To Deal with Anger, Practice Peace:

If you want to practice peace, don’t try to do it in the middle of an argument when both of you are emotional and irrational. Instead, start earlier, before anyone feels angry. Learn how to put yourself in another person’s shoes and appreciate their position, even if you don’t agree with it. Above all, stay authentic.

This Week’s Guest:

Dr. Christian Conte is a professional counselor and a certified Domestic Violence counselor. He has been certified a Level V (highest level) Anger Management Specialist by the National Anger Management Association. His Yield Theory training has generated successful results for family therapy, professional athletes and violent criminals.

In July 2015 he conducted the TEDX talk, “Why I Chose to Go to Prison.” His new book is Walking Through Anger: A New Design for Confronting Conflict in an Emotionally Charged World.

His website is http://www.drchristianconte.com

The photograph of Dr. Conte is by Candace Lang.

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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    About the Author
    Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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    I think this is a wonderful way to handle an angry person and one I’m so grateful that I read at this very moment. I just encountered a situation with a tired family member who mouthed off to me and was absolutely out of line. When I tried to explain I got more of the same attitude. Hopefully our next encounter will be better. I did leave the situation feeling quite upset, but when I read William Wallace’s comment I felt so much better. I now realize that this is what exactly happened.
    I would love to listen to the whole podcast. Not exactly sure how to get it.

    Loved this! How do I access the podcast?

    Susan, thank you. I just posted the podcast. You’ll now find a link on this page and also in the store. Please don’t be angry that I forgot to do this earlier!

    Listened to your show this AM.

    Brilliant!

    Helped me to understand my flare ups of anger and most importantly, what to do about them.

    The best way to avoid anger is to leave the situation, if possible. If voices are being raised, say by husband and wife, go take a walk. This drove my wife crazy. She wanted me to stay and fight! But no, my temper is poor, and I get frustrated easily. Also, people get more and more irrational the more upset they get. Never argue!! Discuss. If emotions start getting out of hand, just leave. Even if it’s your boss. Many people strongly dislike confrontations because they react as I do and get flustered. Just leave. And if the other person is losing it, leave and come back when they are calm. My wife got used to it. I have a Ph.D. in psychology and am 77 years old.

    * Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^