Techniques To Control Rages, Inspired By Common Anger Management Counseling
By: Sarah Fader
Updated May 04, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPC
Anger is a common, powerful emotion that can affect anyone, regardless of an otherwise neutral or calm composure. It can be set off by any number of causes—from something small or passing, like misplacing the television remote, to something more disruptive, like forgetting an important deadline or discovering damage to your property. With such great variety in day-to-day stressors and experiences, how do you know if you are struggling to keep your anger in check? How can you tell whether you need anger management counseling? Read on to find out.
What Is Anger Management Counseling?
Anger management counseling is a form of psychotherapy or talk therapy that is designed to equip you with the skills to cope with your anger. Talking with a trained psychologist can help to determine if you do indeed have an anger management disorder. A mental health professional can help you safely explore events that cause you to feel anger, learn how to handle them, and eventually take control of your anger.
Inpatient facilities as well as outpatient programs are designed to deliver anger management counseling to those seeking support and healing. Anger management therapy can be conducted as one-on-one sessions between just you and the therapist or within a group setting, in which you get to hear from and share with other individuals dealing with similar issues. Also, in some cases, anger management counseling is approached through family therapy in order to help improve communication and soothe tensions between the members of a household.
Who Needs Anger Management Counseling?
Keep in mind that anger is a typical human emotion. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines anger as “an emotion characterized by antagonism toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong” and notes that anger can have positive effects, like healthy emotional expression and problem solving. However, anger can become problematic when it becomes so intense or lasting that it interferes with your day-to-day life, your physical or emotional health, or your relationships.
You may want to consider anger management counseling if any of the following applies to you:
- You get angry very easily and/or for reasons that you later realize were insignificant.
- Your anger negatively affects your relationships with family, friends, neighbors, or coworkers.
- Persons around you have raised concerns about the frequency or level of your expressions of anger.
- You have tried to manage anger with alcohol or drugs.
- You are experiencing physical symptoms of uncontrolled anger, such as headaches, high blood pressure, lowered immune response, or tightness in your chest.
- You are experiencing emotional symptoms of uncontrolled anger, such as irritability, stress, or feelings of guilt, depression, or anxiety.
- You catch yourself contemplating ways to act on an old grudge or to “get back” at someone you think has done you wrong.
- You have experienced uncontrolled anger to the point that you have become aggressive or violent toward someone else.
What Can You Hope To Gain By Trying Out Anger Management Techniques?
Just as uncontrolled anger can affect all areas of your life, so can the techniques you learn in anger management counseling. These techniques can have several positive effects:
- Helping you to become more aware of what prompts your bouts of anger and how you react to those events.
- Equipping you with coping strategies to use whenever you are confronted by a problem that would normally leave you angry.
- Developing your self-control so that you are able to delay your anger while you enact the coping mechanisms you’ve learned.
- Improving your overall physical and emotional health.
- Helping to rebuild your current relationships and form healthy relationships in the future.
What Techniques Are Involved In Anger Management Sessions?
In anger management counseling, you will learn how to calm yourself during trying situations. Some techniques include breathing exercises and imagery (imagining yourself in a setting where you are relaxed or content).
When you are overcome with intense anger, your mind also may become clouded with intense thoughts that can cause you to lash out. Anger management counseling can redirect you toward more realistic and positive channels of thought. You may also begin to realize that the situations that bring about your anger may not be anyone’s fault and that you do not need to “get back” at anyone.
Communication is also a key ingredient in anger management therapy. Many individuals with anger management issues find that when they are unable to verbalize or communicate about what is troubling them, they turn to other, more damaging means of self-expression. For this reason, therapy sessions often include practicing open communication about underlying emotions and causes of anger.
Here are some other approaches that you might learn through anger management counseling:
Get physical: Use up negative energy by running, dancing, walking, or exercising.
Get the tension out: Whether through a good bout of crying, screaming into a pillow, or pounding on or throwing a soft, harmless object, you can burn off feelings of anger or aggression in ways that don’t cause harm or damage.
Express yourself: You might try channeling your anger into creating a work of art. An artistic outlet for your emotions can be a comforting, quieting release.
Find a listening ear: Someone who is willing to listen in a nonjudgmental way, either a trusted loved one or a licensed therapist, can help you talk through your emotions.
Lean on your support system: Recognizing that you need help managing your anger is a big step, and it is likely that your loved ones will appreciate and support your choice. Be open with them about your attempts to change and the challenges you are facing. Let them know how they can help.
Write it down: If you are not yet comfortable speaking directly to someone, then keeping a journal might help. You can document any incitements of anger, as well as your reactions and emotions. If you later seek counseling and choose to share what you’ve written down, your journal also may be helpful.
Mind your words: Think about how you describe situations and people to yourself and others. If you frequently frame things in absolute terms, such as, “He always forgets our project deadlines!” or “She’s never on time for meetings!” think about describing them in more specific, neutral terms: “This is the second time in a month that he’s forgotten a deadline. I feel frustrated when my team members forget deadlines.” Being more precise with your words can help with managing anger and make the path to a constructive solution clearer.
Meditate: Engaging in meditation or mindfulness practices, such as deep breathing, can allow you to step away from your anger while you assess how you will respond. Even a few quiet moments can clear your thoughts and help you take a different, more constructive approach to dealing with the cause.
Learn to let go: It is not uncommon for anger to persist long after the inciting incident has come and gone. Sometimes, you might dwell on an issue that caused your anger, rehashing and replaying it multiple times in your head. Letting it go can free you of the anger and leave you able to focus on more positive aspects of your life.
Try avoidance: Sometimes, you must face situations that stir up your anger. However, if possible, you may find it helpful to avoid situations and individuals that typically cause feelings of anger.
There will also be times when you are angry with yourself or with things that are beyond your control, such as the weather. When these moments arise, using the above techniques can help you not only to cope with anger, but also to understand that having fits of rage may not get you where you need or want to go.
Where Can I Receive Anger Management Counseling?
Whether you are experiencing frequent bouts of rage, simmering anger over past events that doesn’t go away, or both, know that you are not alone. Anger is a natural and common emotion; feeling angry doesn’t mean that you’re doing anything wrong. However, if your anger is so severe that you resort to physical aggression or other behaviors that impact your health or relationships, then you may benefit from online anger management therapy, such as the flexible programs offered by BetterHelp. Anger management counseling programs have been widely studied, and according to the American Psychological Association (APA), these studies suggest that overall, roughly 75 percent of individuals receiving anger management therapy have improved their management of anger symptoms.
The mental health professionals at BetterHelp are experienced in treating anger management issues. An online therapist can work with you via video chats, phone calls, or messaging, all based on your preference—without fighting traffic or waiting on hold to stir up negative feelings of anger, you can start a session calmly and on your own schedule. You can receive confidential, personalized treatment that can help you build the skills you need to manage anger and live a happier, more peaceful life. Consider these reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people who have experienced anger management issues.
I’ve recommended BetterHelp and Lindsey to four people because I believe wholeheartedly in the work we are accomplishing together. It's important and valued work that has already made a huge difference in feeling grounded in this turbulent world and helping me keep a healthy perspective and getting some very tangible skills of communication that had become rusty.
Oliver has helped me in many ways despite our relatively short time working together. He’s helped me gain a better outlook on the world, and he has helped me install some new philosophies and principles that I’ve found to be very useful in my day to day life and coping with everyday stress, as well as helping me and guiding me through some tough personal decisions, and working on myself and my behavior.
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