The Healing Power Of Anger: The Unexpected Path To Love And Fulfillment
By: John R. Rifkin, Ph.D.
Reviewed By: Jon Henshaw, M.A.
When people think about anger, images of violence, yelling, and screaming often come to mind. What doesn't usually come to mind are images of healing. Dr. Rifkin has set out to change that.
In his recently published book, "The Healing Power of Anger," John Rifkin argues that anger is the unexpected path to love and fulfillment in life. I first met John at a presentation he was giving in Denver, Colorado. I have to admit that at first, I was somewhat skeptical about his ideas. Placing "Anger" and "Healing" together sounded more like a gimmick than a sound philosophy. However, the more I heard him speak about his revelations from working with clients for over two decades, the more his ideas began to resonate with me.
In his book, he takes great strides to make his ideas accessible to both professionals, and non-professionals. Whereas some psychological and self-help authors try to weave elaborate formulas and steps to well-being, John chooses to keep his methods as simple and easy to understand as possible. This couldn't be more clear than with his unique "Stop, Drop, and Roll plan" to "unbend" anger. He writes:
The idea of "bent anger" may seem kind of strange. Consider, however, my definition of anger: the natural healing energy that the body produces in response to an injury. If anger isn't used to fix what is hurting you, it will be "bent" into some dysfunctional use of your anger. Bent anger, then, means anger which is dysfunctional. The Stop, Drop, and Roll technique will help you redirect your anger...
...I call my system Stop, Drop, and Roll because it's easy to remember, and it's what you're supposed to do when you are on fire. Before you can Stop, Drop, and Roll, however, you first have to notice that you are on fire.
John then discusses in depth what it means to recognize that you're on fire, and offers concrete examples of how to cope and heal from that injury.
One of my favorite sections in his book deals with anxiety. In particular, anxiety as a result of fear and anger, and fear and anger as a result of injury. He offers helpful techniques to understand and better cope with anxiety.
Further on in his book, he delves into the relationship between anger and mood disorders, addiction, and intimacy. Showing step-by-step how anger can be used to understand and heal emotional injuries.
The next to last chapter focuses on healing the hole in your heart. He reviews and consolidates the methods discussed throughout the book, and presents practical approaches to healing.
The last chapter sets a realistic tone to his entire message, which is "Do Whatever It Takes." Do whatever it takes to become committed to change, do whatever it takes to regain and experience emotional intimacy, and do whatever it takes to heal.