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Wise Counsel Interview Transcript: An Interview with Steven Shaps, MA on Anger Management

David Van Nuys, Ph.D.
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Dr. David Van Nuys: Welcome to Wise Counsel, a podcast interview series sponsored by CenterSite, LLC, covering topics in mental health, wellness and psychotherapy. My name is Dr. David Van Nuys. I'm a clinical psychologist and your host. On today's show we will be talking with Steven Shaps about anger management.

Steven Shaps, MA MFT, practices body-mind psychotherapy in Portland, Oregon. He specializes in the practice of somatic psychotherapy, and anger and stress management. He works with individuals, couples, families, and groups in his private practice and he leads workshops and seminars in anger and stress management.

In addition to mindfulness, meditation, and somatic sensing, he also leads workshops and provides coaching on executive and staff management. He is a marriage and family therapist and according to his website he has certifications in anger management, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing... also known as EMDR, clinical hypnotherapy, marital and couples therapy, and co-dependency.

He has extensive training in Ericksonian mind-body healing therapies, meditation, somatics, cognitive behavioral therapy, movement, breath, Buddhist meditation and Yoga. And beyond all this, he has also been a student of Native American healing traditions. Now, let's go to the interview.

Steven Shaps, welcome to the Wise Counsel Podcast.

Steven Shaps: Thank you. I'm excited to be talking to you this morning.

Dr. Van Nuys: Yeah, me too. I know that you've got a very varied background and practice. There are many things that we could talk about. But what I'd like to focus on is your work on anger management, since at one time or another, anger is likely to be an issue for most of us.

Steven: Yes.

Dr. Van Nuys: So, tell me what's your approach to helping people with anger.

Steven: There are many approaches and there are many people. [laughs] The way I look at that is... first of all from my point of view... anger of itself is not bad or wrong. It's a condition. It's part of us being human beings.

Dr. Van Nuys: Yes. Definitely.

Steven: And that's a very important statement. It is a natural function of being human; to feel the feelings of anger. My view is that it's a message. It's a message about what is going on in our physiology, our consciousness, how we interact with people. It's a response, that is the way we use it, look at it, deal with it and act on it, is critical in our relationships and how we deal with our own challenges; how we deal with life and what we want with life.

Because many of the things we do, as I see it, and want... let's put it that way... what we want, we don't always get. There's disappointments. There's conditioned behaviors. There's memories where we were stifled in our desires and wants and it resulting in disappointment. Disappointment can have many forms. It can take on many textures and colors, and by that I mean feelings. There's a degree to which we can react and deal with life's situations, and anger is one of the feelings associated with it. It can become inappropriate at times.

Dr. Van Nuys: Yes. You talked about that anger is normal, that it's something that we all experience.

Steven: Yes.

Dr. Van Nuys: So, I'm wondering if you see, that there's healthy anger and unhealthy anger, if you will.

Steven: Yes. There's healthy anger and I'm going to start with unhealthy anger first.

Dr. Van Nuys: OK.

Steven: Unhealthy anger is - it's relative to each individual. It's when it becomes destructive to our self and to others, it's almost self-abusive. In other words, we feel it. We can feel the feelings and act on it or not act on it, or be appropriate with it. It's when it becomes destructive, defensive, manipulative, overly fearful, that we hurt other people and our self. In those places, in those times, in those moments when that happens, we don't think clearly and we behave in ways that are less than constructive to our own personality and spirit and to others.

Dr. Van Nuys: It's like our lizard brain takes over. Right? [laughing]

Steven: Yeah, that's true. That old brain, that old way of dealing with life to protect ourselves from some threat or perceived threat; and it can be imagined or real. Most of us live in cities and most of us are relatively safe as compared to the time that that, so to speak, that old lizard consciousness was most "active"; where we had to protect ourselves from being killed or destroyed by other predators or other people.

The healthy side is knowing that we're upset or we feel the feelings and being able to - I'm going to use the word "transcendent, " and that's a magical word - is to use it to see that we are being given a message that we're out of balance and that we need to begin to have some self control, be able to talk about it, realize it may only be temporary and that it's a message.

Dr. Van Nuys: Yeah. Let me cut in for just a second...

Steven: Sure.

Dr. Van Nuys: ...because what you said about transcendence sparks a memory for me about a magazine article that I wrote many years ago in which I contrasted two different approaches to dealing with anger.

Steven: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Van Nuys: One I characterized as the ventilationist approach which says "Let it out or the pipes will burst, so to speak. Pound pillows, yell and scream, and maybe in your therapist's office - pound pillows, yell, scream." The other approach says, "Notice it and rise above it or transcend it. Don't act it out because that's practicing it and reinforcing it." So, where are you on that dichotomy?

Steven: Thank you. That's a real good point. I used to hold the view, a long time ago, that pounding pillows and venting it and maybe using a bat was constructive. Over years of working with my people and patients and also learning about healthy use of anger with myself, I've discovered that it reestablishes it. It reformulates it in the body. I'm also discovering that the healthy use of it, can be transcending it by learning how to be with ourselves in the moment. Now that's not always easy, particularly when we become reactive.

Dr. Van Nuys: Right.

Steven: Reactiveness can take us over and we become less than able to control our self. Now, I want to paint a picture. There's a continuum here, because everybody has their own degree of reactiveness. The question that I have is, "How can we be with ourself while we go through the experience, when that experience occurs?" That's kind of a rhetorical question. We can envision how we would like to see ourself behave; maybe stopping in the moment, taking a breath...

Dr. Van Nuys: Yes.

Steven: ...and stopping the reaction. Yet in the middle of it; what can we do? How can we behave? Very few of us have learned how to do that.

Dr. Van Nuys: Right. I think anybody who's ever been married... [laughs]

Steven: [laughs] Yes.

Dr. Van Nuys: ...or maybe has had kids, has had that experience of just being very reactive. I know in my own marital relationship, and hey, I'm a psychologist and supposed to have it all together. But, it's funny the way that one spouse can set off the other with just a word or two, and, "boom!" before you know it, it's flared up into a huge thing.

Steven: Yes, I have had similar experiences with myself in my own relationships and also with the couples that come in for marital discord. One of the suggestions I make is that they practice saying to themselves firstly, and also to one another is, "I'm in pain."

Dr. Van Nuys: Hmm.

Steven: "I'm in pain and I don't know what to do."

Dr. Van Nuys: Hmm.

Steven: Just those two things. "I'm in pain and I don't know what to do." I have them practice that, maybe say it 10 times.

Dr. Van Nuys: Really?

Steven: Yes. So that they become familiar with how that feels, when they acknowledge their own pain and they don't know necessarily what to do.

Dr. Van Nuys: Now, when I'm feeling angry, I don't necessarily experience that as pain.

Steven: Right. You don't. But I'm going to ask you to take a look inside...

Dr. Van Nuys: Mm-hmm.

Steven: ... what you're feeling when you are angry.

Dr. Van Nuys: So, can I assume that you're saying that underneath that experience of anger, that there is some pain underneath that?

Steven: Yes, yes.

Dr. Van Nuys: All right.

Steven: And perhaps even fear.

Dr. Van Nuys: Oh. Of...?

Steven: Fear of being controlled, maybe. Maybe not knowing what to say. Loss. Grief.

Dr. Van Nuys: Being wrong.

Steven: Being wrong. Yes, absolutely. Being controlled. Manipulated. That their feelings don't count. It could be even memories from childhood experiences in relationships to their parents that are now being triggered. Old memories could be coming up. What we don't do is that we don't realize that, in the moment, we don't know what to do necessarily, and that old protective behaviors get active. So, my aim is to begin to have people see that there is a way to just stop in the moment. That takes practice.

Dr. Van Nuys: Yes, I know.

Steven: And I ask them, I kind of ask them to envision an experience. Sometimes I work with them individually or in a couple. When they're in a couple, I ask them to envision an old experience, and ask them what it would be like if they stopped and ask themselves, "I don't know, I really don't know what to do. I'm in pain. I fear." Or acknowledge what the feeling is in the moment. As they begin to envision, they begin to see themselves responding differently. Right then and there.

Dr. Van Nuys: Mm-hmm.

Steven: So, it's as if they're changing the relationship to their experience.

Dr. Van Nuys: So first they develop a new relationship to the experience in their imagination.

Steven: Yes.

Dr. Van Nuys: Then later, that gets translated into practice?

Steven: Well, it's more than imagination. In my opinion. They can begin to sense physiologically, the body's response to the change in relationship to themselves. It's almost anchoring.

Dr. Van Nuys: Mm-hmm.

Steven: It's anchoring an experience. I might ask them even to breathe. Take a breath. To notice what happens. That seems to change the relationship to the experience. Even subtly, we just need a small change.

Dr. Van Nuys: Mm-hmm.

Steven: Some little break. And over time, and this takes, depending on the individual and the couples, over time, to practice this.

Dr. Van Nuys: Yeah.

Steven: I might even have them in the midst of an argument, stop. And say that to one another. "I don't know what to do. I'm in pain." Or, "I feel angry." Or upset. "This is what I feel."

Dr. Van Nuys: Hmm. OK.

Steven: I may even have them touch one another. Or hold each other's hand. Or put their hand over their heart. So that they have a physiological experience of what that's like to interrupt it.

Dr. Van Nuys: Mm-hmm. So that's a big part of your approach, then, is interrupting this, what feels like an automatic cycle.

Steven: Yes. Even for a second. Yes, even for a second, just to begin to explore what that's like.

Dr. Van Nuys: OK. You know, you mentioned family earlier. And of course we wonder, well, where does our anger come from? What about the role of the family in that? That is, going back to the family of origin?

Steven: That's a very good question. When I hear you ask that, I immediately think of the roles that parents play in raising their children. How they are really doing the best that they know how to do, with the skills that they learned from their parents. Depending upon what they have learned, the interaction between husband and wife, mother and father, almost immediately, is modeled in the children.

They see how mother and father talk to one another. They also feel, inside themselves, all the things that mother and father don't say. Children are very sensitive. I believe that their awareness is much more heightened and real and, at the same time, they don't always know how to respond to what they feel and see in their mother and father and believe that they're right. Believe that, "How can mother and father be wrong?".

Dr. Van Nuys: Right.

Steven: So there's a disconnect. There seems to be a disconnect between what children feel and what they see going on with their parents. They want to believe them.

Dr. Van Nuys: Mm-hmm.

Steven: Because it's mother and father. Of course, based on their education and their own training, parents don't always know how children are taking in the modeling that parents are presenting. This becomes a really powerful issue. When children grow up, they become adults and they enter into relationships of their own. They wonder why things aren't working out. Or that they're being triggered by situations, just out of the blue. Without knowing that, in their unconscious mind and the unconscious parts, they've taken on individuated or what I call individualized, they're taking on their parents' patterns.

Dr. Van Nuys: Yes, yes. I have the impression that some families have an angry style or at least an angry-seeming style, or that they're more expressive about anger. Whereas other families are less expressive and then when people come together in a relationship, and they come from families with different styles of handling anger, that can be an issue.

Steven: Yes, I see that a lot. And what I see happening in my sessions and what they talk about, is that they make each other wrong for their particular style of expressing themselves.

Dr. Van Nuys: Sometimes I think of East Coast versus West Coast personalities. That's probably too broad a generalization. But, you know, people from New York and the East Coast sometimes are more expressive, more confrontive, have more of an edge. Whereas on the West Coast, we're sort of more into being mellow, if you will.

Steven: Mm-hmm. Well, I think we can be more specific. Cultures. Mixed cultures. Mixed religions. Mixed perspectives...

Dr. Van Nuys: Mm-hmm.

Steven: ... can also bring that about. They don't love each other less. They express themselves differently. I've found that it's a matter of learning what the other style is and learning how not to take it so personally. Many times, each party, whether it be the man or the woman, and this is really funny. The other one would like to be more expressive where they have been less expressive. And the one that was more expressive really needed to be less expressive.

In that dynamic of opposites, each one is looking how to express their feelings in a way that the other one is modeling for them. I don't know if I made myself clear. One person may be more quiet than the other. The other one may be more expressive and express their upsets. Yet they know, deep down inside, they know that getting overly angry or not expressing their anger appropriately isn't producing the result that they really want.

They are not getting their message across. When they begin to realize that, everything shifts. They are listening, their capacity to listen and acknowledge their own feelings. After all, there is a feeling of anger, and there's also cognitions about anger, what we think. That has a lot of do with controlling or being controlled and letting go. The moment that each person sees that the other's intent, intention is very important, is one of caring and loving, there seems to be a relaxing in each person.

A deeper listening. A compassion. Empathy. When that begins to happen more frequently, the relationship begins to blossom. There's a change that takes place.

Dr. Van Nuys: OK. Dwelling just a little bit more on the positive side of anger. You know I'm thinking what about anger that is an energizing force that drives action or creativity? Political activism or you know?

Steven: Well, I think that's a good point. When we become upset, and I'm going to use the word synonymously. Upset and angry, with the situation. There's many ways that it can be used. It can be used constructively or destructively. Some people feel that their anger is justified and that they can do anything to get their point across and/or get other people to agree with them. That could be destructively through war, through violence, through hurting one another, through destroying property, through being mean and deceitful outwardly.

Or they can use the feelings to transcend or understand their own frustrations with reality. And let me see if I can make that much more clear. Many of the things that upset us, upset us as a result of our own point of view meeting the reality of the situation. Things aren't the way we would like them to be. When individuals, when people begin to see that things are different, that they're not as we would like them to be, there can be the healthy use of anger to understand our own conflict and transcend our own desires and wants and begin to become creative.

I think that's part of the question you were asking. How to do that, how can the energy be released in a constructive way so that creativity comes about? Well, I have a view and I support patients with nurturing strategies and ways of dealing with it. One of which is questions; one can ask themselves about how they feel. Are they projecting, which is a very powerful word. Projection has a lot to do with what we see happening in the outer world as a reflection of how we deal with ourself or past experiences.

But, when we begin to accept what's present and tell the truth about it, about our own fears, our own disappointments. When we begin to forgive some of our judgments. When we begin to take some actions in terms of nurturing ourself that's producing love or care. However that's done and that's done many ways on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels. There's a release. There's a physiological release, there's a release of insight, so to speak, wisdom, intuition.

Suddenly we begin to see the situation a little differently. We begin to see other ways that we can participate and make a difference and be in service. All of that, I guess there's an amalgam. There's many things that can take place. There's a greater degree of empathy for the situation in ourself. There's a relaxation of the conflict, the struggling so to speak. I call it suffering. Something changes. There's a movement, a shift.

Perhaps our intuition will kick in and our wisdom will kick in, we'll have greater possibilities where before when we're upset there was just one possibility and that was we're not getting our way. These new possibilities can, so to speak, breed ways we can deal with the situation constructively.

Dr. Van Nuys: I wonder what you're saying includes the situation of, say, the abused wife, who perhaps needs her anger in order to have the courage to leave the relationship.

Steven: That's a good question and a good statement. Healthy use of anger can also be a realization that the circumstances are not healthy. Transcending the anger by letting it go and taking a step constructively can release it. We are upset for a reason obviously. The question is, how to get to the place where we can make the most constructive decision? For instance, in the case that you've spoken about, to leave the relationship. How do we know to leave? How do we support ourselves so that we don't fall back into what's keeping that woman there.

That may be in a caretaking role, it may be fear of not having financial support. See, all of these elements can contribute to her wanting to stay.

Dr. Van Nuys: Yes.

Steven: Yet by the same token, she's angry because she sees that this is not working for her. I don't subscribe to making decisions while we're necessarily angry. But supporting ourself in having a plan or establishing a boundary, a limit to which we see that we're willing to put ourself into and willing to take, for instance, abuse.

There are addictive and co-dependent issues that take place there. We're afraid to take the steps that support us, yet we know we need to. That's a very big piece.

Dr. Van Nuys: Yes.

Steven: How to do that. How to be supportive to ourself so that's we'll move forward and not allow our boundaries to be infringed upon by somebody who's abusive, yet acknowledge that we need to do it.

Dr. Van Nuys: Yes. Yes.

Steven: That's not a comfortable place to be necessarily. It takes a lot of courage and support and acknowledgment. One of the very important things is when we want to make a change or when we do make a change, it can be very uncomfortable. It can trigger us to go back to where we were because that was a comfortable situation. Even though it's upsetting, it's destructive, it's known to us.

Dr. Van Nuys: Yes. Yes. Well, let me shift the ground just a little bit. I'm curious to how this became one of your specialties. What drew you to it?

Steven: Sure. Sure. Well. [laughter] I am giggling and laughing at the same time you ask that question.

Dr. Van Nuys: Sure.

Steven: I grew up in a family that was very expressive. My father... he was experiencing what we call in the clinical realm, "manic depression in bipolar." He would withdraw and then come out and be angry.

As children, my brother and myself, we never understood it, we thought we were always the ones that were wrong, and bad. I grew up in a somewhat abusive family at the time. We were young.

So I dealt with my own issues of how to deal with the anger, the upset, and the disappointment in me. At the same time, wanted to know why, here, I had these good feelings of being heartfelt and then suddenly being thrown in automatic reactions, the relationships; why was this happening to me? My own interest, in discovering, led me to become a therapist, and led me to be supportive to others who were in similar situations.

Dr. Van Nuys: You have said, "So often the path into this work."

Steven: Yes.

Dr. Van Nuys: No, I didn't mean to interrupt your...

Steven: No that's OK. I've learned so much spiritually about the reactions and understanding it. My father still has the issue, and I have come to accept him... a lot, in a much more empathetic light than...

Dr. Van Nuys: Are you able to be less reactive as a result of that acceptance?

Steven: Yes...yes...yes.

Dr. Van Nuys: Yeah, that's great. Now as you talk about spirituality and your whole approach. Some people could get the impression, "Well, this sound very new-agey." But I am under the impression that you've done court mandated work. Is that true?

Steven: Yes I have. I've worked with individuals, who've had very destructive experiences with issues with anger, with respect to themselves and others. I've been in prisons. I worked with individuals who are very destructive and...

Dr. Van Nuys: So that sounds very nitty-gritty and not airy-fairy at all?

Steven: Right. [laughs]

Dr. Van Nuys: So, how do you deal with the unique challenges of that sort of situation, where someone is not coming voluntarily to you, but are being, forced? How does that go?

Steven: Good question. I think I make that point apparent right away, "Why are you here to see me [laughs]?", and, "You are being forced, how does that feel?" I ask those questions immediately. I get varied answers from, "I have to be here" to "I am willing to find out, 'How I can grow'."

The men I work with, they have a range of responses. You know my first approach is to be a good listener,... find out about how they become so good at what they do. I know that might sound strange. [laughs] They laugh, "How did you be so good at being angry and being destructive?" They giggle; they've never had anybody ask them that question.

Dr. Van Nuys: That's interesting!

Steven: Yeah. Because we become good at something we think is going to give us some benefit. A destructive anger, destructive use of our feelings over time is a skill, is a behavior. We fine tune it, and we become every good at it... it's honed.

Dr. Van Nuys: Well, it certainly gets peoples attention... that must be one of the benefits.

Steven: That's right. That's right. I ask them, "What did they hope to gain by it? What was their end result?" That makes them think. I tell them, "I am not here to get rid of this, or make you wrong."

That's something they are totally surprised by. They think I am here to make them get rid of it, or make them wrong for it. And when they hear somebody say, "I am not going to judge them for it"... that's very different. They are very skeptical, they are very curious now.

Dr. Van Nuys: I imagine so!

Steven: Yes. So the process begins at that point. All of our behaviors begin with our own motive... what are we using it for? Is it....

Dr. Van Nuys: Yeah, definitely.

Steven: What is our motive? That begins a deepening, a questioning. The list...

Dr. Van Nuys: I...

Steven: Go ahead.

Dr. Van Nuys: I am sorry. I had asked you ahead of time, maybe you would have an example from your work, some kind of a quiet example. I want to make sure that we have time to get that in.

Steven: Yes. Sure. Uhm... there I go humming again and I'm not... I caught myself, so I am going to giggle.

Dr. Van Nuys: Sure.

Steven: [laughs] So, I am going to laugh at myself. I have a couple who met on the Internet. Through one of the infamous dating services.

Dr. Van Nuys: Sure, that's happening more and more.

Steven: More and more...

Dr. Van Nuys: ... I know several people who've gotten married as a result of that.

Steven: Yeah, and that's beautiful. I have this couple, who came to me, who were dealing with their upsets and disappointment about what they thought other person was saying, what they expected from the other person, and what they thought was going on. The Internet can be very deceiving. People can write about what they feel, what they want, and they respond.

At the same time, I think the part of the human condition is to imagine what the other person would be like. Our imagination can run wild, and we have expectations. We want a good looking man, a good looking woman, whatever the case might be... some values that the other person will fit in, telling the truth, communication, sharing interests. I don't know, depending on what the case might be, but in this case, these two imagined quite a bit about one another.

When they began to tell the truth, they became disappointed to some degree. They had an argument. They got angry with one another, and they stopped talking to one another. That was very disappointing, both of them shared that with me and they were hurt. Their hearts shut down. They didn't know what to do. One of them contacted me, and asked me for some suggestions.

I began to ask, one, what was their expectation... of the other, what did they want? What did they think the other person was presenting? They told me what their dreams were, so to speak. I asked them, "What was the reality, what did the other person present?"

They thought about it, and they began to realize that what the other person was presenting was different than their expectation. There was an "Ah-ha!" Specifically where they lived and they lived a distance apart from one another... they lived 600 miles. That's a long way to establish a relationship.

Dr. Van Nuys: Yes.

Steven: The gentleman began to dream about going there, going to... I think it was in the Sacramento area. He lived in Los Angeles, and he wanted to go visit her. She said, "I don't want you to visit until we can talk some more."

He became very excited; his fantasy world became very heightened, much like Internet pornography. He lived in his dreams in his fantasies, without realizing that he needed to discover if this person really would fit his real values, and also find out if his values fit into hers. It was a process of discovering. After we spoke, he admitted that his heart shut down when she began to tell him a little bit more about herself. She was down to earth and she had, what her morals and values were about life and meeting men. He realized how upset he got, how angry, how frustrated.

Dr. Van Nuys: Reality began to collide with fantasy.

Steven: Yes, yes, and none of us ever do that, of course.

Dr. Van Nuys: [laughter].

Steven: [laughter]. None of us ever do that. When he accepted that, his heart opened. He realized what he had done and he contacted her. He apologized. She accepted his apology because she had been doing it too. She had a fantasy about him. She had read his profile and she admitted her own fantasy and expectation based upon the picture that he had put on the Internet, what he wrote about himself, and she thought this was her white knight on a horse. So their relationship began to change and then I suggested that we have a talk live, the three of us, on the phone.

Dr. Van Nuys: They had not met each other physically yet, at that point?

Steven: No, no, they had not met each other physically. They were willing to talk with me, about what was going on. Through this little process of telling the truth about their fantasies, their hearts opened and they began to ask the questions that were important. What do you like? What do you like to do? What are your interests? Sports? Arts? Travel? What about your town? It became much more genuine. It was much more heartfelt. Though I wanted to caution them, that expectation and fantasy may be part of this discovery. Their listening shifted, and they were willing to take all of that in. Something changed; they were very happy to have had this little counsel on the phone with me.

Dr. Van Nuys: Do you know how the situation turned out?

Steven: Well it's still turning out. They're still in the process of inquiry. They've set up a time to meet. He's going to drive to meet her. She invited him to her house, which was very trusting on her part. He sent her more pictures. He let her know what he did. They made a plan as to the kind of things they would do together. They were very careful to relate to one another, to stay away from expectation and fantasy. That's not easy. They promised that once they began to do that, that they would tell each other the truth, that they were fantasizing about what the other one might be like.

Dr. Van Nuys: Yeah.

Steven: That seemed to change the nature of the relationship. They began to be friends first. That is, friends, in terms of; How would they deal with upset if there was any? How would they deal with each other in their exploration? So that's a beautiful ongoing process of discovery. They've made it their aim to be a friend first.

Dr. Van Nuys: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Very good. Well, as we begin to wind down, I wonder if there is any recommended reading that you have for people that might be struggling with issues having to do with anger?

Steven: That's a good question.

Dr. Van Nuys: I'm sorry I didn't give you a heads-up about this.

Steven: No, no, there's a... can I recommend a book?

Dr. Van Nuys: Yes, that's what I was hoping you would do.

Steven: Oh, OK. All right. Let me, I have it here on my bookshelf. There's a great book for men that I would like to recommend. It's called, "Angry Men, Passive Men: Understanding the Roots of Men's Anger and How to Move Beyond It, " and it's by Marvin Allen. It's an excellent book about men's stories, what their challenges have been in life.

Dr. Van Nuys: Mm-hmm.

Steven: How to deal with it, and some resources.

For women I believe, "The Dance of Anger, " and the author's name escapes me right now, so I apologize for that.

Dr. Van Nuys: That's OK, I'll look it up on the Internet and I'll...

Steven: OK,

Dr. Van Nuys: ... put it in our show notes.

Also, "Inner Bonding, " by Margaret Paul, "Do I Have to Give Up Me in Order to Be Loved By You?" And she's a great therapist and she writes some excellent material on anger and what it is. And she has an excellent six or seven part process on how to deal with feelings and expectations.

There's an excellent book on forgiveness by John Roger, "Dealing With Our Judgments and Expectation, " just to name a few.

Dr. Van Nuys: OK, I think that's probably enough [chuckles].

Steven: [laughs]. OK, yeah.

Dr. Van Nuys: OK, well, this has been wonderful, Steven. To wrap things up, are there any last words of advice that you'd like to leave listeners with?

Steven: Yes. Be compassionate with yourself. Your feelings of anger are not wrong. One very important question I suggest people to say to themselves, or ask themselves is, "What am I feeling right now?" In the midst of upset or any kind of anger, is to ask themselves, "What am I feeling? How can I deal with it?"

Dr. Van Nuys: Yes.

Steven: That's, in a short amount of time, that would be the best thing. Take a breath. Take some easy breaths in and out.

Dr. Van Nuys: OK, well, I'm taking a breath as I say, Steven Shaps, thanks so much for being our guest today.

Steven: Thank you so much, this has been an honor. And I look forward to talking to it another time. Thank you.


I hope you enjoyed this interview with my guest Steven Shaps. I had the pleasure of meeting Steven at a recent workshop that I co-lead and I thought he would make a good guest for Wise Counsel. I hope you agree. His approach to dealing with anger strikes me as a wise and balanced one, and clearly is rooted in a lot of practical experience. I know he would be very interested in hearing from you. You'll find his website at

You can also email him at You've been listening to Wise Counsel, a podcast interview series sponsored by CenterSite, LLC. Until next time, this is Dr. David Van Nuys, and you've been listening to Wise Counsel.

Transcription by CastingWords