anger management therapy

Anger is a Natural Emotion…

…and, although we may know that this is true, many people reach their adult years without having acquired skills for dealing with their anger. So, when they do feel it, they either

  • Stuff it down and make believe it doesn’t exist
  • Express it awkwardly and in ways that seem to make matters worse, or
  • See red and explode

We learn during our childhood how to deal with anger. Think about how anger was handled in your family. Was it considered “bad” or “weak” to feel angry? Then, you might have grown up feeling ashamed of your anger, and attempting not to show it. I view emotions as on a continuum, with the positive emotions on one end and the negative emotions on the other end. If we shut down one end, or the negative emotions, then we don’t experience one-half of our emotional life. As a result, a person becomes constricted and numb.

Whether you tend to stuff your anger, to express it ineffectively, or to explode with rage, the problem is most likely that you have never had the opportunity to learn the “language of anger.” If you have ever learned a foreign language and attempted to speak it for the first time while traveling, you may remember how insecure you may have felt about your grammar and vocabulary. In fact, you may have thought you were saying one thing, only to find that you had inadvertently insulted the listener with the wrong choice of words! I think that learning the language of anger is similar.

My approach to teaching the language of anger is very structured and thorough. There are many factors that contribute to an anger problem. Together a client and I explore possible factors one by one, entangling one from the others in order to gain an understanding of the role it has played in his or her anger. I assign homework between sessions, because this work requires daily effort in order to achieve change. Again, when we learn a foreign language, we must keep at it until we master it. The same holds true for the language of anger. With the appropriate skills, we can express anger in a respectful way. Further, once we accept our own anger, we can learn to accept the anger of others and manage our own responses to it.

If you are having difficulty managing or expressing your anger to the degree that it is affecting your relationships, I would be happy to help you acquire new anger skills. It will take time, a sense of commitment, and a genuine desire to change your life. Please call me when you are ready.