venting feeds the flames

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Breathe
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Post by Breathe » Thu Mar 20, 2008 7:58 am

Holley, again I ask you, what are the parameters of this research?

Are you defining "venting" as a mild discussion about pet peeves among peers? or is "venting" referring to anger catharsis?

I've found no research (you know I've looked since you posted this) that fits the first definition in support of your theory, and in fact have found plenty of anecdotal evidence that suggests grousing in the coffee-klatch style is a healthy social outlet for mild frustration. (No official studies though.)

I have found lots of support for the second assertion, (which does not apply in any way here.) Plenty of easily found research shoots down "catharsis hypothesis," by showing that outward expression of anger by demonstrating aggression to relieve anger emotions increases feelings of aggression in the subject. Translation: if you scream and beat a punching bag when you're mad, you will both feel more angry, and have physical symptoms of stress and aggression, following the exercise. This assertion is now well-documented, and is a solid theory with accumulated scientific support.

But the two scenarios are radically different, and no scientist worth his research reputation would claim that the results of the second scenario apply equally to the first.

Interestingly, I did find a single study that suggested expression of anger in writing by the chronically ill, has positive results in management of their illness. Study
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Post by Blisss » Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:33 am

Holley, I think Breathe and the other posters are trying demonstrate that there’s a grey area between “right” and “wrong.” Venting can be either helpful or unhelpful, depending on the person, and how you define "venting". You are unlikely to be able to prove conclusively that every kind of venting is either right or wrong. Here are some studies on PubMed that demonstrate some of these nuances:

This study actually mirrors Breathe’s post exactly. It found that problem-focused coping and the seeking of social support improved mental health, whereas simple venting of negative emotions had a negative impact on mental health:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9785 ... d_RVDocSum

This study notes the difference between talking about anger & expressing anger with provocation. It found that discussion is a health-promoting alternative.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9197 ... d_RVDocSum

The following study found that different cultural groups respond best to different types of coping strategies, For example, Mexican-Americans found venting to be helpful, whereas Asian-Americans found restraint to be helpful:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1467 ... d_RVDocSum

Many studies found that women are more likely than men to seek emotional support & focus on the value of venting emotions. These same studies didn’t find any proof that one method coping was better or worse than another, simply different. Since you’re male, and many of the people disagreeing with you are female, it would appear that our experiences on BWOL match these findings. Here are two links to such studies:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1240 ... d_RVDocSum

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1284 ... d_RVDocSum

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look again

Post by holley » Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:50 am

This article is worth looking at in depth. I'd be interested in hearing comments on the specifics by all, but in particular by any who have no attachment to one position or the other.
Once we identify with a position, we tend to defend it as if it were us.

dailyheadlines.uark.edu/1020.htm

According to the author(s) .....whether venting against inanimate objects, against a person directly .....or verbally against an employer (this is the one I extrapolated to massage therapists venting about their celebrants) all show more resentment then those who have not vented.

Is that extrapolation reasonable?

Palpable, I too delight in this exploration.

It seems a double standard to require one side in a discussion to support a position with evidence and research and give the other side a free ride. There is an onus upon all in a discussion to support their opinions with something other then personal preference and personal bias, don't you think?
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Post by Spock » Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:57 am

I'd like to focus that venting be thought of as expressing a difficult thought or emotion.
I have no evidence or articles to link to, to support my views, so I can only post my own experiences as proof to me.

Energetically, the neck is like the cork in a bottle of the unexpressed. Bliss, so true about women. How many tight shoulders and necks have we worked on due to unexpressed emotions and thoughts/feelings? Especially with women as we are taught not to express anything that might offend, upset or make us seem "not nice" but always pleasant , pleasant, pleasant!
*example of a forced smile*

To me this touches on something that bothered me when I was a younger woman, especially as I waitered through school. If I was concentrating , lost in thought or just working really hard or having a bad day, men especially older or more affluent/powerful men, would say to me "smile honey". As if to say, your a woman, and no matter how your feeling you should please me."

Venting or a better word for it is EXPRESSING is healthy. If your feeling it, your feeling it, pretending it's not there is like not validating your feelings, which is unhealthy.

Should we try to turn it positive and keep our thoughts positive, sure. But let's be real here, we are on Earth and it's not always easy. We need to constructively vent.
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Re: look again

Post by Blisss » Thu Mar 20, 2008 10:30 am

holley wrote:It seems a double standard to require one side in a discussion to support a position with evidence and research and give the other side a free ride.
Holley, did you not see the 5 links I provided to pubmed articles showing varying research on this issue?

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differences

Post by holley » Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:02 am

Breathe,
what you experienced "as a mild discussion....among peers"
I experienced as 7 pages of sequential rants(with some exceptions) venting against the folks we work with.
Unless the uark psychologists are "not worth their salt"(maestra?) venting against objects or verbally (about situations) are both deleterious, scenarios are the same in their effect.

There is BLISSS in research.
Before I begin to burp feathers(image from "Witches of Eastwick come to mind) I have to chew on these a bit.
After reading the abstract, I've been unable to locate the studies (?) Looked at the 2 abstracts @ gender and it appears gender is the likely cause of our different perceptions. Did you look at the uark article?

I find your heart, if not your logic, impeccable SPOCK.
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Re: differences

Post by palpable » Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:04 pm

holley wrote: After reading the abstract, I've been unable to locate the studies (?).
Ah, yes. The biggest problem with pubmed is that you must purchase most of the studies if you want to read beyond the abstract. That is annoying.

Now to try answering your comment about both sides needing to present research (the above examples notwithstanding.)

Let's take massage therapy. Many people both practice and receive massage without needing any research to tell them it works. However, let's say you are trying to convince Dr. Cancer Treater that massage, in most cases, can be beneficial for cancer patients, and Dr. T. does not believe that to be true. It is not up to Dr. T to present you with studies saying that massage is contraindicated for cancer patients. You must present Dr. T with convincing research studies showing that cancer patients benefit from massage with a low risk of side effects.

Likewise, in this case, you are making the stand that venting is, in fact, harmful, and you are making the case to participants who find no harm in it. They don't need research to know that it works for them (as per massage therapy). In order to convince them of the harmful effects of venting, from my viewpoint, you are going to need to present the evidence (as per Dr. T.)

Yes, it does seem like a double standard, but I think it really depends on who is trying to make a point.
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Post by softy515 » Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:12 pm

I am curious as to what you like to see happen here, holley. You have shared your point of view and stated some 'research' to back it. The validity of that research is always questionable but thats ok.

Would you like to see posts being censored so that no one vents?

Is your goal to educate forum readers that venting is unhealthy?

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Re: differences

Post by maestra » Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:44 pm

holley wrote: Unless the uark psychologists are "not worth their salt"(maestra?) venting against objects or verbally (about situations) are both deleterious, scenarios are the same in their effect.
Holley, from Bartleby.com:
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Post by tranquilspirit2006 » Thu Mar 20, 2008 4:58 pm

Are MTs not allowed to have any negative emotions...nevereverever?
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Post by IntuitiveHealers » Thu Mar 20, 2008 5:47 pm

I have not read anything past the first post, as I wanted to voice my instinctual response, unadulterated. I will go back and read it after this.

I know with certainty that venting can be cathartic and is a healthy way to release that which does not serve us.

I only have a 4 year degree in Psychology, but I am also an intuitive, empathic person who has been a lifelong learner and student of the esoteric arts, of the human condition, of communication and Soul-connect. I know that intention is important. I have known, have seen in action the truth of thought-manifest as reality, long before "What the Bleep" and "The Secret" made popular the belief that the thing we focus our intention on is what we draw to us.

That being said, releasing what does not serve us is incredibly healing. Unresolved feelings often will NOT go away on their own. Without being able to get it out somehow, feelings can fester, take root and become toxic. We are all human. Allowing ourselves to revel in the human experience, for at least a brief period of time, is a balanced way to let go and move forward. It's okay to be human, thank Goddess!!!
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Post by Spock » Thu Mar 20, 2008 5:49 pm

Thank you Holley. :) I try to be "in this world but not of it", but it's not always easy.

I suppose for me to vent frustration (see my thread No Shows!") enables me to then move away from that negative emotion. For me personally if I harbored it or tried to work through it on my own, without reaching out to the people here who have been through it too, the negativity would have stayed with me much longer, and probably go into the cellular memory.

Others like yourself are able to transcend negativity without having to express negativity and my hat goes off to you and those who can. I'd like to be able to get there someday myself.


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acknowledgement

Post by holley » Fri Mar 21, 2008 12:12 pm

Your consistent courtesy and pursuit of clarity are palpable, palpable.
On this topic the majority believe it knows the truth and need not question it's beliefs. You suggest they need not support their position...because they hold it...and because I hold a different position need to support it with evidence. Both are making a point, no double standard prevails. Does that make sense or am I missing something?
Research shines light on a subject and opinion or faith becomes subsumed in a search for truth. Methodology(how we do what we do), as many have pointed out here( if one sidedly).... matters....and determines what we find.

Breathe, perceived nasty little comments (like "ha!") affect my ability to hear you, but I finally can. Too much food makes you fat. Your demand to define my terms is correct. Your understanding of the uark article differs from mine.

I'd like to ask the moderators of this forum to add the uark article, along with the pubmed research, to this thread?

Softy, I appreciate your question and civility. There is one outcome I'd like to see .....and another I am open to

1) A discussion on the research relating to the efficacy of venting.

and I'm open to listening to your opinion on the uark article (which supports my position)or the pubmed research(which seems to muddle it).

Tranquilspirit, I apologize if I conveyed condemnation of anyone for having negative emotions. I meant to say my readings indicate it's best to have positive outlets for negative energy and if we vent, do it without an audience. Intuitivehealer eloquently points out the danger of bottling things up and the benefit of allowing it expression, but mistakenly in my opinion, as venting.

maestra and shivashiva, I feel blessed by the content & manner of your participation in this thread.

Spock, thank you for your generous attributions. but I am a long ways from "having transcended negativity". There is a huge gap between my first reaction and a considered response(you should see my "save as draft" file"..well maybe not, as your opinion of me would plummet precipitously) Reacting rather than responding has been the cause of much unnecessary suffering in my life. I like to think I practice responding on this forum in hopes it will generalize to everyday affairs..my sister would be happy to point out the wee discrepancy.

So I'll leave off further comment until any research or articles are posted, except to say that open discussion (preferable civil) on a public forum is one expression of the promise of America and thank-you.
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Post by IntuitiveHealers » Fri Mar 21, 2008 3:07 pm

I am interested to know what your thoughts are about what I posted too, Holley.
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Post by Breathe » Fri Mar 21, 2008 5:15 pm

I'd be glad to explain the "Ha!" I was amused at the idea that a little bit of griping about pet peeves on a discussion board would be detrimental to the profession. I thought it worthy of a chuckle.

Regarding my "demand" that you define your terms, I have yet to see you do that. In the context of this discussion, what do you define as "venting?" Griping about pet peeves? Beating our massage tables with baseball bats? Something in between?

Is it unreasonable to request parameters when discussing the merits of an assertion such as "venting increases aggression?" Because my intent is not to be unreasonable, my intent is not to undermine you, holley. What belief, exactly, are we being asked to question here? I have seen nothing from you, not one thing, that suggests that you are doing anything different from the other posters. You have a belief, you believe it is the truth, you have presented other opinions that seem to back up your perception of truth. Where is the research? Where is the methodology? Where is the evidence?

You have not been open to a discussion on the efficacy of venting. That is what other posters are attempting to do, discuss venting- particularly as it relates to them. Your latest article (uark) is yet another editorial summary that deals with expression of anger (beating a pillow, yelling, etc) leading to more aggressive feelings. The editorial summary specifically references studies on catharsis theory and maladaptive anger reaction and other expression of anger. In my opinion, the type of venting you originally referenced in this thread (the other thread where people were complaining and joking about stinky feet and other pet peeves,) is a completely different animal.
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Post by Breathe » Fri Mar 21, 2008 6:23 pm

Holley wishes me to apologize for continuing to ask him to define the parameters of his statement that "venting increases aggression."

Holley, I'm sorry that I thought "and such" left the door open for catharsis theory. I didn't realize that you meant... well, what DID you mean by "and such?"


Here's the thing: If you're going to make an assertion that indirectly (or directly) criticized a large portion of the membership here (yes, including me, as I did vent on the pet peeves thread about the music and tresor perfume,) don't be surprised if one, or many, of us wishes to try and pin down the statement, and ask that you back up your words. Otherwise, you're just throwing down.

Do you want to "discuss?" or do you want to throw down?
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Post by holley » Fri Mar 21, 2008 6:58 pm

Alright. Repeatedly Breathe requests a definition of venting. Post #4 states"....by venting I mean blowing off steam, expressing pet peeves and such...." An apology saying you were mistaken and venting was defined, would be welcome.

More welcome, however, would be posting the uark article and the pubmed studies, the first of which I've read and mentions venting as a negative. Rather then sniping at one another we could then lambaste the research. Uh, Perhaps I'd also like a
"throw down". Please message specifics.
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Post by Breathe » Fri Mar 21, 2008 7:13 pm

What does "and such" include? What part of "define" is so difficult for you to grasp? Does "and such" allow for what researchers define as "catharsis theory?" or does "and such" mean mild expressions of frustration? The two definitions are vastly different.

You continue to reference the uark article. It was an editorial that provides a general summary of some research. The research seems to be (but it's not clear because the article was so general) regarding catharsis theory, and maladaptive anger reactions. This is NOT the same as expressing pet peeves.

I have yet to see any real research (and I've looked, extensively,) that supports the theory that expressing pet peeves, and other mild forms of complaining or "venting" are in any way harmful. In fact, even the editorials barely address the concept, instead being about maladaptive anger expression, ie: expressing anger and/or rage, whether directly or indirectly.

There has been no research to lambaste. I wonder how someone who professes to be so accepting of "celebrants" can be so unaccepting of fellow massage therapists? It seems this whole thread is just a giant, self-righteous shame-on-you.

Because you keep asking for the "research" article from uark to be posted, and because it seems it can't be linked directly, I've posted the text of the editorial below. Any who care will be able to note that it contains no actual research. In the context of the article, it does not appear to be referring to anything that resembles the type of "venting" that was in the 5-page "pet peeves" thread.
Angry? Breathing Beats Venting

Blowing off steam may seem like a good idea, but according to a University of Arkansas psychologist, venting just makes matters worse.
Jeffrey M. Lohr
Jeffrey M. Lohr

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - While it is a common assumption that an angry person needs to blow off steam or risk going through the roof, research in psychology shows just the opposite. According to University of Arkansas psychologist Jeffrey M. Lohr, research has consistently showed that venting anger is at best ineffective and in some cases is even harmful.

"In study after study, the conclusion was the same: Expressing anger does not reduce aggressive tendencies and likely makes it worse," Lohr and colleagues wrote in "The Pseudopsychology of Venting in the Treatment of Anger: Implications and Alternatives for Mental Health Practice," which appeared as a chapter in Anger, Aggression, and Interventions for Interpersonal Violence, edited by Timothy A. Cavell and Kenya T. Malcolm of the University of Arkansas.

Lohr wrote the chapter with Bunmi O. Olatunji, a former UA graduate student and now an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University, and Brad J. Bushman of the University of Michigan. Their study of the results of research in anger expression - going back to one of the earliest experiments in 1959 - convinced the psychologists that the continued use by therapists of venting techniques that lack scientific support "directly challenges the integrity of mental health practice and places the public at risk."

The authors begin by noting that, from an evolutionary perspective, anger is a normal emotion that functioned as a response to threats. Anger can be expressed as aggression, or suppressed anger can produce hostility. While Aristotle advocated catharsis or emotional release from negative feelings and Sigmund Freud theorized that repressed emotions could build up and cause psychological symptoms, the notion of catharsis has not held up under scientific examination.

"If venting really does get anger 'out of your system,' then venting should result in a reduction of both anger and aggression. Unfortunately for catharsis theory, the results showed precisely the opposite effect," Lohr and colleagues wrote.

In study after study, subjects who vented anger against inanimate objects, who vented directly against the person who induced their anger, who vented hostility by playing football or who vented verbally about an employer - all showed more resentment than those who had not vented. In some experiments, venting led to aggression against innocent bystanders. Even those who firmly believed in the value of venting ended up more hostile and aggressive after thumping pillows or engaging in other expressions of anger.

"What people fail to realize is that the anger would have dissipated had they not vented. Moreover, it would have dissipated more quickly had they not vented and tried to control their anger instead," the researchers wrote.

In contrast to the venting experiments, other studies have shown that anger dissipates faster when people take deep breaths, relax or take a time out. Any action that "makes it impossible to sustain the angry state" can help defuse anger.

The authors note encouraging evidence that cognitive-behavioral therapies are effective for anger reduction, and unlike with venting strategies, no harm from this form of therapy has been documented. The process by which cognitive-behavioral therapy produces beneficial effects is still uncertain, and more research is needed.

"By using anger interventions in which the evidence for efficacy is based on strong experimental tests, practitioners can hopefully improve patients' ability to effectively regulate maladaptive anger reactions by promoting efficient coping strategies, and at worse do no harm," write Lohr and his colleagues.

Lohr is a professor of psychology in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. In addition to studying affective processes in anxiety and related disorders, he analyzes science and pseudoscience in contemporary psychology.

###
Contact:

Jeffrey M. Lohr, professor, psychology
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
(479) 575-4256, [email protected]

Barbara Jaquish, science and research communications officer
University Relations
(479) 575-2683, [email protected]
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Post by BJB-LMP » Fri Mar 21, 2008 7:47 pm

Hmm. So in that interview (thanks for the cut-&paste Breathe), the U.Ark guy says he is the co-author of a metastudy, not a specific study himself -- and the author of a book chapter about the topic. I guess this interview didn't note his definition of 'venting,' either -- and it looks like it might include a wide range of choices, from physical aggression to gossiping w/co-workers?

Gah. I will say for the record that I feel all these ways on different days. Some days I am going to post or talk and get things off my mind; some days I am going to get all worked up and yell; and other days I am going to take the long view and let it all roll on by. Still other days I am going to revisit old situations, trying to sort things out that I didn't understand at the time. Honestly, I haven't found that any one strategy is perfect for me 100% of the time.

Holley it sounds like maybe you are working on the "let it roll on by" strategy at this time in your life? I wish you success using it when you feel it is working; I hope you can be gentle with yourself if you find that you want to use another strategy too. And if it distresses you to see/hear others using it -- personally I thank you for the reminder to use the "roll on by" strategy sometimes, as I am a hair-trigger and need reminding! But also trust that your fellow and sister MTs also take a deep breath of compassion, many times a day, for themselves, their clients, their colleagues, and that includes you. ;)

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Post by palpable » Fri Mar 21, 2008 8:12 pm

Hopefully, the following resources will help matters:

This is a "how to" guide for searching the medline database:
http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/315/7101/180

This links to a page with a PDF article by Joseph Muscolino entitled Anatomy of a Research Article. Sorry I can't link directly.

http://www.massagetherapyfoundation.org/or_methods.html
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Post by Jenlait81 » Sat Mar 22, 2008 12:16 am

In my opinion and this is just my opinon and all of us have a right to an opinion on this forum so I'm not gonna judge any of you for commenting on this subject or take what you have said the wrong way but,I dont think there is a right or wrong in this matter. I'm not an expert on this nor have I researched this,but nobody knows you better than you. I look at it as what ever floats your boat.It's really up to the person and how they wish to handle their problems and what ever their beliefs are. Sometimes problems arise that I just let roll of my shoulders then other times I vent because I'm female and I cant help it :lol:...Seriously sometimes I vent about things and it makes me feel better and sometimes I vent about things and I only get more aggrevated about it. I guess it depends on how serious my situation is and if I'm really ready to let it go but I also know to much negativity isnt good for me.As far as research goes I have personally never participated in this or any study so I'm not gonna let someones research define who I am and how I should handle my problems unless they can prove it to me scientifically again nobody knows you better than you. ;)
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Post by shivashiva » Sat Mar 22, 2008 8:44 am

In reading through the cut and paste Breathe posted it references "research" and "studies" many times, but it never gives real references or a way to look it up. The methodology of the study is so important in finding it out if it applies.

I am reminded of the counseling work I did in massage school, as a student and teacher. We had a large program in Hakomi/Gestalt type counseling. I saw multiple times when venting was VERY EXTREMELY useful. When someone is traumatized and they cannot express their anger, it is very damaging. I saw several students go through the process of realizing "wow, that made me mad!" (being abused back then) and if that kind of realization is supported properly, by contacting their strength and autonomy (many time when a person is traumatized they are helpless and victims), usually after venting their anger in some way, they can then move on to sadness that such a terrible thing happened and compassion for their younger/abused self. If they're lucky they will have forgiveness for their abuser. If you can't acknowledge the anger and let it go, you may never get to experience those even more healing emotions of compassion and forgiveness.

I explain this whole process because I think it applies to the pet peeves thread as well. Someone said (I'm not sure who, I looked but couldn't find it) how we as therapists are frequently in the position of not being able to deal with our anger directly at the time. If something happens that we're not happy with (unpleasant smells, comments, etc) we have to put on a nice face and keep on giving therapeutic touch to the person we may have anger towards. It may not be as damaging a situation as being physically abused and repressing the anger, but it is repressed anger all the same.

I wish the U.Ark article would say what kind of things the people were angry about, and how the venting was encouraged. I have a feeling that if it was just done for a study, they didn't take the time to uncover truly repressed anger. They probably just said "Pick something you are angry about and vent!" Which indeed I do not think would be healthy. But I don't think that's what's happening on the pet peeves thread.

I can see how someone who is not annoyed or does not carry frustration about "pet peeves" of their clients may see the thread as destructive. The venting is only useful if frustration is building up and not being released. That, if not released, could eventually result in destructive behavior towards clients...snappy remarks, giving them less priority than other clients, showing up late to your appointments, giving them less than your best work when working on them, or other variations on that theme.

Maybe some people on that thread are just getting angry for fun. But I feel the great majority of us are doing it in a healthful way. That's my assesment! :D
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Post by holley » Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:34 pm

IF the article posted (thanks) is correct, we have everything to gain and nothing to lose by:

" opening every closet and evicting the mind's ghosts that have the bad habit of barfing everywhere."

We might gain from a forgiveness ceremony, rather then venting, by coming together and gather the strength to unmask ourselves, recognizing we are wounded healers and healers wounding.

Er, anyone have any documentation, pro or con, on this? I have read a few articles...
'Every Day is a god, each day a goddess and holiness pours forth in time."

BJB-LMP
Registered Member
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Location: Pacific NW

Post by BJB-LMP » Sun Mar 23, 2008 6:51 am

Forgiveness nearly always follows venting/disgorging/processing. For me it is not a substitute for venting/processing. Your mileage may vary.
-Beccy

melisala
Fresh Hands
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Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 6:59 pm
Location: Colorado

Post by melisala » Sun Mar 23, 2008 8:24 am

Reading though this post has brought me back to something that I was taught in massage school. I was taught that part of being a massage therapist is the ability to provide space. The space that we provide can be used for just about anything that the client may need, as long as it is within boundries, such as the ability to relax, sleep, release stored up emotions, or just get something off their mind that has been bugging them or draining them.

As a MT I have embraced that principle. Sometimes I provide space to relax and find a serenity. Other times I have the space for "venting." I may not always agree with the "venting" but I still maintain that space , it's just what I was taught.

As a relatively new MT, I was overcome with joy to find this forum. Not only because it was a place where I could learn but because I found others just like me. I am so gald to have a "space" where I can come, get what I need and leave with some clarity.

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