Maria Espinola, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor in the UC College of Medicine, spoke with radio host Eddie and Rocky of WLW 700 about individuals creating conflict at sports events and during airplane travel. Incidents of unruly behavior such as a Boston Celtics fan throwing a water bottle at Brooklyn Nets NBA player Kyrie Irving, or a Delta airline passenger trying to open the cockpit door in midflight, have intensified as COVID-19 restrictions ease. Espinola, who also sees patients at UC Health, called the incidents unfortunate and come after a very difficult year for the country. “We have to separate anger from violence,” says Espinola. “They aren’t the same. Anger is a normal human emotion. Violence is a behavior and requires action.”
Espinola says she asks patients in anger management session to consider an exercise which allows them to become aware of what is going on in their bodies. With anger the face my warm, teeth grind and fists clinch. She asks patients to rate their anger on a scale of one to 10 and if the anger has intensity of four or higher to pledge not to stop whatever they are planning to do. “We don’t come up with the best ideas when we are feeling angry,” explains Espinola. She asks individuals to then think about what ever goal it is that they want to accomplish and then ask if your action will get you closer to that goal. “Will punching this person get the rules (of a game) changed or will it get you arrested?” she mused.
Featured sports image is courtesy of Unsplash.