What Is Anger Therapy? When To See A Counselor For Anger Management
If you are experiencing anger issues, professional support is available. Seeing a counselor or therapist or attending anger management classes can allow you to take control of your responses to your emotions, understand why they occur, and make healthy choices. Anger is a natural human emotion, and understanding how to healthily react to it can help you feel respect for yourself, your relationships, and the world around you.
In anger therapy or anger management counseling, you can learn techniques for controlling your emotions and communicating efficiently with others, which are skills you can carry with you long-term. You can use the lessons learned in sessions in relationships, at work, and in play. If you’re thinking about anger management therapy, there are many facets to consider.
What Can Anger Therapy Help With?
Anger therapy is a targeted approach to managing various challenges related to anger. An anger therapist can offer coping skills, grounding techniques, and general advice about feelings and behaviors.
You might be a candidate for anger therapy if you experience any of the following challenges:
Difficulty communicating gently and kindly
Extreme anger about daily events or certain topics
Difficulty refraining from violence to solve problems
Frequent arguments with a partner or spouse
Being told you have a “short fuse” or “anger issues” by loved ones
Difficulty Communicating Gently And Kindly
Strong emotions can make it difficult to focus on what you know about healthy behaviors and coping skills. If you frequently experience intense anger, you might feel that you forget to act kindly and gently with those around you. Instead, you might yell, blame others, or shut down conversations, even when you desire connection.
If you are struggling to healthily communicate, a trained therapist can help you learn how. In sessions, you can target the areas of communicate that frequently cause you anger, and understand why these situations make you angry. For many, anger can be a secondary emotion to other feelings like fear or sadness. For example, a person might yell when they feel scared of losing their partner. In these cases, yelling is not healthy, but the fear is valid, and a therapist can help you discuss where it stems from while teaching you alternatives to yelling.
Extreme Anger About Daily Events Or Certain Topics
Professional therapists often have hours of training working with people with similar concerns. If you visit someone specializing in anger, you can know that they have studied anger in depth and can support you through these challenges. Some therapists offer anger management groups or classes so you can learn with others experiencing similar challenges.
Difficulty Refraining From Violence To Solve Problems
For many people who struggle with anger, urges to act violently or violent occurrences may be present. If you feel an urge to punch walls, yell unkind words, or react violently to someone you love, this behavior can cause significant difficulties in your life. Meeting with a provider can help you reduce your anger, separate it from your behaviors, and find ways to act differently.
An urge to act violently may be an attempt to problem solve if you feel overwhelmed or unsure how to react in a situation. A therapist can help you find other ways to problem solve and understand your needs without resorting to violent acts. If you’re in a relationship, you can learn to communicate with your partner healthily and repair past harm.
Frequent Arguments With A Partner Or Spouse
Anger in relationships may accompany frequent arguments or disagreements. Those experiencing anger challenges may struggle to remain calm during conversations or understanding what they’re thinking if their emotions are taking over their body. In these cases, therapy can help them learn to control before having a serious conversation and during the conversation itself.
You can also try couples therapy if your partner or spouse is interested in discussing these concerns with you in a therapeutic environment. A couples therapist can teach you new skills, help you communicate with your partner in a structured environment, and open up about challenges you’re experience. Additionally, you may learn ways to prevent an argument from escalating and how to speak with purpose.
The people you surround yourself with can be essential, as social connection is vital for mental and physical health. Although your anger may strain these relationships, the way you react to your anger can be in your power with the support of a therapist and research-backed coping mechanisms.
Being Told You Have “A Short Fuse”
If someone has told you that you have a short fuse, they might be referring to how quickly it takes for you to respond in ways that communicate anger to them. Although it can be painful to hear that someone thinks you’re struggling with anger, it may be beneficial to reach out for support. It can be normal to have intense emotions, and you’re not alone. However, many individuals can benefit from learning to separate emotions from behaviors and reactions. Learning to change your reactions to your emotions can help you improve your relationships long term.
If your responses to anger or other emotions seem rooted in childhood experiences or past adverse events, it may feel like a part of you. However, a therapist trained in these topics can help you address these events and why they impacted you while allowing you to validate your emotions and feel in control of your behaviors.
When you’ve decided you’re ready to try anger therapy, there are a few options. You can try therapy in person or sign up for an online platform. Many individuals seeking support with concerns like anger often prefer online therapy due to its discreet nature. Through an online platform, you can use a nickname instead of your real name and choose between phone, video, or live chat sessions, depending on your needs.
If you’re looking for couples therapy, you can find online options as well. An online platform like ReGain offers couples therapy for the same price as many individual therapy platforms and offers a match-based system based on the concerns you’re experiencing in your relationship. When you get matched, you can be sure your therapist is someone who understands, and if you don’t feel it’s a fit, you can connect with a different therapist at any time.
If you’re unsure about the effectiveness of online therapy for anger, note that studies have found it as effective as in-person therapy for the treatment of anger and aggression. In addition, online therapy can come with unique benefits that you might not find in your area.
There are many reasons someone might reach out for anger counseling. However, you can reach out for any reason at any time. You don’t have to have a mental health diagnosis or severe concern to see a therapist. Therapists are experienced providers that serve over 41.7 million people in the US. If you’re interested in trying anger management support, consider contacting a therapist in your area or online for further guidance.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about anger management therapy.
What Is The Best Type Of Therapy For Anger Management?
According to the APA, studies have shown that the most effective anger management therapy is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This form of anger management counseling can allow you to learn ways to:
Healthily express anger
Understand anger as an emotion
Separate your thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and behaviors
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an effective method of teaching anger control because it teaches individuals about the healthiness of emotions and how you can separate your emotions from behavior. By treating anger at its root cause and learning how to acknowledge it, clients can become aware of when they might become angry and choose to partake in a healthier behavior.
Is Anger A Mental Illness?
Anger is not a mental illness, it is a natural and healthy emotion. However, for those that experience extreme anger that impacts multiple areas of life, the behaviors that occur during anger or the frequency and intensity of the emotion may be related to a mental illness. A few mental health conditions that may accompany anger can include:
Substance use disorders
Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)
Intermittent explosive disorder (IED)
Severe and sudden grief
Other personality disorders
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
If you are experiencing sudden, extreme, or uncontrollable anger, find a therapist specializing in anger management to further discuss your treatment options.
If you are struggling with substance use, contact the SAMHSA National Helpline at (800) 662-4357 to receive support and resources.
How Does Therapy Help With Anger Issues?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is particularly effective in treating anger issues because it teaches the person how to recognize the causes of their anger and how to manage, control, and express that anger in a healthy non-destructive way.
By engaging in any type of anger therapy, a person with anger issues can learn that the way they react to anger is in their control and can be changed.
What Are The Three Stages Of Anger?
There are five stages of anger, including the following:
Stage 1: The Inciting Phase: In the first phase, you may feel threatened or have an initial response to certain stimuli that prepares you to meet the threat.
Stage 2: The Escalation Phase: In the second phase, you might experience an increased heart rate and blood pressure, tense muscles, a louder voice, or a changed stance.
Stage 3: The Crisis Phase: In the third phase, fight or flight kicks in and judgment is diminished. Someone might act out in this phase.
Stage 4: The Recovery Phase: After the angry outburst, the body removes adrenaline and begins to recover. Judgment returns with realization of what has occurred.
Stage 5: The Post-Crisis Depression Phase: Guilt, regret, and emotional depression may set in in the final phase.
Therapy can help those experiencing anger take control of their actions during the second phase so they do not have a crisis.
Why Do I Get Angry So Easily?
In many cases, when people constantly get irritated, angry, or upset, it may be an indicator of an underlying concern, such as a mental health condition or chronic stress. Unresolved emotions, adverse events, or unhealthy relationships may also be a cause.
If you are feeling angry more often than not, a therapist can help. In therapy, you can talk about your feelings, how they come about, and the urges that accompany them while learning new skills.
How Can I Release My Anger?
Everyone has different ways of dealing with their anger, but here are a few methods that may help:
Take deep breaths, slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Repeat a mantra or positive affirmation.
Visualize a happy memory or thought.
Practice yoga or tai-chi to release energy calmly.
Consensually vent your frustrations to a trusted friend or family in a healthy way.
Use humor to feel the positive effects of laughing.
Take a break and leave the area that’s causing the stress and anger.
Recognizing that you are getting angry can be one of the first steps to addressing your anger. Try the steps above. If they don’t help, reach out to a professional for further guidance.
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