We all need A RX of Responsible Rage Expression: Why Rage Rooms Are ALL the Rage

What does a Rage Room have to do with therapy? A lot, surprisingly. Rage Rooms, where participants can go and express themselves cathartically, have appropriately become all the Rage lately. These are rooms where people get together for the sole purpose of breaking stuff. Why is this cathartic desire to break things so appealing? It is similar to the Arthur Janov Primal Scream therapies of the ’70s, where clients worked to consciously express repressed childhood trauma, giving their inner child a safe space to find a voice in the present. Taking us to the present in 2024, we are still seeking ways to provide action and freedom to our emotional bondages. Watch out as a new era of expression takes flight— AND- watch your head- a plate is flying!

Studies over the last nearly 30 years within somatic therapy, bioenergetics, and neuroscience have shown that our emotions are powerful and literally surge throughout our bodies with energy. Dr. Diane Fosha, founder of the AEDP Institute, studied how we all have a natural tendency toward transformation and healing. In her research, she explains that every emotion has a flow of energy that has an action tendency, “which when applied adaptively is an appropriate reaction to an event leading to a sense of relief or satisfaction.” (Fosha, p.139) When we are not actively using this energy, we experience a sense of being blocked, stuck, and muted.

Anger and Rage are often emotions that can be a struggle for many to understand how to utilize. A common fear surrounding anger is loss of control, going too far in retaliation, or feeling a sense of guilt for our fantasies about destroying someone or something through our anger. The physiological responses of anger prepare us for action with blood flowing to our extremities, adrenaline and hormones rushing through our body, and raised heart rate. We are ready for action. Fosha explains that “the adaptive action tendencies released by fully expressed anger often include a sense of empowerment and an assertiveness rooted in the rediscovery of psychic strength, self-worth, and affective competence.” (Fosha, p.140) Freeing up unexpressed energy in our body gives us more movement, helps us meet our needs, and lives in the present moment. We can all use this, especially if we are recipients who have experienced trauma.

Woman with Big Shadow

The emotions & physical sensations experienced during traumatic events are encoded into our bodies, not as memories, but as physical responses in the present. These sensations stay in our bodies if not released and can significantly affect our daily lives. Recovery requires a renegotiation of how we use and interact with our body through integrating emotional regulation & reducing the physical stress of trauma. We do this through movement and bodily awareness of these stuck emotions. Body awareness supports the creation of safety by resetting the nervous system.

We can heal our past wounds and current patterns that repeat in the present through consistent physical expression. Becoming mindful of our body can release the stuck sensations the body creates in the activated state so one can process the trauma. When we tune into bodily sensations like our anger, we feel & integrate our emotions and increase our control over them. As we expand our capacity to feel and express emotions, we can release and move to a greater sense of happiness, satisfaction, and safety.

Finding spaces where we can safely release pent up emotions through movement, expression, vocalization, and breathwork can be a key to long-lasting healing. These cathartic processes can be done through one-on-one therapy, group therapy, breathwork, and anywhere that allows expression. Rage Rooms are one example where an individual can come with appropriate safety equipment and let their inner child throw a tantrum in a way that was not allowed as a child. Giving yourself safe places for expression also keeps you from the volcanoes of repressed upset eruptions many of us get when we are not consistently expressing ourselves. 

Doing this work in a therapeutic context is even more powerful because it allows you to integrate these emotions into a larger sense of self. The process of release, expansion, and integration are all needed to fully harness the healing potential of expression.

If you want to try out some deeply therapeutic somatic expressions, check out Anger Gym or one of our other events. We host various somatic workshops that support cathartic release in a safe and supportive environment. 

Come check out our Event on March 10th, The Anger Gym