What you can expect

Here's what you can expect from anger management education or counseling.

Anger management classes or counseling

Anger management classes or counseling for anger management can be done in a group or one-on-one with your partner or someone else. The setting, length and number of sessions vary, depending on the program or counselor and your needs. Anger management courses or counseling can be brief or last for weeks or months.

Beginning anger management

When you start working on anger management, identify your triggers and the physical and emotional signs that occur as you begin to get angry. Recognizing and managing these warning signs early is an important step in controlling your anger. Pay attention to and make a list of:

  • Stressors that commonly trigger or worsen your anger, such as frustration with a child or partner, financial stress, traffic issues, or problems with a co-worker
  • Physical signs that your feelings of anger are rising — for example, sleeping poorly, clenching your jaw, a racing heart or driving too fast
  • Emotional signs that your anger is on the rise, such as the feeling you want to yell at someone or that you're holding in what you really want to say

During anger management sessions

Generally, counseling for anger management focuses on learning specific behavioral skills and ways of thinking so you can cope with anger. If you have any other mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression or addiction, you may need to also work on these issues for anger management methods to be effective.

The aim of counseling and anger management classes is to teach you to:

  • Manage factors that may make you more likely to get angry, such as improving sleep so you're not tired and keeping stress low by using stress management skills
  • Identify situations that are likely to set you off and respond in nonaggressive ways before you get angry
  • 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, for example, by using relaxation skills or taking a break
  • 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
June 10, 2017
References
  1. Anger management. National Crime Prevention Council. http://www.ncpc.org/topics/conflict-resolution/anger-management. Accessed March 15, 2017.
  2. Managing intense anger. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. https://www.va.gov/vetsinworkplace/docs/em_eap_managing_anger.asp. Accessed March 15, 2017.
  3. Controlling anger before it controls you. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control.aspx. Accessed March 17, 2017.
  4. Strategies for controlling your anger. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/controlling-anger.aspx. Accessed March 17, 2017.
  5. Sawchuk CN (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 21, 2017.