Anger can be a useful emotion, letting us know that we need to take appropriate action to set boundaries or defend ourselves, other people or our rights.
However uncontrolled anger and acting out can damage health and relationships, affect work and erode quality of life. It can become a vicious cycle which can be hard to break, but the good news is that counselling or anger management therapy can help.
There can be many different causes and triggers for anger, past and present, so one size does not fit all in working with anger in therapy. I will always carry out a full assessment, listen and take the time to understand your individual history and situation, to ensure that you get the type and level of support that’s right for you, tailored to your specific needs.
There are several aspects to working with anger and during our work together you may:
- learn to recognise and understand the triggers for your anger;
- learn ways to control and contain your anger in the here and now, so that you do not ‘lash out’ and cause damage to yourself or others;
- gradually explore and understand the buttons that these triggers push for you, usually to do with past experiences, such as childhood or relationship issues;
- “unhook” the present from the past, so you can react appropriately to what is happening in the “here and now” rather than triggering an over-reaction arising from a past situation;
- gradually explore, understand and learn to express your feelings appropriately, so that you can negotiate to get your authentic needs and wishes met and maintain healthy relationships going forward.
All of which can help you to get back in the driver’s seat, back in control of your life and your emotions so that you can make positive life choices.
Therapy is neither a soft option nor a “quick fix”. It might take some time to get to the bottom of your anger issues, to change old habits and learn new ways of relating to yourself and other people. But this time is well invested if it means you can let go of the past and go on to have the healthy, fulfilling relationships everyone deserves.