Monday, January 7, 2013

Controlling Anger and Violence

Incidents of mania and rage are on the rise, leading to a lot of violence and sex violence nowadays. Anxiety, depression and suicides amongst our people are also steadily increasing. Although all these problems are mood or behavioral problems, most people have now started believing that they are all mental health problems. But actually, they are merely problems caused by our inability to control our passions. 

Reason is often completely in thrall to passion. And so, rational and cognitive techniques in education and in therapies are often quite ineffective. When our passions or emotions, anger and fear, get enraged, the clarity of our thinking suffers, and we tend to make mistakes and commit blunders – some people become aggressive and violent while others surrender meekly when threatened, unable to voice or do the needful . All the violence, sexual violence, crime and corruption that we are seeing around us today can, directly or indirectly, be attributed to our inability to control our passions. Anger and violence, including sexual violence, can diminish only when people learn the skill to control their passions and emotions.

Maslow’s 1943 paper A Theory of Human Motivation, which is being used quite successfully by management and human resource trainers to improve behavior of their workforce, is a general dynamic theory for controlling one’s passions and, for achieving self-actualization – realizing one’s own ability and potential. 

Passions are strong emotions that compel us to act. Passions arise in us to motivate and instigate us to satisfy our needs – the physiological needs and the psychological needs, namely the Safety needs, the Love and Belonging needs, and the Esteem needs. All our activities and behavior are motivated for the satisfaction these basic needs of ours.

And when any of these basic needs gets thwarted or threatened, we get angry or afraid, and tend to act irrationally, harming others or ourselves. This is what disturbs peaceful coexistence. Maslow’s brief needs gratification therapy gives us a way to become conscious of our psychological needs, which are very often largely unconscious, thus giving us the opportunity to control our passions.

The physiological needs, however, are the most powerful of all our needs and Maslow asks us to consider homeostasis, and correct our nutritional deficiencies, in order to satisfy these needs. Educators, unfortunately, do not teach us the way to satisfy our physiological needs. Leaving our physiological needs unsatisfied in times of stress can often lead to mood and behavioral problems, as you would understand by watching this short video and interview of mine:

We have published two books on Maslow’s needs gratification therapy. One of them, The Lost Path, has been praised by Jeremy Hunter, professor of self-management at the Drucker Graduate School of Management in Claremont, California. The presentation I had given to the scientists of the Defense Institute of Psychological Research, DRDO Delhi, has also been well appreciated. I have also presented papers on the technique at various psychology conferences. You can check these out on our website:

As the incidents of anger and violence in the nation are on the rise, we have decided to give seminars and presentation at educational institution on the technique to control one’s passions and emotions. Another thing that must be noted is that, counselling and psychotherapy is often ineffective when the basic needs of the counselor remain unfulfilled. So your staff, counselors and trainers, would find Maslow’s humanistic needs gratification technique highly beneficial, not only for themselves but also in helping students and others to be in charge of their emotional responses and to avoid dysfunctional behavior.

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