Finding The Right Anger Management Therapist
By: Jessica Anderson
Updated June 01, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPC
Anger is a normal human emotion; everyone has experienced it. An anger response can be anything from a slight irritation to complete rage. This emotion can get out of control for some people, and when it does, it can ruin relationships and cause enormous problems. Finding the right anger management therapist can help you control your anger and live a life with fulfilling relationships.
Anger itself has two components, emotional and physiological. It is a powerful emotion that triggers many changes in body chemistry. The physiological arousal causes the heart rate to increase, raises blood pressure, and triggers the release of adrenaline and noradrenaline. If you experience out of control anger, it is important to find the right anger management therapist because out of control anger is not healthy for the body or mind.
What Causes Anger?
Anger is an emotion that has evolved over the years to aid in our survival. It helps us deal with threats by providing the bodily and emotional responses required to confront dangerous situations and ensure our survival. Anger itself has two components, emotional and physical. It's a powerful emotion that triggers changes in our bodies, such as increased heart rate, blood pressure spikes, and the release of the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline.
The intensity of the angry response varies depending on the event that triggered it. Thoughts, memories, and past trauma are common internal triggers. In fact, thinking about people, places, and events that caused anger in the past can very easily trigger the emotion in the present. External stimuli such as difficulties at work or a stressful event like your car breaking down on a busy street can also trigger anger.
Anger becomes a problem when an aggressive response is not necessary in the situation. The truth is that not all events require this type of response. If you experience out-of-control anger over a trivial matter, it's important to find the right anger management therapist to help you learn about and manage your anger. Out-of-control anger is not healthy for your body, your mind, or the people around you.
Finding The Right Anger Management Therapist
Finding the right anger management therapist is important because it ensures that you will get the treatment you need. When anger starts to take a toll on life, you want to make sure you seek help from the right person, so you can find a way back to a healthier emotional state as soon as possible.
While you're in the process of seeking and obtaining professional help, you may want to consider some at-home anger management techniques. For example, when you begin to feel angry, take a few deep breaths, and slowly count to ten. Do not react to the situation at hand until after you have done this. When you take time to relax before responding, your anger levels may lessen significantly. Deep breathing also lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, which are two physical symptoms of the emotion. Other at-home methods that can help lessen anger include getting adequate rest and engaging in regular exercise routines. When you feel better physically, you can more easily manage your emotions and your reactions.
Help With Triggers
A great anger management therapist should also do more than provide you with techniques for managing your anger. They will work with you to help you understand your specific triggers, and they'll get to the root of the problem instead of addressing it on a surface level. When you find the right anger management therapist, the challenges you face with this emotion can be eliminated quickly and completely.
The best therapist will not only look at your emotional reaction to a situation, but they will also help you to examine how you got into that situation in the first place. In other words, they'll help you to examine your life. With their support and guidance, you'll understand the source of your anger, whether it's coming from places of deep hurt and fear or simply from unnecessary reactions to everyday events.
Finally, your therapist should also help you with impulse control. It can be difficult to eliminate anger completely because it's a natural human response. (In some cases, it's even healthy.) You can, however, eliminate the negative or extreme reactions that you're having when you feel angry. Impulse control can help you manage your anger outbursts, so the emotion will have less of a hold on your life.
Talk therapy may be the best way for some people to develop anger management skills, but it may not be the most effective treatment for everyone. Some people may need something more in depth, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This approach helps people make specific changes in their lives by focusing on current situations and personal beliefs. Another method is Psychodynamic Therapy. This tool uses self-reflection to find the root causes of the problem you're experiencing. In addition, Family Therapy can help those who have allowed their anger to affect the people closest to them. No matter what type of therapy you need, the right therapist will be able to help you determine the best path forward, and then they'll guide you down the road to improvement.
Consider Unconventional Therapy
Sometimes the hardest part about therapy is simply getting to the appointment. It's extremely beneficial once you get there, but it can be hard to get out of the house or the office. Sometimes busy schedules can affect your ability to meet with someone in person as well. Or maybe you find the idea of meeting face-to-face too stressful right now. If you relate to any of these challenges, consider talking to a therapist at BetterHelp today. BetterHelp counselors are available online. You can access them from anywhere at any time, so you can get the support you deserve while you learn to manage your anger. Read the reviews of BetterHelp counselors below to learn more, from people experiencing similar issues.
"I'm generally not a negative person but I'm very self aware that I have vast mood swings of anger and pessimism and I get that from my dad. I chose Douglas because he counsels using cognitive behavioral therapy and anger management - which is the kind of therapy I need. Douglas comes up with clear solutions and I appreciate that. I didn't want a therapist to tell me to talk about my day and how does that make me feel and that it's normal to have these feelings. I know it is normal to feel angry sometimes, but I wanted to understand how to recognize it and address it. So if you need constructive conversation with fast results for everyday annoyances and (especially effective child rearing advice!) I think Douglas is your therapist."
"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!"
Anger can be a difficult emotion to manage. Luckily, help is available to you. With support from the right anger management therapist, you can move forward toward a healthier, happier life. Take the first step today.
Why am I so angry all the time?
Sometimes, the reason why you’re so angry all the time can be obvious. If you’ve had a string of bad luck, or have to deal with people who annoy you, that’s one reason why. However, there are some reasons that may be a little more hidden. Let’s look at some of them.
- You have anxiety. Sometimes, anger management issues can be a result of your anxiety.
- You’ve gone through a recent life change. Be it a divorce, grief, or something else, you may be hiding back your emotions and it can come out as anger.
- You’re always consuming bad news on social media.
- Anger management problems can also be due to a disorder, like intermittent explosive disorder.
- Alternatively, you may have been raised by people who were angry.
If you feel angry all the time, anger management therapists can help. Not only is it important for you to get help for your anger issues, but you can learn why you feel this way all the time. Knowing the cause can help you relieve the symptom.
Do I have anger issues?
Everyone gets angry from time to time. Everyone has those moments where their anger doesn’t match the situation. However, there’s a difference between that and an anger issue. Here are some signs.
- You’re always angry or passive-aggressive towards people, usually for the slightest annoyance.
- The anger always doesn’t match what happened.
- When you do get angry, it lasts for a long time. Alternatively, it could last for one single outburst that’s gigantic.
- You’ve had relationship, friendship, or even legal woes due to your anger.
If you feel like you have an anger issue, it’s important you seek help from an anger management specialist.
Can a therapist help with anger?
Yes! Anger management therapists are designed to find the root of your anger problem and help you find ways for you to express your emotions in a healthy manner. Anger management counseling from a licensed professional counselor is for someone who’s strong enough to admit they have an anger management problem that needs fixing.
What is the best therapy for anger management?
For anger management, you may wonder what the best therapy from a licensed professional counselor is. Out of all the types of therapy, which one can fix your anger?
The truth is that there’s no single best type. We all respond to certain therapy techniques in our own way. Instead, we will list therapies that are commonly associated with helping those who have anger management issues.
As you may have guessed, this therapy type uses art as a way to express how the person feels. A person may draw a picture or do something else artistic, such as writing, to get the anger out. You don’t need to be a talented artist for art therapy to help with your anger management issues. The goal is to express your anger in a much more productive way that doesn’t harm others, and for anger management therapists to help you interpret what you art means.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a technique used by most therapists, not just anger management therapists. With cognitive behavioral therapy, the relationship between one’s habits and thoughts are explored. For example, when you have angry thoughts, you may end up yelling at someone or punching a wall, which is poor anger management issues. Anger management therapists may use cognitive behavioral therapy to replace your habits when you have angry thoughts, and also help you stop having less angry thoughts when you do experience something that annoys you.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is worth trying out regardless of your problem. For best results with cognitive behavioral therapy, talk to a therapist.
When one thinks of anger management therapy, they may picture an individual. However, anger management therapy can also involve two people, especially if both have anger issues together or one feeds into the other’s anger.
With couples therapy, the conversations and arguments a couple has will be explored. The point of couples therapy is to help couples find solutions that will make them perform better as a single unit. For example, learning to use more productive language can help with deescalating an argument. Someone with anger management issues can learn how to avoid taking it out on their spouse.
The best anger management therapist can be someone who works on all sides to improve how a person behaves.
Both marriage and family therapy, which we’ll explore in a second, can help.
This type of therapy is commonly associated with a fear. Exposure therapy involves a client getting gradually exposed to what they’re afraid of, such as showing an arachnophobe videos of spiders, before working their way up to a real spider.
Anger management therapists may use exposure therapy as well. If someone has a trigger that makes them rage, anger management classes are a safe way to be exposed to that source of anger, so they learn to be desensitized to it. It’s quite effective, and it’s another tool an anger management specialist may have.
Anger can run in a family, and a family therapist could be the best anger management therapist for the job. Marriage and family therapy are quite similar, with a family therapist working on the unit as a whole to stop any anger management issues. A family therapist may explore the relationships between angry parents and their kids, or how family fights can be solved in a productive, not angry, manner.
With both marriage and family therapy, it works better as a unit. The family therapist may work with each member of the family individually, but the ultimate goal is to get the family together under one roof. Both marriage and family therapy can help households with anger management problems, so try them out and see if they work for your anger management counseling needs.
This is a form of talk therapy that explores the patient’s relationship with the world. By letting the patient talk about their fears, their experiences, and their overall lives, psychodynamic therapy hopes to get to the unconscious feelings that may be driving them to behave a certain way. Anger management therapists may use psychodynamic therapy to help treat other issues such as depression, anxiety, and more.
If a person is in a relationship or married, one’s sex life can be explored. Having poor sex can lead to anger management problems. For example, if a person has ED or is performing poorly, it can hurt their confidence and make them angrier. In some cases, anger management classes can turn into ways to improve one’s libido and have a much better sex life as a result.
Are there free anger management classes?
This mainly depends on your community. You may find meetups and classes offered for absolutely free to help with your anger. These classes may be offered as a public good. Meanwhile, you may find free online courses to teach you how to manage your anger better. Certain apps can help you keep calm and manage anger, too.
Luckily, even if you have to pay, an anger management class usually doesn’t cost too much. The wisdom offered by these classes also tends to be worth however much you have to pay for it, too.
How do I control my anger outburst?
Angry outbursts are controllable. Here are some ways to control an outburst.
- If you feel anger building up, remove yourself from the situation, or use calming techniques.
- Some calming techniques you can use include meditation or listening to calming sounds. You can play nature sounds or listen to something else that makes you calm.
- Identify your triggers. What makes you have an angry outburst? Is there any way to avoid those triggers?
- Don’t bottle up your anger. This can often lead to an angry outburst. Instead, learn how to express any anger you may have in a healthy manner.
- Go on a run. Running your heart out can calm you down and prevent outbursts in the future.
Is excessive anger a mental illness?
It can be. Some people may be excessively angry due to how they were raised, but some people also may have an anger disorder. For example, intermittent explosive disorder, or IED, happens when you have sudden, angry outbursts.
Sometimes, anger can be the byproduct of another mental illness, like anxiety or even depression. It’s important to go to a psychologist to get yourself properly diagnosed.
What is the psychological reason for anger?
Anger is what’s known as a social emotion. This means that you respond that way due to some social triggering. You feel pain, and when you find something that makes you angry, you may feel like they are a threat to you. You can be angry at yourself, someone else, or an inanimate object you think is causing you pain. Anger is a lot more complicated than one thinks.
Is there medication for irritability?
Certain medications may help with irritability. For example, Risperidone is commonly used for irritability, particularly with autistic people. You should go to your doctor and see what they can prescribe. Just remember that it’s important to learn anger management techniques. Don’t just take pills and to make your problem go away.
Are anger issues genetic?
When dealing with human flaws like poor anger management, you may wonder if it’s nature or nurture. There may be some genetics that could lead to you being more likely to have anger management issues, but the main culprit is that its nurture. If you were raised by people who were angry all the time, it can make you angry as well, and vice versa. That’s why anger is hard to break, and why family therapy may be needed at times.
What is the hormone that causes anger?
There is not a single hormone responsible for anger, but rather different hormones at different levels. For example, testosterone may cause anger management problems if it’s too much or too little. Meanwhile, we have epinephrine, a hormone responsible for panic, which can cause anger.
Being hormonal can definitely lead to issues with anger management, anger issues, and anything else related to anger. Seeking help from a clinical psychologist is important, but so is a doctor if you feel like certain hormones are leading to your anger management issues.
Can anxiety manifest as anger?
Anxiety can show itself in many different ways, and one of those ways can include anger. When someone feels overwhelmed, the only way they feel they can let it out is by exploding. While anger management problems don’t happen with any anxious person, it can happen with more people than you would think. It’s important to seek help from a clinical psychologist when you're anxious and angry. Also, go to a doctor. With proper medication management, you can tackle both your anxiety and your anger management problems.
How do you live with someone who is always angry?
Living with someone who is a hothead is difficult. You may feel like everything you do gives the person a chance to go off on you. Alternatively, they may not be angry at you, but instead other people. Sometimes, the person’s anger issues may cause you to get into trouble due to association. Here are some ways to live with someone with anger management problems.
- Not all anger is abusive, but if you're in any danger, call someone. A hotline can help you, and so can calling the police if you feel like you're in any immediate danger. If you're able to move out, do so.
- Avoid bringing up anything that could make them angry when it’s unnecessary. We aren’t saying you should not confront someone who has anger management issues, but it is important to choose your battles wisely.
- Don’t try to get angry back. For one thing, practicing anger management can set a good example. For another, if you get angry, it could make the situation escalate even more.
- Communicate in a way that is influential, compassionate, but assertive. You need that right balance to deal with someone who has anger management issues.
- Encourage the person to find anger management individual psychotherapy. Often, our anger is due to many issues, such as personality, past, and other factors that make it hard to control. Individual psychotherapy for anger management, anger control, or any issues relating to anger can help.
How do you process anger?
Anger management is not about getting rid of anger altogether, but about processing anger in a healthy way. When you feel angry at something, it may be valid, but you need to process it in a way that will not hurt others. Here are some anger management techniques to help you process anger much healthier.
- Take a deep breath. This anger treatment technique sounds a little bit cliché, but there is a reason why it’s so popular. Breathing helps calm your strong emotions and delivers much-needed oxygen, keeping you a little more rational.
- Write down your anger or express it artistically. Writing it down can help you rationalize your emotions, and it gives you some training so you can express your emotions in a way that is more productive.
- One of the best anger control methods is to avoid letting it out when you're tired. Get some rest and you may feel better in the morning. Of course, it can be hard to sleep when you're angry. Try deep breathing or other calming methods.
- Get moving. Working out can help you release the violent emotions you're feeling and it releases endorphins, which can calm you down.