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Managing Anger

Psychotherapy Services - Managing Anger

Managing Anger

Anger is a complex emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. The intensity of this emotion sits on a spectrum ranging from minor irritation to full-out aggression and rage. For the most part, anger can be a useful emotion that triggers our fight or flight response to deal with incoming threats appropriately. However, at the high end of the spectrum, anger becomes an intense and uncontrollable emotion that can leave a lasting and devastating impact on personal and professional relationships.

Research indicates that children who grow up in neglectful and unsafe environments will likely have more difficulty managing anger in adulthood. In contrast, a safe childhood allows the brain to adapt and learn self-soothing behaviours which we rely on in adulthood to help us deal with conflict assertively.

Psychotherapists group anger into three general categories to describe how we react to situations that trigger our anger responses: Passive Aggression, Open Aggression and Assertive Anger.

Passive Aggression

Some individuals dislike confrontation completely, and in the face of it, they will not express their anger. Instead, they become silent, defensive, sulk and procrastinate during their experience with anger. Others will openly claim they are not mad and pretend everything is fine, while the rage continues to bubble under the surface. They avoid direct communication that could actually resolve the conflict. In its place, they will project veiled hostility and cynicism, which perpetuates it.

Open Aggression

Individuals who project open aggression become verbally abusive.  They shout, accuse and become mean and sarcastic. This creates catastrophic punctures in relationships with family, friends and colleagues. When their rage does not subside with words, it escalates to physical violence, the consequences of which can be dreadful. Almost always, at the core of these violent outbursts is the need to control underlying emotions of fear, hurt, vulnerability or helplessness.

Individuals who automatically fly off the handle when triggered often do not recognize their effect on loved ones. Typical responses of those on the receiving end include compensating by keeping the peace, walking on eggshells, hiding their own terror and choosing their words carefully. If they cannot fight back or stand up for themselves, their own anger becomes internalized and transformed into self-blame.

Assertive Anger

Anger gets a bad rap as an emotion because it can be reactive and destructive. However, the best way to deal with it is to take control over the emotion and use it to help you deal with the situation proactively. Assertive anger requires you to pause and reflect before you speak. You remain confident and flexible when expressing your feelings while also taking into account other people’s feelings. It allows you to remain calm and in control of your emotions without raising your voice. Forgiveness is a very big part of the process. Assertive anger is a mature way to deal with anger responses. It allows you to respect relationships without damaging those that may be very important to you.

Therapy for Managing Anger

If externalized or internalized anger has created significant negative impacts on your life, then it is important to speak to a trauma-informed-attachment-informed psychotherapist. Individuals suffering from anger can learn how to deal with conflict assertively, as described above. A trained therapist will deploy evidence-based psychotherapy to take you through a journey of discovering the genesis of your anger. These could, for example, be the shame, isolation and helplessness you felt in childhood. From there, your therapist will help you heal and learn self-compassion by acknowledging your longing for attachment. Therapy sessions focus on helping you liberate your internalized anger from your internal critic. Gradually, you will learn to reconnect and ride with the waves of your emotions instead of becoming submerged in them.

By integrating assertive anger into your sense of self as an essential part of your humanity, you will come to trust the full spectrum of your feelings, good and bad. This can help you recognize your boundaries and assertively cut people off when they violate them. The end goal is to make you feel safe emotionally so you can be gentle with yourself and others. These are the essential ingredients to a healthy mind and fulfilling relationships.

Anger management treatments can help children and adults, couples and families to navigate unhealthy emotions and habits that trip them up, over and over again.  The results can provide improvements in self-esteem, connected relationships and renewed quality of life.

Therapy Fees For Anger Management

In addition to the stigma related to mental illnesses, therapy fees are another reason why people avoid seeking help and we understand this, completely. Here’s how we charge for our time. We are happy to have a frank and open discussion with you about this to ensure we manage your care in the best way possible. Our services are covered by most extended benefit insurance plans. If you do not have coverage, we also offer affordable therapy sessions at discounted rates through our internship program. Therapy is an investment in your health and happiness and it is more affordable than common belief.

Also, our blogs, authored by professionally trained therapists, are available for free on our website. We publish them regularly and feature topics that are useful for individuals, couples and families. We encourage you to visit our site often. In many cases, this information will help you understand what you are experiencing. However, our blogs do not constitute professional advice, diagnosis, treatment or therapy. You must always consult with a physician, psychologist or qualified mental health provider to professionally direct your physical, mental and emotional health.

Often a few targeted therapy sessions may be all you require. We never keep you in therapy for longer than you need. To accommodate varying schedules we offer online and in-person therapy sessions during office hours, evenings and weekends.