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How Does Anger Management Counseling Work?

Negatively expressed, uncontrolled anger can have a detrimental effect on many areas of your life, causing damage to your personal relationships, your professional success and your health. People who cannot effectively manage their anger often find themselves with friends and family who are unable or even fearful to openly communicate with them, colleagues who do not respect them and blood pressure levels that put them at risk for a heart attack.

Recognizing that you and your life could benefit from an anger management program is the first important step to improving both. The goal of anger management training is to help you learn to deal with your feelings in ways that are mentally and emotionally sustainable as well as socially appropriate.

Anger management courses that allow you to study on your own from books or online are available and can be effective, but many people find that they benefit from face-to-face counseling in an individual or group setting, either on its own or in addition to the use of other anger management resources.

What to Expect from Anger Management Therapy

Anger management doesn’t mean anger elimination. Your counselor or therapist won’t encourage you to ignore or deny your anger; anger is a normal and perfectly acceptable reaction in certain situations. Instead, you will work to identify stressors that are most likely to make you angry and the physical and emotional warning signs that you are becoming angry. You will learn and practice anger management techniques that will allow you to: recognize when you aren’t thinking logically or responding reasonably about a situation, take a mental (or physical, as well) step back to calm down, express your feelings in clear but non-aggressive ways, and put the energy that would have been spent in anger toward problem-solving and finding a resolution.

Did You Know?

Research has shown there may be multiple links between diet and anger levels. As anyone who’s had too much coffee knows, caffeine can make you highly irritable; serotonin-producing complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, can produce a calming effect. Skipping meals has also been associated with increased tendencies to rage, and people who invoke a lot of self-control in order to a stick to a strict diet can be left feeling a lack of self-control when it comes to their aggressive emotions — self-denial of foods seems to make people angry.

If you are working with a licensed psychotherapist, they may use strategies such as cognitive behavioral therapy to help you consciously replace negative thought patterns with more constructive ones.

Your therapy can be in a group or one-on-one setting. Group therapy means that you will participate either in counseling sessions with members of your family, or in anger management classes with other people who also struggle with anger issues. Family therapy can address how, among other things, to deal with any particular anger stressors that arise at home, to improve communication and to repair damage done from past expressions of anger. Group therapy allows you to benefit from the experiences and support of others while developing anger management skills together.

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