Anger is a powerful emotion that can cause us to behave very irrationally. When we fail to control or channel it constructively, it can also be exceedingly damaging both to us and those around us. However, not all anger manifests as emotional outbursts and violence.
Some people struggle with deep-rooted anger that is just constantly bubbling under the surface and is invisible to the naked eye. However, this is also very damaging to emotional and physical health, and will eventually lead to a massive outburst, or long-term issues, that will fail to be resolved until the underlying anger is taken care of.
So, while not all anger issues look the same from the outside, they each need dealing with effectively to ensure free living and healthy relationships and that’s where anger management therapy can come into play.
What is Anger Management Therapy All About?
Anger management therapy sessions can take place in a variety of settings. One of the most popular is to engage in therapy within a group. Indeed, it is possible to attain greater insight into your own anger when expressing your struggles in the presence of others who may be experiencing the same thing.
Simply acknowledging how you feel, and having others do the same, can be an extremely cathartic experience and may act as a springboard to dealing with your anger issues.
In addition, hearing from others who may be dealing with very similar struggles can be a great encouragement to those who feel they are alone and isolated in their difficulties. Knowing that others are battling the same issues can be incredibly energizing as you seek to address the problem and move into greater health.
Remember, you are never excluded from getting help for your anger issues. There are no “entry criteria” that you must meet in order to be accepted into a group therapy setting, for example. You also don’t need to be at a crisis point in order to seek out help.
Too often, people think that they only need anger management therapy if they are having regular outbursts of rage and are “out of control.” Of course, there may be people who need urgent intervention, but those who are struggling with consistently angry thoughts must also feel confident to reach out for help.
That being said, issues of anger may be varied in nature dependent upon age, situation and life stage. For example, a couple entering anger management therapy may find themselves dealing with unhealthy responses and reactions to each other which are making marriage increasingly unsustainable. However, a child with anger issues may be using the anger to mask an underlying issue, or because they are unable to adequately express their feelings or emotions.
When Should I Seek Anger Management Therapy?
Perhaps you can see that your anger is affecting those closest to you, or that your underlying issues are causing you to burst out in irrational behavior on a regular basis these could be clear indicators that it would be wise to seek out help in this area. If you feel as if your anger is growing uncontrollably, it could certainly be time to reach out to a counselling service for assistance.
Often times, there are underpinned emotions related to anger, such as sadness, frustration, and deep-rooted pain. Expressing anger is a common way of pasting over these feelings. However, true freedom will only be found when the root cause is identified and thoroughly dealt with through the appropriate form of therapy.
It can be difficult to recognize the anger issues that might be plaguing your life and relationships. If you have experienced anger for a number of years, it may be almost impossible to identify the behaviors without expert help.
While you might be blind to it, others may see the evidence of the unresolved issues in your life that are causing unrelenting anger to develop. It is worth listening to those closest to you with regards to your behavior, though this can sometimes be difficult to hear!
Often times, people deal with anger in unhealthy ways, even attempting to numb their feelings with certain addictive behaviors. This can also become very detrimental to the person and their close relationships all the more reason to deal with the root issues.
As Christians, we also believe that anger is something that can be wildly corrosive to the spiritual life of an individual. Indeed, the unhealthy habit of harboring anger against others is also addressed in the Scriptures.
Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry. – Ephesians 4:26
The Bible also instructs us to be “slow to anger,” which can be incredibly difficult to achieve if we are harboring deep-seated issues that are evoking an angry response within us. It’s like a bottle of soda being shaken up and down eventually, the top is going to blow off!
As Christians, we should have our anger in check at all times. Of course, there are things in this world which may cause you to feel “righteous anger” of some kind, but this is not the most common type of rage that people struggle with.
God wants us to be peace-filled human beings who are slow to get angry with others, and therapy may be a good avenue through which to access this greater freedom.
Anger Management for Kids
Children who are experiencing serious anger issues are often suffering from underlying mental health problems. A few examples of these may be conduct disorder, disruptive mood regulation disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and adjustment disorder.
As such, anger management therapy may be very beneficial to them as they figure out the root of the problems they are having with their emotional health. Often times, anger issues in children will lead them to act out in certain ways through starting fights, being disobedient, fighting against authority or even damaging property.
It is often a good idea for children to start therapy in a family setting so that siblings or parents are given the opportunity to gain some basic insight into the person’s behavior, what is behind it and how to react to it. It is also important for families to address this issue before the behavior gets out of control and becomes damaging for the person and those around them.
Of course, kids who have been diagnosed with specific anger issues may benefit greatly from therapy that seeks to address how to deal with and understand the behavior. However, other children, such as those who have experienced trauma or neglect, may find themselves in the midst of complex anger about their life experiences and may feel as if they are without any way of processing their thoughts and emotions.
Anger management therapy can be a highly effective treatment and can function well as a preventative measure to deal with anger-induced behavior before it spirals out of control.
What are Some Key Anger Management Techniques?
Certain anger management techniques may be utilized before the person begins to exhibit the damaging behaviors, and some may be drawn upon once the anger has begun to manifest itself. However, all forms of anger management are geared towards helping people understand their feelings and change their reactions.
One way of tackling anger is to really get to the root of what is triggering such a visceral emotional response. Some triggers may be more avoidable than you think, and may simply require a bit of extra forethought.
For example, if you find yourself getting uncontrollably angry at other road users when you are stuck in traffic and late for work, you might consider leaving thirty minutes earlier. This way, the stress trigger of being late for work is eradicated, and you are therefore less likely to get angry at fellow motorists and thus less likely to cause an accident.
If your anger is constantly directed towards those close to you, it might be worth looking at the state of your interpersonal communication.
Anger between individuals is often caused by misunderstanding and an inability to communicate with clarity. As such, it can be incredibly beneficial to define the lines of communication and ensure that you are addressing the person in a clear and concise manner.
Sometimes, it is simply a matter of taking a few moments to ask a couple of simple questions such as, “I am not sure I quite understood what you said, could you say that again?” or “I think I heard you, but I am not sure what you mean by that. Could you explain it a bit further for me?”
Often, if these conversations are done correctly and in a calm manner, any building anger will dissipate and you will save yourself a huge amount of stress!
Sometimes, however, situations in our lives which are out of our control may cause a spike in unavoidable anger. At these times, it is important to have an emotional toolbox to draw upon in response. It is about figuring out what works for you: listening to your favorite music, playing some sport, going for a walk or talking with a friend.
Some of these things may work for certain individuals and not for others. The goal is to find the things that work for you and help melt away the anger!
Anger is a very normal human emotion. However, if left untamed, it can become incredibly destructive and damaging both to yourself and the people around you. As such, anger management techniques, administered by a trained therapist, can offer help that could be absolutely life-changing.
So, if you are struggling with a perpetual sense of anger and frustration that is affecting your life in a significant way, make sure to book an appointment with a therapist who specializes in anger management, and begin your journey into a new sense of freedom and joy!
“Campfire”, Courtesy of Volha Krayeva, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Catch me”, Courtesy of Noah Buscher, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Angry Enough to Kill”, Courtesy of WenPHotos, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Overlook”, Courtesy of Mc7000, Pixabay.com, CC0 License