Anger Management and CBT
Anger is a subjective feeling state often characterized by a change in physiological arousal patterns. While it is an emotion that many experience when frustrated and unable to realize their desired goal, for some the angry feeling becomes overwhelming and results in rage, and potentially uncontrollable responses.
Frequently the feelings of anger can give rise to either verbal or physical aggression or the need to seek revenge. The behavior often observed in a road rage episode is a good example of impulsive angry behavior in the face of a perceived personal violation. For a person who is unable to control his or her anger, there can be serious negative social, occupational, relationship or legal consequences that arise from his or her actions.
Anger is often characterized by a tendency to blame others for a perceived violation, such as a provocation, threat, injustice or insult.
Treatment begins with a thorough assessment, which in addition to a history, includes identifying the distress or symptoms that have resulted from the inability to constructively manage anger. Clients are asked to consider the social, occupational or legal issues created as a result of their difficulty. Clients are also helped to consider their strengths, as a preliminary step in creating alternative coping strategies.
To encourage self-awareness, an anger inventory is jointly constructed by examining external and internal triggers of angry feelings, the emotions that accompany or precede the anger outbursts and the accompanying automatic thoughts. Attention is then focused on identifying the resulting behaviors and the consequences of the behavior.
Following the analysis, a variety of interventions are offered. These include work to identify dysfunctional automatic thoughts and the core beliefs that engender them and affect the individual’s self-concept. Relaxation training is sometimes incorporated to facilitate the process.