The Potential Benefits Of Online Anger Management Counseling

Updated February 20, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

The American Psychological Association defines anger as "an emotion characterized by antagonism toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong."

Anger is a normal human emotion that arises due to a perceived threat, and there can be occasional benefits to feeling and expressing anger. It can be a motivator for change and provide a way to communicate negative feelings. 

If you do not have healthy ways of recognizing and expressing anger, it can build and it can be harder to practice anger management. This excessive anger can contribute to relationship problems, substance use, or even legal troubles. It may feel like anger starts to bubble to the surface during inappropriate times and situations, making it harder to communicate.

In these situations, your feelings themselves are not "bad," but the ways you have learned to react to those feelings may need to change. Excessive anger has been linked to physical health conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease and can also significantly worsen your mental health.

If you sense that your feelings of anger control you more than you can control them, or if you can think of times that your reactions to feeling angry have cost you personally or professionally, you may consider seeking counseling, anger management therapy, or a medically reviewed and self-paced class—all of which can be offered in person or online.

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Is online anger management counseling really effective?

Unhealthy anger

As mentioned before, anger is a common emotion, but in some cases, it can be unhealthy. This type of anger can be persistent, create significant problems for one’s mental health, or be expressed in a harmful way. Below are a few signs that your anger may have become a problem:

  • You easily erupt into a rage over the slightest issues or inconveniences
  • It takes a long time for your anger to cool down
  • It seems that you are always angry about something and rarely feel good
  • Your anger is contributing to your overall mental health
  • When expressing anger, you resort to yelling or screaming at others
  • You struggle to control your actions when you are angry
  • Your anger leads to impulse control issues
  • Your anger is leading to problems with your physical health
  • You damage property when you are angry
  • Your anger results in domestic violence* or other harm

*If you or someone you love is experiencing domestic violence, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

If you recognize that your anger is unhealthy, you’re not alone. Many people experience difficulty with anger and seek help for it. Self-awareness can be the first step to healing, and there are many resources that can answer frequently asked questions and help you learn to manage your anger in a healthy way.

Resources for anger management

Anger management is an aspect of mental health that many people experience—and you may have asked questions about your behaviors and tendencies without finding answers. So, over the years, mental health professionals have developed many resources to help people with this problem. If you have difficulty controlling your anger, then read on to learn more about how anger management courses or anger management therapy services might help you.

Online classes

Free anger management classes are one of the most common ways that people learn to resolve their anger. Through this type of class, you can learn various techniques to express your anger in a healthy way. For example, you may learn about nonviolent communication skills or relaxing techniques, such as deep breathing.

Anger management classes are often the primary option for those who are directed by their employers or a court order to work on their anger management. Class completion may therefore provide enrollees with a certificate to show proof of the work they did. Furthermore, many anger management programs are developed, overseen, and medically reviewed by licensed therapists or clinical psychologists, with many of the techniques rooted in different forms of therapy. However, even if a course description says it is nationally recognized or approved by a court, it may be wise to ensure it meets employer requirements and/or the standards established by courts in your state or a state where you may be facing custody challenges.

One popular option is through the Anger Management Training Institute, which offers numerous lessons on how to manage anger and get to the root of it. For example, the lessons include how to be assertive in a healthy way and create boundaries as well as how to identify an anger addiction or chronic anger. Furthermore, this form of anger management training tends to be self-paced, so you can go as fast or slow as you want. Completing the courses offered by the Anger Management Training Institute leads to a certificate of completion if you need it.

If you're looking for an anger management program that also promotes overall self-development, Anger Masters may be a good option for you. This anger management course offers numerous options, from a single one-hour session to a yearlong weekly course. Created by the National Anger Management Association, the course provides a certificate of completion. If, for some reason, the certificate is not accepted by a county court or your employer, Anger Masters may provide a refund.

As described above, most anger management classes through these organizations are available online. Anger management courses conducted online also tend to provide more convenience and flexibility since they don’t require you to commute and you can work at your own pace. 

Therapy for emotion management

Although an anger management class can be an effective resource, sometimes you may want to go a bit deeper into your work or continue to work on your anger after a course has finished. If you have frequently asked yourself why you feel so angry all the time, anger management therapy can be a valuable tool to create meaningful change. Therapists help their clients with a variety of emotional concerns, including anger.

In anger management therapy, you can learn healthy ways to manage anger, and your licensed therapist may be able to help you get to the root of it. Understanding why you get angry and behave in certain ways during your rage can be important for healing and improving.

Furthermore, many people seek therapy or counseling services to also tackle concerns that may be linked to their anger, such as domestic violence, substance abuse,** or other mental health concerns.

**If you or someone you know is experiencing difficulty with substance use, reach out to the SAMHSA National Helpline at (800)662-4357.

There are a few different types of therapy that can help with anger management. Therefore, you may want to find a therapist who practices one of these types as they may be the most helpful for you. Below are brief discussions of each type:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of anger management therapy involves identifying thoughts that are causing or increasing your anger. Sometimes, people become angrier after an event happens because of thought patterns that follow. For example, if a clerk in a store uses a rude tone of voice, you might be inclined to react in anger or seek retribution, perhaps by demanding to see a manager or leaving a negative store review online. CBT may help you determine when you experience excessive anger by identifying your own thoughts and reframing them—for instance, by replacing thoughts of “What’s wrong with this person?” with “Is this person having a tough day?”
  • Psychodynamic therapy: This form of anger management therapy tends to focus on self-reflection. In this practice, you may be encouraged to explore why you have anger problems and discover potential unconscious motivations for your anger management problems. Your therapist may also help you develop anger management strategies that help you manage your anger without affecting your loved ones.
  • Group therapy: Although individual therapy and anger management courses can be valuable resources, sometimes working with others and having similar experiences can further your healing and anger management skills. For this reason, you might consider group therapy sessions or support group options. During these sessions, you can meet others who have similar problems with anger, and the group can work together to help each other manage their anger better. Furthermore, these group sessions tend to be less expensive than traditional therapy. These sessions are typically overseen by a licensed therapist or clinical psychologist, so you are still getting the guidance and support of a mental health professional.

Some health insurance provider plans have some sort of coverage for mental health or counseling services. Therefore, if you have insurance, you may be able to find a counselor who can help you with your anger. Anger management therapy can occur in person or online, such as with BetterHelp. Read and learn more about the benefits of anger management counseling in the sections below.

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Online anger management benefits

Most of the resources that were previously discussed can be available in person or virtually. However, virtual options are becoming more popular and have numerous benefits. Read the benefits below to see how managing anger through virtual counseling or online anger management classes can greatly benefit your life.

  • Enrolling in online anger management therapy is easy. Many people do not get anger management therapy or the help they need because of stigma, geographic constraints, difficulty in scheduling, or other reasons. Online anger management counseling courses tend to be straightforward from registration to completion. You’ll likely fill out online forms or chat with a professional so that they can gather information about your background and about what is currently concerning you. 
  • You're accountable for your progress. An online therapist typically completes progress reports during to ensure that online anger management counseling is working for you and that you are achieving your goals. You can usually fill out or look at your progress report whenever you want, which helps you see where you stand and allows you to become more confident. A therapist can also give you worksheets and other resources that provide information and teach additional skills so that you can make progress in between sessions.
  • You can improve your overall well-being. Online anger management courses and anger management therapy may help you with greater self-awareness, provide healthy methods to handle frustration, and offer ways to relax and improve impulse control. When you feel the onset of a stressor that typically causes anger, you can use new tools from anger management therapy to help you express anger in a healthy way or calm down, avoiding negative consequences.
  • You can receive help on your own schedule. You don't have to get in your car or take public transportation to attend sessions with a therapist or a group. You can get on your computer, smartphone, or tablet and receive help when you need it. The flexibility of counseling and weekly courses allows you to set your own schedule. Also, with some online therapy options, such as BetterHelp, you can message your therapist in between sessions, and they’ll get back to you as soon as they can.
  • Virtual resources tend to be more affordable: Online courses and anger management therapy are usually more affordable than in-person sessions. For example, some of the online anger management classes mentioned cost as little as $20. Furthermore, online anger management therapy can cost as little as $50/session, whereas in-person counseling often costs much more. 
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Is online anger management counseling really effective?

Remember that experiencing feelings of anger is common. A leading psychologist found that most people experience anger at least a few times a week, and research shows that 58% of anger episodes involve yelling or screaming. Feeling angry does not necessarily mean you’re doing anything wrong. However, if you find yourself frequently feeling so angry that you resort to physical aggression, like throwing objects or breaking things, you may benefit from online anger management therapy. Therapy may benefit your relationships and family, in addition to helping you address underlying mental health challenges you may be facing, such as anxiety, depression, or stress. If you’re experiencing a mental illnesses, you can still see a psychiatrist or physician for medication management while participating in talk therapy for anger management challenges.

The mental health professionals at BetterHelp have training and experience helping with anger issues and behaviors. Online therapy has been shown to be just as effective as in-person therapy, and online therapists or psychologists can work with you in several ways—video chats, phone calls, or in-app messaging, all based on your preference and schedule. You can receive personalized treatment specially tailored to make you feel comfortable and supported. Rather than waiting to connect with a therapist in person, you can usually get matched with a BetterHelp therapist in just a couple of days.

What else can I do?

Besides getting help with online anger management, you can take several steps to manage anger at any given time. Anyone has the capacity to change how they act on their feelings by utilizing some anger management techniques, such as the following:

  • Relaxation techniques: Intense anger can be long-lasting, but you can learn and practice ways of calming your body and mind. Therefore, it is important to explore calming techniques to bring you back to a relaxed state. Progressive relaxation techniques involve learning to tense and relax muscle groups in your body intentionally so that your muscles can be trained to relax quickly. Other forms of relaxation, such as deep breathing techniques and guided imagery, may also be used.
  • Skill building: This step involves identifying some of the main triggers in your life that contribute to anger. Perhaps you get frustrated in conversations with your significant other that can quickly escalate to anger, or maybe you have a hard time controlling anger at your child's sporting event. A therapist may be able to help you learn new skills to communicate more effectively or even learn to use humor to deflect tension in specific anger-provoking situations.
  • Addressing past issues: Sometimes, it's necessary to talk further about how anger has impacted a person's life in order for them to move forward and choose to react to anger differently. A therapist may help you process long-held feelings and beliefs about anger in your life to help you make different choices and feel more in control. Exploring these links can be crucial for healing.
  • Exercise: You can also try working out when you are feeling angry. This may help you physically expend the rage you are feeling without hurting anyone else. It can also help you relax your muscles.
  • Distract yourself: Another tactic for controlling anger is thinking about other things. If someone or something has made you angry, you can try to redirect your focus to things that don't make you feel that way, such as a comedic video or a positive memory.
  • Identify your triggers: Sometimes, you can identify your triggers for feelings of anger. If you know certain things in your life tend to make you feel rage, you can consider which ones you can stay away from. For example, if the customer service at a restaurant always leaves you feeling angry, order your food to go or choose a different place to dine. Avoiding triggers and finding a different approach can lower your stress levels and your anger.
  • Meditation: Peer-reviewed studies have shown that meditation can help significantly reduce anger. Meditating as little as five or 10 minutes daily can reduce your ruminating thoughts, the escalation of anger, and even the length of time that you feel angry. This practice can also help you to be mindful of your angry thoughts and discover what triggers them.
  • Mindfulness: In addition to meditation, practicing mindfulness throughout the day can also help you to become aware of your anger as well as its causes. Mindfulness has been known to improve overall emotional awareness and can help you improve other aspects of your mental health.
  • Vent to a friend: Sometimes, you just need to talk to someone about your problems. Talking with a friend or loved one can be a great way to blow off some steam without causing any harm. Try to choose a friend who is willing to create a safe space for venting. 
  • Get some fresh air: When something angers you, it can help to walk away and get some fresh air. This can give you a few minutes to gather your thoughts and calm down. Furthermore, the extra oxygen can benefit your brain and body and encourage them to go back into a calmer state.

Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from individuals experiencing similar concerns.

Therapist reviews

"Steve is amazing and does a good job at making this seem like less of a counseling session and more of a conversation between friends. He helped me talk through my anger issues and road rage and gave me lots of problem-solving tools. I highly recommend him!"

"Regina helped me pinpoint where my anger issue stemmed from in the very first session, and has been helping me become develop self awareness of my warning triggers. Very insightful and helpful!"

Takeaway

If you’re experiencing difficulty controlling your anger, you don’t have to face it only by yourself. There is help available for anger management. If you don’t feel comfortable discussing problems with anger in group setting, you can work with your own therapist, whether in person or online. With BetterHelp, you can be matched with an experienced anger management therapist and communicate in a way that’s most comfortable for you, whether by audio, video, or live chat. A truly fulfilling life in which anger doesn't hold you back is possible; you likely just need the right tools. Take the first step toward overcoming uncontrolled anger and reach out to BetterHelp today.

Learn to separate anger from behavior

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
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