The Goals of Anger Management Therapy

July 16, 2019 3 min read
The Goals of Anger Management Therapy

People who participate in anger management therapy aren’t only involved because of a court order or employment requirement.  An increasing number of people are realizing how uncontrolled anger negatively affects their lives, and they want to make positive changes.  Uncontrolled anger has many negative consequences.   It can damage relationships, impair judgment, and limit job success.  The goal of anger management therapy is to help people understand the causes of their anger and teach them better ways to manage stressful situations.

Triggers
Triggers are the situations, thoughts, and feelings that make a person angry.  Difficult external situations, both past, and present can make a person feel upset, unsure, and powerless.  Daily life is filled with situations we can’t control, and we often react in anger, based on previous times we felt powerless.  It is impossible to control every aspect of a situation, and not having control can make a person angry.  Anger management therapy help aims to help people understand why they think and feel angry.

When something stressful happens, we process the event through our history of similar situations.  Our reaction, getting angry or not getting angry, is based on what we think and feel the outcome will be.  It is normal to get angry in some situations.  But uncontrolled anger focusses on the situation, not on solutions.  Uncontrolled thoughts and feelings of anger impair judgment, causing people to lose more control of the situation.  Anger management therapy helps people identify triggers and the reactions they have to them, so they better understand how they affect themselves and others.

Reactions
Life often presents us with problems.  If we don’t know how to solve them effectively, we get angry.  But that doesn’t mean we should allow anger to dictate our reactions.  Anger management therapy empowers people to respond to problems in an assertive, non-aggressive, way.  Uncontrolled angry thoughts and feelings block assertive responses and often worsen situations, making us angrier.  Therapy teaches techniques to move past anger and find solutions.
Once a person has identified their triggers, they can begin to work on their reactions.  Another goal of anger management therapy is to show people ways they can slow down their thoughts and feelings and allow time to think about more rational, useful reactions.  Therapy teaches strategies, like avoiding or lessening triggers, rating and placing angry feelings on a scale, and having an anger plan.  When a person can look at their anger logically and realize what level of a problem they are facing, they are better able to find a solution that isn’t overly aggressive or uncontrolled.

Finding better solutions takes skill and practice.  Anger management therapy usually lasts four to six weeks but can be longer.  Therapy may be individual or done in a group.  Each session focuses on a person’s triggers and why they react with anger, then identifies ways to move past anger and find practical solutions.  Since not every aspect of a situation can be controlled, therapy is designed to help individuals find ways to control their reactions and improve the situation in positive ways.

From Angry to Calm
When a person is involved in anger management therapy, they learn to identify their triggers and practice better responses.  The negative impact they have experienced from their previous behavior begins to lessen.  Their sense of control improves and helps them to manage their anger better.

The ability to be assertive, rather than aggressive, improves people’s situations and lessen the triggers that lead to anger.  Assertiveness builds control.  Having angry thoughts and feelings when a situation is stressful is normal.  Identifying the best reaction to situations takes skill and practice and increases control, decreasing anger.  Anger management therapy’s goals help people work through all the stages of anger, so they are calmer and more in control.  Therapy also teaches relaxation techniques, so people learn to stay calm, even when a situation is extremely stressful.  Being calmer decreases the chance that a person will allow their angry thoughts and feelings to dictate their responses.

The main goal of anger management therapy is to help people whose lives are negatively affected by their uncontrolled anger responses.  Therapy identifies triggers or situations that cause people to feel a loss of control.  Therapy also provides the techniques and skills a person needs to move past anger to a more rational response.  When a person reacts positively to stress, they create a calmer outlook when dealing with future stressful situations.