How TED* Can Transform Anger
This blog is written by Bob Brinker M.A.
Bob is a long-time subscriber to TED* Works!® who wrote to us about how he uses TED* as a counselor.
I have lost track of when I first became aware of the Karpman Drama Triangle and TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)®, but I have found it extremely effective in my work as a therapist. As a counselor at a Catholic Agency in Southwestern Pennsylvania, I facilitate a program for men dealing with issues of anger and aggression. This program has been in existence for almost 30 years.
Since using the TED* model, I have found it highly effective to help men understand that their choices, not their reactive triggers, are the source of their difficulties. As David Emerald states in his book, The Power of TED*, there are choice points that help transition out of the drama triangle roles into the TED* roles.
I would like to share how the model has impacted my work.
Using Stephen Karpman’s Drama Triangle, those in the program become familiar with the roles of Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer. When they experience frustration and discomfort (strong emotions), they typically seek to change the environment instead of their responses. They blame others for their circumstances (Victim). Often, when frustrated, they seek to strike out or punish (Persecutor) those they see as the source of their discomfort. Perceiving their perspective as right, and anyone who disagrees as wrong, they frequently embrace the Rescuer role, having no confidence in the person’s right to choose and exercise self-determination.
Aggression and violence have been noted as power and control issues. Here I like to use the Gandhi quote: “Any attempt to impose your will on another is an act of violence.”
My goal is to help the men give up their practice of controlling others and focus on themselves, while taking a healthy form of control and becoming more responsive instead of reactive. This is where the three roles in the TED* triangle come into play.
Creator Role. The men learn that they have choices. Good choices lead to better outcomes. They learn to slow down and identify what they want and decide if their current actions will get them what they want. They learn to ask the questions: What do I want for myself? What do I want for the other person? What do I want for the relationship? They think things through and are more responsive rather than reactive.
Challenger Role. Instead of telling, they ask questions. They are curious and open to other points of view. Once again to quote Gandhi: “Everyone holds a piece of the truth.”
The men become more open to new perspectives and possibilities. They begin to give up the need to always be right.
Coach Role. Instead of taking over (rescuing), they coach. They embrace the role of teacher. They identify “teachable moments” and make use of them. When they adopt this approach, relationships become more cooperative as opposed to adversarial. They become less judgmental and become more supportive of others.
The Empowerment Dynamic has provided me, as a counselor, an approach that the men can easily relate to. As a result, they are more receptive to the anger management and nonviolent conflict resolution approaches that are taught in the program.
TED* is very compatible with the various therapeutic approaches I use (I tend to be eclectic). What has been very gratifying for me is that many of the individuals that I work with have purchased a copy of The Power of TED* and want to keep learning. They have started using TED* in their daily lives and the comments I get from the men have been most positive.
-Bob Brinker M.A.