Healing the Angry Brain: How Understanding the Way Your Brain Works Can Help You Control Anger and Aggression

Overview

Do you find yourself:

• Becoming so angry you have trouble thinking?
• Acting impulsively during angry outbursts?
• Getting so mad that you feel out of control of your actions?

If these strong, sudden bursts of anger sound all too familiar, you know the impact they have over your life. Over time, these responses can actually hard-wire our brains to respond angrily in situations that normally wouldn’t cause us to lose our cool. These anger pathways in the brain can eventually ...

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Healing the Angry Brain: How Understanding the Way Your Brain Works Can Help You Control Anger and Aggression

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Overview

Do you find yourself:

• Becoming so angry you have trouble thinking?
• Acting impulsively during angry outbursts?
• Getting so mad that you feel out of control of your actions?

If these strong, sudden bursts of anger sound all too familiar, you know the impact they have over your life. Over time, these responses can actually hard-wire our brains to respond angrily in situations that normally wouldn’t cause us to lose our cool. These anger pathways in the brain can eventually disrupt your work, strain your relationships, and even damage your health.

Written by anger management expert Ronald Potter-Efron, Healing the Angry Brain can help you short-circuit the anger cycle and learn to calmly handle even the most stressful interactions. You will learn which areas of your brain are causing your reactions and discover how to take control of your emotions by rewiring your brain for greater patience and perspective. This fascinating, scientific approach to anger management will yield long-term results, helping you develop greater empathy and put effective conflict resolution skills into practice for years to come.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Director of Wisconsin’s First Things First Counseling, Potter-Efron takes an extensive look at the neurology of controlling temper. In simple terms, this involves an intra-brain struggle between the amygdala (the brain’s “fight or flight” region) and the prefrontal cortex (responsible for rational thought). He delineates six stages, ranging from feeling offended to acting to getting feedback on one’s outburst, and guides readers through the mental patterns of those who are habitually rageful: “When someone says something nice to them, they hear it as neutral... something neutral, they hear... as negative... and... something that’s actually negative, they hear... as a total attack.” Potter-Efron (Angry All the Time) is most helpful in suggesting ways to “rewire” neural pathways, including becoming more aware of bodily changes when you’re angry and practicing deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and biofeedback. The process takes practice and patience; brain changes take six months to a year, Potter-Efron observes. In a fine concluding chapter, he discusses developing a greater sense of empathy and learning to practice forgiveness. Despite some minor organizational problems, this is a helpful work for laypeople struggling to hold their anger in check, though mental health practitioners should benefit from it as well. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
“A powerful application of recent brain science to the field of anger management. Get this book and pay attention to what it says.”
—Rich Pfeiffer, MDiv, PhD, director of Growth Central

Healing the Angry Brain is as thorough a work on the neurobiology of anger as you will find anywhere. In addition to a comprehensive description of the biological and psychological functions of anger, it gives lots of practical advice on regulating anger in the context of a full and healthy emotional life.”
—Steven Stosny, PhD, author of Love without Hurt, How Improve Your Marriage without Talking about It, and Treating Attachment Abuse

“Psychotherapists are always asking neuroscientists, “How does understanding the brain help me to help my clients?” In Healing the Angry Brain, Ronald Potter-Efron provides an answer. Through a combination of clinical expertise and clear scientific information, he guides the reader to a better understanding of anger while providing a roadmap to relational and inner peace.”
—Lou Cozolino, professor of psychology at Pepperdine University

Library Journal
Practicing therapist Potter-Efron (Rage: A Step-by-Step Guide to Overcoming Explosive Anger) examines the biochemical reasons why some people are wired for anger and more likely to fly into dangerous rages that leave them feeling out of control. He reviews the structure of the brain, the limbic system in particular, and details how it regulates anger in both helpful and detrimental ways. Potter-Efron delivers a measure of hope to people who accept that they can lose control but who also recognize that they can change their behavior and neural pathways to create a more balanced personality. Appendixes on medications round out the guidance. VERDICT Potter-Efron helps sufferers recognize unconscious anger activation, avoid conscious bad choices, and develop empathy. Of great use to those who realize they have such a problem.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781608821334
  • Publisher: New Harbinger Publications
  • Publication date: 4/1/2012
  • Pages: 184
  • Sales rank: 294,542
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Ronald Potter-Efron, MSW, PhD, is director of the anger management clinic at First Things First Counseling in Eau Claire, WI. He is author of many books about anger, including Angry All the Time, Letting Go of Anger, Rage, and The Handbook of Anger Management.

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