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.
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.
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.
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.