Journeying Toward Wholeness

Vibrant Jung Thing Blog

Why Anger Management Therapy is More Than Managing Anger

June 7th, 2011 · anger, anger management, anger management therapy

anger management

Anger management is an incredibly popular buzzword.  There is even a Hollywood comedy entitled Anger Management , but anger, and its close cousin, rages, are often far from funny.  However painful and difficult coming to terms with anger can be, though, it’s an important encounter with the undiscovered self.

Confronting our anger involves an encounter with what Jung called the shadow, that part of ourselves that we can’t or don’t want to acknowledge.  As I learnt in my own case, coming to terms with our angry side can demand a lot.

  • Managing Anger Symptoms is Good, but Doesn’t Address the Root Problem

Techniques and practices that control expression of angry feelings can be important to avoid damaging outcomes.  But really dealing with their root causes, such as deep levels of constraint and repression, or deep resentments over fundamental wounds in our lives — this involves much more.  Without that kind of deep level encounter with the roots of anger, many people will never be able to really come to terms with it, or to really understand it.

  • Getting Angry is a Very Individual Thing

The roots of anger can really only be understood if you truly know the individual who has it. When a person is consumed with a certain type of anger, it is rooted firmly in that individual’s self and his or her story as a person.  It is only as the person opens up that story to themselves and to others that the real nature of the pain and sorrow underlying the anger, becomes apparent.

  • Anger Often Gets Turned Inward — Even While It’s Blasting Outward

When its expression is thwarted, angry energy needs to go somewhere.  If it cannot be expressed outwardly, the individual will direct it in upon him- or herself.  Recognizing this, and finding ways to move beyond ruthless self-put-down or self-attack, is often key to healing.  This is compassion for our own being; not a technique.

  • Anger Contains Vital Energy, If Only We Can Get to It

This is a fundamental truth of depth psychology.  A part of us that really wants to be fully alive is often locked within our anger.  If we can discover how to connect with and release that energy, we can find a very important and precious part of our lives.  This is the promise of a depth psychotherapeutic approach to anger.

How have you experienced anger in your life, and how have you come to terms with it?  I would welcome your comments.

Brian Collinson, Psychotherapist & Jungian Analyst

Link to Brian’s Main Website


PHOTO: © Alexsmithg |
© 2011 Brian Collinson
2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga )

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Therapy: Pain-Killer or Path To Myself? PART TWO

February 16th, 2009 · anger, depression, depth psychology, Identity, Individuation, Jungian analysis, Jungian psychology, Psychotherapy, soul, The Self, wholeness

Country Road for Therapy in Vibrant Jung Thing 

This is the second part in my series "Therapy: Pain-Killer or Path to Myself?"  PART ONE appeared last week.  In this second part, I discuss some things from my own experience of therapy throughout the years, and in particular,




These are five particular insights that have often kept me moving forward and that have sustained me at times when I got discouraged or perhaps even felt like leaving my therapy.  Time and time again they have proven themselves true as I have sought to understand myself and to keep moving forward on my therapeutic journey.

1.  The Psyche Fundamentally Wants to Heal Itself.

There is something within each of us that strives to unify all the parts of ourselves, and that seeks to bring all our wounded aspects back into healing and acceptance.  At times we can experience a sense of despair at our own broken-ness, and it can feel like the parts of ourselves where we experience pain can never feel better.  But if I can face my pain and grief, if I can really experience how I've been hurt, and if I can be open to the unconscious, not only as obstacle, but as the source of my own healing, I can begin to find, not any kind of "perfection", but an acceptance of who I am in my totality.  This experience of our totality is the experience of the Self.

2.  Better to Relate to the Unconscious than to be its Victim

Whether you are aware of it or not, the unconscious is an active factor in your life.  It is always acting in relationship to consciousness.  Also, it is often trying to get the conscious mind to adopt attitudes or to come to different new kinds of awareness that align with what is in the unconscious.  Sometimes being unaware of the unconscious and its intentions can lead to very negative consequences.  I have certainly been aware of people who have been sabotaged by the unconscious in some dramatic ways, often through rage that they didn't understand.  For some very pragmatic reasons, struggling to make unconscious materials conscious can be a very prudent thing to do.

3.  The Truth Will Set You Free – but First, Things May Get Demanding

It can be hard when what has been in the unconscious finally does come into consciousness.  Even though things may have been painful in my life in important ways, when the awareness of that pain really comes to stand front and center in my awareness, the pain can seem far worse than I had ever experienced.  But if we can tolerate, rather than run from the pain and the intensity of feeling, it will bring us to new kinds of awareness and new attitudes to our lives.  And that means more wisdom and more freedom. The pain doesn't mean that the therapy isn't working — it means that it is.

4.  What Am I Really Yearning For?

"And I still haven't found what I'm looking for" goes the chorus of an old U2 song.  But how can I find what it is that I'm looking for, if I don't know what it is that I'm really yearning to find?  Often, I can't know what I'm yearning for, until I know more of who I am.  More often than not, the only real way to greater self-knowledge of this kind is through therapy.

5.  There is Someone in Me Who is Trying to Emerge

The reality of the Self is the emergence of my awareness of everything that I am.  For the whole of my life, all the various elements of myself are striving to be brought together in one unified whole.  That wholeness is human, and so has nothing to do with perfection, moral or otherwise.  But the thing that draws me on through life is this pull toward the unified and unique me.  That is the goal of individuation, the name Jung gave to the process that goes on continuously within me.  Something is calling my name: it is my own being, my Self.  Throughout my life, I'm either moving towards wholeness or away from it.  Beyond the end of the road of therapy, the Self beckons.

My next and final post in this three-part series will on "Some Common Roadblocks on the Path toDreamstime_535654[1] Myself."  I would welcome your comments on any of the parts of this series.  How do these issues resonate with you?  What's your experience?


Brian Collinson, ;


PHOTO CREDITS:  © Steve Byland | ; © Anita Patterson Peppers |

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Anger: Everybody Has It, So What Do We Do With It?

December 9th, 2008 · anger, collective consciousness, depression, depth psychology, Halton Region, Individuation, Jungian psychology, Lifestyle, Mississauga, Oakville, Peel Region, Psychology, Psychotherapy, soul, The Self, Wellness, wholeness

Anger for Vibrant Jung Blog There is no easy way with anger.  It can be one of the most powerful psychological forces that we experience.  As an old song once said, "anger is an energy" — and it can be a force for growth in a person's life, or a source of misery and destruction.

At this time, the problem of dealing with anger is more on our minds in this society than it has surely ever been.  As a society, we really don't know what to do with it.  It is simply symptomatic of our confusion and uncertainty that a major fast food chain has created a major campaign centered around a hamburger called the "Angry Whopper"!

For many people, anger is the unacceptable "taboo" emotion, the one that has no real place in our lives, the one that "decent" or "reasonable" people avoid.  This is a lesson that many of us learned deep in the womb of the family.  When I think of my own upbringing, it is absolutely clear to me that most emotion was suspect, but anger in particular was completely anathema. Anger 2 for Vibrant Jung Blog

There is a trend in modern thinking to isolate anger, to treat it as some intruder in the human psyche or soul.  There is a tendency in much of modern psychology to want to wall anger off and treat it as a specific discreet problem that has only limited connection to the whole of a person's personality.  So we hear a lot about anger management and rage addiction.  This type of term that ignores the fact that a person's anger stems from real issues in the whole of that person's personality.

But those who have to deal with their anger or rage as personal problem know that such emotions are anything but discreet.  When they are in full force, they can often seem to take complete control of the personality, and to be completely in the driver's seat.


© Olivier Lantzendörffer |

© Gareth Cosgrove |

© Fallsview |

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Rages: When Shadow Puts the Pedal to the Metal

July 11th, 2008 · anger, compulsion, depth psychology, Halton Region, Jungian analysis, Milton, Psychotherapy, rages, road rage

There is no manifestation in our modern lives of what Jungians call “the shadow” that is more dramatic or potentially more deadly than road rages.  In its Wednesday July 9/08 edition, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported on a particularly tragic and deadly incident which occurred in the town of Milton, here in Halton Region.

Dashboard1_for_blog Apparently, two vehicles raced each other on the James Snow Parkway in order to be first onto the access to the eastbound 401, a major highway in our area.  After a struggle, one of the vehicles suceeded in getting ahead of the other, and it appears that the enraged driver then put on his brakes extremely hard.  The other vehicle swerved to avoid rear-ending his car, and ended up crashing into the highway median and rolling three times, with a tragically fatal outcome.  So a few moments of uncontrolled rage has led to the death of one man, and to terrible legal and personal consequences for the other.

I cannot be sure, but I would bet that, if we knew all the details, we would find that the two main players in this incident were decent, ordinary citizens.  How did they end up here, with this incredibly sad outcome?


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