Do you feel you’re loosing control over your emotions? Are your moods disturbing your career, mental and physical health, your relationships and ability to achieve goals?
When is anger an issue?
Anger is a healthy human emotion. Strong feelings of annoyance or displeasure are often felt in response to feeling that either you, others you care about or your property are under threat. Like any emotion though, anger can be dealt with poorly or allowed to swing out of control. This can include disruptions to your relationships, career, mental and physical health, and ability to achieve goals.
Most people feel angry sometimes, but if it’s affecting your daily life, you may need to take steps to address how you are managing your anger. If you have an uncontrollable temper, it may feel like there’s nothing you can do. But this is not true. You can learn to control your anger. It takes time and commitment and often requires professional help, but the results of learning anger management can be life-changing.
Not everyone with anger issues experiences an uncontrollable temper. Sometimes anger might be experienced as ongoing irritation and repressed anger can be just as damaging, and just as much of an issue for your mental health.
Domestic abuse is often linked to anger issues, but it’s important to know the difference. While an abuser might exhibit rage, abusive behaviour is not just uncontrollable anger. Abuse is a conscious decision by someone or a group of people to control. Anger management does not solve domestic abuse, which requires specialised treatment. If you are the perpetrator or victim of domestic abuse and need help, call one of the hotlines listed at the bottom of this post.
Can Therapy help to Manage Anger?
Since anger in itself is an emotion that everyone experiences at times, it is not anger itself that is an issue, but rather how one manages it that can become a problem.
Anger management involves learning how to handle your anger in a way that is productive and doesn’t harm you or others so that you can make positive changes in your life. It can involve recognising your triggers for anger, knowing the signs you are getting angry, and then being able to take actions that help you not react in unhelpful ways.
Therapy for anger and other treatments
In the UK, you might be recommended by your GP to an anger management programme. Such programmes aim to help individuals change the way they deal with anger. It can take place over several months and may involve working in a group, as well as meeting weekly with a counsellor for a private session. Sometimes there are also one-day workshops or weekend courses included.
In all cases, some counselling, therapy or psychotherapy for anger is recommended. Anger issues develop over the years and usually have roots in childhood. It’s important to have a safe, supportive environment to learn to understand your anger, spot your triggers, and learn new ways of expressing your emotions.
CBT therapy is sometimes recommended for anger. This is a type of psychotherapy that helps you learn to recognise the thoughts you have that trigger emotions and physical reactions, then helps you learn to take charge of your thoughts and choices.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy can also be helpful given that anger issues usually have connections to childhood experiences. Unlike CBT, this therapy does not involve structured exercises or homework and instead focuses on exploring the roots of your anger and in this way overcoming your issues and processing the anger you feel.
How can counselling help?
A qualified, professional therapist will work with you to examine your thoughts and behaviours and improve how you feel. You will build a relationship based on trust, giving you the confidence to share your feelings and emotions with them. Your counsellor will listen to all that you have to share with empathy and openness.
An experienced therapist or counsellor can help you to manage your symptoms and find your own way forward.
Useful phone numbers:
Support Line UK
– 01708 765200
Young Minds Parent Hotline (for parents dealing with angry or violent children or teens)
– 0808 802 5544
Respect (for perpetrators of domestic violence)
– 0808 802 4040
England National Domestic Violence Helpline
– 0808 200 0247
Scotland Domestic Abuse Helpline
– 0800 027 1234
Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline
– 0808 801 0800
Northern Ireland Domestic Violence Helpline
– 0800 917 1414