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Anger management treatment & counselling

People seeking treatment for anger management issues are often individuals who express anger beyond the usual frustrations and irritability that can be felt, at times, by all of us.

Expression of these feelings of anger can sometimes lead to aggressive and violent behaviour. Many people seeking anger management treatment are facing a form of life crisis, which has begun to affect their personal and/or professional life. Some people realise that their expression of anger is connected to more complex issues such as trauma from earlier life events. Such an expression of anger is sometimes called an outburst, but the impact of this can reach far beyond the individual and those directly involved, negatively affecting their home, work and wider social relationships.

If you are having trouble with controlling your anger and you believe it may be harming other people physically and/or emotionally, then Priory’s nationwide network of hospitals and wellbeing centres can offer co-ordinated specialist support and treatment programmes. Our programmes are designed to assist you in developing insight and putting in place healthier alternatives to angry outbursts. There is also an educational aspect, which encourages you to learn more about the physical and emotional aspects of anger management.

What is an anger management problem?

We all experience feelings of anger or frustration from time-to-time as a natural human response to situations such as extreme disagreement of another person’s opinion, a personal attack on our character, or feelings of being deceived or treated unfairly. However, anger becomes a problem which may require treatment and support if it harms you and/or other people around you.

Detrimental problems associated with anger don't just relate to physical acts of aggression. Equally harmful, are repeated inwardly focused negative thoughts of anger or outward expression which cause harm to you e.g. punching walls, doors, etc. How you generally behave when you are angry depends on your ability to observe and ultimately control increased feelings of anger and frustration when they arise within you.

Unhelpful or destructive behaviours and expressions of anger to look out for, if you believe you or someone you know is experiencing anger management problems, may include:

Outward verbal and physical aggression or violence

This may include shouting, swearing or being verbally abusive and threatening towards people around you. Physically lashing out, either by throwing objects or being physically violent to another person, are examples of outward aggression, and represent the clearest examples of unhelpful expressions of anger.

Inward anger

More subtle types of harm related to anger include directing your anger and frustration inwardly. You may have intense thoughts of hating yourself, which can lead to isolation from friends and family, and even put you at risk of deliberate self-harming or suicide.

Non-violent or passive aggression

While this may not seem as extreme as other types of unhelpful angry behaviour, passive aggressive displays of anger can have consequences for your relationships, where ignoring people or refusing to speak to them or deliberately carrying out tasks at home or at work poorly, can have negative consequences affecting both yourself and the people around you.

Even if you have never expressed signs of outward aggression, or even been prone to raising your voice, you may still recognise some of the lesser known unhelpful behaviours and feel the need to address them in order to reduce their impact on your daily life and overall wellbeing.

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Anger management treatment at Priory

Feelings of anger can be related to many different underlying difficulties. For this reason, your case requires careful evaluation and assessment. Consideration is given to any underlying mental health, alcohol and/or substance misuse difficulties by identifying treatment options, whilst interpersonal difficulties may be addressed through specific talking therapies. Often, anger management difficulties may present as a make for severe low self-esteem and past trauma, including abuse. 

Priory can treat your anger issues

Priory has been helping to treat people with anger issues for many years. We know that everyone's situation is different, which is why we ensure that everyone has a unique treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

The type and length of anger management treatment is dependent on your individual circumstances and the severity your anger issues. Some patients are treated as outpatients, where you would attend Priory for hourly sessions, perhaps once a week, with your consultant, psychologist or therapist. You may also require a more structured treatment approach, which can include taking part in anger management classes as part of our day care programme.

After your needs have been assessed and identified, and any underlying conditions dealt with, then you can benefit greatly from psychological intervention for your anger issues. This may involve a variety of different treatment methods, ranging from a group therapy programme to a one-to-one intervention.

There are various treatment types that can help you to manage your anger, such as:

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

CBT is a talking therapy which identifies links between your thoughts, mood and behaviour. The unhelpful thought patterns associated with anger, leading to negative actions and emotions, are worked through to help you become more aware of these thought patterns and how you can adjust them towards a significant improvement in overall mood.

Interpersonal psychotherapy

Another talking therapy which involves a highly trained therapist listening to your personal experiences with anger to assist you in increasing your awareness and capacity to respond in your relationships at home, work or wider social settings. This type of therapy usually takes place in either one-to-one or group therapy sessions, the latter of which can help you gain valuable insights into how other people deal with their anger problems.

Anger management classes

Helping you focus on your expressions of frustration, anger and rage, anger management classes enable you to reflect on the triggers for your anger problems and learn more effective coping techniques for situations where you anger may be a problem. Using scenarios to cover different situations, ranging from anger at work, in public or within a relationship, you will have space for learning with others and developing healthier responses.

A co-ordinated treatment programme will involve full participation by you in a safe and supportive environment. Treatment consists of promoting appropriate coping behaviours, as well as developing skills in interpersonal communication including appreciating other people's points of view and managing communication appropriately.

At Priory, we understand that a ‘one size fits all’ approach does not work in anger management therapy & treatment, as each situation requires careful, personalised evaluation.

This page was clinically reviewed by Willis Atherley-Bourne (BA, MA), Integrative Psychotherapist at Priory Hospital Hayes Grove, in May 2022.

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