Like any pattern of behaviour, kicking the habit of aggression can be hard to do. How can we put aside our need to win? In my view, aggression is borne out of anxiety and fear, not out of confidence or true self-esteem.

Therapy can help us to face our fears such as losing face, losing our authority or losing our emotional self-control. To keep such fears inside us may lead us to feel powerless and likely to propel us into aggression.

Rather than feel resigned to feeling powerless, we can exercise our basic rights

Rather than feel resigned to feeling powerless, we can exercise our basic rights. Such as reserving the right to have our questions answered and concerns heard. If we need support, we can heed our anxiety and take someone along as a supportive presence. I often encourage clients to bring someone along at the initial stage of therapy if this alleviates their anxiety and worry.

The process of therapy itself can help us avoid falling into our old traps. Once we discover we can keep aggression out of our own communication, it can have a long lasting effect on the outcome. When someone is aggressive to us, it is usually not because they are not an aggressive person. An aggressive response is usually a response to something we say or do in the first place.

Therapy can help us to develop more effective ways to communicate. And it is so much more than words. It is about our tone of voice, our body language and our turn of phrase. Most of us are unaware of how aggression seeps into our communication. Therapy can help us develop more self-awareness of how we come across to others.

Anxiety expressed openly does no harm. Pushed down it leaks out in other ways. Attempts to hide anxiety often emerge as defensiveness and in turn trigger an aggressive response. This is how aggression escalates. Becoming more aware and more comfortable with expressing our feelings are so central to our personal power.

And therapy is an excellent place in which to learn how to do this.