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Responding to Violence, Suicide, Psychosis and Trauma

Catharsis or “better out than in” – when faced with an aggressor is it best to let them express their anger?

Actually this is a really critical question when considering your best strategy in deal with a potentially explosive situation. Is it best to encourage the aggressor to vent their anger, or work to contain it? The pneumatic plumbing model suggests that its best to let the aggressor let off steam, alleviate the internal pressure and avert a potential explosion. Its an interesting, commonsense and intuitive approach. Therapeutically, I think most people would agree that its not good to store up angry feelings, but there is a big difference between what might be helpful right now and what might help in the longer term. The following study is food for thought:

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 28, No. 6, 724-731 (2002)
DOI: 10.1177/0146167202289002
© 2002 Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.

Does Venting Anger Feed or Extinguish the Flame? Catharsis, Rumination, Distraction, Anger, and Aggressive Responding

Brad J. Bushman

Iowa State University, bushman@iastate.edu <!– var u=”bushman”,d=”iastate.edu”;document.getElementById(“em0”).innerHTML=’

Filed under: Violence

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