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I. What’s it like to get anger management therapy?

Anger can become a problem when you frequently feel intense anger or express your anger in inappropriate ways, such as intimidating or threatening behaviors. If you often get into heated arguments or become so angry you break things or become violent, seeking therapy may help. If you can’t figure out why you get so angry and/or can’t control your anger, find an anger management therapist near you to help you find solutions.

When your anger causes you to verbally abuse your family, friends, or coworkers, it may be time to seek therapy. When your friends don’t want to be around you and/or your family has become afraid of you because of your anger, consider therapy. If you’ve lost your job or are in danger of losing your job or you’ve been arrested because of your anger, you may need help controlling your anger.

If you don’t deal with your anger in a healthy way, it can negatively impact your daily life, relationships, mental well-being, and physical health. Anger management therapy can help you learn how to deal with your anger more effectively and develop self-control skills. The goal isn’t to eliminate anger from your life but to help you find healthier ways to cope with it by helping you identify situations that trigger your anger and teaching you to express your feelings in appropriate ways.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most utilized form of anger management therapy and may be used in one-on-one or group therapy sessions. Relaxation techniques, such as deep-breathing exercises and taking timeouts, are frequently combined with CBT or other anger management treatments. Some medications have been used, but these vary based on underlying conditions surrounding your anger and aggression or co-occurring conditions you may be dealing with along with your anger issues.

II. How to find an anger management therapist

Finding an anger management therapist near you who specializes in proven psychotherapy for dealing with anger issues is important to ensure they’re going to be a good fit. When talking to prospective therapists, tell them about the problems you’re having with your anger and what you want to work on, and ask them about their approach to anger management to see if you’d be comfortable working with them.

A good mental health professional can help you develop individualized anger management strategies that help you identify the stressors and triggers that lead to your anger. Still, you must also be able to relate to your therapist or you may not feel comfortable being open and honest with them. Think about the type of person you’d be most comfortable talking to, which might be someone of the same or opposite sex, someone the same age or older, or someone with a specific sexuality or spirituality focus.

The best therapists are qualified to provide appropriate mental health treatments to address your anger issues. Make sure they have the training, experience, and credentials to back up their claims. All states require mental health counselors to be licensed to practice, so start here. Always check a potential therapist’s credentials through the licensing board in your state to ensure you choose one whose therapeutic capabilities are confirmed through state-mandated regulations.

The final consideration when finding the right anger management therapist near you is cost. If you have insurance, it may cover mental health, so contact your carrier to see exactly what it covers and the amount of your copay. Once you’ve confirmed coverage, make sure the therapist you’re considering works with your insurance provider because some won’t. If you’re paying for therapy yourself, ask potential therapists if they offer a sliding fee scale for cash-pay clients.

III. What does anger management therapy help with?

Managing anger in a healthy way can improve your mental and physical health and help you feel more positive about yourself, achieve goals, solve problems, and enjoy healthy relationships. Anger management therapy can also help with:

  • Anger management strategies: Teaches you strategies to overcome emotional stressors, such as breathing techniques, meditation, impulse control, journaling, exercising, increasing self-awareness, finding a constructive hobby, and emotional awareness.
  • PTSD: Dysregulated anger and aggression are common responses to trauma and prominent among Veteransand other individuals suffering from PTSD, which may be helped with anger management therapy.
  • Substance abuse: Anger is often closely connected to substance use disorders, and individuals may use substances to cope with their anger, and therapy may help break the cycle.
  • Bullying behavior in children: One-on-one treatment of children who bully may involve anger management to help them overcome this behavior and may be combined with skill-building, empathy-building, and self-esteem enhancement.

IV. How can you prepare for anger management therapy?

Prepare for your first treatment session by making a list of things to share with your anger management therapist. Create a detailed list of events and circumstances that have triggered your anger in the past and the negative consequences that resulted from these situations. Include any other ways inappropriately expressing your anger has negatively impacted your life, and list some of the ways your anger may be affecting you physically and mentally. If you’ve used any anger control strategies in the past, list these and any positive effects that you think these strategies might have had.

V. What are common anger management therapy treatments?

Approximately 75% of people receiving anger management therapy saw improvement in their anger issues. Anger management therapists help you recognize and avoid the triggers that make you angry and try to provide ways to manage the anger that flares up without warning using various treatments, which may include:

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

CBT is the most commonly utilized form of therapy for anger management and an effective treatment for reducing anger expression/aggression while improving self-control and problem-solving skills. There are four types of CBT interventions most frequently used when treating anger management problems, which include cognitive interventions, relaxation training, communication skills interventions, and combined interventions.

Group therapy

Anger management therapy in group settings provides a greater range of flexibility in behavioral rehearsal activities and roleplay. It also provides an opportunity for you to gain insight into how other people react to similar situations and understand your anger better by relating to others with similar responses.

Cognitive restructuring

Cognitive restructuring helps you change the way you think, which can impact the way you react. This therapy helps you try to replace negative, overly dramatic thoughts with more rational ones when you become angry. You’ll also learn to avoid using words, such as never or always, which are often inaccurate and don’t help you solve the problem that’s made you angry.

Medication

Some studies show that certain medications may help reduce anger for some people with specific types of anger issues, but additional research is needed. One study indicates that topiramate appears to be safe and effective in the management of anger/aggression. Another study looks at Prozac combined with traditional psychotherapy, including anger management, to reduce aggression in people who become physically violent. Several drugs, including lithium, seem to be effective in treating pathologic anger and aggression in certain populations.

VI. What else can help?

There are numerous techniques you can use outside of therapy that may help you control your anger. Timeouts are an important anger management strategy and require you to leave a situation if you feel your anger is getting out of control. Relaxation techniques, such as deep-breathing exercises and meditation, can also be effective strategies to calm your building anger. Other common strategies your anger management therapist may introduce you to include impulse control, personal reflection, writing in a journal, getting more exercise, and/or taking up a hobby you enjoy.

VII. Sources

If you’d like to learn more about how anger management therapists near you can help you take control of your anger, read more information from the sources used throughout this guide.