Anger is a normal, healthy human emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. Anger can be useful when managed correctly, allowing us to identify unjust circumstances and express our needs or opinions. In some cases, however, anger can become uncontrollable and have a severe negative impact on your relationship, work, or other areas of your life. People who undergo anger management counseling can learn valuable tools for decreasing and managing their anger and its negative ramifications.
What Is Anger Management Counseling?
Anger management, also called anger counseling, is a type of therapy that helps an individual recognize when they're beginning to get angry and respond in ways that defuse and control the expression of that anger. In most cases, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques are used to identify unhealthy thinking and behavioral patterns and correct them.
Anger management can involve either individual or group counseling, depending on the preferences and resources of the client. Sessions usually occur weekly or between several months, though they may occur more or less frequently depending on the individual. Unlike other types of therapy, anger management counseling focuses exclusively on treating and managing anger.
What Are the Signs of An Anger Management Problem?
By itself, extreme anger is a symptom, not a diagnosable condition. As previously mentioned, anger is a normal emotion that can be important in certain aspects of life. But an anger management problem can express itself in many ways. These include:
In the heat of the moment, you may say or do things that cause severe and lasting damage to your relationships. Even if you regret it later, it can be difficult to repair the damage done.
What Causes Anger Problems?
Anger problems develop due to many factors. These can include the way a person is raised, chronic stress, past life experiences, domestic violence, and sometimes neurobiological disorders. You may have never been allowed to express your emotions healthily or witnessed examples of angry outbursts. Many people who end up seeking anger management have a history of physical or emotional abuse.
Anger management issues are often related to mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse disorders.
Mental Health Disorders That May Be Involved
Aggression, irritability, or increased anger can sometimes be symptoms of various mental or health conditions. A mental health professional can evaluate and diagnose any issues you may be experiencing, including:
Anger may also be a symptom of another mental or physical health condition, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). If you believe you may have a mental illness, seek out a formal diagnosis from a qualified professional.
How Do I Know If Anger Management Counseling Is Right For Me?
Anger, more than most emotions, has the potential to be destructive when it is extreme and poorly managed. Uncontrolled anger can lead people to lash out at their loved ones, be aggressive and violent, and have poor impulse control. It may even lead to arrest, in certain cases. Left unchecked, people with anger management problems may be more susceptible to alcohol and drug abuse.
Often, a person with an anger management problem doesn't see him or herself as having a problem. They may blame their rage on outside circumstances and the other people in their lives. They may have friends, family members, or even coworkers urging them to get a better handle on their anger but brush this advice off as nagging or unfair.
Unfortunately, it usually isn't until an individual faces serious consequences, such as an arrest or the breakup of a relationship, that they realize the extent of the negative ramifications of their anger.
Maybe you are aware that your anger is out of control, but you either think you can solve the problem yourself or you're not sure how to stop losing your temper. Maybe you've tried what feels like everything to tame your anger, without much success.
When Should I Seek Anger Management?
An individual is encouraged to seek out anger management counseling when there is evidence that their anger is negatively impacting their life. If you're consistently having difficulty managing your anger, if your relationships are being impacted, if other people in your life have told you that you need to get help, if you've tried everything on your own only to wind up chronically frustrated, it may be time to seek out anger management to harness your anger before it takes over your life.
Anger Management Required By Court Order
In certain cases, including those involving domestic violence, anger management may be mandated by the court system. Court order or the probation officer usually determines the frequency, duration, and several therapy sessions.
The Goals Of Anger Management Counseling
Anger management counseling seeks to help you control your anger in many ways. First, you're taught to identify your triggers for losing your temper. This step requires an honest look at your past angry outbursts and what gets under your skin.
Triggers can take many different forms, including conversation topics, situations, interactions with particular people, or stressors. They vary from person to person and depend on each individual's life experience.
Once you and your therapist have a clear picture of your triggers, you can start to develop personalized strategies for recognizing your anger and managing it in healthy, non-destructive ways. You'll learn how to solve problems more effectively, which will give you a sense of control. You'll also learn how to be more assertive in a way that appears confident and not aggressive to others.
The strategies taught depends on the counselor. They may include:
When It's Time To Seek Help
Struggling with out-of-control anger can be difficult and isolating. Since your relationships are negatively impacted, you may feel alone, frustrated, and misunderstood. This may signify that it's time to seek out anger management therapy, it's best to connect with a therapist that you feel comfortable opening up to.
Regain.us offers professional online therapy that you can access from anywhere. You'll receive individualized counseling from a therapist experienced in your areas of concern, including anger management, as well as any comorbid conditions, such as depression or anxiety. Anger doesn't have to control your life or ruin your relationships. Click here to get connected with the help you need.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Few therapy techniques have been adequately researched when it comes to treating anger management. However, of the ones that have been tested, cognitive behavioral therapy is effective in over 75% of anger management patients.
One of the most well-known and effective versions of cognitive behavioral therapy when it comes to anger management therapy is known as stress inoculation. Using this technique, a therapist will work with their patient and purposely present them with plausible situations that would cause them to become angry.
Together, the anger management therapist and patient can work together to determine what the patient’s triggers are, how the patient reacts to them, and what is problematic about those responses. From there, the anger management therapist and patient will work together on coping mechanisms, relaxation techniques, and other avenues of behavior that the patient can use when dealing with triggering situations.
In some situations, anger management has also been effective in couples therapy and family therapy situations, particularly when dealing with anger issues toward a spouse or partner or from a child toward their parents.
It is important to note however, that the purpose of anger management is not to learn how to suppress your emotions, but to rather learn how to express and channel those feelings positively and constructively. If the only thing you learn how to do is suppress your feelings of anger, then they can quickly turn to resentment at the feeling of never being heard. Eventually, this will turn into passive aggressive anger, which is no better than the original situation.
If you are experiencing constant feelings of anger that are interfering with your daily life, work, or relationships, find a therapist that specializes in anger management therapy and start your anger management classes today.
Absolutely. Working with a licensed anger management therapist is a much safer, constructive way of addressing anger issues and emotional triggers than trying to figure it our yourself. Being in a protected space where you can learn and identify your potential anger triggers is essential to being able to learn how to properly react to them.
Working with a therapist that understands the psychology behind why people become angry and also understands how to help channel that anger in a new, productive, and safer way is the optimal way to learn to understand and control your anger. It is a much better option than not doing anything about it and getting into a bad situation.
You will learn how to properly express anger, your feelings of anger, as well as how to manage your anger in a healthy way and how to cope with anger healthily. Find a therapist and begin your anger management therapy today.
It varies from practice to practice. Additionally, online therapy will usually be cheaper than in person therapy. Likewise, group therapy may be more cost-effective than one-on-one therapy. Typically, a group session may range anywhere from $25-50 per session.
While anger itself is not considered a mental illness, it is a symptom and byproduct of a number of mental illnesses. Everyone gets angry from time to time. It only becomes a concern when that anger is irrational, over-the-top, or a danger to yourself or others. Some of the mental illnesses that severe anger can be a sign of are:
In some cases, grief can cause people to be severely angry, and can also lead to an episode of depression. Altogether, there are 32 mental health conditions that have anger as a primary symptom.
While it is normal to feel anger at certain life events, for example getting fired, breaking up with your significant other, or getting into a car accident, the anger should not be so severe that it leads you to potentially harm yourself or others.
If you often find yourself becoming irrationally angry, or friends and family have expressed concern about your temper, then it may be time to seek professional medical advice. You may feel angry often because of an underlying mental health condition.
If you find yourself getting angry, try some relaxation techniques to calm yourself. First, use deep breathing by breathing in slowly through your nose until you feel your lungs and diaphragm fully expand. Hold the breath for ten seconds and count down slowly in your head. Then release the breath slowly through your mouth. Repeat as many times as you need until the surge of adrenaline has passed and you are more in control.
Focus on a positive thought, or create a “happy place” that you can visualize in your mind while you’re doing your breathing exercises. It may also be helpful to remove yourself from the situation if you can until you’re able to calm yourself down.
If you find yourself experiencing constant and severe bouts of anger, find a therapist that can help you with your anger management condition.
If you are having thoughts of self-harm or suicide, call the national suicide prevention hotline at 800-273-8255 for help. Know that you are not alone and help is out there in many forms.