Anger management classes or counseling for anger management can be done one-on-one; with your partner, child or other family members; or in a group setting. The setting, length of sessions and how many sessions you'll need to attend can vary depending on the program or therapist and your needs. Typically, anger management courses or psychological counseling for anger lasts for a period of weeks up to a few months.
Generally, counseling for anger management focuses on learning specific skills and ways of thinking to cope with anger. If you have any other mental health conditions, such as depression or addiction, you may need to work on these other issues for anger management techniques to be effective.
The aim of counseling and anger management classes is to teach you to:
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- Identify situations that are likely to set you off and respond in nonaggressive ways before you get mad
- Learn specific skills to use in situations likely to trigger your anger
- Recognize when you aren't thinking logically about a situation, and correct your thinking
- Calm yourself down when you begin to feel upset
- Express your feelings and needs assertively (but not aggressively) in situations that make you feel angry
- Focus on problem solving in frustrating situations — instead of using energy to be angry, you'll learn how to redirect your energy to resolve the situation
- Communicate effectively to defuse anger and resolve conflicts
- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Understanding anger. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2004.
- Controlling anger — before it controls you. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control.aspx. Accessed April 12, 2011.
- Scott CL, et al. Psychotherapeutic approaches to treating chronic aggression. In: Hales RE, et al. The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychiatry. 5th ed. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2008. http://www.psychiatryonline.com/content.aspx?aID=319794&searchStr=aggressive+behavior. Accessed April 12, 2011.
- Reilly PM, et al. Anger management for substance abuse and mental health clients: A cognitive behavioral therapy manual. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://store.samhsa.gov/product/SMA08-4213. Accessed April 12, 2011.