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Anger Management Therapy NYC

What is Anger Management?

Anger Management Therapist

There are many offering anger management and therapists offering psychotherapy for anger problems that are effective.  Unfortunately, especially in anger management many of the recommendations are not only ineffective, some of the most common "anger management treatments" offered by supposed experts make anger and aggression worse.  Anger management problems can be very serious.  If you have anger issues, you may be having trouble with relationships or work.  You may be ruminating and not able to let things go.  Some people can't imagine feeling anything else in response to people mistreating them, behaving incompetently, doing something unethical, unjust, immoral, or disrespectful.  If that is you, you could be right.  It might make sense to feel angry in response to others misbehaving.  The most important question is "Are you responding as effectively as you possibly can when angry?"  Then we can move on to "Is there a way after effectively handling the situation, I can let it go, so I don't have to feel angry or think about it afterwards?"  Of course, there is lots of evidence with the right help, you may also be able to prevent being as intensely angry in the first place, but that doesn't have to stop  you from dealing with the people and situations who aren't doing what they are supposed to do.  You just don't have to be as angry to deal with them.  Instead you can address them quickly, effectively, and consistently because it is the right thing to do, not because you feel like you have to or it is automatic when you are angry.

In the field of anger management though, there is a great deal of scientific research indicating various techniques used alone or in combination can effectively reduce anger symptoms (as well as those of depression) in anywhere from 16-20 sessions.  Obviously some individuals improve more quickly and others may need a larger dose.  But anger management when it includes scientifically based techniques can be incredibly effective for many clients.

How Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) can help with Anger

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) has been shown to effectively treat anger problems. Warm, caring, professionals can offer CBT for anger in a comfortable setting at New York Behavioral Health, which is conveniently located on Madison Avenue at 42nd Street.  Our compassionate staff have been extensively trained in scientifically supported techniques to efficiently reduce your suffering and begin to get you living the life you want.  We know it is not easy to get started, but we can help to begin to reduce your suffering.

For information about anger treatment to reduce your suffering, please email or call New York Behavioral Health, and a staff member will be there to answer your questions.  Your privacy and comfort are a priority, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have about anger problems or anger management.

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If you are interested in more technical details about depression, please continue to read below, but at any point feel free to call us if we can be of help.

What is Anger?

Anger is typically considered to be a negative feeling.  This means, most people, most of the time, attempt to prevent feeling this way or would like to turn down the intensity, or shorten its length.  But, unlike other negative feelings, e.g., guilt, sadness, and disgust, some people report positive aspects of their anger. Anger often gives people a sense of righteousness, and is often referred to as a moral emotion.  It is often related to themes (or values) of morality, justice, fairness, and respect.  But, it can also be triggered by other emotional material and have less to do with morality.  At times, an individual may not realize there is a connection between anger and another emotion.  For example, it may feel much better to be angry at a loved one then to feel the hurt associated with rejection.  Early aggression theories proposed that mounting frustration could lead to aggression, and it seems likely anger would mediate this relationship.  A newer theory, Berkowitz’s Neoassociationistic Model, reformulates Dollard and Doob’s Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis.  He proposes negative affect (emotions) all accumulate, and once a threshold is reached, aggression is likely to occur.  This would mean that even anxiety, guilt, and embarrassment could precipitate anger and aggression.  This is somewhat counterintuitive since these emotions are typically associated with withdrawal and escape behavioral tendencies.  This also means that the act of anger/aggression may have less to do with the target than previous aversive interactions or issues.  In these cases, the emotional expression (i.e., the motor behavior associated with the anger episode) may be “misplaced.”  Misplaced anger may be perceived by both the target and the actor as disproportionate to the apparent trigger. 

Anger, like anxiety, may feel uncomfortable, but can be associated with adaptive behaviors or unhealthy consequences, the same way fear, and the related constructs of anxiety and panic are.  For example, anger can alert people that an injustice is being committed, or that someone is taking advantage of him or her.  On a larger scale, it may lead groups of people to organize and motivate them to take action in favor of social change. Examples of this could be Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.), protestors of a war, or unfair law.  But, like fear, if anger becomes intense, lasts for long periods of time, or leads to unhealthy (risky) behaviors (e.g., domestic violence, child-abuse, drinking, drug use, or road rage), it can become very self-defeating and even lead to medical problems (e.g., heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal problems, binge eating, etc.).

What is Anger Management Treatment?

Anger can be successfully treated with a number of cognitive-behavioral techniques.  Components of cognitive-behavior therapy have been studied more than other psychotherapies, and have proven to be effective.  In as little as 8-12 weeks, many techniques have shown promising results. Cognitive restructuring, problem solving, relaxation training, communication skills, and combinations of these techniques have reduced both the experience of anger and many of the associated behaviors.

Cognitive-behavior therapy is a form of treatment that focuses on alleviating current symptoms by addressing current causes of the problem(s). Specifically it is based on the theory that emotional problems are the result of the combination of situations and human beings beliefs about these events.  Thoughts about how other people should behave, how mistreated I was when I was younger, the amount of respect I should be given, how frequently people should be polite and fair, etc. 

The common model for conceptualizing this idea is Albert Ellis’ ABC model, where “A” stands for Activating Events, “B” stands for Beliefs, and “C” stands for Consequences.  

Activating events (A’s), are anything real or imagined that activates our belief system (B’s) and results in an emotional consequence (C).  Emotional Consequences (Ce’s), set the stage for behavioral consequences (Cb’s).

If you were bumped by someone with a backpack while walking on the sidewalk, that could be an A.  You may then believe (B), “He should watch where he is going, and at a minimum apologize.”  The combination of this activating event (A) and belief (B), may result in anger, and an emotional consequence (C).  

 

            A                     x                     B                     =                     Ce      

        Activating event                                                    Belief                                                Consequence emotional

  (Inconsiderate behavior)                    (Others should always be considerate)                               (Anger)

Anger Symptoms

Anger symptoms vary and cross many domains.  Symptom domains for anger include physiological, cognitive, and behavioral.  These symptoms may result in detrimental effects in the family, love life, medical profile, or work life of a person.  They may also lead to more risky behaviors resulting in serious physical threat and even legal problems (e.g., assault and battery, reckless driving, drug possession charges).

Physiological symptoms can include rapid heart rate, palpitations, perspiration, shaking muscles, and urges to hit others.  Cognitive symptoms may include difficulties concentrating, remembering, rumination about events, or revenge fantasies.  Behavioral symptoms could be severe, as in the case of physical altercations, reckless driving, alcohol consumption, mild procrastination, or small accidents.

When left untreated there is mounting evidence that these symptoms over time wreak havoc on our physical bodies and lead to medical problems. Surges in blood pressure, frequent activation of the nervous and endocrine systems, and tendencies to neglect self-care put angry individuals at risk for all kinds of problems.  Certain types of anger can predict all-cause-mortality and reliably predict heart disease as well as blood pressure and cholesterol do.

 

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Worksheets for Anger Management

CBT Relaxation Worksheet

CBT ABC Form

CBT Anger Management Log Worksheet

CBT Dashboard for Anger

CBT Goal Setting Worksheet

CBT Self-Assessment

References

Fuller, J.R., DiGiuseppe, R. , Fountain, T., O’Leary, S., Lang, C. (2010). An open trial of a comprehensive anger treatment program on an outpatient sample anger.

Anger Management Treatment Efficacy Pilot - Extended Report - PDF