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:
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 anger management techniques can have several positive effects:
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 yoursupport 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.
Tryavoidance: 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.
Below are some commonly asked questions on this topic:
What is the best therapy for anger management?
Will counseling help my anger?
What are the 3 types of anger?
Is anger a mental disorder?
Why do I get so angry over little things?
Why am I losing my temper so easily?
What are the signs someone needs anger management?
How do I stop lashing in my anger?
How do I help someone with anger issues?
What are the five steps to anger management?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What is the best therapy for anger management?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is typically considered the best and most effective type of therapy to target anger issues and implement anger management techniques. Anger can be a symptom of a broader mental health issue, or can be an issue in and of itself, but it almost always comes along with a series of unhealthy perceptions, though patterns, or behaviors (or a combination of the three). CBT deals with each of these in turn and allows people with anger to determine the source of the anger, how to develop better strategies to cope with anger once it arises, and how to more effectively and appropriately behave when anger rears its head.
Does counseling help with anger?
Yes! Although anger is not a diagnosable mental disorder or mental health issue in quite the same way as, say, anxiety, depression, and mood disorders are, or a disorder like Bipolar Disorder is, anger is typically indicative of something unhealthy at play in an individual’s mental state, and counseling can help tease out the source of the anger, as well as develop coping mechanisms and strategies to combat that anger and respond to situations in healthier, more productive ways.
Anger is an emotion, and as such, it has its place in an individual’s life. Counseling will not work to eliminate anger from your life entirely: anger can be necessary and helpful! It is when anger grows out of control, when it is negatively impacting an individual’s life, or when it has led to violence and harm that anger becomes problematic, and in need of therapeutic intervention. In certain types of therapy, anger may lead the client and therapist to a specific diagnosis, like the presence of eating disorders or personality disorders, or may present as an issue in and of itself that needs to be addressed.
How much does anger management therapy cost?
Anger management therapy costs will depend on the duration of treatment, the severity of the issue, the willingness of insurance to pay, and the amount of money that must be paid out of pocket. Insurance deductibles for mental health services range from $20-$60 per session, with out-of-pocket costs ranging from $65 (via many online services) to over $300. If anger issues are small, therapy may be necessary for only a few months, while unhealthy thought processes are replaced with healthy ones, and more effective anger management skills are learned.
If more severe issues are at play, or several issues are involved, like eating disorders or anxiety disorders, different treatment options and types of therapy can stretch into 6 months of sessions, 12 months, or more. To determine the exact price of anger management therapy, you must be evaluated by a mental health professional and receive a quote for services. To find an anger management therapist, you can contact your insurance company and ask about your options.
What are the signs of anger issues?
There are two different subsets of anger issue signs: the physical signs and the mental or emotional signs. The physical signs of anger typically involve some sort of tension in the body. Headaches due to a clenched jaw, frequently clenched fists, tension in the back and shoulders, and muscle aches are all common physical indications that anger is frequently experienced by an individual. Sweating, shaking, and a sensation of heat blooding the body are also linked to anger. Although these physical symptoms may sound similar to anxiety, the trigger is typically different: nervous sweating can cause you to feel clammy and induce shivering, while angry sweating can arise as the body is literally suffused with rushing blood and heat and is unlikely to produce a feeling of cold until the angry spell has passed.
The mental and emotional signs of anger commonly include irritability, an inability to be at rest, feelings of guilt, feelings of constant overwhelm, rage, and frustration. These feelings may be expressed toward others—feeling irritated and short-tempered with friends, loved ones, or strangers—or may be turned inward—feeling irritated, angry, and frustrated with yourself. These symptoms may wax and wane throughout the day, and they can come on without warning or without a discernible trigger.
Although anger is a natural, human emotion, it can become problematic if it is interfering in your ability to maintain relationships, hold a steady job, or engage meaningfully in your community. Anger issues are typically identified as any feelings of anger or symptoms of anger that have persisted 60 days or longer, and that have significantly impaired the individual experiencing anger in some way.
Why do I get angry so easily?
Anger is a common thread in a truly enormous number of mental disorders, as wide ranging as anxiety disorders and personality disorders. People can feel angry easily if they suffer from anxiety, because it can feel frustrating to be unable to control your emotional and mental response to seemingly benign occurrences and situations. People with depressive disorders may experience anger as a result of the feelings of apathy they experience day to day andmay feel as though their illness is a weakness. Those with personality disorders may turn to anger as a way to channel their lack of solid identity and safety, and people with schizotypal disorders may experience anger during periods of dissociation or breaks from reality.
Anger is a common emotion in mental disorders and conditions, including eating disorders, depressive disorders, and anxiety disorders, because it is an emotion that is accessed via a visceral response in the body, and can often be used as one of the ways to manage feelings of shame, guilt, and fear. Anger is often considered a secondary emotion, which means that it is often used in the processing of base emotion, such as sadness. Support groups can help people who struggle with anger, as well, as they let you know that you are not alone in your feelings, and that there is hope for recovery.
How do you stop a sudden burst of anger?
Deep breathing exercises can be effective in calming a sudden storm of anger before it controls your reaction and behavior. These can be simple, such as the oft-told “take a deep breath and count to ten” advice given to children, or more complex, involving multi-step breath work, wherein you breathe in for a count, hold your breath for a count, and exhale for a count.
If breath work is not helpful for your anger, there are other practices that can help cool a swell of anger bubbling to the surface and quell impulse control issues. Removing yourself from the situation, when possible, can be a very helpful anger management tool, as it may be easier to process strong emotions without being watched or experiencing a perception of being judged. Tapping fingers while counting, breaking into a quick burst of exercise, and other physical movements can also be useful in alleviating a burst of anger, as these movements take the energy generated by anger and applies it to a more productive, healthier pursuit.
Having accountability partners can also help, whether those accountability partners come from support groups, loved ones, or friends. Support groups are likely to provide the best source of accountability, as individuals in an anger support group will better understand how you are feeling, and what you need from a source of accountability.
What are the three types of anger?
There are three types of anger typically recognized. These include the following:
What type of doctor treats anger issues?
Any mental health professional will likely be adept in treating anger issues, though mental health professionals who utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in their practices are far more likely to be equipped with the skills and background best suited for anger management. This is because healing from intense anger issues often requires a reframing of personal beliefs, thought patterns, and processes, and CBT tackles all of these issues. If anger is due to another issue, like trauma, trauma therapy may be required. Trauma therapy can be conducted by virtually any type of mental health professional, but one with a history of trauma work will likely suit you best.
Does insurance pay for anger management classes?
Because anger is often a symptom of a larger issue, many insurance companies will provide funds for anger management therapists to successfully treat your anger. The precise format of the anger management courses in question will determine whether or not insurance is likely to pay. Therapists’ tele therapy practice, for instance, may not be covered by insurance—not because a therapist’s tele therapy practice is flawed, but because insurance often does not like unusual methods of delivery. If the course is being offered as a therapeutic intervention by a licensed mental health care provider, insurance companies are likely to pay. If the course is offered by a self-proclaimed self-help “guru” or other unqualified person, insurance companies are unlikely to pay for treatment. If anger management is urged by an employer, school, or other authority figure, that figure may be responsible for or willing to pay for anger management courses.
Does anger management really work?
As is the case with any mental health intervention, anger management is as effective as the individuals engaging in anger management. Because anger management involves learning how to develop healthier coping mechanisms and how to reframe the way you think, you must put time and effort into the process, and adhere to all practices set forth by your practitioner. When these guidelines are followed, anger management has been shown to be enormously helpful in alleviating symptoms of intense anger and subsequent mental health issues. If guidelines are not followed, however, a weekly therapy appointment alone will not be enough to “cure” anger issues.
Does CBD help with anger issues?
CBD is not currently recognized as a treatment option for any mental health conditions, though there are increasing numbers of studies evaluating the plant oil for its ability to treat certain disorders and issues. There is some anecdotal evidence to suggest that CBD can be helpful for anger issues, typically along the same lines as the reason that CBD has been identified as an anecdotally useful alternative treatment for depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders: CBD can have a calming effect on the body and mind, which may present as a diminished anger response.
Is there medication for anger?
Although there is not medication specifically marketed for controlling anger, there are medications that are used to treat the disorders often associated with anger, which may include SSRIs (often used in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and other, similar disorders), benzodiazepines (often used to treat anxiety), and beta blockers (which are also used to treat anxiety). Stimulants may be used to treat anxiety, depression, and other issues like ADHD, but are typically not encouraged for individuals who are seeking help with anger issues, as stimulants can increase angry feelings and sensations of agitation or discomfort—two feelings that are unlikely to help an existing anger issue.
Are anger management skills related to stress management skills?
They can be. If anger is linked to anxiety, depression, and stress, stress management can be enormously helpful in managing angry feelings. Anger is often seen as a symptom of anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders because anger can arise when an individual feels helpless, hopeless, overwhelmed, or isolated, and anxiety is excellent at creating all of those feelings. Anger and stress management may also be similar, in that both often focus on cooling heat in the body and finding a way to target and treat the symptoms of any extreme emotions. Both skills might involve breathing practices and mindfulness exercises, in order to ease some of the physical symptoms of anger and stress, including muscle tension, elevated blood pressure, and elevated heart and respiratory rates.
How do I control my anger?
Controlling your anger can feel impossible, but therapy, breathing exercises, and physical movement can all be helpful in mitigating anger, as can some medication used to treat mental disorders and mental health issues. If anger issues are not severe or are not posing harm to others, it may be possible to first try simple exercises, like mindfulness practices or breathing exercises. If anger is spiraling quickly, and is becoming a cause for concern, or is becoming a risk to yourself or others, seeking help from a mental health professional is likely to be the best course of action to learn to control anger, as a targeted regimen involving therapy and medication may be the best way to control anger and work toward a healthy emotional state and emotionally healthy responses.
How can I control my anger exercise?
One of the most common (and popular) ways to control anger is through a simple breathing exercise. Breathing in for six seconds, holding for four seconds, and breathing out for six seconds can help calm the body and soothe the nervous system, which can soothe the frayed nerves triggered by a surge of anger. Practicing mindfulness exercises can also help anger control, as they ground you in your body, and remind you that your emotions do not have to be given control of you. Identifying one thing each of your senses is experiencing can be a helpful exercise, as can taking a step outside to press your bare feet into the earth (a practice aptly called “earthing” or “forest bathing”).
Consistent exercise can also be linked to improved feelings of anger—though some exercises can exacerbate feelings of anger, if they are linked to increased testosterone in the body. Walking, swimming, and stretching can all have a calming, soothing effect on the body, and can help mitigate intense feelings of anger.