Anger-Management: Post by Dr. Andrew Gold, Licensed Psychologist at WMCC

Anger as a universal human emotion and in the course of day-to-day life, people of all ages experience it. What is not universal, however, is the way we manage and express our anger. Some of us are inclined to lash out; others tend to hold in our anger. Some of us stew over perceived injustices; others orient ourselves toward constructive directions drawing on our anger to make changes for the better.

When anger gets the best of us, it’s often helpful to speak with a professional about how to regain our ability to manage it. The topic of “anger management” (A.M.) has become a popular focus in modern counseling and psychotherapy offices. Basically, A.M. consists of teaching patients various components that function together to form an overall ability to manage anger in constructive, rather destructive ways.

The components of anger management are many. First, helping patients operationally define in a general way, and then behaviorally define in a person-specific way, the following terms: anger, hostility, aggression, violence, direct threats of aggression, direct threats of violence, veiled threats of aggression, veiled threats of violence, frustration, irritability, belligerence, intimidation, emotional manipulation, passive-aggression, annoyance, perturbation, stress, and emotional dis-regulation.

Then, a thorough review of the natural and logical opposites of the aforementioned terms is undertaken: (e.g., assertiveness, directness, self-advocacy, resiliency, rational and logical negotiation, calmness, gentleness, approachability, collected demeanor, and emotional regulation.

Next, skill-set training is undertaken to teach patients the various skills that make up ones ability to manage anger: (i.e. non-violent communication skills, active listening skills, social skills, conflict resolution skills, mediation skills, rational and logical negotiation skills, assertiveness skills, I-message skills, skills in self observation, skills in how to self-assess anger arousal patterns, skills in how to identify personally associated triggers, skills in the use of journals and diaries, self reflection skills, empathy skills, identification and modification of unhelpful internal dialog, identification and self reinforcement skills in the use of positive self-talk, relaxation training, advanced deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, and the identification of precipitating physiological arousal patterns).

Finally, various modalities are used to design patient-specific interventions that enhance the skill-set building process including but not limited to: didactic approaches, psycho-educational approaches, role-play, behavioral rehearsal, systematic desensitization, stress inoculation, solution-focused problem solving, assertiveness training, group therapy, bibliotherapy (reading outside of session), narrative therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, mindfulness based cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, Ericksonian hypnotherapy, interpersonal therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, art therapy, behavior modification, biofeedback, expressive therapy, gestalt therapy, family therapy, relationship therapy, mindfulness based stress reduction, music therapy, positive psychology, the use of poetry and storytelling, rational emotive behavioral therapy, reality therapy, solution focused brief psycho-therapy, experiential education and cooperative play therapy.

The format varies depending on patient needs and can be structured to occur in 4, 6, 8 or 12- week training blocks with repetition for remediation as needed.

If you or a loved one is struggling with anger management, contact us at WMCC to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gold.