Therapy for Anger

Don’t let anger take the wheel. We can help you reclaim control.

Anger might feel like…

A hurricane that breaks wherever pain is present. Boiling blood rushing through your veins. Unleashed resentment, rage, and disgust. A storm lashing out furiously, brutally crushing your balance. So. Much. Heat. For some people, anger is an erupting volcano that bursts in the midst of being mistreated or wronged. For others, there is a deep chronic anger that lingers internally like a persistent fire that just won’t extinguish. Anger can explode from our bodies to poison our environments or it can implode in a self-destructive manner. 

It’s difficult to control and even harder to confront. And anger is often only the tip of the iceberg. We can help you understand your relationship with anger. We can help soften this pain. You deserve to live a life free from the burdens of anger. You deserve to be well.

Learning real strategies for managing anger can transform your life. 

What is Anger?

In its simplest form, anger is an emotional response to a perceived threat or injustice. It is usually provoked by external events, such as frustrating delays or unkind words. While some people are naturally more prone to anger than others, it is also commonly shaped by experiences and environment. An individual’s natural emotional makeup and prior experiences can influence how they respond to certain situations and how easily they become angry. Additionally, certain people may be more sensitive to particular triggers and be prone to more extreme expressions of anger.

Anger might also be caused by unresolved past issues, such as trauma or childhood experiences. Something may have happened, to the individual or others they were close to, which left them feeling insecure or vulnerable. The anger, therefore, could be indicative of the need to address these past experiences in order to move forward and live a more fulfilling life.

Sometimes anger can be productive because it can motivate people to take necessary and beneficial action when faced with an injustice or threat. However, anger can also become difficult to control and can cause physical, mental, and relational damage to both the individual experiencing it, and those around them. For example, an extended period of unmanaged anger can lead to health issues such as cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and depression. Psychologically, people with high levels of anger may start to think in less rational ways and make negative assumptions. People may also jump to conclusions, make critical and insulting comments, exaggerate another person’s faults, or focus on revenge as a solution. On a relational level, anger can negatively influence quality of relationships, creating distrust and interpersonal harm. Even worse, sometimes anger can manifest in dangerous and illegal actions, such as assault, property damage, and other forms of harm.

It’s also critical to understand that anger is often only the “tip of the iceberg.” An iceberg is large, and the part that is visible above the water is small in comparison to the much larger part that is below the surface. Similarly, when people get angry, the visible anger itself may not necessarily be the main problem, but rather, a symptom of something more deeply rooted and hidden. Some of the underlying feelings associated with anger are fear, hurt, guilt, shame, or sadness. For some people, their expressed anger can be a coping mechanism to avoid processing these underlying emotions that feel too painful to express outwardly.

Anger can be triggered from a wide variety of experiences

How can therapy help with Anger?

Therapy is invaluable for anger management because it helps people to both identify and process their emotions in a safe and non-threatening manner. Therapists compassionately listen to one’s unique experiences and focus on identifying and addressing the sources of anger, learning adaptive ways of managing anger, and developing healthier coping and self-care habits. Strategies learned in therapy, such as deep breathing techniques, identifying and reframing core beliefs, and positive self-talk, can be useful techniques to manage anger. Therapists also provide a supportive environment to safely explore and express day-to-day frustrations and current life events that may feel triggering, which can also act as a buffer to feelings of anger.

One of the most important parts of therapy for people struggling with anger is learning to recognize and acknowledge when one’s emotions are devolving into anger or frustration Using techniques for mindfulness may be especially helpful to avoid ruminating on past events and to avoid focusing on the unhelpful thought patterns that fuel anger. It encourages us to remain in the present moment, become more aware of physical sensations, and acknowledge our emotions without judgement. . Just like any sport or skill, this requires practice and dedication. Regular mindfulness practice in therapy can help us to become more aware of internal experiences and regulate our emotions.

Therapy can also provide experiences that help people to build self-awareness and fostering self-compassion. Self-compassion is understanding that all human beings experience pain, struggle, and failure. It involves consciously noticing your experiences, tolerating difficult emotions, and engaging in self-care. Self-compassion can help an individual to understand their anger in a less destructive way. In dealing with anger, it is often necessary to step back and recognize the events and factors that have contributed to your state. Self-compassion can help to see the “bigger picture”, allowing for a broader perspective that can provide understanding and insight. These are all things that occur during therapy.

In addition, therapists can also help people struggling with anger by providing a consistent Avenue of support. For example, a therapist can help stay in touch with an individual’s progress and can act as a professional resource to help individuals navigate difficult emotions in healthier, more productive ways. Therapists can also provide education and support to family members on how best to support their loved one as they work to manage their anger more effectively.

Most importantly, we want people to know that it is entirely possible to recognize and reframe their anger, find healthy ways to manage it, and identify and process any unresolved issues that may be contributing to their anger. Coupled with lifestyle changes, relaxation exercises, and problem solving, therapy can be highly beneficial in helping people better manage and overcome their anger issues. If you or a loved one is struggling with anger, we invite you to contact us. Our therapists are wholeheartedly passionate about helping people successfully navigate anger to reclaim control and enhance their mental health.