From the time we are born, women are subjected to cultural messages. They’re taught about how to control their anger and aggressive feelings. These messages come to us from our families, from institutions, and through the media. Our bodies become repositories for these messages. Holding our anger inside and denying our aggressive feelings leads to anxiety and physical ailments. As a result it seems as if our bodies, not the socialization experience, betrays us.
Short-term Group Therapy for Women
After years of working with women who live in physical pain and illness because of the anger and anxiety held in their bodies, I developed Women and the Body Experience: Understanding Our Anger, Aggression, and Anxiety. It’s an introductory curriculum combined with short term treatment. In weekly sessions, psychotherapeutic group participants are introduced to techniques to help examine the web of unhealthy messages they’ve absorbed into their bodies. Each brief lesson is followed by a dynamic group experience:
- Together we look at how anger and aggression are suppressed. We learn that aggressive feelings are normal human experiences and we begin to explore ways to express rather than to suppress those feelings.
- Together we look at the anxieties and self-doubt that seep out of our bodies when out-of-control anger and aggressive feelings begin to erupt. We explore options for expressing those feelings.
- In a mutually supportive group we explore ways to be more honest with ourselves and others when we experience angry thoughts and feelings. We practice and we learn together.
Under my guidance of a skilled psychotherapist, we work together to establish harmony with our anger, our aggression and our bodies. Each participant is invited to develop goals and a behavior path to get there. Together we assess if the goals are realist and we affirm each others’ progress towards achieving their goals. Together we begin to heal.