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• Continued and repeated angry outbursts can have a detrimental effect, not only to those around you, but also on your physical and emotional health. While anger is a natural emotion and everyone gets angry from time to time, knowing how to manage your anger is extremely important.
• Short-term treatment for anger management issues is usually very structured and often consists of psycho-education, role-play, self awareness and other methods to help you recognise your angry triggers and teach you calming techniques.
• Long-term treatment is appropriate for you if you want to examine the underlying reasons for your anger.
• Some organisations offer anger management courses or classes. Counselling in this format allows the group members to benefit from the stories of others and practice anger management methods they have learned in individual counselling sessions.
Problems with anger management are an extremely common presentation amongst clients of psychologists and counsellors. Indeed many clients attend anger management counselling after receiving ultimatums from their partners or being offered employee counselling by their workplace, but you don’t need to leave it that long. Counselling can help you deal with your anger issues NOW, before your behaviour starts to negatively affect your relationships and working life.
Short term treatment for anger may be a matter of several weeks to a few months. Often, short term individual therapy with a psychologist, counsellor or therapist for anger management includes closely examining your triggers for anger, teaching you to recognise when you are starting to become angry, and providing you with the tools to contain your anger. (This article is electronically protected – Copyright © Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney PTY LTD)
The counsellor or psychologist will likely use a very directed and structured approach to short term anger management education, working with clients to alter their behaviour and meet their anger management goals. Short term counselling is generally solution focused and behaviourally oriented, helping the client connect their feelings to their actions, and teaching the client the skills they need to calm and redirect their anger.
Long-term anger management treatment allows you to explore more deeply and fully the issues that are at the core of your anger. Long-term treatment with a psychologist or psychotherapist can last several months and, for some individuals, even years. The advantage of seeking long-term therapy counselling is that it provides you with the freedom to look at and reflect on the many different ways in which anger impacts your life and relationships, and what is the underlying causes or causes of your anger. Long-term psychotherapeutic counselling works on challenging those parts of your personality that are quick to anger, rather than just working to change your surface behaviour. (This article is electronically protected – Copyright © Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney PTY LTD)
Counsellors, psychologists and psychotherapists who utilise long-term treatment modalities each have their own individual approach to counselling. There are many different philosophical and theoretic approaches to long-term anger management counselling, including psychodynamic therapy, self-psychology, Jungian, Gestalt Psychotherapy and many others. Each of these approaches has a unique perspective on how individuals develop and the significance of the various issues that humans face in their everyday lives. Often, the key to successful long-term treatment is the relationship between the client and therapist and the trust that develops over time.
Group therapy for anger management has the potential to bring about significant change for the client. Groups allow individuals to explore and reenact different situations in which their anger erupts. Group facilitators often encourage group members to use the dynamic of the group for role play and other activities that help them begin to identify how they hold their anger, what their triggers for anger are and how to redirect their anger in healthy and helpful ways. (This article is electronically protected – Copyright © Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney PTY LTD)
Andy is in his late 30s. He has a high pressure job as a stock analyst and has been feeling more and more pressure as the economy goes through its various ups and downs. Andy has been married for 12 years to Liz and they have two children, Amanda and Zach. Andy has always been quick tempered and easily blows up when he gets angry, but with increasing pressure coming from his job, he is blowing up more and more often.
Andy’s boss is growing concerned at how often he is getting angry at the office. The final straw came when Andy not only got angry, but he started yelling at his assistant and tearing his office apart. Finally, Andy’s boss called him into the office and told him that Human Resources was now going to require Andy to go to anger management counselling if he wanted to keep his job. Andy was stunned because he had not really thought that his anger was such a problem. He thought he was just being himself.
Andy reluctantly called the counsellor Human Resources had given him. He scheduled an appointment and briefly explained his situation. When Andy arrived for the appointment, he was happy to discover that his counsellor was more interested in listening to his story than in lecturing him about his bad temper.
Andy’s counsellor, Thomas, laid out a treatment plan that would meet Andy’s employer’s requirements for anger management counselling. He also suggested that when they finished with the program, Andy might consider extending treatment if he wanted to look at why he has been so easily angered for most of his life.
Going through the formal anger management treatment program, Andy was educated about how his body reacts to anger. He learned how to recognise his own triggers to being angry and was surprised to discover that his anger was not usually at the particular event that he seemed to be angry at, but instead was due to anger at underlying issues that occurred away from work. Most often, what he was really angry at was his marriage and feeling like his life was not turning out the way he had hoped when he was younger. For him, this was an overarching anger that affected everything in his life, including his work.
Thomas used role playing, discussion and homework to help Andy understand how his anger at his marriage affected his work life. Homework included teaching Andy about stress management techniques to help him calm down when he was becoming angry. Thomas also taught Andy healthy alternatives to angry outbursts, which helped him manage his anger when it threatened to get out of control, especially at work. (This article is electronically protected – Copyright © Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney PTY LTD)
After attending anger management counselling for eight weeks, Andy was able to meet the work requirement. He was better able to manage his anger and his office environment was significantly calmer. However, he thought about Thomas’ suggestion that he consider long term treatment to look at why he was angry and easily upset most of the time. With the revelation that his was angry at his marriage, he thought that Thomas has a valid point and Andy continued with counselling beyond what his work had required.
If you or someone you care about is having anger issues, you may benefit from consulting with a counsellor, psychologist or therapist. If you would like to schedule an appointment or would like more information, please contact Associated Counselors & Psychologists Sydney
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