Anger is a natural human emotion.
It is an activating aspect of our fight-or-flight response to threats. Anger inspires powerful, often aggressive, feelings and behaviors, which allow us to fight and to defend ourselves when we are attacked. A certain amount of anger, therefore, is necessary to our survival. The problem then is not the emotion of anger itself, but instead the degree to which it is managed or mismanaged.
When a person is reacting with a mismanaged, angry “fight” response to a sense of threat that does not fit the reality of a situation, the end result is very often negative and destructive. Domestic violence, road rage, workplace violence, divorce, and addiction are just a few examples of what happens when anger is mismanaged.
Angry, aggressive reactions can be triggered by external events such as a conflict with another person or by internal events such as ruminating or brooding over personal problems or encountering a reminder of an unpleasant or traumatic experience.
The core aspects of learning effective anger management are:
- Development of lifestyle habits that promote reduced stress and irritability
- Identification of triggers or precipitants to episodes of angry outbursts
- Development of coping skills for managing anger in constructive ways
Our therapists will utilize a comprehensive approach to helping you learn to more effectively manage anger. We tailor therapy to the specific needs of each client’s situation using some combination of the following strategies:
- Development of relaxation, assertiveness, distress tolerance, and/or emotion regulation skills
- Development of healthy lifestyle changes
- Development of more effective ways of thinking about yourself, your relationships with others, and events in your life
- Resolution of painful emotional experiences linked to traumatic events
- Referral, if necessary, for a medication evaluation (available at our practice)