Anger is an emotion that in and of itself is not bad. God created us with the ability to feel anger and to get mad over injustices. The problem with anger is when we become destructive and use our wrath to hurt or offend others and to sin. For this reason we need anger management therapy.
Uncontrollable anger is often due to something unseen. It can stem from past abuse or trauma, mental disorders like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or stressors at work and home. When we feel overwhelmed by life’s responsibilities, we can develop resentment and anger.
Allowing your anger to get the better of you will lead to issues at work, school, and home, possibly destroying relationships and your marriage. The good news is that you can learn to manage and defuse your anger with anger management therapy.
Anger management therapy.
There are several techniques when it comes to anger management therapy. The reason is that everyone handles anger in their way, and the source of your anger may differ from that of another person.
For example, your anger might stem from overwhelming responsibilities that have taken over your time, such as caregiving for an elderly parent, raising teens, managing the household and bills, and working a part-time job. This combination can push you over the top, leading you to snap at your family and feel resentment toward your loved ones.
However, your next-door neighbor may work overtime to make ends meet and is depressed, so he drowns his pain and worries in a case of beer every night, becoming more aggressive toward his family as bedtime approaches.
These are two very different cases, yet both individuals can use anger management therapy, although their care plans may look vastly different.
The following is a list of anger management techniques widely used by clients learning how to defuse anger and change their current behaviors.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an effective anger management therapy technique used widely in psychology and as a part of many mental disorder treatments. With CBT, you will become aware of the thoughts playing in your head, especially when you get angry. Did something set you off? What trigger did you hear or see? Is your anger stemming less from an external stimulus and originating from your thoughts?
Negative or distorted thoughts can “trick” us into believing lies about ourselves and others. For example, if your schedule is overwhelmed with caring for others and you have little time to yourself, you may think, “No one cares about me. They only care about what I can do for them.”
This statement is not valid, as you know your family loves you. However, this thought will lead to the emotion of anger. Our thoughts are closely linked to our feelings. In turn, our emotions drive our behaviors.
Once you have identified your negative thoughts, your counselor can teach you how to reframe those thoughts to change the resulting emotion. For example, perhaps instead of thinking that no one cares about your well-being, remind yourself that caring for a family is a blessing denied to many and that you are a pivotal person in the family.
Schedule some personal time to relieve some of the stress. These thoughts, spoken often enough, may derail faulty beliefs and leave you feeling empowered instead of angry.
Psychodynamic Therapy aims to address the deeply rooted emotional aspect of anger. With this technique, you will build a relationship with your counselor as you learn to self-reflect on your past behaviors and how those actions have created problems in your relationships.
Psychodynamic Therapy teaches you to analyze your thoughts and behaviors. The counselor may ask questions to help you delve deeper into the reasons behind a belief or behavior. Ultimately, you will identify your weak spots and relationship patterns. Once you are aware of those, you can begin working on building or repairing relationships.
This therapy treatment may run longer or be combined with other methods. Your counselor will choose the best treatment plan for your anger issues. Many people find that anger management therapy addresses other mental conditions they silently battle over the years.
Marriage or family counseling.
How you react with anger in your heart can determine your relationships and career. For example, if you lash out frequently, you may create a rift in your family. If you engage in angry behaviors, such as verbally attacking a family member, you must be willing to change the behavior and repair the relationship.
Marriage counseling and family counseling are two talk therapies that are effective in teaching couples and families how to communicate with each other safely. A counselor mediates these sessions. Having an unbiased third person present can open doors to reconciliation.
Depending on the type of talk therapy you need, you and your spouse or family may meet with the counselor weekly for several sessions. In addition, your counselor may want to have a session or two with your spouse separately from you. These sessions are only to understand your family better and suggest ways they can help in your therapy.
You must learn to relax when stressed or angry for your physical health. Uncontrollable anger at a constant level can lead to high blood pressure, weight gain, heart attack, or stroke. Counselors often teach clients relaxation techniques to give them a moment to pause and gain clarity on the situation before they react.
A relaxation technique can be as simple as breathing deeply for a few minutes. Inhale through your nose a deep breath that fills your lungs. Feel your lungs expand in the lower sections. Count to three and slowly release the breath through your mouth. Repeat this exercise until you feel calmer.
You can also try meditation. There are meditation videos and audio online that you can sample until you find one you like or breathe deeply and repeat a mantra to yourself. What you choose to say is up to you but choose something contrary to any negative thoughts you may have. For example, you could say, “I am a guiding force and a blessing to my family.” Force your body to relax, one body part at a time, and stay present in the moment.
Most schools do not teach social and communication skills, nor do we always learn these skills at home. Often, we repeat behaviors that we observed as a child. For example, did an adult close to you throw things, scream, or hit you when angry? These are learned behaviors that can become second nature if we allow them.
Anger management therapy seeks to help you defuse your anger by pausing to think through the consequences of your actions before they occur. In treatment, you will learn how to communicate with others and express your feelings constructively.
This is critical because when confronted with someone screaming and slamming things, most people will back away and stop listening. Even though you are expressing your anger, you are only causing the other person to place an imaginary barrier between you.
Also, we are less likely to listen to another person’s point of view when angry. Especially if we believe we are right. Active listening is vital in effective communication. To actively listen to another person, you will need to focus on what they are saying and observe their body language.
You will want to repeat the main points to clarify and show that you are listening to them. As you ask them questions, try to see their side of the argument before forming and voicing your opinion.
Need help for anger?
Contact our office today to schedule an appointment with me or one of the other counselors in our online counselor directory if anger management therapy sounds like the next step for you. We would love to meet with you. Your counselor will assess your situation and offer guidance on a mental health care plan to find the best anger management therapy for you.
“Breakdown”, Courtesy of Aaron Blanco Tejedor, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Trauma”, Courtesy of Susan Wilkinson, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Silhouette”, Courtesy of William Farlow, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Yoga”, Courtesy of Jared Rice, Unsplash.com, CC0 License
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The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this article are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please contact one of our counselors for further information.