One way of looking at anger and rage is that they are two quite different experiences and therefore need working with differently.
Anger is actually a positive emotion, in that it can indicate to us many helpful things. It is how we use the experience of anger that can be positive or cause problems and difficulties ie how we may act out unhelpfully, or address issues, and make the changes needed. See more about anger.
Rage can be very harmful,violent and destructive and like anger is addressed in counselling. When experiencing rage, there is normally the inability to think clearly, and an inablility to control oneself and actions. People who experience issues with rage, may have experiences of past events which have not been processed or worked through enough on a thinking or feeling level.
Rage can be understood as a defence or protective mechanism that the body reverts to when it just doesn’t know what else to do. There is often a sense of feeling overwhelmed in a situation. At an unconcious level there is an experience of a threat to survival – this can be physical or psychological, rational or irrational. The perceived or real threat to survival triggers the fight/flight response whereby there is an outburst of rage.
Working with rage can involve working on many levels such as thinking, feeling, sensatory and behaviours such as:
– Exploring/working through unprocessed events and emotions
– Looking at thoughts and perceptions to experiences which may be contributing to the rage response.
– Learning to connect to what is happening in the body
– Becoming more aware of emotional responses and unmet needs
– Exploring relaxation, and calming strategies