When Does Anger Need Counselling?
Anger Management; Anger Counselling & Treatment, Symptoms and Costs
Anger is a normal, healthy emotion. Most people will experience anger infrequently throughout their lives. Anger has a very important evolutionary purpose that we still need today; It allows us to respond to threats with assertive behaviours. However, people with anger issues have difficulty managing the intensity and frequency of their responses. The first problem is that we judge a threat by subjective and sometimes illogical processes. People with anger issues often misinterpret harmless events as a threat, a threat to their safety, identity or sense of justice, etc. In situations where anger is a healthy response, they might respond excessively or even violently. They might also have difficulty regulating their response to anger in order to make smart decisions.
How do I know I have a problem with anger?
There are no official diagnostic criteria for anger issues. Unfortunately, some people only find out they have an anger issue when they have damaged a relationship or are in front of a judge.
Here are some things to consider:
- Is your anger hurting others?
Emotionally or physically.
- Does your anger cause you to do things you regret?
- Have you hurt yourself?
This could be intentional or incidental.
- Does your anger lead to physical symptoms?
Increased blood pressure, muscle tension or tingling sensation?
- Do mundane situations make you feel heightened emotions?
Rage, Frustration, Irritability
- Are you known for having a quick fuse or a short temper?
- Do you frequently find yourself in arguments that don’t involve you?
Sometimes, we feel totally justified in our anger and actions. It could be very helpful to talk to a loved one, a friend, medical professional or community leader.
Is it free or subsidised?
Effective anger management courses will most likely involve a fee. This ensures that your treatment is provided by a trained professional. There are free services available for short term and crisis situations, including, Mensline: 1300 78 99 78 and Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636. Anger Management courses like the ones run by The Three Seas are eligible for a Medicare rebate as well.
What causes anger issues?
- Mental Health Disorders: Depression, Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and PTSD are often correlated with anger management issues. People with these disorders struggle with distorted thinking or severe distress and can lash out in response.
- Fixed Thinking: People who see the world in black and white can struggle with anger. Their strict sense of justice and right/wrong can mean they have a hard time letting go of minor infractions.
- Genetics: Some people inherit increased physiological or neurological tendencies to react with aggression.
- Learned response: We learn a lot of coping strategies from our parents. If we have witnessed anger as a default response, then we will likely adopt that and have few other options for healthy responses.
- Cultural influence: Many cultures have unspoken or overt norms around anger. This includes the expected response to an insult. If you don’t respond in a certain way, they may be shamed or ostracised.
What if I have a court mandate?
Often anger management counselling is mandated or recommended by the courts. This might be in response to an assault, threats or destruction of property. In this scenario the judge needs to see serious efforts to reform behaviour. Although you might want to attend just to tick a box, it is an important time to consider what else you might need from anger management.
Individual or Group Therapy?
Both have been proven to be effective in treating anger issues. Psychologists and counsellors can provide individualised treatment. This typically involves a process of understanding your triggers and learning skills to manage your anger better. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is often used because it addresses harmful perspectives (cognition) and behaviours too. This often involves learning mindfulness and relaxation techniques.
Group treatment can be a great option for many reasons. Firstly, it’s often more cost effective. Secondly, you will be listened to and learn from people who have similar struggles. Lastly, sharing and listening to others will help you develop awareness and empathy.
Upcoming Anger Management Courses
The Three Seas have run many anger management group courses. Currently we are in the process of finalising the dates for our next course. Please call us on 9809 1000 to find out more.
We also have many Psychologists and counsellors available across our four sites. Many of our practitioners can begin effective anger management treatment within a matter of weeks.
Written by Will Sutherland