At the Ändern’s Centre we take a pragmatic approach to anger management.
Anger itself is not a problem- in fact evolutionary psychologists suggest that it plays an important role in helping us get our needs met. Anger can be seen as problematic when, for example, outbursts are overly frequent, inappropriately targeted, or adversely affect those around us. Problematic anger is not always dramatic in its manifestation. Some people can find themselves consistently irritable and grumpy, others prone to making cutting, hurtful remarks. Whatever the presentation, anger can be incredibly destructive. Fortunately there are well established Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) protocols for managing anger that have been applied successfully to assist a great many individuals.
Whilst the trigger for problematic anger can be varied, it is usually caused by the sufferer believing that their rules or goals have been attacked in some way, and/or they feel in some way threatened. Often anger involves values and beliefs- with people becoming overly concerned with rights and wrongs and perceived injustice. Some people’s anger might be linked to fears about our needs being ignored. Anger is sometimes a manifestation of other issues such as stress, anxiety, low mood, self-confidence, or intolerance.
The most obvious negative effect of anger is upon our relationships, be they familial, romantic, professional or friendships. But usually the biggest cost of anger is upon ourselves. It is unpleasant to be in a frequent state of high agitation and it can make us quite miserable. It can also impact on our view of ourselves, whilst not doing our blood pressure any favours!
When working with anger management at the Ändern Centre we begin by paying careful attention to discover the frequent triggers and whether they are connected. This understanding of specific reactions leads to the formation of an individualised CBT problem conceptualisation and treatment plan.
Through a process of challenging thoughts, beliefs and feelings clients then learn how to apply cognitive behavioural therapy to manage their triggers in a more constructive and helpful fashion. If there are underlying issues such as stress or self-esteem, a programme is designed to incorporate necessary changes. Often some practical steps are suggested, such as time management, exercise, changes in life environment, improved communication skills or sometimes quite simply some time off! CBT tools are provided to manage anger in the moment, and also to help reduce tension levels in general.
People with anger issues have generally been having problems for some time, though there is often an increase in anger levels that motivate the client to seek help. Unfortunately there are no ‘quick fixes’, however the cognitive behavioural approach has been well evidenced as effective in the treatment of anger using relatively short term CBT techniques.