The Anger of Unmet Needs

by Kim Vargas, LCSW
Why does a particular situation bring up anger for one person, and a laugh for someone else? Why is it that some people respond to the words of others with fury, and others can just shrug it off?

The answer is two-fold: Each person has different perceptions of any given situation, based on his/her own history, background, and upbringing. In addition, each individual has unique needs that must be met in order for that person to operate optimally. When perception combines with each individual’s needs, interpretations of a situation differ, leading to very different reactions.

When a person perceives that his/her needs remain unmet, feelings of anxiety, loneliness, fear, sadness, and shame develop. Unfortunately, we are not always aware of these underlying feelings, known as the “primary emotions”.  Instead, the conscious manifestation of unmet needs is often a feeling of anger, which is actually the secondary emotion. To visualize this idea of primary and secondary emotions, picture an iceberg with only anger peeking out at the top.

The anger is the tip of the iceberg, and it’s often all that we see. However, this is only a small part of the entire iceberg. The rest of the iceberg, which consists of the primary emotions, lies beneath the surface and is often more difficult to see. Once primary emotions are identified, unmet needs become evident.  

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Helping your Child to Manage Anger

by Elizabeth Campbell, MS, LPC

One of the most beautiful aspects of parenting is your relationship with your child.  In this relationship, you are an attachment figure, and are responsible for shaping a child’s life in many ways.  Attachment influences identity, self-esteem, future relationships, and emotional regulation.  In other words, your child learns from their relationship with you how to calm themselves down when they feel intense emotions.  Often adults immediately go to behavioral means to manage troubling behaviors that come with anger, and although structure is imperative for a child’s development, the parent-child relationship is the foundation for change.

One of the ways that children develop so rapidly in their early years is through modeling.  They utilize mirror neurons within the attachment relationship as a means to grow.  Awareness of these mirror neurons in parenting can be extremely helpful.  The phrase, “actions speak louder than words,” is very accurate in parenting!  Modeling is the most effective way for your child to learn from you.  Therefore, if you use self-care by going to the gym, meditating, spending time with friends, baking, etc., you are providing an excellent model for a child to learn how to regulate themselves. 

Controlling anger is not just in the moment, it is a practice of regulating stress overall. The opposite is also true.  If you are struggling with taking care of yourself and juggling the demands of family, your child sees that and learns from it.  In prioritizing your own self-care, you are also prioritizing your child’s emotional health.

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Anger Management Resources

Featured Programs


Transforming the Buzz of Emotions (A CEM Workshop)

Wed, 10/28, 7:30-9pm

Do encounters with co-workers, relatives, or friends leave you feeling wiped out? Have you ever felt like your system is buzzing with extra energy or tension? Join us to explore how you can use the wisdom of your body to help you learn to transform the buzz of emotions and reduce stress through art, meditation, movement and connection.

Connection, Expression and Movement (CEM) is a monthly workshop series focusing on body-mind integration. Each month the discussion and activities center on a specific theme such as stress management, emotions, and finding balance in your life. No experience or previous trainings required.

To RSVP or learn more,contact Brittiney George at 610-389-7866 or or visit this website

Mindfulness and Radical Self-Care for Healthcare Professionals

Friday, October 16, 2015, 10am - 12pm, ongoing for 6 weeks
Cost: $299 per person; bring a friend for $199 each. 
Instructor: Jen Perry, MSEd, MA, LPC

Dedicating our lives to helping others is a noble and loving livelihood. However, caring for others and ignoring our own needs eventually leads to burnout and can sap the joy out of even the most promising career. Many of us have blocks when it comes to self-care. We know what we need to do but often have trouble taking the necessary steps to actually doing it. In Radical Self-Care for Healthcare Professionals you will receive support and learn techniques to meet yourself in new and caring ways. 

To learn more, contact Jen Perry at or (215) 292-5056
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October Events

Learn more about all of our offerings – and how to RSVP – by clicking on the program title on our online calendar or following the links below.

FREE QiGong at Ambler Borough Park

Saturday, 10/3, 1pm
This is a gathering for a National QiGong Association Day Celebration.  Ambler Borough Park is located at the intersection of Hendricks St. and Valley Brook Road in Amber, PA. 
Write Karensteinbrecher for more details.


Children’s Workshops - I Know What to Do with My Feelings

Sundays, September 20 - October
11am -12pm
Contact Kathy at 215-289-3101 or

Children’s Workshops - We Can Have Fun Together

Sundays, 11/1 – 11/22, 11am–12pm
Contact Kathy at 215-289-3101 or for more information or registration.

Laughter Yoga – Monthly on Mondays

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Sound Meditation and Relaxation Experience

Every other Sunday. 7 pm
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Teen Girls Yoga, Stress Reduction, & Confidence Building

Weekly on Mondays, 5:45–7pm
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Rumi and Hafiz Poetry Evening

Monthly on Wednesdays
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Rest, Restore, and Move Class

Every other Tuesday
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EMDR Consultation Group

Monthly on Fridays
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LPC Supervision Group for Therapists

2 Wednesdays per month, 5:30–7:30 pm
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New Moms Group (FREE)

Monthly on Wednesdays
Contact Kim Vargas at 267-568-7846 or kimvargastherapy for more information or to register.

Youth and Tween Peer Group Therapy

2 Wednesdays per month


Interstitial Cystitis/Pelvic Pain Support Group

Monthly on Wednesdays


Teen Group Therapy Circle

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Philadelphia Writers Workshop

New Fall Workshops Forming Now
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Drum to Your Hearts Desire!

Every other Friday. 7:30 pm
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Morning Meditation

Mondays, 8:30 am
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Evening Meditation

Thursdays, 7:30 pm
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Qi Gong Classes

Thursdays at 2 and 6:15 pm
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Knitting Circle

Monthly on Saturdays
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DBT Skills Group

Groups are forming now
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Quote of the Month

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another."
~William James
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