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  • Writer's pictureRobert Davies

Anger- DAILY MOOD LOG: Part 2

Updated: Dec 6, 2019

Robert Davies © 2019


Most people like stories, and therapy is all about stories. Telling stories about powerful techniques used in TEAM CBT therapy demystify this therapy one story at a time.

Yet, confidentiality is a cornerstone of all counselling. Without confidentiality, clients wouldn’t feel safe going to therapy to divulge the most painful areas of their lives. To safeguard clients while illustrating TEAM CBT techniques, confidentiality is kept by either having the client’s consent or by distorting the facts, making the client unrecognizable . These stories are excellent for homework where the clients get to understand how TEAM CBT therapy works and perhaps how other clients with similar challenges experienced the wonderful and sudden changes that such therapy can bring.

It Takes Two to Tangle Part 2

Now let’s go back to your negative emotions and that particular episode and see what you might have been thinking.”

Understanding My Negative Emotions

“Well, when I was feeling anxious and worried, I was thinking about hurting someone. I wouldn’t want to do that. So, if my anger got completely out of control, well, that is pretty scary. I wouldn’t want to hit anyone or cause an accident while I was driving or anything like that.”

“So, Clay, what might you be thinking then?”

“Well, that I can’t control myself.

“Good, Clay. Now write that down and tell me how true did it seem at the time.”

Clay wrote down: I can’t control myself -100% True.

“Good! Choose another emotion.”

Guilty remorseful, bad, ashamed at 100%.

“Okay, Clay, what were you thinking or telling yourself when you were feeling that emotion.”

“That I shouldn’t be taking this out on my wife & my daughter. They shouldn’t have to be exposed to this.”

“Good, that is two thoughts. Write both down as Negative Thought 2 and 3. Write in how true did they seem at the time.”

Clay wrote down 70% true for That I shouldn’t be taking this out on my wife and 100% true for My daughter shouldn’t have to be exposed to this.”

“You are doing great, Clay. How about your feeling ‘Embarrassed, foolish, humiliated, self-conscious at 100%’?

“Robert, I was thinking that People will judge me.”

“How true did that seem?”


“And, Clay, the feelings of angry, mad, resentful, annoyed, irritated, upset & furious at 100%?”

“Well, I was thinking that it wasn’t my fault and I shouldn’t have gotten angry.”

“Sounds as if you are blaming both yourself and your wife, maybe. I don’t know?”

“Well, yes. She got me going, but I hate myself for getting angry.”

“Great work, Clay. What thought do you want to look at first? You see it is our thoughts that cause our emotions which drive our behaviour. Of course, it isn’t easy to be bothered about your household chores on Saturday morning when you are trying to relax after a long week at work so when we are trying to think under trying circumstances, it is difficult. What happens is that our thinking becomes twisted somewhat. It is very difficult to get our thoughts together accurately when someone is bugging us about taking the garbage out or whatever. So your thoughts get distorted or twisted.

Now researchers have found at least 10 distortions in our thinking when we are upset.

"Clay, there are 10 cognitive distortions that hinder our thinking.

Here they are:

1. All-or-nothing thinking. You look at things in absolute, black-and-white categories.

2. Overgeneralization. You take one single event and you generalize it to your entire life.

3. Mental filter. You dwell on the negatives and ignore the positives or vice versa.

4. Discounting positives. You insist your positive qualities don't count or vice versa.

5. Jumping to conclusions. You jump to conclusions not warranted by the facts.· Mind-reading. You assume that people are reacting negatively to you. · Fortune-telling. You predict that things will turn out badly.

6. Magnification or minimization. You blow things way out of proportion or shrink them.

7. Emotional reasoning. You reason from your feelings: “I feel like an idiot, so I must be one.”

8. Should statements. You use “shoulds,” “shouldn'ts,” “musts,” “oughts,” and “have tos. ”Self-directed “Shoulds” cause feelings of guilt, shame, depression and worthlessness. Other-Directed “Shoulds” cause feelings of anger and trigger interpersonal conflict. World-Directed “should” lead to feelings of frustration and entitlement.

9. Labeling. Instead of saying, “I made a mistake,” you tell yourself, “I'm a jerk” or “I'm a loser.”

10.Self-blame and other-blame.· Self-blame. You blame yourself for something you weren't entirely responsible for.· Personalization. You hold yourself personally responsible for an event not entirely under your control.-Other-blame: you blame others for something that they were not completely responsible for.

“Okay, Clay. Let’s take one thought and look for distortions if there are any.”“Let’s do number three negative thought: I will lose control “Good. Now let’s look at distortion #1All or nothing thinking. Is that an extreme thought? Is it at one end of the spectrum? You can either lose control of yourself or not. How about thinking in percentages? Can you lose control of yourself some of the time or half the time or most of the time, Clay?”

“Well, I am not angry all the time. I think I can control myself most of the time.”

“Good! So, you caught one distortion. Now how about #2 - Mental Filter. When you are thinking that you can’t control yourself, are you thinking about all those times when you did control yourself?”


“Have you controlled yourself and your temper sometimes or half the time or often?”

“Yes, I have”

“Then that is another distortion. You aren’t thinking of when you have controlled your temper, only when you haven’t. ”

“Now look at the other distortion, “Discounting the Positive”. When you tell yourself that -you can’t control your behaviour that you'll lose control - are you discounting those times when you did control your anger?”

“Yes, I see. That’s right.”

“Then you are leaving out the poistive part of actually controlling your anger. Clay that is another distortion, #4.

Now Look at #5, Jumping to Conclusions. There are no facts that tell you that you can predict the future such as Fortune Telling. When you say you will lose control, that you can’t control your temper, aren’t you predicting the future. You can’t control your temper now, and you can’t control your temper tonight, or tomorrow or the next day?”

“Yes, these are rather facts that prove I can control my anger, not always but many times.”

“So that’s another cognitive distortion.

How about #9, Labeling? Are you labelling yourself “Uncontrollable” when you say, ‘I can’t control my anger’?”

“Yes, I am.”

“And are you uncontrollable?”

“No, I can stay in control of my anger.”

“So, Clay, that is another cognitive distortion you are using, labelling yourself.”

“How about #6?”“You mean Magnifying and Minimizing?”

“Yes, Clay.”

“Well, Robert, I do make a big thing about my losing my temper, getting angry. At the same time, I also minimize those times when I have been able to control it.”

“Good, Clay, that is another cognitive distortion. How many do we have so far?”

“#1, #3, #4, #5, #6, and #9.”

“Let’s look at #7, Emotional Reasoning. You feel as if you can’t control yourself; therefore, you think that you can’t control yourself. Is that right? Because it FEELS TRUE, doesn't mean it REALLY IS TRUE! You need facts. Feeliing has not facts only the feeling. ”

“Well, Robert, I guess so it certainly does feel sometimes that I can’t, but as we were discussing there are lot’s of times when I have controlled my anger.”

Mr. Jenkins, then pointed out to Clay that he has at least 7 distortions in his thought, “I can’t control myself”, so it can’t be all that true. It is twisted in 7 different ways. He then asked him was positive, realistic and true about his ability to control his anger.

Clay responded “I can say that I have controlled my anger many times in the past and I can learn to control it better.

“How true is that Clay?”

“It is 100% true.”

“How true is it that you cannot control your anger?”

“It isn’t true at all.”

“So, Clay, how true is it now?

"It is 0% true that I can’t control it."

Clay went through all his other negative thoughts and found distortions in them too and rewrote those into positive, realistic and true thoughts. Then he went back to his negative emotions and found that they had all dropped in intensity. He was learning how catching the distortions in his negative thoughts and re-thinking them realistically and positively, putting the lie to the original negative thought can change dark moods altogether. It was like magic this new power. Change how you think, and this changes how you feel which in turn results in improved behaviour.

Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury that provokes it.

Seneca You can learn to restrain your anger by using cognitive distortions to catch the lies we tell ourselves. THE END

We will look a powerful technique for handling being tempted by Anger: Part 3

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