Anger Management Counseling
“We should lock the door and scream that curse word we know. It’s a good one!”
— Anger, Disney’s “Inside Out”
Irritation. Displeasure. Frustration. Fury. Rage. All of these words are synonyms for the powerful emotion we call anger. We all experience anger, but do we really know what it is?
When we feel wronged by someone or think something has gone wrong, we feel levels of anger. Sometimes, anger is a secondary emotion. Instead of feeling sadness, grief, embarrassment, stress, or frustration, we experience anger because it is easier to be mad than to accept the real emotions and truth of the situation.
Anger management counseling can assist people with reactivity and anger concerns by identifying triggers and teaching coping strategies so you can use anger to affect positive change while letting go of the negative effects of unaddressed rage.
The Positive Effects of Anger
An important component of understanding anger is to know that while there are positive and negative effects of experiencing anger, the emotion of anger is neither good nor bad. Instead, it's what you do with that anger and how you hold on to it that causes harm.
Anger can be an appropriate response to situations when things aren’t just or fair. If feeling anger doesn’t cause harm to someone else or yourself, then it’s productive. Here are three examples of how being mad can have a purpose:
Anger can be a powerful motivator and a catalyst for positive change. For example, if you’re a kid and you see a friend being bullied, you will be angry. This feeling of anger or fury will drive you to provide support or stand up for your friend.
2. Setting And Achieving Goals
Anger at being passed over for a promotion or feeling underappreciated may propel you towards a personal or professional goal. Feeling unhealthy can prompt fitness goals, and frustration in your relationship can lead to progressive changes that are positive for everyone involved.
Our survival depends on anger: anger creates the ‘fight’ part of ‘fight or flight’ when we are in danger. It can reduce violence and spark optimism, if handled properly, by alerting us that there is a problem that needs to be solved.
The Negative Effects of Anger
Our emotions need to be in proportion to the facts of a situation. When anger is disproportionate–not motivating or helpful–it can negatively affect your environment, others, health, and everyday life.
Negative Health Effects of Anger
Anger, especially brought about by stress, causes psychological changes in our bodies. Stress hormones released into our bodies can have short and long-term negative effects on our physical health, some of which are outlined below.
Anger and stress hormones increase:
- blood pressure
- muscle tension
- arterial tension
- blood glucose levels
- blood fatty acid levels
- incidents of heart attacks
- chances of a stroke
- headaches and migraines
- dry mouth
These hormones decrease:
- our immune system
- thyroid levels
- bone density
Negative Social Effects of Anger
It isn’t just your body that suffers the negative effects of unhealthy anger–our external environment is affected too. Anger explosions and pent-up rage are hurtful to other people because they usually aren’t given the context of what’s going on emotionally. It leads to socially avoiding each other, creates social isolation, and damages our social relationships.
Anger Management: When to Seek Help
When anger becomes uncontrolled, anger management counseling is needed. Many people have anger because they can't solve a problem and they're frustrated. Anger management counseling helps mitigate that helplessness.
We need to learn what things we can change and what are the things we can't. From there, we learn acceptance of our situation and healthy ways to express anger. For example, if you are angry with your spouse for a fundamental issue—they’re not being supportive, etc.—therapy helps you figure out the core problem that needs to be solved productively, and the challenge to your relationship is healed.
Anger management counseling is needed when anger:
- leaves you feeling out of control or overwhelmed.
- Negatively affects your life, health, and relationships.
- Triggers violent physical responses like punching, kicking, breaking items, screaming.
- Triggers overly emotional responses such as guilt, resentment, depression, or anxiety.
- Becomes consistently passive-aggressive.
- Comes quickly and easily.
- Is disproportionate to the situation.
- Is directed inward, creating self-hate, self-harm, and isolation.
- Just one of many emotions you have trouble expressing or naming.
- Is a result or catalyst for substance abuse or addiction.
- Is a result of being around someone else with anger issues.
- Becomes physically, emotionally, or verbally abusive to yourself or others.
- Is experienced without being able to pinpoint the source.
- Is constantly felt all the time.
- Is a problem you or someone else can't cope with.
Whenever you're feeling something really negative, it's causing harm for several weeks at a time, and you can't cope, that's the time to get help. When we don't deal with our anger in a healthy way, it creates social disorder and can lead to violence, property damage, loss of employment, and more.
How Can Anger Management Therapy Help?
Anger management therapy can help you understand the source of your anger and check for co-existing disorders. For many people, anger is a symptom of depression. Often, it's easier to feel angry than really sad. Anger management counseling techniques help you develop more adaptive solutions and promote productivity.
What Can I Expect from Anger Management Counseling?
- Learn coping strategies and anger management skills to control and channel anger, including tools to help express anger in a positive, healthy way.
- Identify the triggers for your rage and the sources of anger in your life.
- Examination of the thoughts and actions before the anger-prompting event.
- Conflict resolution.
- Discover any underlying or co-existing disorders, like depression.
- Find the answer to the question, “why am I angry all the time?”
What Treatment Options Are Available?
There are several treatments available to help a patient with anger issues. You and your therapist will find a treatment option that works for you. The best therapy for anger management will include one or more of the following psychological methodologies to help mitigate your anger and response:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
If applicable, your therapist may also suggest:
Anger causes pain, physically and mentally. Anger therapy teaches the idea that pain is a normal part of the human experience but that suffering is a choice. Pain doesn't last forever, but suffering continues when we struggle against something unchanging. Anger management gives you the tools for controlling or reducing your anger and reactivity.
Remember, it's ok to be angry; in fact, it can be quite positive and motivating. Anger affects us negatively based on how we react to it and how we choose to express it. Therapy not only helps you shine a light on the problems triggering your reactions, but it also helps find constructive, positive ways to solve those problems. If you or someone you know has issues with anger, rage, stress, or frustration, anger management counseling may be the answer. Reach out and find the right Goodman Psychologist Associates mental health professional for you, and rid yourself of aggressive behavior, angry outbursts, and anger problems today.