Are Anger Management Issues Harming The Ones You Love?
Despite your best efforts, do you feel powerless to control harsh words, toxic criticism, or angry outbursts? Is your relationship with your family, children, or partner suffering because you can’t manage your emotions?
It may be that you are having a hard time connecting with your spouse because they can’t predict what will elicit a hostile response. Or perhaps family tension, infidelity, or divorce is pushing the limits of what you can handle in a healthy manner. Maybe you are the mother of a child who is having meltdowns that you don’t know how to address or interpret. Conversely, maybe your child’s temper tantrums are triggering your own anger issues and you worry about the negative effect they could have on your child’s development.
The truth is that everyone gets angry occasionally, and it can be a perfectly natural reaction at times. However, when controlling your anger becomes so difficult that you withdraw, shut down, or lash out at others it can impact nearly every aspect of your well-being. Moreover, it could be that unaddressed anxiety, depression, or a traumatic past could be lowering your emotional threshold and contributing to problems with anger.
If you are trying to manage your emotions but feel like you are losing the battle, I can help you understand the source of your suffering and offer healthier ways of dealing with anger.
Anger Is A Basic Human Emotion
Although on the surface, anger is a seemingly intrusive and harmful emotion, it is a completely natural response that we share with all animals. Anger can compel us to make life changes, pursue justice, and it has the power to protect us in times of duress. However, when anger becomes automatic or acts as a secondary emotion, it can be harmful to nearly every aspect of a person’s life.
For instance, if your child has meltdowns in public, the feelings of embarrassment you experience can manifest as unintentional anger or even aggression toward your child. Similarly, couples may run into challenges, such as financial issues, family conflict, or even the welcome birth of a newborn, creating fear and stress that are mistranslated into anger and frustration. And if you are dealing with unresolved anxiety, depression, or trauma, it can be very easy to get swept up in the whirlwind of negative emotions and lash out at others.
Fortunately, working with a skilled and compassionate specialist can offer you new ways of responding to triggers that give you greater control and agency of your emotions.
Improving Relationships Through Anger Management Therapy
Much of what we will work on in sessions is learning how to address primary emotions—that is, your authentic feelings that are getting misconstrued into anger. For many of my clients, it feels as if they are struggling to keep a lid on a pot of emotions that is always about to boil over. In that regard, one of our biggest goals is to dig deep and root out any underlying factors and emotions that may be fueling intense feelings of anger, frustration, or rage.
We humans love to place labels on ourselves, even when they are false, harmful, or indicative of some deeper meaning that hasn’t been discovered. That’s why I also specialize in Identity Diffusion, an intervention that can help you identify and cast off negative beliefs about yourself that you may have adopted through adverse experiences in your youth.
For couples, I conduct 60-minute sessions, once a week for 12 weeks, focusing on regulating emotions, being actively present in the relationship, and learning to, as Aristophanes humorously put it, “Open your mind before your mouth.” You and your partner will work on improving listening and communications skills with the goal of learning how to recognize triggers and anticipate the subsequent conversation so that you can prepare a more grounded response.
When I meet with parents, they are often having trouble with their child’s temper tantrums (in addition to struggling to manage their own anger issues). I’ve found that in these situations that when parents make visible changes in their behavior, children typically mirror those changes. Therefore, it’s of utmost importance for me to work with children and parents together whenever possible.
During our work together, I embrace a client-oriented approach to healing, which means that I want to create a treatment strategy that speaks to you as an individual. To that end, I’ll do a chain analysis in order to trace the sequence of events that lead to an anger episode with the goal of developing strategies to help you recognize and manage anger. One of the interventions I use, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for anger, is a powerful tool that focuses on emotion regulation through acceptance, grounding, and distress tolerance. DBT is also an excellent anger management strategy for kids who have difficulty managing intense emotions. Anger is a source of energy; and like any energy, it needs an outlet or it will build up. TIPP (Temperature, Intense Exercise, Paced Breathing, and Progressive Muscle Relaxation) represents a set of strategies that both adults and children can use as a type of preventative maintenance for coping with anger on an external, physical level.
I also use Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help clients enhance their mental and emotional flexibility through mindful presence, acceptance, and a commitment to change. In some cases I may incorporate Trauma Incident Reduction, or TIR, as a tool to help teach survivors of trauma how to deal with anger linked to PTSD, anxiety, depression, ADHD, and other related issues.
Although it may be hard to see a distinction between yourself and the anger inside you, it’s important for you to know that change is possible—that you can learn to manage your emotions and weigh your responses to stressors more effectively. With a little work and commitment, you can improve your relationships, protect your well-being, and enjoy a more peaceful, fulfilling life.
Perhaps you are considering anger management therapy but still have some concerns…
I’ve tried everything to control my anger on my own, so how will this help?
Some very fortunate people can read a self-help book and actually improve their life. Some can go to the gym and easily get into shape. But most of us need a hand every now and then. Working with an experienced professional gives you head start on the healing process. With the support, resources, and skills you gain in our sessions, I am confident that we can find a treatment strategy that speaks to you.
I don’t think I can afford anger counseling.
Finances should never get in the way of improving your life, which is why I do whatever I can to accommodate all of my clients. In order to make sessions more affordable, I work on a sliding scale and have a limited availability for discounts. I understand that finances can easily get in the way of self-care. However, investing in counseling now can save you money down the road, whether in terms of increasing productivity at work, avoiding anger-related medical issues, or even legal issues if the anger goes unaddressed.
I don’t have the time or the ability to make in-person visits.
I don’t want the hassle of traffic, work, or travel to get in the way of your personal growth, which is why Ioffer online sessions. Sometimes, you just can’t make it into the office. However, there are some instances in which I cannot provide online services: for example, sessions requiring interactive play therapy or more personal, in-depth trauma counseling. Regardless of your situation, my goal is to help you devise a treatment strategy that is the most effective and convenient for you.
You Can Be At Peace With Yourself
If you are a mom, a couple, or just an individual who would like to better manage your emotions, please click here to schedule your free consultation. I’d be happy to address any questions or concerns you may have about anger management therapy.