How does anger management therapy work?  

 Getting angry every now and then is normal and healthy. It’s part of being human and is appropriate if expressed in a health manner in many different situations.  Anger enables us to show our dissatisfaction with an event or a behavior and sometimes even get a better outcome. But if you find yourself getting angry a lot or expressing your anger inappropriately, it can become a problem.

Having frequent angry outbursts, persistent feelings of anger, or experiencing rage can be a sign that you need anger management therapy. These feelings can have a negative impact on your physical health, your quality of life, and your relationships. Intense feelings of anger that others feel are disproportionate to the situation at hand, can also be an indication of a mental health condition, such as bipolar disorder

What is anger management?

It’s often impossible to avoid the people or change the circumstances that cause anger. Because of this, anger management therapy focuses on helping you take control of the physiological and emotional activation associated with anger. This type of therapy can help you recognize the people and situations that trigger you and develop the skills needed to cope with them more effectively. 

Anger management sessions are designed to help you reduce anger-provoking and stressful situations. They can help improve your self-control and learn new ways of expressing your feelings in a healthy, effective manner.

Types of anger management therapy

There are several different kinds of anger management therapy. The most common and successful include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), psychodynamic therapy, and family therapy.

Your therapist will assess your behavior, symptoms, and circumstances to determine the best approach to treatment. If one method isn’t as successful as you hoped, your therapist will move on to another type of therapy and will continue until you’re able to efficiently manage your feelings and actions associated with anger.

Cognitive behavioral therapy

CBT is one of the most common treatments for anger management because it produces great results. It can help you better understand the things that trigger your anger. With this type of therapy, you can develop and practice helpful coping skills while learning to think, feel, and act differently in response to anger-provoking situations. CBT can help you identify your internal self-talk, triggers and help you to learn how to express your anger in a healthy and productive manner, rather than a toxic and damaging one.

Dialectical behavioral therapy

DBT is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that can be very effective if you experience intense or frequent bouts of anger. This type of therapy can help you regain control by developing distress tolerance skills, emotional regulation, and mindfulness. It can also provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to more effectively communicate with the people in your life, so you’re less likely to feel frustration and anger. 

Psychodynamic therapy

Psychodynamic therapy takes a different approach from the previous two anger management techniques and aims to get to the root of the problem. This form of therapy looks at the psychological causes of your anger and the way in which you respond to it. When you’re armed with this information, you can identify unhealthy oftentimes long-term patterns associated with anger and correct them.

Family therapy

If your anger is often directed at family members, family therapy may be your best option. Family therapy can help break down walls between you and other members of your family while improving communication and helping you resolve issues. Not only can this type of therapy help you better deal with your anger, but it can also bring you closer together with your family members and greatly improve your quality of life.

Anger management techniques

Just like there are different kinds of anger management therapies, there are also different techniques your therapist will employ to help you better control your thoughts, feelings, and actions in anger-inducing situations. Here are some of the most common and effective anger management techniques used today:

Determining triggers and responses

All forms of anger management therapy help you identify what triggers your inappropriate expressions of anger, both in the past and the present. They can also help you analyze your responses to anger-provoking situations and the consequences of your actions. With this information, you can begin to better understand why you behave in such a way and how to respond differently to get a more productive outcome. 

Developing techniques to reduce anger

In anger management therapy, your therapist will teach you methods of disrupting your angry outbursts or ways to manage your response to anger utilizing a variety of tools with lots of successful outcomes behind them. 

With the help of your therapist, you’ll learn how to find better solutions to express yourself when you’re feeling angry. You will learn how to express your anger by being assertive and maintaining your calm so that you can rationally explain your needs and your feelings. 

You’ll also develop relaxation techniques and coping strategies for stressful situations, such as affirmations, relaxing mental imagery, deep breathing, and mindfulness.

Altering your thought patterns and attitude

One of the most powerful parts of anger management therapy is restructuring the way you think and changing your ways of expressing your anger. You’ll focus on this part of therapy a lot if your therapist decides that CBT is the best option for you

Your therapist will help you analyze your thoughts and behaviors so you can identify negative thought patterns that can exacerbate your anger. After the maladaptive thought patterns have been identified, your therapist will work with you to change your response patterns, encouraging you to find different ways to express your anger that draws people in and gets them to hear your feelings and your needs without repelling them through angry outbursts. 

You don’t have to feel this way forever

Being angry often or experiencing intense levels of anger can make you feel like you’ve lost control. Make your first anger management therapy session today and get back in charge. Our Cyti therapists are trained in various different types of therapy specifically designed to help you better express your emotions.

From cognitive behavioral therapy and family therapy to dialectical behavioral therapy and psychodynamic therapy, there are many different approaches to anger management therapy that they can explore with you. Do the best thing for yourself and those around you by taking the first step today.

About the author: Theresa Boswell

Theresa is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  I relocated to California after a short period in Kansas in 2016.  Growing up in a large family has allowed her to develop unique experiences that she draws from to foster resilience and growth in her patients.

She has over 20 years of experience in counseling and in the field of social services.  She has recently been a leader with Federally Qualified Health Care (FQHC) systems leading change within Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH) environments.  She received my education from the University of Wisconsin’s educational system, with obtaining her master’s in Social Work from UW-Madison and her doctorate in Counseling Psychology from UW-Milwaukee.

Read more about Theresa here >>

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. If you are in a crisis or any other person may be in danger,  these resources can provide you with immediate help:
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 988
24 Hour Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.800.273.8255
Crisis Text Line Text TALK to 741741