What is Anger Management?

Have you ever found yourself losing grip on your emotions? Anger management might be the best for you!

But first, here is everything you need to know before you take your first step.

We asked 9 experts “What is anger management?

Learn a thing or two from their insights below.

Raymond Reichenberg

Raymond Reichenberg

Specialist in Anger Management

I frame anger in two categories. First- Intelligent Anger.

This is the anger that is directed toward a goal with enough passion to turn a wrong to a right without causing too much hurt or damage to another person.

In relationships it allows for clearing the air, setting new boundaries and directions. Also accepting the things one cannot change until a later date and move on rather than getting revenge.

Then toxic anger has to do with revenge, demonizing the other, forcing your will against another, and thinking that other people should always comply with your demands.

Toxic anger also takes its toll on the angry person, who gets high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, alienation from loved ones and failure at work for promotions etc, not to mention road rage and injury and death.

When people come to anger management I tell the person what we do is actually Trigger Management.

I specifically focus on the underlying causes that influence the Toxic Anger. I take a trauma history and help the client discover where his anger is rooted.

From there I use cognitive and rational emotive therapy to help the client think differently about the stimulus for his trigger.

Once the client knows the trigger, i.e. a child is not performing school or spouse is not on time etc, we can prepare the client not to take these stimuli as a personal attack against them.

We reframe the thinking of stimuli as something that happens, rather than the other person is purposely doing this against you, (and even if they are we can handle it without the toxic anger.)

I ask questions like “What did you do to make yourself-angry this week?”

This is to guide the patient to examine his thinking through the situation.

Consequences usually bring people into Anger Management and fear of higher stake consequences helps motivate them to learn and use anger management.

I help them with “Self-talk” to calm themselves because unlike other emotions anger goes from zero to sixty within seconds.

Dr. Erin Greilick

Erin Greilick

Senior Consulting Partner

Emotion has become a bad word.

People attribute someone’s bad behavior to an emotional reaction. The two are related, BUT the perpetrator of bad behavior is not emotion. No emotion is bad. There are only bad actions.

Emotions are actually essential to a person’s success and survival.

Emotions signal us that something is going on in our environment that needs our attention. It is a flag that rises up and says, “Hey, there’s something going on. Look over here.”

Emotions give us a chance to screen out the noise and focus in on what is important.

We get tripped up when we feel something and immediately respond. If you peered into your brain when you reacted immediately, you see information from your environment rushing into your brain and the first stop is your emotional center.

Why?

Because when we didn’t live in such a civilized society, our survival depended on making fast decisions. Fight, flee, or perish.

When that information signal bounces around that emotional center, we end up acting in ways we later regret. As we hear often, “I wasn’t thinking”. Literally, you weren’t thinking.

The only place we think rationally is further up in our brains. If the signal never leaves the emotional center and to make its way up to the “thinking” part of our brain, we lash out and act impulsively.

The first step to better self-management (which includes anger management) is to give your brain enough time to get the signal out of the emotional center.

That 10-second pause buys you options. Options that results because you are thinking.

Thinking rationally only occurs when you allow that signal to move through your emotional center and up to your “thinking” center.

A person moves from a state of calm to a state of rage in seconds. Rage wipes away all freedom of choice.

You allow your emotional center to hijack your choices. Take a pause, allow your “thinking” brain to kick in, and regain your freedom of choice.

Patrick Di Vietri, LPC, NCC

Patrick De Vietri

Director of Therapy Services | Licensed Professional Counselor

Anger management is a broad term used to describe when someone seeks out professional help to learn how to better control their anger.

Most anger management programs focus on a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Approach with a lot of mindfulness and psycho-education sprinkled in.

The goal is to help someone understand their triggers and tendencies and stay as much in the moment as possible in order to become more aware and control the emotion of anger as it arises from within.

Anger management can be accomplished through different styles of counseling such as individual counseling and/or group counseling.

Both styles give an individual an opportunity to learn, witness and model better ways to control their anger. While doing counseling a person can learn how to better communicate with other people and consider another individuals’ perspective.

Individual counseling allows for a more intense one on one experience with a therapist while group therapy allows for an experience where there is not as much pressure on one individual person and they are able to see different people dealing with the same problem but from a different perspective.

Scott Goldman, licensed psychologist, PhD and CMPC

Scott Goldman

Licensed Psychologist | Association for Applied Sports Psychology Executive Board President-Elect

How do athletes control anger on and off the field?

First, you need to recognize there is a difference between functional anger and dysfunctional anger.

Functional anger helps motivate an athlete to tackle an opponent.

Dysfunctional anger leads to an athlete throwing a punch and getting ejected.

It is also worth noting the challenge of living in a work environment that reinforces aggression and then transitioning to a personal life where aggressive behavior is not healthy for relationships.

What are your recommendations to stay cool, calm, and collected during a competition?

There are a lot of treatments.

The best definition of anger I have come across is that anger is an overreaction to a justified wrong.

Thus, one of the best treatments is to recognize what the person is angry about is probably warranted- like getting cut off while driving. What they do with the emotion, however, is key- such as ramming the car.

One of the best treatments I have found is providing empathy.  True empathy is incompatible with anger.

To use the driving example- if you think about the person in the other car as being in an emergency and needing to go to the hospital, you may display compassion rather than anger for why they cut you off.

Also, forgiveness is incompatible with anger. Thus, if you can forgive the person who has upset you, it is helpful for you whether they are aware of your forgiveness or not.

In what situations are athletes most commonly faced with stressful situations and how do they manage them?

An athlete is one of the few professions where you operate in constant stress as outcomes are always present and in high demand.

Again, cognitive restructuring is a great way to manage. So, behavioral interventions that focus on the physiology of stress and anger and teach the athlete to turn them off by turning on a physiological response such as relaxation is another great treatment.

Laurie Endicott Thomas, MA, ELS

Laurie Endicott Thomas

Editor | Author

Anger is the feeling that you get when someone or something will not let you have what you want.

It gives you the drive to struggle against obstacles. So anger can be a good or bad thing.

If anger is too strong or directed at the wrong target, it becomes the deadly sin of wrath. The seven deadly sins are forms of self-worship that can lead to bad behavior.

We all feel anger from time to time. To avoid the deadly sin of wrath, we all need to learn to manage our anger.

Some psychologists have argued that domestic abuse results from people not knowing how to manage their anger. For this reason, some judges have even ordered domestic abusers to take a course in anger management.

Yet anger management courses do not stop domestic abuse. 

Most domestic abusers already know how to manage their anger. Otherwise, they would be beating up their boss and coworkers at work.

Instead, they just beat up their partner and children at home. That is why anger management courses do not stop abusers from beating their partner and children.

Domestic abusers already know how to manage their anger. They need to learn that they must manage the POWER responsibly. In other words, they need to learn how to manage their narcissism.

Lianda Ludwig, M.S.

Lianda Ludwig

Author | Speaker | Life Enhancement Expert

Getting angry, reacting from anger and staying angry is all very stressful for your mind and body. It raises your cortisol levels and puts your body into fight/flight/freeze mode.

Anger is like holding a hot coal in your hand and throwing it at someone else.

In most cases the reason for anger is pretty simple:

1. Someone is doing something different than you do it.

2. You assume YOU do it the right way and they are doing it the wrong way.

3. You take it personally instead of realizing if someone said something, it’s their opinion!

There’s no reason to get angry at someone’s opinion. It’s an opportunity to communicate about the differences and find a commonality and move on.

For people who lack impulse control, they RE-act (do the same thing over and over again) to anger and can end up escalating the problem. The reason that happens is when the other person also goes through this same 3 step process!

Here’s a way of handling the situation better:

Turn the mirror around and point it at yourself and ask yourself: “Have I ever done anything like that – maybe even without realizing what I’m doing?”

Self-reflection is the answer in most cases.

That sometimes is enough to dissipate your anger. And when you can stop anger, you stop the stressful reactions inside your body.

Will Craig

Will Craig

Managing Director | CEO

Anger is a completely natural emotion for us to feel. The problem comes when you don’t recognize the warning signs.

If you can’t responsibly control your anger, then you’ve got a problem that needs to be addressed before it ends up causing damage to your relationships.

It’s become a bit of a cliche, but there is some truth in the old advice, “Take a deep breath and count to ten.

Doing this can actually help you to regain control of emotions, calm yourself slightly and give you enough time to reconsider if your response is suitable for the specific situation.

Ann Ball

Ann Ball

RMT Certified Coach

Anger in any relationship creates a toxic environment which isn’t healthy for anyone. Identifying where anger stems from is the first step to address it.

Where do you feel anger?

Is it in your gut? In your head?

What movements do you make when you’re angry?

Are your arms flailing? Are you slamming your first on your desk?

Now that you’ve identified where you feel anger, place your hand on the area, or start moving as if you’re feeling angry.

While you’re doing this thing, ask yourself “What’s the opposite of anger?”

Your response is unique to you. It could be peace, laughter, pleasure or even ecstasy.

Imagine that moment in your life where you felt the opposite of anger. It’s important to be doing the action or holding the area where you feel the anger while you revisit your pleasurable moment in time.

Go deep. Go back to that beautiful moment.

Is it the peace of the beach?

The high from winning a poker game?

An intimate moment with a partner?

FEEL your pleasure while you hold your physical place of anger.

Practicing this method teaches your body to feel pleasure instead of anger.

Pleasure transforms your response to a place of love and peace, empowering you to deal with those around you in a positive and healthy manner. BONUS: you’ll make better decisions for YOU!

Caleb Backe

Caleb Backe

Health & Wellness Expert

If you suffer from sudden bursts of uncontrollable anger, you might be in need of some anger management.

This is a process of understanding your anger and how to restrain your reactions. Anger leads us to act in irrational ways.

By using anger management, we are able to deal with triggering situations using more constructive methods.

Anger is a healthy emotion but it’s crucial to express it in an appropriate and productive way.

The ability to express ourselves is one of the ways we are better understood by others, so it’s important to be able to manage your anger, in order to be better understood by those around you.