Sand tray Therapy, Anger Management, Student # 2, Martha, summer 2012

by Martha

anger management sand tray therapy volcano

anger management sand tray therapy volcano

Martha’s Anger Management Sand Tray Therapy

While creating the active, angry volcano scene I thought of all the previous times in my life when I have been angry— bubbling at the top just like my volcano. Anger is a secondary emotion. When I feel angry, I feel hurt and uncomfortable. However, I express my feelings of anger with civility. I am ultimately responsible for my feelings and my actions. My anger is not an excuse to attack another person. Civility is not optional.

When it is not safe for me to express my anger I pray, I read the Bible, I call a friend, I journal, and I exercise until the anger starts to subside. I don't repress or deny my anger. I try to channel it. Building this tray made me think of a book I had read several years ago called “The Angry Book,” by Dr. Theodore Rubin, an expert in the study of anger.

Rubin distinguishes between warm anger and cold anger. Warm anger or even hot anger, such as my bubbling volcano is an immediate response to something someone said or did that may have ignited one of our sore spots. Ultimately we are responsible for our feelings. Typically, we don’t stay in this state of warm/hot anger for long, and after a while, we return to our normative state.

Cold, frozen anger is the anger that once it cools down from being ignited it is then preserved over the years in a metaphorical freezer in the mind and in the heart. This frozen anger is called resentment.

Rubin argues that some people build their lives around this frozen anger under the disguise of being “nice.”

This resentment is a maladaptive coping strategy built on a continuously active, inner volcano that never calms down. All of us know at least one person (I’m sure many more) who stay in this state of inner anger, but deny it, and they keep using the frozen anger against others again and again.

It bears to mention that anger hurts us when we don’t express it and if we don’t release it. I plan to keep the image of my volcano in mind.

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