A Psychotherapist’s Approach To Anger Management

Peg Walsh APRN Therapy Blog

Anger is just another emotion on the long list of feelings humans face each day. It’s usually triggered by a circumstance that makes us feel under attack in some way.

Sometimes, it can be a healthy emotion that energizes us, protect us from danger and helps us work through difficult life events. But, for some people, anger takes control and it begins to surface in unhealthy and problematic ways.

Anger can inhibit our ability to think clearly leading to impaired judgment, irrational arguments, strained relationships and destructive actions that we regret.

The good news is you can learn to control and better manage your anger. Anger management doesn’t mean that you have to learn to never feel angry again. It’s about understanding your triggers and cultivating healthy responses.

Personal History Matters

At Peg Walsh Psychotherapy, every client is unique so we start by learning about your history. We know that the past shapes a person in both positive and negative ways. We take a close look to see how you learned to use anger the way you do today.

What have you tried before?

What has worked and what has not?

This helps us to identify your TRIGGERS and Patterns of Response.

Perception Is Key

How you think about a situation determines how you will feel about it. Perception is what makes someone see a situation as a threat to be responded to aggressively or not.

Cognitive Behavior Management (CBT) is the cornerstone of anger management. CBT helps you identify a range of “stinking thinking” such as all or nothing thinking, personalizing or ignoring the evidence. For example, when we personalize an event, we see it as directed at us personally.

It may be but in many situations, the person in question is acting the way they usually act and their behavior has nothing to do with us. Yet we see it as a personal assault. We are triggered. When in reality if we didn’t take something so personally, we might recognize that this person sometimes acts like a jerk and their behavior is not directed at us personally. If we see this, we can choose to take a measured response to the jerky behavior.

CBT helps us stay with REALITY. We can then apply assertive skills to deal with a situation that bothers us rather than “fly off the handle.” When we are calmer and not at the mercy of our triggers, we can set useful boundaries.

Calming Techniques

Anger Management includes learning self-soothing strategies that calm us such as:

  • deep breathing
  • regular exercise
  • cleaning up our diet to eliminate foods that make our body and mind less irritable
  • limiting alcohol which can reduce impulsivity
  • learning brief ways of meditating to repeatedly bring us to a neutral state
  • using our support system to talk things over rather than react

Lifestyle Changes Might Be Necessary

Our mental and physical health are deeply connected. Poor self-care and health can trigger anxiety and anger. At Peg Walsh, Psychotherapy you will create a plan that may include such things as:

  • assertive techniques
  • asking for what you need
  • adequate sleep
  • relaxing activities, having fun again, restoring ME time
  • eliminating harmful self-soothing behaviors such as alcohol or use of substances

If necessary, we’ll refer you for psychiatric medication. Often times, low-dose antidepressants can reduce irritability which is treatment resistant.

If you or someone you love is destroying their life and yours due to out of control anger, give our office a call today.

Peg is tough, practical, and compassionate.

Are you ready to use your anger for what it was intended: to set healthy boundaries and make choices that are in your best interest? Let’s Talk