Anger Management Therapy

The essence of anger management therapy is to calm, isolate the real issue, and learn more productive ways to deal with the issue. Anger is often a secondary reply to hurt, disappointment, loss, embarrassment, distress, or emotional pain. Perhaps the person was never appropriately instructed in self-control in their youth, control was taken from them by incidents in their environment for an extended period, or an overwhelming life event contributed to their inability to appropriately respond to feelings. Dealing with anger does not mean that the person will not get angry; although in the long term, that might indeed be a desired outcome. The therapy actually helps a person isolate the problem or issue that is causing the acrimony and thereby giving a person a starting place to begin to deal with the particular issue. A person who engages in anger management therapy will learn how to appropriately respond to their temper rather than reacting to it. Instead of lashing out at people (usually reserved for those who are physically or emotional near), a person will learn coping skills that take these people out of the line of fire.

Anger is such an isolating condition. No one wants to be the brunt of someone's tirade. Self-control is essential to civility. Often times angry episodes include violent actions, verbal abuse, and intimidation causing fear. In anger management therapy the triggers of these explosive events can be uncovered. There is definitely a history that proceeds this behavior. Sometimes exposing the history is enough to get to the root of the problem. However, as human beings, people do not like to open themselves up to potential judgment by others. Therefore, the discovery process may be difficult. Diligence and persistence may eventually compel a person to open up. Effective anger management therapy will use subtle and transparent techniques to get the person talking. "Beating the person over the head, (figuratively, of course) has no merit and will produce minimal results; if any at all. The key is to replace aggression with assertion. This is not an easy sell to an aggressive person. The person needs to discover that a situation dealt with effectively can produce a positive outcome. As a matter of fact, it could be win-win.

The main skill a person will need to learn in anger management therapy is communication. In the therapy, the idea of taking a person's thoughts into captivity and not acting out on them is fundamental. "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. (2 Corinthians 10:3-6). A person can learn to pause after a thought comes into their head, take a breather (count to 10), and make a decision about the best thing to do with that thought. Often people, who have self-control issues, are attempting to control the behavior of someone else. This never works, of course. In the short term, or for a limited period of time, a person will allow a person to call the shots. But, this gets old after a while because power breeds more power. Instead of measuring the use of this control with a thimble, the angry person begins to use tablespoons, then cups, then gallons, and on and on. Losing control can lead a person down a slippery slope that may end in the person losing their freedom.

Because of the escalating nature of both power and passion, victims in these situations must either leave or the person must diligently seek to recover their self-control through anger management therapy. What happens, more times than not, is that victims leave. New victims replace the past victims and the cycle continues until either an unfortunate, but preventable, tragedy ensues or the angry person realizes that they are on the losing side of the equation. Not only are victims victims, but the perpetrators are also victims. Most people do not take into consideration that there are physical ramifications of aggressive outbursts. Anger can cause high blood pressure, hypertension, and/or depression. The weird thing about that is that it doesn't depend upon whether or not the displeasure is expressed. Frankly, although expressed anger may be dangerous to victims, it is also dangerous to the perpetrator. And unexpressed vexation is even more directly dangerous to the perpetrator; making anger management therapy all the more critical for this person.

Some pathological expressions of indignation come out in ways other than outbursts. When a person is constantly putting others down, making cynical comments, and critical of everything and everybody, there is usually a root in anger. People with these behaviors rarely recognize them as anger. They choose to deal with people passive-aggressively. Unfortunately, forging meaningful relationships is not usually possible. Therefore, they are generally unhappy people with few, if any, friends. And even when they do successfully develop a relationship, it often degrades in a short period. Anger management therapy, in a group setting, can be very beneficial for anyone with these types of issues; however for the person who is passive-aggressive, it is of particularly tremendous value. The idea is to engage in cognitive restructuring. What this means is altering the way a person thinks. People who are angry often speak in colorful language (cursing or using very dramatic and exaggerated words). These words resonate their inner thoughts. Replacing negative, derogatory, and pessimistic thoughts with more positive, appreciative, and favorable ones will begin to rewire a person's thinking.

Anger Management Techniques

Those in search of anger management techniques can often benefit greatly from professional intervention as well as through attaining an understanding of this very potent emotion. In many families, angry feelings are discouraged and children grow up distrustful and ashamed each time they experience a hostile emotion. But anger can be a very positive and healthy emotion when channeled correctly and expressed in a balanced manner. When attempting to understand such a powerful feeling, it can be helpful to know that anger will usually be made up of several elements. These components may be cognitive, psychological, and physiological in nature.

The cognitive factor has to do with the specific thought processes that the individual is experiencing. At times, a basic understanding that feelings of irritation are both normal and justified can be very helpful. The psychological component will deal with just how the person feels. In addition to angry feelings, the individual may be feeling depressed, frustrated, or let down. Examining all of these feelings and the reasons behind them can be very effective anger management techniques. The physiological aspects will deal with the body's physical reaction to angry feelings. Does the heart rate increase? Does the blood pressure rise? Is there a release of adrenaline? Explaining such factors can make it plain to the patient just why the need to effectively channel powerful emotions is so important to the individual's overall health. The triggers for angry emotions are usually some kind of frustrating event. Additional circumstances such as a longstanding and underlying frustration can also be contributing factors. If someone seems to go through life feeling perpetually angry, this could be a sign of a serious problem that may benefit from the effective use of various anger management techniques. Since these problems will usually stem from some kind of learned behavior, new learned behaviors could supply the needed remedy.

Handling angry emotions may generally be accomplished in one of two ways, expression or suppression. Healthy expression will not involve outbursts and explosions, but will usually be characterized by calm discussion, impassioned pleas or assertive statements. Those who are more tempted to suppress anger may have a very difficult time with such issues as healthy assertion over inappropriate aggression or impassioned, but controlled pleas. Effective anger management techniques can help those on both sides of the spectrum. Anyone who is prone to angry outbursts can benefit from learning to express feelings without turning aggressive or abusive toward others. Those in the habit of suppressing feelings of anger can find much relief in learning to communicate long buried emotions in healthy and productive ways. In some cases, the help of a professional counselor may be needed. A counselor will usually explore the patient's family background and upbringing to gain a better understanding of the underlying causes of the problems that the individual presents.

Astute parents can help their children by teaching them effective anger management techniques during childhood. Anger is common among children. Caring parents can teach both by example and by supplying the child with useful tools for dealing with these powerful emotions. Some children may use anger as a way to gain attention or reassurance from parents. This can present many problems for concerned moms and dads. The need to discipline inappropriate behavior must be coupled with a reassurance that the child is loved unconditionally. While there should be consequences for angry outbursts, instruction on how to better express these feelings is a must. By doing so, a parent can often head off many problems and better equip the child for life in the adult world. Of course, there can be a number of other reasons behind inappropriate bursts of rage. The child may be attempting to gain power or may be seeking some sort of revenge or aggression toward another person. Professional counseling along with the application of anger management techniques can be very helpful in dealing with and discovering the causes behind a child's extreme behavior issues.

For teenagers, there are a number of anger management techniques that may be effective. The teen years can be both difficult and confusing. A certain amount of angry feelings during the adolescent years is both normal and understandable. Learning to effectively handle these feelings is part of the normal maturation process. But for some youths, anger can get out of control and become rage. When this is the case, professional counseling may be in order. A parent can help their child handle this rage by keeping the lines of communication open. If the teen feels that they have lost parental respect and approval after an outburst, this may only contribute to the problem. Looking into the sources of stress that the adolescent may be feeling can be helpful as well. If an underlying problem is identified, it may be easier to find a reliable solution. The Bible contains many verses that deal with the topic of anger. "He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated." (Proverbs 14:17)

For anyone who struggles to correctly channel angry emotions, there are a number of useful anger management techniques available. Something as simple as walking away from a situation momentarily can be very effective. This can give all parties the opportunity to calm down and gain control. In some cases, this approach will not be applicable since there may not be time to walk away. When this is the case, it can still be important to pause, even if only for a moment, before making a response. Relaxing, taking the time to breath and think before responding can often be enough to prevent an over the top reaction. Retraining old habits can make a huge difference for anyone who struggles with these issues.

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