Anger is a protective emotion, but when it gets out of control, the consequences can be deadly serious. Anger management refers to the process by which a person learns how to identify stressors, take necessary steps to remain calm, and handle tense situations in a constructive, positive manner.
Anger management therapy is designed to help you decrease the heightened emotional and physiological arousal associated with anger. It is impossible to avoid all the people, things, and settings that incite anger, but you can learn how to control reactions and respond in a socially appropriate manner. The more you master yourself, the more you can master situations. The support of a mental health professional can be very helpful in this process.
Along with my colleague, Dr. Robert Puff, I wrote a comprehensive book on anger called 'The Everything Guide to Anger Management.' For more information on this book, please click here.
When working with anger management clients, I provide a controlled platform for the release of emotion while aiming to achieve positive and constructive responses, rather than negative and destructive ones. Clients are encouraged to examine the circumstances that trigger their anger and to become aware of their emotional state at each level of arousal. Affected people are taught how to use those psychological signs as a road map to control their anger through the use of more effective coping strategies. By identifying the emotional reaction to specific situations, my clients gain awareness and insight into the way their body responds to past and future circumstances. In addition, I work to help clients in identifying anger responses that may actually be defense mechanisms for other concerns such as depression or anxiety. Often, for example, people will express anger when, fundamentally, what they are really experiencing is hurt.
Some of the techniques I use in anger management therapy include:
- Impulse control
- Cognitive restructuring
- Frustration management (sometimes by writing in an anger diary)
- Relaxation strategies