The Anger Iceberg; a visual way of understanding anger

In the article entitled “The Anger Iceberg” by Kyle Benson and featured on The Gottman Institute Relationship Blog, Benson writes: “Think of anger like an iceberg. Most of the iceberg is hidden below the surface of the water. Similarly, when we are angry, there are usually other emotions hidden beneath the surface. It’s easy to see a person’s anger but can be difficult to see the underlying feelings the anger is protecting.”

In therapy, one of the most useful bits of information I provide to clients is about anger. Learning that anger is an emotion that tends to come after a feeling sets up a good understanding for why we use it; it keeps us safe. Safe from the other emotions that as Benson points out, hide under the surface. Beginning to recognize what feelings are prompting the anger is a good first step in beginning to process not only the anger, but the hidden feeling as well.

Benson includes a downloadable PDF graphic image of the Anger Iceberg that is worth checking out. To read the full article:

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