Anger Control in Men: Barb Exposure With Rational, Irrational, and Irrelevant Self-Statements

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Anger can be frequent, intense and enduring, and is associated with intrapersonal and interpersonal distress as well as medical disorders. It is, therefore, important that effective treatments be developed. Based on the rational-emotive behavior therapy hypothesis that situational anger experiences are related to irrational thinking, we evaluated the therapeutic effects of practice with rational self-statements. Angry adult men (n = 45) from the community received 12 individual treatment sessions which consisted of repeated exposure to anger-provoking verbal barbs while they rehearsed rational, irrational or irrelevant self-statements. Results were generally supportive of the rational-emotive based intervention. In response to imaginal and face-to-face provocations, men who practiced rational self-statements were less angry on measures of state anger, anger-out, dynamometer intensity, and dynamometer frequency. Reactions to the barb technique were good, as indicated by a positive therapeutic alliance. Further exploration of this technique as part of a full spectrum treatment strategy for anger is recommended.

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