Finding The Right Anger Management Therapist

Medically reviewed by Paige Henry, LMSW, J.D.
Updated May 30, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Anger is a normal emotion that can be healthy. Often, anger can be a secondary emotion to feelings like sadness, fear, or disgust. In some cases, people may find that their anger feels like rage or hostility or drives unwanted behaviors. However, utilizing anger management tips can help them manage their emotions and respond in a more constructive manner. When anger becomes unhealthy, finding an anger management therapist can be beneficial. Anyone of any age, gender, or background can take advantage of anger management services.

Anger is both an emotional and physiological response. As a natural emotion, it can cause changes in body chemistry, leading to increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and the release of adrenaline and noradrenaline. If you experience anger or behaviors that are challenging to control, consider seeking professional help from a qualified anger management therapist. They can teach you anger management skills, such as relaxation techniques and expressing anger in constructive ways, to ensure healthy responses to angry feelings.

Learn ways to find anger management therapists.

What Causes Anger?

Anger is an emotion akin to sadness, fear, and love. It can serve a purpose, such as assisting individuals in managing threats by providing the physiological and emotional responses necessary to confront dangerous situations, ensuring overall health and safety. Moreover, feeling angry may signal to someone that another person's behavior is unhealthy, helping them recognize when to end a relationship. When managed correctly, anger can be an important aspect of self esteem and emotional well being.

The intensity of the anger response can vary depending on the individual and the event that triggered it. Thoughts, memories, and past adverse experiences can be emotional causes. involving conscious and unconscious processes. For many, reflecting on people, places, and events that elicited anger in the past might evoke the emotion in the present. Additionally, stressful stimuli such as a new job, difficulties at work, or your car breaking down might cause anger, potentially increasing the risk of mental health conditions if not properly addressed. 

Anger might become a problem when an aggressive response does not serve the situation or urges an unhealthy behavior. If you experience rage on a daily basis or due to minor stress, finding an anger management therapist can help you learn about and manage your medication for anger

Therapists are non-judgmental and can provide a balance of wisdom, compassion, and listening skills to help you make sense of your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. They offer a safe space to address your anxiety, depression, or other feelings. Utilizing cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and relaxation techniques, therapists can help you practice skills to manage anger effectively, enabling you to feel in control of your actions and foster healthy relationships with others. 

Getty/Vadym Pastukh

How Can An Anger Management Therapist Help? 

Anger management therapists are licensed providers with experience treating various symptoms, mental health conditions, and emotional concerns. Although many people believe that attending therapy is only allowed for those with a mental illness, over 41.7 million adults saw a therapist in 2021, and not all were diagnosed with a mental illness. Therapists are trained to support various concerns, including anger management. You do not necessarily have a mental illness if you struggle to manage your anger. 

If your anger affects your marriage or family, a professional marriage and family therapist (LMFT) specializing in anger management therapy works effectively to support everyone in the family as they understand how anger functions within the family unit. Whether your family opts to join you in therapy or you prefer to go alone, cognitive therapy can help you find the tools to improve your relationships and mitigate the increased risk of a mental health condition. Here are a few other ways an anger management therapist might be able to assist you. 

Understanding What Causes Your Anger 

An anger management therapist can do more than provide you with techniques for managing your anger. A qualified mental health specialist can help you understand the sources of your anger, common triggers, and other important information about being an angry person or a person who experiences anger frequently. For instance, if you commonly find yourself angry at work, you and your therapist can discuss why work triggers distress and develop a unique treatment plan, informed by peer reviewed studies, to help you avoid outbursts violent behavior, or unwanted actions towards yourself, coworkers, customers, or management. 

Understanding Your Past Experiences 

A professional mental health therapist can also help you examine your life experiences and how they might contribute to your anger. If you experience explosive anger toward other people or external events, you might experience feelings of regret or shame afterward. Working through memories, relationships, or thought patterns can allow you a greater self-awareness to understand the root of anger that may have influenced your patterns of behavior or thinking.

Understanding Impulse Control

Your therapist can also address impulse control. If you struggle to not follow through on angry behavioral urges, your therapist can teach you techniques to calm yourself down or remove yourself from a situation before reacting. Practicing and implementing impulse control with the support of a therapist can allow you to understand the differences between an urge, an emotion, and behavior when you're feeling anger arise. 

What Types Of Anger Management Therapy Are There?

Various forms of therapy may be effective in treating anger concerns. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is commonly used to address anger due to its approach to changing thoughts and beliefs to change behaviors. 

Another method that may be used is psychodynamic therapy. This tool uses self-reflection to help clients discover the potential root causes of anger and other symptoms or emotions. In addition, family therapy can be used for those experiencing arguments, conflict, or anger concerns with their family. 

At-Home Anger Management Techniques

While you're in the process of seeking and obtaining professional help, you may also consider at-home anger management techniques, including the following. 

Box Breathing

Breathing techniques can help you control your nervous system by allowing oxygen to circulate properly. You might find your breathing getting shallow or heavy when you feel angry. Focusing on an exercise like box breathing could help you feel more in control of your body while you're upset. You can try it through the following steps: 

  1. Take a breath in for six seconds.
  2. Hold your breath for five seconds.
  3. Breathe out for six seconds.
  4. Hold your breath for six seconds.
  5. Repeat the exercise until you start to feel more relaxed. 
Ilona Titova/EyeEm
Learn ways to find anger management therapists.

Taking Space

As a short-term strategy, leaving a situation when you feel angry may help you control your emotions. If you feel angry with friends or family, let them know you're going to step outside for a moment and try to wait until you feel less angry to come back to have the conversation. In addition, give yourself a 24 to 48-hour rule for responding to distressing messages or emails. 

Physical Activity 

Some people may find that partaking in healthy physical activity like running, stretching, or swimming can relieve feelings of anger. When exercising, your brain releases endorphins, often referred to as "happy chemicals," that can improve mood and well-being. In addition, anger often involves action urges, so putting your energy into a positive form of action may be beneficial. 

Counseling Options

Like a trainer at a gym may coach you through using exercise machines safely, a professional therapist can coach you on how to deal with anger safely. In therapy, you can learn ways to feel mentally and physically healthier over time. The American Psychological Association has noted that excessive anger can lead to numerous adverse health outcomes over time, including decreased neurological functioning, reduced cardiovascular health, memory loss, immune concerns, and digestive problems. Anger therapy can allow those struggling to care for their body and mind simultaneously.

Many people may experience feelings of shame or guilt when they express anger, which can make receiving therapy in person challenging. However, there are multiple options when it comes to finding a therapist, including anger management classes and support for other mental health conditions. For example, online therapy can be a more discreet option. 

Online therapy can be arranged around your life. With no need for transportation to an appointment, you can save time and fit your sessions around your schedule. Online anger management counseling is truly a lifesaver. In addition, you can use a nickname through some platforms, allowing you to receive treatment discreetly. One study on internet-based interventions for anger and aggression found it as effective as in-person therapy. If you're interested in trying online counseling, consider signing up through a platform like BetterHelp, which allows you to match with a counselor within 48 hours. 


Anger can be a challenging emotion to manage alone. Support is available through many forms of therapy, including online options. If you're looking for a provider in your area, you can also consider asking your primary care doctor for a referral. Regardless, reaching out to a licensed therapist can get you started on reducing anger's impact on your life.

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