Chris - A Dad worried about his anger


Chris was struggling with his anxiety and anger. On several occasions, he lost his temper and had become verbally abusive to his partner while increasingly irritable with his daughter. This worried Chris given that he had always been a caring father and partner and was determined to avoid being the same as his own aggressive father.

How many consultations and who attended?

Chris had one family consultation.

What did we do in the consultations?

  1. Explored patterns – we discussed the occasions in which Chris lost his temper and explored the specific triggers to this anger.
  2. Explored strengths – we looked at the areas in which Chris was doing well both in work and as a dad, helping him to think about how he could use these strengths to deal with his frustrations.
  3. Psychological understanding – we assisted Chris in understanding how and why his brain was being triggered, leading to these aggressive outbursts. In doing so, we helped him understand that this was simply the brain’s way of trying to keep him safe because parts of his brain had not processed that his life now was very different to when he was a child and frightened of his father.
  4. Considered options for addressing issues – we discussed techniques to help Chris stay grounded to prevent his aggressive eruptions, suggesting some resources and reading to help. We also recommended some tips for managing his interactions within the family to help share responsibility and reduce his stress. Finally, we advised that Chris seek trauma focused therapy such as EMDR to deal with his early traumatic experiences. We explained how he could find a therapist near to where he lived or he could do this online through our sister company, Shortland Psychology Associates.

What did the client have to say about the experience and outcome of the consultation?

Chris was surprised at how much we managed to explore and understand in just an hour. He needed time to think about the impact of his early family experiences, given that this was the first time he had really digested his childhood. Eventually, he decided to book in some trauma focused work with a therapist in his local area.

"Dr Andrea Shortland’s session for MediaCom on a children’s mental health was incredibly informative"

“Dr Andrea Shortland’s session for MediaCom on a children’s mental health was incredibly informative. During the second period of lockdown and home-schooling; parents and children found themselves again in a period of upheaval and transition. Many parents and carers were extremely worried about their children’s mental health and their own ability to be present and engaged whilst also playing the role of teacher and care giver. Dr Shortland gave attendees an insight into how many parents were feeling; tips on supporting children and helping them cope whilst studying from home and also managing their mental health. She also helped us realise the importance of taking care of ourselves in order to effectively support our children. It was such a useful session that we realise it was also pertinent for not only children’s mental health but also adults! We will be holding another session with Dr Andrea and MediaCom soon.”

Avelon Thompson, MediaCom (following a parenting workshop)