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Anger management: 10 tips to tame your temper

Keeping your temper in check can be challenging. Use simple anger management tips — from taking a timeout to using "I" statements — to stay in control.

Do you fume when someone cuts you off in traffic? Does your blood pressure rocket when your child refuses to cooperate? Anger is a common and even healthy emotion. But it's important to deal with it in a positive way. Uncontrolled anger can take a toll on both your health and your relationships.

Ready to get your anger under control? Start by considering these 10 anger management tips.

1. Think before you speak

In the heat of the moment, it's easy to say something you'll later regret. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything. Also allow others involved in the situation to do the same.

2. Once you're calm, express your concerns

As soon as you're thinking clearly, express your frustration in an assertive but nonconfrontational way. State your concerns and needs clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them.

3. Get some exercise

Physical activity can help reduce stress that can cause you to become angry. If you feel your anger escalating, go for a brisk walk or run. Or spend some time doing other enjoyable physical activities.

4. Take a timeout

Timeouts aren't just for kids. Give yourself short breaks during times of the day that tend to be stressful. A few moments of quiet time might help you feel better prepared to handle what's ahead without getting irritated or angry.

5. Identify possible solutions

Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work on resolving the issue at hand. Does your child's messy room make you upset? Close the door. Is your partner late for dinner every night? Schedule meals later in the evening. Or agree to eat on your own a few times a week. Also, understand that some things are simply out of your control. Try to be realistic about what you can and cannot change. Remind yourself that anger won't fix anything and might only make it worse.

6. Stick with 'I' statements

Criticizing or placing blame might only increase tension. Instead, use "I" statements to describe the problem. Be respectful and specific. For example, say, "I'm upset that you left the table without offering to help with the dishes" instead of "You never do any housework."

7. Don't hold a grudge

Forgiveness is a powerful tool. If you allow anger and other negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. Forgiving someone who angered you might help you both learn from the situation and strengthen your relationship.

8. Use humor to release tension

Lightening up can help diffuse tension. Use humor to help you face what's making you angry and, possibly, any unrealistic expectations you have for how things should go. Avoid sarcasm, though — it can hurt feelings and make things worse.

9. Practice relaxation skills

When your temper flares, put relaxation skills to work. Practice deep-breathing exercises, imagine a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase, such as "Take it easy." You might also listen to music, write in a journal or do a few yoga poses — whatever it takes to encourage relaxation.

10. Know when to seek help

Learning to control anger can be a challenge at times. Seek help for anger issues if your anger seems out of control, causes you to do things you regret or hurts those around you.

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  • Kassinove H, et al. Happiness. In: The Practitioner's Guide to Anger Management: Customizable Interventions, Treatments, and Tools for Clients With Problem Anger. Kindle edition. New Harbinger Publications; 2019. Accessed March 11, 2022.
  • Understanding anger: How psychologists help with anger problems. American Psychological Association. Accessed March 11, 2022.
  • Controlling anger before it controls you. American Psychological Association. Accessed March 11, 2022.
  • Tips for survivors: Coping with anger after a disaster or other traumatic event. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Accessed March 11, 2022.
  • Caring for your mental health. National Institute of Mental Health. Accessed March 11, 2022.
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Anger is the response we have to a problem we feel unable to solve, whether it’s a problem in our relationship, at work, or some other aspect of our lives. But anger is almost always an unconstructive response that escalates the problem, rather than solving it. Learning strategies for problem solving instead is not only constructive, but will also help you to manage and avoid using anger altogether.

Next time you start to feel yourself becoming angry at a particular situation, try some of these strategies for problem solving instead of giving in to your anger:

Change your thinking:  This is a great way to address problems from a different perspective. Sometimes the way we think can create barriers between the solution and us. Our brains are hard-wired to find and focus on threats as part of our in-built survival instinct. This lends itself to negative thinking, where we only focus on the problem and nothing else. By actively changing your thought process – focusing on goals and the steps you can take to achieve them, rather than always focusing on the problem – a more positive result is likely.

Work on communication   skills:  Communication is the key to good problem solving, especially if the problem is a relationship or social problem involving others. Anger disrupts the open flow of ideas, because the focus shifts from solving the problem to either criticising the other person, or defending yourself from criticism. Neither position is particularly conducive to clear communication. Think about what you’re saying – and how you’re saying it – is a good way to avoid conflict with another person. If you can communicate your feelings clearly, you’re less likely to become frustrated and angry – and the other person is less likely to react with anger as well.

Change your environment:  Sometimes your environment may not be a pleasant positive place to be, which can have a negative affect on your mood and cause you to become stressed, frustrated and ultimately angry. If your anger stems from a negative working environment, it might be time to look for a new job. Most of the time, however, the situation isn’t that dire. It might just be that you’re overworked, tired, and need a break. In which case, take some time off – have a holiday – and when you return, remember to  change your thinking , and  work on your communication skills .

These may seem like small, easy changes to make, but that’s why they work. Anger usually stems from a small issue that grows into a bigger problem over time. By addressing the issues head on when they appear, and with a willingness to problem-solve and communicate positively with those around you, you’ll have a better chance of solving the problem without anger.

If you would like to read more about ways to  manage anger , or for tips and advice on practical uses of positive thinking,  continue reading our blog  or  visit our website  for more information.

Marcus Andrews

Marcus Andrews

Marcus Andrews is the founder and director of Life Supports, which was established in 2002. He has extensive professional experience working as a counsellor and family therapist across a broad range of issues. The core component of his role at Life Supports involves the supervision of other counsellors, including secondary consultations. Marcus has worked in many sectors, including private, government, non-profit, health, forensic and community practice.

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Anger Management Therapy: Types, Techniques, and Benefits

  • Types of Therapy

How It Works

  • Other Methods
  • Finding a Therapist

Anger management refers to a set of skills used to handle and express anger in healthy ways. Anger is a natural emotion, and when managed well, it can even be healthy and productive. But when anger escalates to the point that it causes harm to yourself and others, it's time to make some changes.

Read on to learn more about anger management counseling and why it's important.

Illustration by Michela Buttignol for Verywell Health

What Is Anger Management?

People use a number of conscious and unconscious processes to handle their anger. Common approaches include:

  • Suppressing

While anger may be a normal and healthy emotion, how we respond to it makes a big impact. Anger management can help you respond in healthy, constructive ways.

What Is Anger?

Anger is a natural emotion that is subjective and adaptive. It can vary in intensity, from subtle irritation to intense rage.

It has different components:

  • Experiential : Emotional experiences accompanied by physiological responses
  • Expressional : Behaviors used to deal with anger feelings

Types of Anger Management Therapy

Psychotherapists use three basic strategies in anger management treatment:

  • Relaxation : Learning to calm the body
  • Cognitive therapy : Learning healthy thinking patterns
  • Skill development : Learning new behaviors

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most commonly used treatment for anger management, and many studies have shown its effectiveness.

CBT for anger targets thought patterns and behaviors associated with problematic anger management. Once these are identified, they can be replaced over time with realistic, productive responses to feeling angry.

These responses are achieved through exercises, such as reframing the way you think about a problem and how you respond to it. CBT can identify anger cues and triggers and implement practices and techniques to stop anger from escalating.

Variations on CBT may be used, such as:

  • Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) : Combines cognitive therapy, meditation , and mindfulness
  • Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) : An action-oriented approach that addresses irrational beliefs and develops skills to manage emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in more productive, healthier ways

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) focuses on mindfulness as a way for people to increase awareness of their emotions. Recognizing strong emotions can improve people's judgments of anger-inducing situations and help them control their emotions and come up with appropriate responses.

Other Therapies

Although CBT remains the first line of treatment for anger management, other psychotherapies may help as well. These include:

  • Emotion-focused therapy : This therapy can help people process negative emotions in a safe, empathetic environment. During one-on-one sessions, your therapist may evoke anger and help you respond to it appropriately.
  • Family therapy : Attachment-based family therapy is similar to EFT but with a family member or romantic partner present during sessions. In a safe environment, you can express intense emotions and unmet needs. The therapist can then help your loved one respond with validation and empathy.
  • Psychodynamic therapy : The focus of this therapy is to find the roots of a person's anger through dialogue with a therapist. Reflecting on past experiences and emotions can help you improve your present situation.
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy : The focus of this therapy is to help people accept that negative experiences and emotions occur and then help them psychologically adapt to these challenges.

Anger management therapy helps a person gain insight into what triggers their anger as well as identify their anger responses. Using certain exercises, the person develops skills that help them manage their anger in healthy and productive ways .

Anger treatment programs typically aim to modify:

  • Cognitive processes : Therapy can help you identify triggers that make you angrier and then change incorrect thought patterns.
  • Physiological arousal : Treatment can help you relax by paying more attention to your body's response to anger-inducing situations.
  • Behavior/social interaction : Learning to manage your anger can also include avoiding stressful situations and improving your communication skills.

Other Ways to Control Anger

There are ways to practice anger management skills outside of formal therapy sessions. In fact, if you are in professional treatment for anger management, you will be encouraged to practice skills outside of class.

Relaxation techniques can be practiced as needed and regularly as part of your daily routine. Tools might include:

  • Deep breathing
  • Relaxing imagery
  • Meditation and mindfulness exercises

Cognitive Restructuring

Cognitive restructuring involves changing the way you think about situations. This might involve taking the overly dramatic or exaggerated thinking that tends to come with anger and trying to be more logical and realistic, even when the anger is justified.

Exercise is great for physical and mental health. It's also been shown to have a positive effect on anger reduction and stress control.

Realistic Problem-Solving

Instead of reacting with frustration, you can tackle your issue by:

  • Evaluating the problem
  • Identifying your options for a response
  • Considering the likely consequences of each potential solution

It's also important to recognize that problems will arise that do not have a perfect solution or may be out of your control. In situations like these, focus on what you can control in the situation, and what behaviors will leave you feeling the best about yourself over time.

If your sincere attempts to solve the problem are not successful at first, be easy on yourself, try to be patient, practice your anger management techniques, and avoid all-or-nothing thinking—focusing on extremes and absolutes like "always" or "never."

Thought Stopping

If you feel your angry thoughts building, counter them with commands to stop the pattern of angry thoughts before the anger escalates.

Communication and Clarification

When angry feelings arise, stop, think, and ask yourself where the anger is coming from. Sometimes anger can be a smoke screen for other feelings, like fear or anxiety . Talking about your feelings, with others or even out loud to yourself, can help.

Stop, slow down, and think when heated discussions arise. Listen carefully to the other person, and carefully consider what you are going to say before you respond.

Try employing the Conflict Resolution Model:

  • Identify the problem.
  • Identify the feelings associated with the conflict.
  • Identify the impact of the problem.
  • Decide whether to resolve the conflict.
  • Work towards resolution of the conflict, including if a compromise is needed.

It can be difficult, but trying to see the humor in situations—even frustrating ones—can help take the fire out of an angry response.

"Time Out"

"Time outs" aren't just for children; they can be a way for you to take a minute to calm down and de-escalate your anger.

A "time out" could include the following process:

  • Leave the situation.
  • Count to 10.
  • Repeat calming phrases.
  • Breathe deeply.
  • Shift to a more pleasant thought.
  • Bring yourself back into focus.

It can also be helpful to schedule regular personal time for periods of the day you know will be stressful, such as claiming the first 15 minutes after you get home from work as uninterrupted "me time."

Avoiding Triggers

You can get help identifying your triggers in therapy—the goal then is to avoid these situations. For example, if you tend to get frustrated with something at night, try doing it at a different time of day. If your child's messy room angers you, close their door. If driving to work sets you off, look into taking the bus or train.

Abuse Is More Than an Anger Issue

Domestic violence and abuse involves a deliberate control over another person, not necessarily a loss of control or temper. Abuse requires specialized treatment, not standard anger management classes.

If you or a loved one are experiencing or have experienced domestic violence, contact the  National Domestic Violence Hotline  at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential assistance from trained advocates. For more mental health resources, see our  National Helpline Database .

Poor anger management is associated with a number of negative effects on physical, mental, and social health, including cardiovascular diseases, low self-esteem, and interpersonal problems.

Proper anger management habits are part of taking care of overall health for everyone.

When Is Anger Management Therapy Effective?

Everyone can benefit from learning effective anger management strategies, but anger management treatment may be especially helpful for people in certain circumstances.

Working People

Any job can be stress -inducing, but some jobs can make anger management especially necessary. For example, nursing has been shown to involve many factors that can trigger anger responses.

Expressing anger (such as using offensive hand gestures) has been shown to increase safety risks while driving. Incorporating anger management techniques into driver training classes could help make roads safer.

People Who Are or at Risk of Being Incarcerated

Studies have shown anger management can be effective in reducing the risk of reoffending, particularly violent reoffending.

A 2015 meta-analysis explored the effects of CBT-based anger management interventions among adult men who were incarcerated. After treatment completion, the overall risk of reoffending showed a 42% reduction, while violent reoffending showed a 56% reduction.

People With Substance Use Disorder

Anger and aggression are associated with substance abuse . Difficulty managing anger and aggression can be a significant barrier to treatment for substance use.

While it's a common belief that anger "fuels" athletes, there is evidence to show that anger might be dysfunctional if not managed correctly, particularly in sports that require selective attention and fine-tuned motor skills.

Research suggests that CBT programs can help athletes understand and control this anger response.

Children and Adolescents

Children and adolescents who struggle with anger management can be at increased risk for difficulties in school and in social interactions. If it continues into later adolescence and adulthood, they are at risk for problems with employment and potential legal troubles.

Teaching anger management skills to children and adolescents reduces these risks and other negative outcomes associated with anger issues. Starting this training before they internalize unhealthy behaviors is especially beneficial.

CBT combined with mindfulness techniques, implemented by trained CBT practitioners, have been shown to be effective for anger management with children.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

When it comes to your mental health, consider seeing a healthcare provider when you feel like your symptoms interfere with your daily life or work. For anger specifically, make sure to seek help if you feel like your anger is out of control or if you're worried you might hurt someone or yourself.

When looking for a therapist, find someone with experience in anger management. Approaches to anger management can be different than other forms of therapy.

The American Psychological Association has an online search tool to help you find a psychologist in your area.

Anger management skills are learned. People who have difficulty managing their anger can learn productive ways to handle their emotions.

Professional treatment, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, is effective at treating anger management issues. Practicing anger management skill-building exercises at home and putting them into practice helps solidify good anger management habits.

American Psychological Association. Control anger before it controls you .

Kim YR, Choi HG, Yeom HA. Relationships between exercise behavior and anger control of hospital nurses . Asian Nursing Research . 2019;13(1):86-91. doi:10.1016/j.anr.2019.01.009

American Psychological Association. How a psychologist can help you manage anger .

Manfredi P, Taglietti C. A psychodynamic contribution to the understanding of anger - The importance of diagnosis before treatment .  Res Psychother . 2022;25(2):587. Published 2022 Jun 30. doi:10.4081/ripppo.2022.587

Anjanappa S, Govindan R, Munivenkatappa M. Anger management in adolescents: a systematic review . Indian Journal of Psychiatric Nursing . 2020;17(1):51. doi:10.4103/IOPN.IOPN_37_19

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Anger management for substance use disorder and mental health clients .

Asvaroğlu SY, Bekiroğulları Z. Cognitive behavioural therapy treatment for child anger management . The European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences . 2020;2. doi:10.15405/ejsbs.2020.04.issue-2

National Institute of Mental Health. Borderline Personality Disorder .

Richard Y, Tazi N, Frydecka D, Hamid MS, Moustafa AA. A systematic review of neural, cognitive, and clinical studies of anger and aggression .  Curr Psychol . Published online June 8, 2022. doi:10.1007/s12144-022-03143-6

Diamond GM, Shahar B, Sabo D, Tsvieli N. Attachment-based family therapy and emotion-focused therapy for unresolved anger: The role of productive emotional processing .  Psychotherapy (Chic) . 2016;53(1):34-44. doi:10.1037/pst0000025

MedlinePlus. Learn to manage your anger .

Steffgen G. Anger management - evaluation of a cognitive-behavioral training program for table tennis players . Journal of Human Kinetics . 2017;55(1):65-73. doi:10.1515/hukin-2017-0006

Dewi IDADP, Kyranides MN. Physical, verbal, and relational aggression: the role of anger management strategies . Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma . 2021;0(0):1-18. doi:10.1080/10926771.2021.1994495

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In response to being criticized or ignored, or when overwhelmed with daily hassles, people can feel irritated, annoyed, or angry. This is a normal reaction. In fact, when anger is experienced and expressed appropriately, it can lead to healthy coping and constructive change. On the other hand, frequent, intense, and enduring anger can be quite harmful.

Anger is not limited to shouting and yelling. Angry individuals may become intimidating and aggressive. They may hurt themselves, others, or property. Also, some individuals feel bad about their anger, and that can lead to guilty reactions. Uncontrolled and excessive anger causes problems in all areas of life. It can result in relationship problems with friends, family, or coworkers. Extreme anger may lead to problems with the law. But not all angry people show it. Angry individuals may not show their anger outwardly. Rather, it remains inside and they harbor fantasies of “getting even.”

There are many reactions to anger. Some reactions to anger are immediate. For example, people are likely to avoid angry individuals since it is unpleasant to be the recipient of anger. Angry individuals may themselves suffer from headaches, stomach problems, and so on. Other consequences of anger may emerge over the longer term. Angry individuals who keep it bottled up may withdraw, sulk, and brood. They may experience anguish and inner turmoil. They tend to develop lower self-esteem, more anxiety, and more alcohol and drug abuse than people who are less angry. Uncontrolled anger may eventually lead to heart disease, elevated blood pressure, and cancer, as well as to relationship and work problems.

Anger Treatment

Counseling or psychotherapy can help you (or others in your life) deal with an anger problem. In seeking therapy, you may wish to consider several general issues. First, realize that anger is a common and sometimes normal human emotion. It is sometimes appropriate to be angry. But, when anger is exaggerated, uncontrolled, or linked with dysfunctional behavior, it becomes a problem that can affect all areas of life.

Second, note that angry behavior patterns are habits that are developed, repeated, and reinforced over a lifetime. Fortunately, these habits can be changed. Much anger is an automatic emotional response and, with practice, it can be reduced. Thus, it is important to ask prospective therapists how techniques for anger management will be learned and practiced. Third, if you have concerns regarding the confidentiality of treatment, discuss these issues with your therapist. Since laws vary from state to state, your therapist would be in the best position to explain the doctor-patient privilege. You should be aware that therapists, to prevent harm, may warn a potential victim of aggression if a client intends to hurt someone. This is a normal professional procedure.

Approaches to Anger Therapy

There are many different approaches a therapist may use to help an individual control anger. Some people may benefit from exploring their family backgrounds while others may be helped with medication. You should know that cognitive behavior therapy techniques have been shown to be very effective for anger reduction and often represent the treatment of choice. Not everyone, of course, will find every technique to be useful. Therapists base the use of each technique on a careful evaluation of the client’s circumstances and characteristics. Several effective cognitive behavioral techniques are outlined below:

Enhanced Personal Awareness

Angry individuals often do not have a clear sense of their anger. They don’t understand where it comes from or what is happening to them when they are angry. There are many ways you can learn about the elements of anger episodes. These include detailed discussions with your therapist, role-playing of anger causing situations, and self-monitoring (making a record of) anger in day-to-day living. Whatever approach is chosen, the goal is to help you become more aware of the anger in your life, by addressing the following issues:

Where and when does the anger occur? Why does anger occur (what events or situations lead to the anger)? What kinds of memories or images trigger the anger? How do you feel when you become angry (emotionally and physically)? What are you thinking when you are angry? How do you handle the situation that made you angry? Do you always behave the same way? If not, why not? What do others do when you become angry?

Answering such questions will help you become aware of the nature, reasons, and results of anger. The answers will also eventually help you develop a greater sense of self-worth and personal control, and the ability to use anger-management and problem-solving skills. Although enhanced personal awareness is rarely all that is needed, it is often very helpful.

Anger Disruption by Avoidance and Removal

These techniques lead to interruption of anger by removing you, mentally or physically, from the situation. For example, it might be wise to simply get up and leave a situation when anger develops. This might even be negotiated with a spouse, friend, or business associate in advance. It might be wise to delay responding by asking for time to think about angering issues or to gather additional information before responding. It might be wise to seek an alternative mode of response, such as a written or email answer, instead of an immediate spoken one. These techniques may decrease or even prevent the anger altogether.

Doing a distracting non-angry activity is also an alternative. One mother, with an anger problem, chose to plan meals and do the laundry instead of arguing and insulting her teenage daughter about homework. Other individuals may count to ten, or may provide themselves with a brief, nondamaging physical distraction, such as pressing their fingers together very firmly or leaving to take a shower or work in the garden.

These few examples are simple strategies that can disrupt anger and give the individual some time and distance to calm down, then approach the situation differently, at a later time. As with enhanced self-awareness, these strategies are rarely sufficient alone, but are an important part of treatment.

Relaxation Coping Skills

Anger is often marked by increased emotional and physical excitement. Relaxation coping skills target this excitement and can help you calm down when angered. You can learn to become aware of the triggers for anger and you can use relaxation to lower it. Relaxation skills include slow deep breathing, slowly repeating a calming word or phrase, picturing a personal relaxation image, or focusing on muscle tension and consciously letting it go. These skills are practiced at home until you can relax quickly. Then, as you become better at using relaxation, it can be used to lower anger within the therapy session. For example, the therapist may ask you to imagine an angering event, experience the anger, and then assist you in the relaxation skills to lower the anger. Over the course of a few sessions, as the therapist’s assistance decreases, you can learn to handle increasing levels of anger. If successful in the therapy sessions, you can begin to use relaxation for anger management in daily living, freeing yourself to approach situations more calmly.

Attitude and Cognitive Change

When angry, people often make bad situations worse by the way they think about them. For example, angry individuals tend to demand that things should be, ought to be, or have to be, their way—rather than just wanting or preferring them to be a certain way. Often, they call other people insulting, sometimes obscene, names. The problem situation is often seen as awful or catastrophic, rather than simply difficult, frustrating, or truly disappointing. By thinking about bad situations in this way, natural frustrations, hurts, and disappointments seem much larger, leading to increases in anger.

Attitude and cognitive change techniques focus on identifying anger-producing thoughts and replacing them with more reasonable ways of thinking. As with relaxation skills, many different techniques may be employed. For example, therapists could use careful exploration of thinking errors, role-playing, self monitoring and self-debating strategies, and trying out new behaviors. You and your therapist will work together in session using one or more of these techniques to become aware of, and change, attitudes and images that increase anger. Then, you practice the new and more reasonable thought patterns (habits) for anger reduction in the real world.

Silly Humor

Another cognitive change technique is silly humor. This does not mean that you will be taught to laugh away problems. Instead, the goal is to use silly humor, rather than hostility, as a partial cure. This is particularly helpful with certain types of angering thoughts. For example, adult drivers may make themselves angrier by calling other drivers “asses.” The client might be asked to define this term correctly. This usually leads to a definition of burro. Then, they might be asked to draw a picture of this definition and to picture this image when they use the term. Rarely is silly humor the primary therapy technique, but it often helps people chuckle at themselves, take a step back, and approach the situation in a less angry way.

Acceptance and Forgiveness

Many things that others do simply can not be helped. For example, children spill drinks; they commonly argue with each other, then pout or shout; and they are always testing the boundaries of “no.” In industry, economic conditions sometimes lead to layoffs. Spouses sometimes forget about issues that are important to their partners.

But thinking that others have intentionally set out to cause problems is almost always wrong. Thinking that they could have acted differently, if they really wanted to, ignores other causes of behavior. Sometimes, for example, spouses or colleagues just didn’t hear what you said, or your friend just forgot. Thinking that the bad behavior of others is always intentional just increases anger and does little to solve problems. Understanding that some behaviors are caused by biology or genetics, or normal development, or economic stressors, is more realistic. Acceptance and forgiveness interventions help you to understand these realities. The goal is to improve relations with others, while reducing needless and repetitive lecturing and blaming.

Skill Enhancement

Some people experience anger because they do not have the necessary skills to negotiate common interpersonal hassles and conflicts. They may fight with a spouse because they don’t know how to communicate well about family budgets; become furious and yell at a child because they don’t know how to handle the child’s misbehavior; or become angry and intimidating when dealing with coworkers because they don’t know how to be assertive. Anger escalates because of insufficient skill at resolving the situation.

Although the needed skills vary greatly from individual to individual, skill training can help you approach negative situations in a calm, direct, problem solving manner. You and your therapist identify the needed skills and rehearse them during therapy sessions until you are comfortable with them. Then, you work together to transfer these skills from the office into the real world. Over time, you will learn general principles and strategies that can be adapted to many anger-causing situations. This leads to a reduction in anger because the skills stop or lessen conflict and tension with others.

Although frustration and a degree of anger are inevitable parts of life, individuals don’t have to be victims of uncontrolled, intense, or frequent anger. A number of effective cognitive-behavioral techniques are available for anger management. No one is likely to need all of them. However, psychotherapy can identify how these strategies might be combined to reduce anger in order to help you and others in your life deal with this troublesome emotion.

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What is Cognitive Behavior Therapy?

Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy are types of treatment that are based firmly on research findings. These approaches aid people in achieving specific changes or goals.

Changes or goals might involve:

A way of acting: like smoking less or being more outgoing; A way of feeling: like helping a person to be less scared, less depressed, or less anxious; A way of thinking: like learning to problem-solve or get rid of self-defeating thoughts; A way of dealing with physical or medical problems: like lessening back pain or helping a person stick to a doctor’s suggestions.

Behavior Therapists and Cognitive Behavior Therapists usually focus more on the current situation and its solution, rather than the past. They concentrate on a person’s views and beliefs about their life, not on personality traits. Behavior Therapists and Cognitive Behavior Therapists treat individuals, parents, children, couples, and families. Replacing ways of living that do not work well with ways of living that work, and giving people more control over their lives, are common goals of behavior and cognitive behavior therapy.

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If you are looking for help, either for yourself or someone else, you may be tempted to call someone who advertises in a local publication or who comes up from a search of the Internet. You may, or may not, find a competent therapist in this manner. It is wise to check on the credentials of a psychotherapist. It is expected that competent therapists hold advanced academic degrees. They should be listed as members of professional organizations, such as the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies or the American Psychological Association. Of course, they should be licensed to practice in your state. You can find competent specialists who are affiliated with local universities or mental health facilities or who are listed on the websites of professional organizations. You may, of course, visit our website ( and click on “Find a CBT Therapist”

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What Is Anger Management Therapy?

Sanjana is a health writer and editor. Her work spans various health-related topics, including mental health, fitness, nutrition, and wellness.

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Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

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Types of Anger Management Therapy

Take the anger test, what anger management therapy can help with, benefits of anger management therapy, effectiveness, things to consider, how to get started, keep in mind.

Anger is a normal human emotion that most people experience every now and then. However, if you find yourself feeling angry very often or very intensely, it may start to become a problem. 

“Rage, persistent anger, or angry outbursts can have detrimental consequences for physical health, quality of life, and relationships,” says Erin Engle, PsyD, a psychologist at Columbia University Medical Center.

“Anger management is an approach designed to help you manage the emotional and physiological arousal that accompanies anger. As it's often not possible to change the circumstances or people that elicit anger, anger management can help you recognize your triggers for anger and learn to cope with them more effectively,” explains Engle.

The aim of anger management therapy is to help minimize stressful or anger-evoking situations, improve self-control, and help you express your feelings in a healthy manner, according to Engle.

These are some of the different approaches to anger management therapy:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) : CBT is often the treatment of choice for anger management, according to Engle. She says it can help you understand your triggers for anger, develop and practice coping skills, and think, feel, and behave differently in response to anger, so you are calmer and more in control.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) : According to Engle, DBT is a form of CBT that can help individuals with intense or frequent anger regain emotional control through developing emotional regulation and distress tolerance skills, mindfulness, and effective communication in relationships.
  • Family Therapy : This form of therapy can be helpful in situations where anger is often directed at family members. It can help you work together to improve communication and resolve issues.
  • Psychodynamic Therapy : Psychodynamic therapy can help you examine the psychological roots of your anger and your response to it, so that you can identify and correct unhealthy patterns.

Your mental healthcare provider will evaluate your circumstances and specific behaviors to determine the overall approach to treatment and whether you require medication in addition to therapy, says Engle. 

Anger management therapy techniques can involve understanding your triggers and responses to anger, learning strategies to manage or diffuse it, and changing thoughts and attitudes related to anger. Engle outlines some of these techniques below.

Identifying Triggers and Responses

Therapy can help you develop a better understanding of the factors that contribute to expressions of anger; current and past triggers for anger; your responses to it; and the consequences or aftereffects to yourself and your relationships. 

For instance, you may realize that yelling at your spouse is related to observing your parents yell, or the belief that you'll only get what you want if you yell.

Learning Strategies to Diffuse Anger

Anger management therapy can equip you with strategies to disrupt your anger or manage your response to it through avoidance or distraction. 

Your therapist can help you problem-solve how to respond when you’re angry. Role-plays offer opportunities to practice skills such as assertiveness and direct communication that can enhance control.

Therapy can also teach you coping strategies and relaxation techniques, such as slow deep breathing , leaving the room and returning when you're collected, or using a relaxing image to alleviate the intensity of anger.

Changing Attitude and Thought Patterns

Therapy can also involve restructuring thinking and changing attitudes related to anger, particularly if your therapist is taking a CBT approach .

Your therapist will help you examine your attitudes and ways of thinking and help identify patterns such as ruminating , catastrophizing, judging, fortune-telling, or magnifying that might exacerbate anger. 

Your therapist will also work with you to help you practice changing your response patterns. They can encourage forgiveness and compassion, offer ways to let go of hurt and disappointment, and help you repair and accept ruptured relationships.

This short, free 21-item test measures a variety of symptoms and feelings associated with  anger , such as anger about the present and future, anger towards the self, and hostile feelings toward others.

This anger quiz was medically reviewed by Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS.

While anger management is a form of treatment designed to help you manage anger, anger is not officially a condition that is diagnosed or defined, like depression or anxiety , for instance. However, intense, destructive, or uncontrollable anger may cause significant distress and impairment and impact safety, says Engle.

Anger management therapy can help anyone who experiences rage or has angry outbursts. Anger management therapy can help improve your:

  • Mental health : Anger can consume your focus, cloud your judgment, and deplete your energy. It can also lead to other mental health conditions such as depression and substance abuse .
  • Physical health : Anger manifests physically in the body with a surge of adrenaline, a rapid rise in heartbeat, higher blood pressure, and increased muscle tension in the form of a clenched jaw or fisted hands, says Engle. Over time, this can take a toll on your health and lead to physical health conditions.
  • Career : Anger can make it hard for you to focus on school or work and affect your performance. It can also harm your relationships with your peers. While creative differences, constructive criticism, and healthy debates can be productive, lashing out or having angry outbursts can alienate your peers and lead to negative consequences.
  • Relationships : Anger often harms loved ones the most and can take a toll on your relationships with them. It can make it difficult for them to be comfortable around you, erode their trust and respect, and be especially damaging to children .

Anger management therapy is sometimes court-ordered in case a person has committed criminal offenses, such as:

  • Disturbing the peace
  • Domestic abuse or violence

These are some of the benefits anger management therapy can offer:

  • Identify triggers: Knowing what situations trigger your anger can help you avoid them or manage your reaction to them.
  • Change your thinking: Anger management can help you identify and change unhealthy thought patterns that fuel your anger.
  • Develop coping skills: Therapy can help you regulate your emotions, control your actions, and develop skills to help you cope with situations that trigger your anger.
  • Learn relaxation techniques: Your therapist may teach you relaxation techniques that can help you calm yourself down and relax your body and mind .
  • Solve problems: If certain situations trigger your anger repeatedly, your therapist may encourage you to look for solutions or alternatives. 
  • Improve communication: Anger management therapy can help you express your feelings in a healthy, respectful, or assertive manner, without being aggressive.

According to Engle, CBT, which is often used to treat anger, is a very effective approach. CBT is an empirically-supported treatment that takes a skills-based approach to anger management, with emphasis placed on awareness of thoughts, behavioral patterns, and skill development with respect to physical and emotional reactions to anger, says Engle.

A 2017 study found that CBT was helpful to table tennis players with anger management issues. Even one year after completing treatment, participants were less likely to negatively express anger or react angrily.

A 2020 study found that anger management therapy was beneficial to patients with HIV.

“As with any form of treatment, it can be beneficial to seek out the support and experience of a trained mental health professional. Professional evaluation and consultation can help identify any co-occurring mental health issues like trauma or substance use,” says Engle.

If you have a co-occurring mental health issue, it may be beneficial for you and your mental healthcare provider to determine if those disorders play a predominant role or how they can best be addressed in combination with anger management, according to Engle. 

Depending on your co-occurring issues, your mental healthcare provider will determine an appropriate treatment plan and whether or not you require medication, explains Engle.

If you find yourself arguing often, becoming violent or breaking things, threatening others, or getting arrested because of incidents related to your anger, you may need to seek anger management therapy.

Look for a trained mental health professional who specializes in this form of treatment.

Depending on your preferences, you can choose to opt for individual treatment or group therapy . Individual therapy sessions offer more privacy and one-on-one interaction whereas group therapy sessions can help you feel like you’re not going through this alone.

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Anger is a universal emotion that often arises in response to threat, loss of power, or injustice, says Engle. She explains that anger is not necessarily negative, though it can be detrimental at uncontrollable levels, given the behaviors likely to follow anger such as throwing things, walking out, attacking others, saying things you later regret, or acting passive-aggressively .

Anger can take a toll on your health, relationships, and career. Anger management therapy can help you regulate your emotions, maintain self-control, develop coping strategies, and communicate effectively.

Steffgen G. Anger management: evaluation of a cognitive-behavioral training program for table tennis players . J Hum Kinet . 2017;55:65-73. doi:10.1515/hukin-2017-0006

Lotfalizadeh M, Miri S, Foroughameri G, Farokhzadian J. The effect of anger management skills training on anger status of the people with HIV . Perspect Psychiatr Care . 2020;56(3):605-613. doi:10.1111/ppc.12475

American Psychological Association. Controlling anger before it controls you .

American Psychological Association. Understanding anger: how psychologists help with anger problems .

U.S. National Library of Medicine. Learn to manage your anger . MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia .

By Sanjana Gupta Sanjana is a health writer and editor. Her work spans various health-related topics, including mental health, fitness, nutrition, and wellness.

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problem solving skills for anger management

A guide to anger management: Effective anger management strategies

We all have our triggers—those little pet peeves and touchy subjects. But there’s a difference between having our temper flare temporarily and deep, seething anger that can feel impossible to let go of. For some people, anger is an emotion that’s difficult to control. It detrimentally erodes their interpersonal relationships, life goals, career, and self-esteem. 

But controlling anger isn’t impossible; learning the process of anger management through therapy or counseling services might be the extra boost that’s needed to regulate one’s emotions effectively . Those who have difficulty reining in their anger can correct their mindset and learn to cope by discovering and implementing the right management techniques from a mental health professional.

Woman calming herself

Why Can't I Control My Anger?

A person’s ability to manage their anger is largely influenced by predispositions such as personality, temperament, environment and biological factors . People who have difficulty controlling their anger may also have a low tolerance for frustration. This can occur when a person experiences difficulty with delaying gratification or maintaining their composure in tough times.

It should be noted that anger is not a “bad” emotion: it can be helpful. Anger can help with goal attainment, effective communication, problem-solving, emergency response, and self-protection. Anger is a natural feeling that is generally triggered by frustration, hurt, or being treated unfairly, and is helpful in drawing healthy boundaries, among other things. However, it becomes an issue when that anger starts hurting undeserving people.

What Is Anger Management?

Anger management is quite literally what it sounds like: the therapeutic process that a client goes through to identify what’s triggering their angry emotions. The goal of anger management is to help people identify the sources of their anger, analyze their reactions, and adopt healthier ways of expressing their anger using coping methods and strategies taught to them by their provider. 

While it’s unrealistic to completely remove all anger from a client’s emotional range, anger management will ultimately help the client control and reshape initial reactions to such situations.

How Does the Anger Management Process Work?

Anger management takes clients down a clear road to recovery. They’re given specific instructions on how to express anger appropriately, as well as find a safe outlet for relieving their emotions. 

Therapists encourage clients to examine the root of their anger and to explore those emotions. Then, they teach these clients how to use their newfound awareness to better understand the way their body reacts to specific triggers and circumstances, which will, over time, correct their inappropriate or harmful behavior. 

Anger management therapists can also help their clients discover and address more severe origins of anger. This might include grief , depression , trauma , addiction , anxiety , or other mental health issues. 

Whatever the underlying cause may be, anger management can assist people in uncovering it, which often helps improve their ability to control and manage their emotions. To better manage and express anger, therapists teach their clients a variety of techniques, including:

  • Mindfulness -based approaches
  • Impulse control
  • Self-awareness
  • Breathing strategies
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Thought replacement 
  • Positive thinking

Aside from individual anger management and therapy, there are group treatment options. In an anger management group, there is a trained mental health facilitator who assists the group through techniques. The benefit of the group is relating to others and feeling understood, thus increasing feelings of support and interpersonal skills.

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What Is the Best Type of Therapy for Anger Management?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is often cited as the best choice for those wishing to control their anger. This is due to CBT’s near-universal applicability; the coping methods learned from CBT can help those with anger management issues control their emotions in a healthy way, but can also apply to countless other real-world situations that occur outside of therapy or counseling. 

Cognitive Behavioral Strategies for Anger Control

CBT can help those seeking to better manage their anger to: 

  • Recognize shifts in their mood, as well as what triggers them to become angry
  • Recognize that, if uncontrolled, these unpleasant feelings are harmful to oneself and others.
  • Choose a strategy to regulate their anger. Thought replacement is often the most beneficial—this involves critically evaluating the situation that has caused the client to become angry, and recognizing the need to alter their thinking. Replacing angry thoughts with more benevolent ones often depends on the client recognizing the potential for harm to themselves and others if their anger goes unchecked.
  • Foster personal growth and breakthroughs via journaling (sometimes referred to as diary work). This is often a beneficial strategy assigned as out-of-session homework. Journaling often reveals patterns in thinking or social behaviors that may otherwise go unrecognized to the client.  

What Causes Anger and How It Manifests

There are many factors that contribute to feelings of anger. However, the roots of our anger can be categorized into two main categories: internal and external events. Internal events that might trigger an angry reaction include self-perceived failures and frustrations, while external events can include public humiliation and loss. 

Some specific factors that can contribute to difficulty managing anger include:

  • Personality. People who tend to score high in neuroticism (likelihood of experiencing negative emotions) and low in agreeableness (getting along with others) tend to experience more episodes of anger.
  • Temperament. Those with choleric/driven temperaments tend to be more extraverted, display leadership qualities, and be more prone than the other three temperament types (sanguine, melancholic, phlegmatic) to react with impulsivity and anger.
  • Genetics/biology. Certain medical and mental health issues have predispositions that can lead a person to be more susceptible to irritability and anger, such as bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder , depressive disorder , or autism spectrum disorder to name a few. Many of these disorders can make emotional regulation difficult, making it hard for people to calm themselves down or manage their emotions.
  • Environment. People who live in an environment that commonly sees exclusion, rejection, discrimination, danger, or ridicule are likely to experience feelings of anger.
  • Mistaken thoughts or beliefs. Sometimes people can form thoughts that are distorted or maintain beliefs that are unhelpful. This can create unmet expectations that lead to increased disappointment and anger.
  • Hormones. Excessive testosterone and premenstrual symptoms can contribute to aggression.

Both internal and external events can result in anger, but anger doesn’t always take the same form. Anger can emerge as aggression and tantrums—these are called external behaviors—but it can also build up internally and lead to sulking or even depressive symptoms.

What Are the 3 Types of Anger?

Anger is a strong emotion; therefore, it can be hard for those who aren’t mental health professionals to distinguish the difference between angry states of mind, especially during the heat of the moment. However, expressions of anger are split into three distinct categories: 

  • Passive aggressive anger: This type of anger occurs when a person refuses or is not able to cope with their emotional response to a triggering situation. This anger involves subtle expressions of displeasure, including sarcasm, holding grudges, backhanded compliments, or stonewalling (ignoring a loved one’s requests for affection or refusing to reconcile after a fight). 
  • Aggressive anger: The most infamous, and perhaps the most tangibly destructive type of anger is direct aggression. This type of anger occurs when a person expresses their anger outwardly and uses these tactics to control a person or situation. This is typically a fight or flight response to external threats, whether real or imagined. Directly aggressive behavior can involve physical violence, intimidation, verbal abuse, or even the smashing of objects.
  • Assertive anger: This type of anger occurs when a person attempts to communicate needs and feelings during a triggering situation in a controlled manner. Assertive anger is the least harmful of all three forms, and is what clients seek to transform their unhealthy expressions of anger into. This response is the healthiest way to express emotional displeasure. Assertive anger may involve verbally addressing a perceived slight, comment, or action that bothers a client. The key difference between assertive anger and the other forms is that it is not aggressive, but constructive. 

The goal of anger management is not to eliminate anger—it can be a healthy, helpful emotion if regulated—but to ensure that this potentially explosive emotion is expressed in a way that does not cause harm to oneself, their environment, or other people.  

How Do I Stop My Anger Outbursts? Practical Anger Management Techniques

Anger management involves using a variety of skills to help with expressing anger in appropriate ways. This can include relaxation techniques, cognitive restructuring, communication skills, and removal from the triggering situation.

There are many approaches to managing angry feelings and decreasing acts of aggression. Below are four steps that help with managing angry feelings:

  • Step 1: Identify protective factors. These are actionable items that can counter a trigger in advance. This can include forming meaningful connections, practicing positive self-talk, setting and reinforcing boundaries, and attending to self-care practices .
  • Step 2: Identify triggers. Triggers are events that lead to a strong emotional reaction—in this case, anger. Emotions or situations that trigger anger can include feeling misunderstood, alone/lonely, embarrassed, or ashamed. By identifying these triggers, you can avoid them or be more prepared to manage your anger.
  • Step 3: Identify warning signs. These are observable cues that let you know you are upset. This can include impulsive decision making; becoming more confrontational; reckless behaviors; or making condescending, belittling, or petty comments. This will help you recognize when your anger is taking over and alert you that you need to start to take steps to diffuse it.
  • Step 4: Engage in helpful responses. These are actions you can take to remain safe until you are out of the “danger zone” of intense anger. This can include coping skills , creative expressions, exercise, and thinking about the situation differently.

By taking each of these steps, you can learn to preemptively treat your anger as well as manage it in a healthy way so that it no longer hurts you or others.

How to Control Anger Immediately

If a person is in a situation whereby they need to immediately decrease the intensity of their anger, there are a few techniques that can be helpful.

  • Cognitive restructuring: This helps with identifying the unhelpful thought that’s causing your anger, challenging it, and changing it so that it becomes useful and reasonable.
  • Change perspective: Shift your focus from what is distressing to something that is more balanced and optimistic. Try to see your situation in a new way so that you can accept it rather than let it trigger you.
  • Relax: Relaxation techniques such as diaphragm breathing, visualization, or repeating mantras can help you stay calm and bring your emotions down.
  • Physical activity: Exercise helps reduce tension associated with anger. Try taking a walk or doing some jumping jacks for a start.
  • Take a break: Removing oneself from the situation can be beneficial because it creates space between the individual who is angry and their trigger.

Though effective, long-term anger management can take a while to learn, these are great techniques for momentary and immediate help controlling anger.

How to Control Anger: Home Remedies

Though the most helpful anger management will come from therapy, you can certainly develop, rehearse, and improve skills generally taught in therapy at home in an effort to counteract the effects of intense anger. Some examples of these skill are:

  • Frustration tolerance skills are techniques to keep your composure when frustrated or disappointed, such as stress management, resilience, challenging irrational beliefs, or modifying unhelpful thoughts.
  • Problem-solving skills are structured techniques that help you overcome obstacles through reasoning and creativity to reach a desirable outcome.
  • Assertive communication skills allow you to show others respect while directly expressing feelings and needs. This can involve using “I” statements, being aware of your body language, and saying “no” when you need to draw an emotional or physical boundary.
  • Creating a mantra or repeating words can help you block thoughts and increase relaxation.
  • Modify your routine to include self-care practices. Self-directed activities like physical activity, sleep, and eating balanced meals can help protect you from feeling overwhelmed or emotionally dysregulated.
  • Learning additional coping skills like listening to music, going for a walk, writing a letter, or any other activity that makes you happy or calm can help with adjusting or adapting.

What Are the 5 Keys to Controlling Anger?

There are not any universally agreed upon keys to controlling anger and minimizing consequence. However, 5 helpful keys for controlling anger actually have their origins in a very familiar place—daycare. Believe it or not, the lessons taught during circle time are ones that can be very useful for ensuring that anger is not harmful.

  • Treat others the way you want to be treated. When you get upset, it is important to maintain respect for those around you, or at the very least not express disrespect to others.
  • “Smell the roses, blow out the candle.” Through your nasal passages, take in a bit more oxygen than you are accustomed to and release it all through your mouth a bit beyond where you would normally stop. When you get upset, breathing changes, and that can affect the amount of oxygen transmitted to the brain. You can help regulate yourself by focusing on regulating your breathing.
  • Keep your hands and feet to yourself. Don’t become physically aggressive. This can cause irreversible damage to relationships and is likely to negatively impact your self-perception.
  • If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. When angry words exit your mouth and arrive at the listener’s ear, it is likely to hurt, anger, or elicit fear. More than likely, the words that are used in anger are exaggerations, distortions, or versions of the truth that you want heard. However, this might not be the best time. Take 30 minutes or so and then take inventory of the intensity of your feelings.
  • Go to time out. This one may be a twist. Rather than a place for punishment, think of it as a brief respite during which your rational awareness can catch up with your reality. This involves a hard separation between the triggering stimulus and yourself.

The Emotional and Physical Consequences of Unmanaged Anger: Understanding Anger and Its Impact

Unmanaged and frequent episodes of anger often come at a consequence to an individual’s physical, emotional, and mental health. Here are ways in which anger can impact specific areas of one’s life:

  • Physical health : Anger can affect the functioning and well-being of our body through increased blood pressure, disrupted sleep, digestive issues, muscle tension, and substance misuse.
  • Emotional health: Anger can impact our emotions and feelings by increasing feelings of exclusion or loneliness due to fractured relationships, frustration in relationships, or even embarrassment. Each of these can slowly lower our self-esteem and negatively affect our overall emotional state.
  • Mental health: Anger can also affect how we process information, causing increased vulnerability to disorders such as depression or anxiety , as well as poor decision-making.

When it gets out of control, anger can be very isolating, often making one’s emotional and mental health worse and exacerbating the problem. These issues won’t go away by itself, either—the best thing to do is seek help from a mental health professional about how you’re feeling.

What Are the Benefits of Anger Management?

The benefits of anger management are ongoing—however, they can vary from person to person, depending on the severity of one’s anger and the underlying roots of their anger. Some potential benefits include:

  • Healthier relationships : Often, people with anger management issues have strained relationships as a result of their aggressive or volatile behavior, their loved ones typically being the victims of their anger. Therefore, learning to better manage one’s anger will make for stronger, healthier relationships.
  • Better judgment: Heightened emotions can make for cloudy judgment and poor decision-making. Anger management teaches clients the necessary skills to better judge a given situation and react more appropriately.
  • Reduced stress : Negative emotions such as anger lead to high levels of stress. Once a client learns to reduce and better control their anger, they will subsequently experience less stress, which also lowers their risk for serious health problems like heart disease.
  • Effective communication: Emotions are intensified by ineffective communication. A priority of anger management is teaching clients healthy communication strategies, which will help them to forego those angry outbursts and relieve negative feelings.

When someone struggles to keep their anger in check, it can impact nearly every area of their life. Though it isn’t easy, finding strategies that help you manage your anger can change your life for the better—your relationships, your mental health, and your overall sense of happiness and fulfillment. Anger management could be the key to changing your life for the better.

When to Seek Professional Anger Management Help

If you ever feel as though your anger is a problem, if even for a moment, it’s likely a good time to talk to a professional about anger management help. Many people, including working professionals, students, and court- or self-referred individuals, can benefit from anger management. 

Signs That Your Anger May Require Professional Guidance

Those whose behavior aligns with the following may find anger management particularly beneficial:

  • People who display violent behavior
  • Those who display bullying behavior
  • Those battling substance dependency
  • People with mental health conditions that cause difficult behavioral and/or emotional changes, such as PTSD or bipolar disorder
  • Individuals who sustain injuries that cause difficult behavioral changes

Essentially, if your anger causes distress and impairs your ability to function in a social, residential, occupational, academic, or any other important setting, then it would be advisable to consult with a trained and licensed therapist who specializes in anger management. 

An essential step towards managing one’s anger is to recognize that they have a problem and that there is a need for improvement. If a person fails to do so, anger management will likely be ineffective. Furthermore, individuals with significant underlying issues such as mental health conditions may first need to confront those problems for anger management to prove successful.

Thriveworks: Your Partner in Anger Management

If you find yourself needing anger management treatment, Thriveworks has you covered. Our knowledgeable anger management therapists are ready to guide you through what you’re struggling with by helping you get to the root of the issue and working toward effective solutions together.

Experienced Anger Management Professionals at Thriveworks

Each of the anger management therapists at Thriveworks are either fully licensed providers or working toward their licensure under the supervision of a licensed and experienced professional. That means that every Thriveworks client gets access to expert, compassionate care.

Personalized Anger Management Plans Tailored to You

The anger management counselors at Thriveworks employ person-centered approaches to therapy, meaning that each treatment plan is tailored to you—the client. Our therapists use their expertise to shape treatment plans around your concerns, symptoms, and priorities so that your anger management treatment can be as effective as possible. Get your healing journey started and book a session today.

Updated Sep 11, 2023

Our clinical and medical experts , ranging from licensed therapists and counselors to psychiatric nurse practitioners, author our content, in partnership with our editorial team. In addition, we only use authoritative, trusted, and current sources. This ensures we provide valuable resources to our readers. Read our editorial policy for more information.

Thriveworks was established in 2008, with the ultimate goal of helping people live happy and successful lives. We are clinician-founded and clinician-led. In addition to providing exceptional clinical care and customer service, we accomplish our mission by offering important information about mental health and self-improvement.

We are dedicated to providing you with valuable resources that educate and empower you to live better. First, our content is authored by the experts — our editorial team co-writes our content with mental health professionals at Thriveworks, including therapists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and more.

We also enforce a tiered review process in which at least three individuals — two or more being licensed clinical experts — review, edit, and approve each piece of content before it is published. Finally, we frequently update old content to reflect the most up-to-date information.


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Laura Harris, LCMHC in Durham, NC

Laura Harris, LCMHC

Laura Harris is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC). She specializes in anger, anxiety, depression, stress management, coping strategies development, and problem-solving skills.

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Theresa Welsh, LPC

Theresa Welsh is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) with a passion for providing the utmost quality of services to individuals and couples struggling with relationship issues, depression, anxiety, abuse, ADHD, stress, family conflict, life transitions, grief, and more.

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Hannah DeWitt

Hannah is a Junior Copywriter at Thriveworks. She received her bachelor’s degree in English: Creative Writing with a minor in Spanish from Seattle Pacific University. Previously, Hannah has worked in copywriting positions in the car insurance and trucking sectors doing blog-style and journalistic writing and editing.

We update our content on a regular basis to ensure it reflects the most up-to-date, relevant, and valuable information. When we make a significant change, we summarize the updates and list the date on which they occurred. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

Originally published on December 9, 2021

Updated on September 11, 2023

Author: Hannah DeWitt; Laura Harris, LCMHC

Reviewer: Theresa Welsh, LPC

Changes: Updated by a Thriveworks clinician in collaboration with our editorial team, updated sections regarding the types of anger, how anger management works, and the benefits of anger management; added new sections about why anger can be difficult to control, how to manage anger, anger management tips for when someone is home or need to get it under control quickly, the consequences of unmanaged anger, the five keys of managing anger, and when to seek anger management help; article was clinically reviewed to double confirm accuracy and enhance value.

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There are steps and actions that you can take to help you to manage your anger. Our page on Anger Management provides information about these. For many people, taking these steps will be enough to get their anger under control. However, for some people and at some times, it may be appropriate to use the services of a professional counsellor or psychotherapist to help with anger issues.

This page explains and discusses the main types of therapy that are available for anger management, and what is involved in each form. These therapies include talking therapies such as counselling, and anger management programmes.

The Aims of Anger Management Therapy

Anger management therapy has a number of aims. These include:

To help you recognise what makes you angry (triggers or catalysts for anger) and to get you to ask yourself questions about your anger such as “What type of people or situations make me angry?”, “What do I do when I am angry?”, and “How does my anger affect others around me?”. Understanding an emotion is the first step to being able to manage it effectively.

To teach you how to best respond to these triggers without being aggressive (see our page on Dealing with Aggression ).

To enable you to learn specific skills to help you manage triggers for anger effectively.

To help you identify times when your thoughts do not lead to logical or rational conclusions . Your counsellor or therapist will work with you to change how you think and react to certain situations.

To teach you how to relax , how to stay calm and be peaceful when you feel a surge of anger. You may also find it helpful to read our pages on Relaxation Techniques and Mindfulness .

To help you learn how to be assertive . By being able to express yourself assertively you will feel more in control of situations, and therefore less likely to become angry and aggressive (see our pages on Assertiveness for more).

To help you learn some problem-solving techniques .  Solving problems can make you feel empowered and will reduce the risk of triggering anger or frustration (see our pages on Problem Solving for more).

Anger management therapy is also designed to help you to see that anger and calmness are not black-or-white emotions.

As with all emotions, there are varying degrees of anger: we can be mildly irritated or in a full-blown rage. People who have been experiencing anger for a long time may have lost the ability to see that there are different levels of anger and a professional will help you readdress this imbalance and recognise the difference between, for example, irritation and fury.

Rating Anger

It is useful to be able to rate anger on some sort of scale (therapists typically use 1–10).

It is likely that you will have different signs and symptoms with different levels of anger. Being aware of which symptoms occur and when makes it easier to rate your anger on a scale. It may also make it easier to recognise when anger is building and to take some action to calm down.

Anger is not a jump from calm to fury. There are different levels and, by being aware of these, it is can be easier to remain in control, to relax and remain calm.

Talking Therapies and Counselling

Counselling can be used for a wide variety of problems and issues, including anger management.

Both counselling and talking therapies involve talking through your problems with a professional, such as a counsellor or psychotherapist. The aim of anger management counselling is to help you to explore the reasons for your anger, and find ways to control it.

There are a number of different approaches that may be used for counselling, including psychodynamic, humanistic and behavioural (and see our page Approaches to Counselling for more about this). Different professionals may use different techniques to help overcome anger issues and their prices may also vary considerably.

When looking for a counsellor, it is important to find someone that you think you will be comfortable with . Bear in mind the gender, age, location and, of course, expertise of potential counsellors before making a decision.

Don’t Let Your Anger Get In the Way of Help

There is often a waiting list for anger management therapy, as there is for many other mental health treatments. This can be frustrating, and you may be tempted to take out your frustration on those providing the service.

Try to avoid the temptation. It will not help.

Mental health professionals have a right to feel safe at work, just like everyone else. If you are aggressive or angry, this may prevent you from accessing treatment, and make the situation worse.

If you are in employment, then your employer may offer counselling sessions, either internally or with a local, approved counsellor.

Your psychotherapist or counsellor should be aware of any current and historical medical conditions, including mental health and any addictions, so that the potential causes of anger may be identified and that sessions are tailored to complement any other therapy that you may be having.

Anger Management Programmes

Anger management therapy may be run as a programme, either in groups or one-to-one sessions.

Typically, anger management therapy programmes last between four and six weeks, although they may take longer.

Anger management programmes often use a combination of counselling techniques and cognitive behavioural therapy. They may be run by healthcare providers, mental health charities and voluntary organisations, or individual counsellors or therapists. Some courses are also available online.

Therapy for Violent or Abusive Behaviour

Anger is not usually the main problem in abusive behaviour. More often, abuse is about control.

Anger management therapy is therefore unlikely to be the answer. Instead, specific therapy may be recommended.

For example, in the UK, the charity Respect runs programmes to help people to change abusive behaviour. It also provides a telephone helpline for people who want to stop hurting someone they love (0808 8024040).

Outcomes of Anger Management Therapy

Having an anger plan.

Recognising where your current anger level is on a scale is an important first step to understanding and dealing with your anger. It also enables you to devise an anger plan.

Anger plans are unique and personal to the individual. They often relate to specific circumstances or people that have caused anger.  There are some generic components to an anger plan, which may include:

Removing yourself from the situation that is triggering the anger so that you have space to gather your thoughts and calm down.

Changing the subject of a conversation – sometimes particular topics of discussion can include anger triggers so steering the conversation in another direction can help minimise this.

Slowing down . Counting to ten or using some other strategy to slow down the pace of a conversation can sometimes help you regain some logical thought processes.

Relaxation techniques – including breathing exercises and visualisations (see our section: Relaxation Techniques for more, and there are also some breathing exercises on our page Anger Management ).

Keeping an Anger Journal

Keeping a record of when you became angry, and why, can help you understand your anger.

Keeping a journal can be a very powerful method of anger management. The act of writing down the emotions and feelings associated with anger before, during and after an angry episode can focus the mind. Re-reading an anger journal helps to identify techniques for anger management that worked well and also those that didn't help in various circumstances.

Knowledge is Power

Anger management therapy is often based around the belief that knowledge is power. Arming yourself with knowledge about your anger (and understanding it more fully) can give you the power to recognise and control how you feel in any given situation.

Continue to: What is Anger? How Angry are You? Quiz

See also: Tips for Dealing with Stress What is Anxiety? Mediation Skills

Anger Management for Teens: Helpful Worksheets & Resources

Anger management for teens

Used strategically, it can help us pursue our goals and, within limits, drive us to find a happier and healthier life in the long run (Young, 2013).

When misplaced or out of control, it can wreck relationships and even lives. In adolescents, severe angry behavior can lead to chronic mental and physical health conditions over time (Travis, 2012).

It is crucial that teenagers understand the links between how they think, feel, and act (Collins-Donnelly, 2012).

This article introduces some practical resources and worksheets to help teenagers recognize anger and manage emotions to avoid outbursts and destructive behavior.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Emotional Intelligence Exercises for free . These science-based exercises will enhance your ability to understand and work with your emotions and will also give you the tools to foster the emotional intelligence of your clients, students, or employees.

This Article Contains:

Anger management for teens explained, 6 anger management worksheets for teens, best resources for helping youth, 4 educational videos for youth and students,’s anger management tools, a take-home message.

Anger in children and teens is an upsetting emotion with the potential for long-term damage if left untreated. While crucial to spot early, parents may be unclear of the cause or triggering factors, and left frustrated regarding how best to help their child (Travis, 2012).

Failure to recognize, understand, and resolve this anger can lead to chronic mental health problems, including anxiety and depression (Travis, 2012).

Teenage anger

Anger is typically expressed differently depending on the age of the child. Adolescent teenagers show their anger in more grown-up ways, most likely using their developed language and motor skills.

The behavior can be extreme and potentially includes “engaging in acts of substance abuse, misconduct behavior, assault, verbal threats, and sexual behavior” (Travis, 2012, p. 3).

To help, the caregiver, parent, teacher, or therapist must understand what triggers the anger – whether normal or out of control – and how to teach coping mechanisms to avoid or calm an angry episode. The chemical composition of the teenage brain is in a constant state of change, with research suggesting angry behavior is associated with a lack of neurotransmitters (Travis, 2012).

As there are many potential triggers for teenagers, it is important to observe whether related behavior tends to occur at a particular time, such as:

  • After school
  • When hungry or tired
  • Following changes to routines
  • After viewing particular types of TV shows, movies, or online content

Anger-related behavior in teenagers

Adolescent teens are considerably more independent than younger children and express their anger similarly to adults. Behavior can be irritable, defiant, and high risk, involving various unhealthy or unhelpful acts, such as (Travis, 2012):

  • Behaving rudely and disrespectfully to adults
  • Getting into altercations and fights with other students
  • Fits of rage, losing their temper, and becoming highly vindictive in what they say
  • Behavior motivated by payback and revenge
  • Engaging in substance abuse
  • Declining academic standards; falling behind the mean for their age

Note that while frustrating for close family and friends, anger that is out of control rather than normal can indicate serious and deep emotional issues (Travis, 2012).

In her book Anger Management, Judy Dyer (2020) says that it is crucial to break the anger cycle.

Each angry response begins with a triggering event. It might be another person’s actions, an event, or even a memory (Dyer, 2020).

Then, several irrational thoughts start to form, followed by a series of negative emotions .

If nothing happens to break the process, physical symptoms kick in, such as shaking, sweating, or even feeling sick. Then, finally, potentially out of control, angry, aggressive, or destructive behaviors may begin (Dyer, 2020).

While it sounds like a complicated process with several stages, it can escalate from trigger to outburst surprisingly quickly in the young or someone with limited self-control.

Managing teenage anger

Thankfully, there are many ways that teenagers can learn to combat or reduce their degree of anger, including (modified from Travis, 2012; Buckley, 2020):

  • Developing healthy and meaningful connections with a parent or guardian
  • Forming well-developed social skills
  • Having sufficient sleep is crucial at any age. Poor sleeping habits significantly affect our emotions, how we control them, and our overall mental wellbeing. Teenagers between 13 and 18 years old should get around 8.5 hours of sleep per night (Walker, 2018; Travis, 2012).
  • Problem solving — Coming up with more than one solution to a problem.
  • Anger management — Thinking before taking action and finding creative or physical outlets for anger.
  • Self-reflection — Understanding and reframing situations to make a better assessment of events and the environment.
  • Emotional awareness and regulation —  Understanding the emotions that impact us and being capable of managing reactions to them.
  • Assertiveness – Identifying when to concede ground and when to push for a desired outcome.

The worksheets and resources that follow help promote practical advice and develop better emotional management skills, language skills (becoming more able to talk about and explore feelings), and self-regulatory skills (improving control over emotions and anger).

Anger management worksheets

It can be beneficial to spend time together exploring the following indications that anger is becoming out of control (Travis, 2012):

  • Getting angry at everything that causes stress
  • Taking anger too far; for example, talking about seeking revenge or getting the person back for perceived wrongdoings
  • Holding onto a grudge for too long or staying angry long after an event has passed
  • Small events, such as someone being late, escalating and becoming a source of anger

Rather than covering for angry outbursts or giving in to demands, parents should recognize and understand that such behavior is neither normal nor acceptable (Buckley, 2020).

Instead, parents, teachers, and emotionally-focused therapists can “help the child reflect on their behavior and help provide guidance to coping with their anger” (Travis, 2012, p. 31).

In Starving the Anger Gremlin , Kate Collins-Donnelly (2012, p. 9) suggests a cognitive-behavioral therapy approach to managing anger in young people. She bases her guidance on “the premise that how we interpret experiences and situations has a profound effect on our behaviors and emotions.”

The following worksheets explore how to recognize anger, its triggers, and how to adopt healthier alternative coping styles and behavior (modified from Collins-Donnelly, 2012; Travis, 2012):

Understanding My Anger

Anger can appear unannounced, without warning. It can be helpful to recognize what it feels like early and the sort of behavior that can result (Collins-Donnelly, 2012).

Use the Understanding My Anger worksheet to help the teen identify how often they get angry, what it feels like, and the sort of behavior that arises.

  • How often do you get angry?
  • What does it feel like physically when you are angry?
  • How do you react or behave when you feel angry?
  • Can you think of three situations that typically make you angry where you could use more healthy behaviors?

Recognizing what it feels like to be angry and understanding that you have options regarding how you behave can be the first steps to gaining control over your anger.

What Makes Me Angry

We typically believe that other people or events make us angry, but it is our thoughts and beliefs that control our anger. We can, with practice, assume control over our feelings (Collins-Donnelly, 2012).

Use the What Makes Me Angry worksheet to encourage the teen to recognize that they have ultimate control over their anger.

Ask them to make a list of what makes them angry. Then consider each point in turn.

Help them understand that the decision to be angry is down to them. “It’s your thoughts and beliefs that make you angry” (Collins-Donnelly, 2012, p. 29).

Anger is about your reaction to the situation, not the situation itself.

Alternative Thoughts

Often, our thoughts about a situation or something that has happened are irrational and unrealistic. Such thinking can be unhelpful and make us emotional and even angry (Peters, 2018).

Use the Alternative Thoughts worksheet to help the teen recognize unrealistic thoughts and how they may blow the situation out of proportion. Then consider more rational, authentic thinking and how it could change the interpretation of the situation.

Ask them to think of three very specific situations that made them feel angry.

For each one, ask them to consider:

  • How were you thinking about the situation when you became angry?
  • What are the facts about the situation?
  • Were your thoughts realistic and rational?
  • What would more realistic and rational thoughts look like?

Reframing irrational thoughts can change the emotions and behaviors that arise.

Keep an anger diary

When there is no one around to talk to or ask for additional help, it can be valuable to capture thoughts and feelings, and self-reflect on angry episodes (Collins-Donnelly, 2012).

Use the Anger Diary worksheet to capture events or episodes that have led to feelings of anger.

The teenager reviews the diary once a week. They reflect on how they reacted to the situation and the consequences, and consider opportunities for using distraction techniques.

Impact of My Anger

Becoming angry can be upsetting for all involved. Often the angry person does not consider the impact they have on other people or the emotions they are left with.

Use the Impact of My Anger worksheet to capture examples of angry behavior and consider who has been impacted and how.

This exercise aims to help teenagers understand that the way we behave can upset others and impact how they feel.

Making Amends for My Angry Outburst

“More intimate relationships carry more emotion” (Peters, 2018, p. 104). When we say sorry to someone for our angry behavior, we send them the message that they and the relationship matter to us.

Teaching teenagers to apologize and offer something to make up for their wrongdoing is a valuable life lesson.

Using the Making Amends worksheet helps teenagers revisit what they have done, apologize for their behavior, and make things right.

Ask the teenager the following:

  • What was the situation?
  • Who did you upset?
  • How were they upset? How would they feel?
  • How and when could you apologize?
  • How could you make amends?

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There are various resources available online that can inspire and educate young minds, help them manage their emotions, and offer essential parenting tips.

  • Young Minds This is a practical and helpful resource for teenagers who are keen to better understand the experience and emotions involved in anger. Additional links offer the interested reader additional guidance on depression and anxiety.
  • Anger Management for Teens Written for teenagers, this uncomplicated site discusses how anger feels and offers guidance on how it can be managed.
  • Deal With Anger This valuable guide for teenagers has practical tools to improve awareness and self-control. The five-step approach to managing anger is particularly beneficial.
  • Anger Overload in Children This article offers parents, teachers, or guardians helpful guidance on diagnosing more severe anger issues and practical behavioral and cognitive techniques to assist teenagers in regaining control of their emotions.
  • Parenting Angry Teens Try out the six tips for parenting angry teens and recognize that hostile teens are capable of becoming strong, healthy, independent adults.

Several valuable videos are available to help young people maintain or regain control of their emotions and find ways to avoid or reduce angry outbursts.

Try out some of the following with your teenagers:

How to Deal With Anger & Anger Management Tips

This engaging, fun, and insightful video put together with a video game backdrop explores the feelings of anger and the strategies that can help.

5 Keys to Controlling Anger

Anger management specialist Dr. Christian Conte offers helpful anger management tips.

Monitor and Manage Your Anger

Motivational philosopher and HuffPost Rise host Jay Shetty takes the viewer through how to spot, manage, and deal with anger.

Anger Is Your Ally

This excellent TED talk from Juna Mustad explores how to create a healthier relationship with anger through mindfulness techniques.

We have plenty of tools, worksheets, and activities to help anyone recognize angry feelings before they take control and better understand the anger triggers that cause an upset.

  • Anger Exit and Re-entry This worksheet helps clients recognize when best to disengage from conflict or difficult conversations, cool down, and re-engage later to facilitate greater insight and joint problem-solving.
  • Red Light: Anger! While typically aimed at younger children, this worksheet invites clients to draw pictures of their anger at different intensities and identify early signs of anger using a stop sign analogy.
  • The EQ 5-Point Tool This tool can help your clients learn to defuse conflict in an emotionally intelligent way using brief, respectful, and clear communication.
  • Spot-Check of Your Anger This worksheet presents a series of questions to help clients mindfully focus on signals of rising anger and consider appropriate actions to take in response.
  • Recommended reading This selection of anger management books includes various options and workbooks, just right for helping with teenager problems.

17 Emotional Intelligence Exercises If you’re looking for more science-based ways to help others develop emotional intelligence, this collection contains 17 validated EI tools for practitioners. Use them to help others understand and use their emotions to their advantage.

problem solving skills for anger management

17 Exercises To Develop Emotional Intelligence

These 17 Emotional Intelligence Exercises [PDF] will help others strengthen their relationships, lower stress, and enhance their wellbeing through improved EQ.

Created by Experts. 100% Science-based.

While anger in an appropriate situation can be beneficial, it must be to the “right degree, at the right time, and for the right purpose” (Young, 2013). Otherwise, misplaced or disproportionate anger can be damaging for the individual and those around (Travis, 2012).

At school, children may exhibit anger and adopt risky behavior, break the rules, skip classes, and engage in potentially harmful pranks. Typically, teens with anger issues have not learned appropriate coping mechanisms or been taught the skills needed to manage their anger (Travis, 2012).

Without clear guidelines in place or structures to control their anger, teenagers can have difficulty understanding the impact of their actions on others or themselves.

However, children and young adults can learn skills that help them avoid triggers that lead to angry behavior, assist in managing irate outbursts, and provide the means to restore calm (Collins-Donnelly, 2012).

Teenagers can develop the capacity to understand and cope with their anger-related issues and acquire anger management skills much better than younger children. As language skills develop, soon-to-be adults can be taught to better explain and reflect on their feelings and process their emotions (Collins-Donnelly, 2012).

Learning self-regulatory skills can help control angry impulses, “their retaliations, frustration level, and anger arousal state, and limit their emotional outbursts” (Travis, 2012, p. 394).

Try out some of the worksheets and resources in this article with the teenagers exhibiting anger issues. Crucially, they can help young adults recognize and voice their own emotions and develop the skills needed to manage rather than escalate feelings of anger.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Emotional Intelligence Exercises for free .

  • Buckley, D. (2020, August 27). Strategies for teenagers’ anger management. BetterHelp . Retrieved June 15, 2021, from
  • Collins-Donnelly, K. (2012). Starving the anger gremlin: A cognitive behavioural therapy workbook on anger management for young people . Jessica Kingsley.
  • Dyer, J. (2020). Anger management: How to take control of your emotions and find joy in life . Pristine.
  • Peters, S. (2018). The silent guides: Understanding and developing the mind throughout life . Lagom.
  • Travis, R. L. (2012). Overcoming anger in teens and pre-teens: A parent’s guide . Author.
  • Young, E. (2013, February 6). Do get mad: The upside of anger. New Scientist. Retrieved June 15, 2021,
  • Walker, M. P. (2018). Why we sleep: The new science of sleep and dreams . Penguin Books.

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Tahj moghaddam

I have understood now that having anger can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you use it. You can use it for protecting yourself or even someone else. But you can also abuse your ability of anger by bullying people, fighting for an unnecessary reason, or even just being a jerk. These are three favorite things to do when I get angry; number one is to take five or ten deep breaths, number two do about 10 or 20 push ups, number three scream or fight your pillow. All of these things will help let all of that anger, stress, and anxiety that has been building up inside of you. You can use these when you feel like you need to calm down and take a breather. Next time someone makes me mad or stressed I know what to do when that time comes, I can either take deep breaths, do push ups, or let it all out on my pillow when I get home. I have also learned how to not take things too seriously. If you take things too seriously no one is going to want to joke around with you because everytime they make a joke you get all in your feelings and start to get upset and angry at the person who made the joke. Also if people know that you can’t take a joke no one is gonna want to be your friend, because no one wants a friend that can make jokes but can’t take jokes, if you get mad that someone is joking with you and you get mad that is not fair to the person that wants to have fun, your not the only one who can make jokes and get away with it, other people want to have fun to, and that is why we all need to control our anger.

Suzanne LaCross, Ph.D

Is there a therapist in the Seattle who works with this issues with adoloscents?

Caroline Rou

Hi Suzanne,

Thank you for your question. As we are not based in the US, it is difficult for us to make recommendations for reliable therapists. I suggest you look for a therapist directory in your area and filter your search.

I hope this helps 🙂

Kind regards, -Caroline | Community Manager

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Dealing with Strong Emotions: CBT for Anger Management

Understanding anger management.

To effectively manage anger, it is crucial to understand the concept of  anger management  itself. This section will cover the  importance  of anger management, the  challenges  individuals face in controlling their anger, and introduce the use of  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)  as a valuable approach for anger management.

The Importance of Anger Management

Anger is a normal and natural emotion that everyone experiences at various points in their lives. However, when anger becomes frequent, intense, or uncontrollable, it can have detrimental effects on both personal well-being and relationships. Unmanaged anger can lead to negative consequences, such as damaged relationships, poor physical health, and difficulties in personal and professional settings.

By recognizing the importance of anger management, individuals can take proactive steps toward developing healthier coping mechanisms and improving their overall quality of life. Anger management helps individuals understand their anger triggers, learn effective techniques to manage their emotions, and develop healthier communication skills, leading to better relationships and improved emotional well-being.

Challenges in Controlling Anger

Controlling anger can be challenging for many individuals. Some common challenges people face include difficulty identifying the underlying causes of their anger, struggling to express anger in a healthy manner, and a lack of awareness of the physical and emotional signs of anger escalation. Additionally, negative thought patterns and irrational beliefs can contribute to the intensification and perpetuation of anger.

Introduction to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a widely recognized and evidence-based therapeutic approach that has shown effectiveness in addressing a variety of mental health concerns, including anger management. CBT focuses on the relationship between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, recognizing that they are interconnected and influence one another.

In the context of anger management, CBT helps individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns and beliefs that contribute to anger. By replacing these negative thoughts with more rational and adaptive ones, individuals can gain better control over their emotions and behaviors. CBT also teaches individuals specific skills and techniques to manage anger, such as relaxation exercises, problem-solving strategies, and anger awareness and monitoring.

In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the principles of CBT for anger management, explore the various techniques used in CBT, and discuss how individuals can find qualified therapists to guide them through the process. Stay tuned for practical insights and strategies to effectively manage anger through CBT.

CBT for Anger Management

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a widely used therapeutic approach that has shown effectiveness in  anger management . By understanding the principles of CBT, how it helps with anger management, and the role of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, individuals can gain valuable insights into managing their anger in a healthier way.

Principles of CBT

CBT is based on the premise that  our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are interconnected . The way we think about a situation influences how we feel, which in turn affects how we behave. By identifying and challenging negative or distorted thoughts, it is possible to change the associated emotions and behaviors.

CBT also recognizes that  learning is an active process . Through various techniques and exercises, individuals can develop new skills and coping strategies to manage their anger effectively. This collaborative and goal-oriented approach empowers individuals to take an active role in their treatment.

How CBT Helps with Anger Management

CBT provides individuals with practical tools and strategies to  identify and modify unhelpful patterns of thinking and behavior . It helps them gain a deeper understanding of the triggers that lead to anger and learn healthier ways to respond.

By exploring the underlying thoughts and beliefs that contribute to anger, individuals can challenge and reframe them in a more rational and adaptive way. This process helps to reduce the intensity of anger and develop more constructive responses.

CBT also emphasizes the importance of  learning and practicing new skills . Individuals are encouraged to develop anger management techniques such as relaxation exercises, effective communication, and problem-solving skills. These skills can be applied in real-life situations to prevent or deescalate anger episodes.

The Role of Thoughts, Emotions, and Behaviors

In CBT for anger management, the  role of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors  is closely examined. Negative or distorted thoughts can fuel anger and lead to aggressive or hostile behaviors. By identifying and challenging these thoughts, individuals can gain control over their emotional reactions and choose more adaptive behaviors.

For example, if someone has a tendency to catastrophize situations and jump to conclusions, they may interpret neutral events as intentional offenses. This can trigger anger and aggressive responses. Through CBT, individuals can learn to recognize these negative thought patterns and replace them with more balanced and realistic thoughts.

By addressing the interplay between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, CBT equips individuals with the skills to  break the cycle of anger . It helps them develop a greater sense of self-awareness, emotional regulation, and adaptive coping mechanisms.

In the next section, we will explore specific techniques used in CBT for anger management, including  cognitive restructuring ,  anger awareness and monitoring ,  relaxation techniques , and  problem-solving skills . These techniques, when applied in conjunction with the principles of CBT, can significantly contribute to managing anger effectively.

Techniques Used in CBT for Anger Management

When it comes to  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)  for anger management, several techniques are employed to help individuals effectively manage and control their anger. These techniques focus on modifying negative thought patterns, enhancing self-awareness, promoting relaxation, and developing problem-solving skills. Here are some commonly used techniques in CBT for anger management:

Cognitive Restructuring

Cognitive restructuring is a fundamental technique in CBT that aims to identify and challenge negative thought patterns associated with anger. Through this technique, individuals are encouraged to examine their thoughts and beliefs about anger-provoking situations and replace them with more rational and constructive thoughts. By reframing their thinking, individuals can gain a more balanced perspective, reducing the intensity and frequency of their anger responses.

To develop cognitive restructuring skills, individuals may work with a therapist to identify and challenge their automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) related to anger. This process involves examining evidence for and against these thoughts, considering alternative explanations, and developing more accurate and adaptive thought patterns.

Anger Awareness and Monitoring

Anger awareness and monitoring involve developing an understanding of one’s anger triggers, physiological responses, and behavioral reactions. This technique emphasizes the importance of recognizing the early signs of anger escalation to intervene before it reaches a point of no return. By increasing self-awareness, individuals can gain better control over their anger and implement coping strategies at an earlier stage.

Therapists may employ various tools, such as anger logs or journals, to help individuals track and analyze their anger episodes. These records can provide valuable insights into patterns, triggers, and underlying emotions associated with anger. By identifying common themes or triggers, individuals can proactively address them and develop strategies to manage their anger more effectively .

Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques play a crucial role in anger management by helping individuals reduce emotional and physiological arousal. These techniques aim to induce a state of relaxation, thereby combating the body’s stress response and promoting a sense of calm.

Common relaxation techniques used in CBT for anger management include deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, and mindfulness meditation. These techniques help individuals regulate their breathing, release tension, and shift their focus away from anger-provoking thoughts. Regular practice of relaxation techniques can improve emotional self-regulation and provide individuals with valuable tools for managing anger in daily life.

Problem-Solving Skills

Developing effective problem-solving skills is an essential component of CBT for anger management. This technique focuses on equipping individuals with strategies to address the underlying issues contributing to their anger. By learning and applying problem-solving skills, individuals can identify constructive solutions, make informed decisions, and cope with challenging situations more effectively.

Therapists may guide individuals through a structured problem-solving process that involves defining the problem, generating potential solutions, evaluating their feasibility and potential outcomes, implementing the chosen solution, and evaluating the results. Through this process, individuals can learn to approach anger-provoking situations in a more proactive and constructive manner.

By utilizing these techniques in CBT for anger management, individuals can gain valuable skills and strategies to effectively manage their anger and improve their overall well-being. It’s important to work with a qualified therapist who can tailor these techniques to meet individual needs and provide guidance throughout the therapeutic process.

Working with a CBT Therapist

When it comes to managing anger through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), working with a qualified CBT therapist can be highly beneficial. In this section, we will explore important aspects of working with a CBT therapist, including  finding a qualified therapist ,  what to expect in CBT for anger management , and  the duration and frequency of CBT sessions .

Finding a Qualified Therapist

Finding a qualified CBT therapist is essential for effective anger management treatment. To locate a therapist who specializes in CBT for anger management, individuals can consider several approaches:

  • Referrals : Seeking referrals from trusted healthcare professionals, such as primary care physicians or mental health practitioners, can be a reliable way to find qualified CBT therapists. They can provide recommendations based on their knowledge and experience within the field.
  • Online Directories : Utilizing online directories that specialize in mental health professionals can help individuals find CBT therapists in their area. These directories often provide information about the therapists’ qualifications, areas of expertise, and contact details. Consider using our article on  CBT therapists near me  as a resource.
  • Professional Organizations : Exploring professional organizations such as the Academy of Cognitive Therapy or local psychology associations can provide valuable resources and directories of CBT therapists. These organizations often have strict membership criteria, ensuring that listed therapists meet specific qualifications.

Before finalizing a therapist, individuals may want to schedule an initial consultation or interview to discuss their specific needs, treatment approaches, and therapist-client compatibility.

What to Expect in CBT for Anger Management

CBT for anger management typically involves a structured and collaborative approach between the therapist and the individual seeking treatment. During CBT sessions, individuals can expect:

  • Assessment : The therapist will conduct an initial assessment to understand the individual’s unique anger triggers, thought patterns, and behavioral responses. This assessment helps tailor the treatment plan to address specific needs.
  • Goal Setting : Together, the therapist and individual will establish specific, measurable goals for anger management. These goals provide direction for therapy and help track progress throughout the treatment process.
  • Cognitive Restructuring : CBT for anger management often involves identifying and challenging unhelpful thought patterns that contribute to anger. Through techniques like cognitive restructuring, individuals learn to reframe negative thoughts and replace them with more realistic and constructive ones.
  • Behavioral Techniques : Therapists may introduce various behavioral techniques to help individuals manage anger effectively. These techniques can include anger awareness and monitoring exercises, relaxation techniques, and problem-solving skills to address anger-provoking situations.
  • Homework Assignments : Outside of therapy sessions, individuals may be assigned homework exercises, such as journaling, practicing relaxation techniques, or implementing anger management strategies in real-life situations. These assignments reinforce the skills learned in therapy and promote ongoing progress.
  • Regular Review : Throughout CBT for anger management, therapists regularly review treatment progress and reassess goals. This allows for adjustments to be made to the treatment plan as needed.

The Duration and Frequency of CBT Sessions

The duration and frequency of CBT sessions for anger management can vary depending on individual needs and therapist recommendations. Typically, CBT for anger management involves weekly sessions lasting approximately 50 minutes each. However, the duration of treatment can range from a few weeks to several months, depending on the severity of the anger issues and the individual’s progress.

It’s important to note that CBT is a time-limited therapy, meaning it aims to achieve specific treatment goals within a predetermined timeframe. The therapist and individual work collaboratively to establish a treatment plan that suits the individual’s needs while considering the recommended duration and frequency of sessions.

Overall, working with a qualified CBT therapist provides individuals with valuable guidance, support, and evidence-based techniques to effectively manage anger. By following the therapist’s expertise and actively participating in the therapy process, individuals can make significant progress in their anger management journey.

Additional Support for Anger Management

In addition to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) sessions, individuals seeking help with anger management can benefit from various  self-help resources ,  support groups and online communities , and practicing  self-care and stress management  techniques.

Self-Help Resources and Workbooks

Self-help resources and workbooks provide individuals with practical tools and techniques to manage anger independently. These resources often incorporate CBT principles and exercises that can be completed at one’s own pace. They serve as a valuable supplement to therapy sessions, allowing individuals to reinforce what they learn during therapy and practice new coping strategies in their daily lives.

Self-help resources and workbooks may cover topics such as identifying triggers, understanding underlying thoughts and beliefs, and developing effective communication and problem-solving skills. They can be accessed online, in bookstores, or through mental health websites. Some resources may also include interactive worksheets and activities to facilitate self-reflection and personal growth. Check out our collection of  CBT worksheets  for a range of helpful exercises.

Support Groups and Online Communities

Joining support groups and online communities can provide individuals with a sense of belonging and understanding as they navigate their anger management journey. These groups offer a safe space to share experiences, exchange coping strategies, and gain support from individuals facing similar challenges.

Support groups can be found in local communities, facilitated by therapists, or organized by mental health organizations. Online communities and forums provide an additional platform for individuals to connect with others virtually, regardless of geographical location. Engaging with others who are also working on anger management can offer valuable insights, encouragement, and a sense of community.

Recommended: Online Therapy for Anger Management

Practicing Self-Care and Stress Management

Practicing self-care and stress management techniques is essential for overall well-being and can significantly contribute to anger management. Engaging in activities that promote relaxation and reduce stress levels can help individuals better regulate their emotions and respond more effectively to anger triggers.

Some self-care practices that can be helpful include regular exercise, mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, engaging in hobbies or creative outlets, getting enough sleep, and maintaining a balanced diet. It’s important to identify and prioritize self-care activities that resonate with personal preferences and needs.

Stress management techniques, such as time management, prioritization, and assertiveness skills, can also play a significant role in anger management. Learning to identify and address stressors in one’s life can reduce the likelihood of anger becoming overwhelming or escalating.

By utilizing self-help resources, participating in support groups, and practicing self-care and stress management techniques, individuals can augment the benefits of CBT for anger management. These additional avenues of support can empower individuals to take an active role in managing their anger and lead to long-term positive outcomes.

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Effectiveness of anger management program on anger level, problem solving skills, communication skills, and adjustment among school-going adolescents

Shamala anjanappa.

College of Nursing, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Radhakrishnan Govindan

1 Department of Nursing, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Manjula Munivenkatappa

2 Department of Clinical Psychology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Binukumar Bhaskarapillai

3 Department of Biostatistics, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bangalore, Karnataka, India


Anger is a natural feeling which is essential for survival, however, which can impair functioning if it is excessive. Adolescents need to be equipped with skills to cope with their anger for the promotion of their health and safety. This study aims to examine the effectiveness of anger management program on anger level, problem solving skills, communication skills, and adjustment among school-going adolescents.


An experimental, pre-test–post-test control group design with a multistage random sampling was adopted to select 128 school-going adolescents aged between 13 and 16 years. Experimental group received six sessions of anger management program, while control group received one session on anger management skill after the completion of post-assessment for both the groups. Sessions included education on anger, ABC analysis of behavior and relaxation training, modifying anger inducing thoughts, problem solving, and communication skills training. Assessment done after the 2 months of anger management program. Data were analyzed through descriptive and inferential statistics.

Study reveals the improvement in the problem solving skills (81.66 ± 4.81), communication skills (82.40 ± 3.82), adjustment (28.35 ± 3.76), and decreased anger level (56.48 ± 4.97). Within the experimental and between the experimental and control group, post-test mean scores differed significantly ( P < 0.05).


The results revealed that the anger management program was effective in decreasing anger level and increasing problem solving skills, communication skills, and adjustment among school-going adolescents.


Anger is a natural feeling which is essential for survival, however, which can impair functioning if it is excessive. Various factors contribute to maladaptive anger in adolescents; among peer influence is an important factor.[ 1 ] Displaying aggressive behavior may be a way to gain popularity or high social status by demonstrating power or control. It may be a response to the perceived threat of isolation or loss of social standing among the peers.[ 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ] The devastating impact of unhealthy anger makes it imperative to address anger issues in adolescents.

Some of the factors found to be associated with anger are lack of problem solving and communication skills and skills to adapt with changing situations. Adjusting to the changing environment is found to be one of the common problems in adolescents.[ 6 ] Lack of problem solving skills makes adolescents vulnerable to anger when they face unfairness or criticism. Developing proper communication skills serves as a base for children to be in congruence with their environment, establishes healthy social relationships, and regulates their reactions emotionally.[ 7 ] There is a positive relationship between problem solving approach and communication skills.[ 8 ] Anger acts as an emotional barrier to communication which hampers the information processing in the brain and leads to inadequate logical discussion hampering the productive contribution to solving problems.[ 9 ]

When children have the awareness and skills to manage the negative emotions such as anger and aggression, they can choose an appropriate course of action, thereby avoiding inappropriate and destructive behavior.[ 10 ] Adolescents need to be equipped with skills to cope with their anger in a productively for the promotion of their health and safety.[ 11 ]

Several behavioral intervention programs have been developed to help adolescents cope with anger. The main aim of the anger management intervention is to develop an awareness and meaning of anger, its physical and psychological effects, and its expression.[ 12 , 13 , 14 ]

A meta-analysis conducted on anger management interventions indicated that emotional awareness, relaxation techniques, problem solving cognitive-behavioral approaches, and coping skill training are effective in reducing negative emotional and behavioral outcomes including anger and aggressive behavior.[ 15 ] Commonly used therapeutic techniques for managing anger include affective education, relaxation training, cognitive restructuring, problem solving skills, social skills training, and conflict resolution. These techniques are individually tailored and are found to improve adolescents’ psychological and physical well-being, reduce anger, aggression and protect the mental health of the society.[ 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 ]

A systematic review suggests that combinations of cognitive behavioral therapy and problem solving skills, communication skills, self-instruction, and role play were very effective in reducing anger or aggression. Group-based anger management interventions conducted in classroom or school settings are a more effective method for school-going adolescents rather than individual sessions.[ 21 ]

International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses recommends that mental health nurses can bring change in the school environment by providing effective anger management skills for adolescents to prevent violent and aggressive behaviors. A school health nurse can also play a role in anger management among adolescents by conducting psycho-education programs at home, school, and in the community. This will enhance the social and coping skills to manage anger effectively and prevent future problems.[ 22 , 23 , 24 ]

Increasing anger-related issues are seen in schools and colleges across the world. Anger serves as a precursor for aggression, violence, and behavioral and conduct disorders.[ 25 , 26 ] Uncontrolled anger may cause extreme violence in the future.[ 27 ] In this context, there was a need for anger management training to improve the effective coping, problem solving, and communication skills of adolescents in the classroom in relation to anger management. A plethora of studies has provided the empirical ground in the selection of interventions that were used in the present study. There is little published research concerning the relative efficacy of anger management on problem solving skill, communication skill, and adjustment among adolescents’ group interventions. The current study addresses this dearth of research by evaluating outcomes of anger management program. It includes essential skills which are appropriate for the adolescent group. This anger management program helps adolescents to manage their anger in a healthy way and promotes healthy peer relationships and school environment.

The purpose of the research is to find out the effectiveness of anger management program on anger level, problem solving skills, communication skills, and adjustment among school-going adolescents.

Materials and Methods

Study design and setting.

The study was conducted in randomly selected schools with an experimental, pre-test–post-test control group design.

Study participants and sampling

A total of 128 school-going adolescents aged between 13 and 16 years were selected by multistage random sampling technique. [ Figure 1 illustrates the multistage sampling process in the study].

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Schematic representation of data collection

Data collection tool and technique

Sociodemographic profile.

The following characteristics were assessed: age, gender, education and type of school, parents’ education and occupation, and type of family.

Anger assessment checklist (AACL)

Anger assessment checklist (AACL) was developed by Karpe (1993). The items were divided into the following parameters of anger:

a) Intensity, b) Frequency, c) Mode of expression, d) Duration, and e) Effect upon interpersonal relations (IPRs). Each statement was to be rated on a five-point scale (scores 1–5) from “never” to “always” based on the extent to which the statement was applicable to them. The scores of the tool ranged between 35 and 175 classified into: 35 to 46.5 clinically not significant, 46.6 to 93.2 mild level of anger, 93.3 to 139.7 moderate level of anger, and 139.8 to 175 severe anger. Internal consistency of the AACL was 0.89.

Visual analog scale (VAS)

The visual analog scale (VAS) is a ten-centimeter-long line marked from 0 to 10, at an interval of one centimeter each. Zero indicated no anger, and 10 indicated the maximum amount of anger experienced. Adolescents were explained about the VAS and asked to rate their level of anger on VAS. This is divided into: 0 indicates no anger, 1–3 mild anger, 4–6 moderate anger, and 7–10 severe anger.

Solving problems checklist

It is developed by Barkman and Machtmes (2002).[ 28 ] It measures the communication skills of adolescents aged 12–18 years. This 24-item scale assesses youth's problem solving ability by examining the frequency of use of the following skills that are needed to engage in problem solving: 1. Identify/Define the Problem, 2. Analyze Possible Causes or Assumptions, 3. Identify Possible Solutions, 4. Select Best Solution, 5. Implement the Solution, and 6. Evaluate Progress and Revise as Needed. Higher scores indicate greater problem solving skills. Internal consistency was 0.86.

Communication scale

It is developed by Barkman and Machtmes (2002).[ 28 ] It measures the communication skills of adolescents aged 12–18 years. The scale has 23 items measuring the frequency of the use of certain skills which are needed for effective communication practices: ability to recognize ones’ own style of communication, ability to recognize and value other styles of communication, practicing empathy, altering ones’ communication style to combat with others styles of communication (communicative adaptability), conveying the essential and intended information, and interaction management. Higher scores indicate greater communication skills. Internal consistency was 0.79.

Pre-adolescent adjustment scale (PAAS)

It is developed by Rao, Ramalingaswamy, and Sharma (1976). It measures the adjustment of adolescents toward the areas of home, school, peers, and teachers and in general matters. The PAAS although the scale was developed for pre-adolescents, it can also be used with adolescents. PAAS consists of 40 items and are divided into five subareas, viz. Home-9, School-8, Teachers-8, Peers-8, and General-7. High positive scores indicate high adjustment in that area, while high negative scores indicate high maladjustment in that area. Test–retest reliability coefficient ranged from 0.22 to 0.60 for different areas, and the test was validated against teacher's rating.

Ethical consideration

Ethical clearance was obtained from institute ethical committee [No.NIMH/DO/IEC (BEH.Sc.DIV0/2016)]. The students were briefed about the study, and informed consent forms were sent to the parents through them. Consent was obtained from parents and assent from students for participation in the study.

All the students from the selected schools who gave assent and could get parental consent were assessed for anger level, problem solving skill, communication skill, and adjustment using anger assessment checklist (AACL), problem solving checklist, communication scale, and PAAS. AACL, problem solving check list, communication scale, and PAAS were translated to Kannada language and back-translated to English by an independent person and then matched with the original questionnaire to ensure validity of the translation.

Anger management program

Anger management program was developed by referring the systematic reviews and meta-analysis studies.[ 29 , 30 ] Anger management program and tools used to collect the data were validated by faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences Bangalore, Karnataka, India.

Data collection

Permission was obtained from Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI) and South Zone Block Education Officer (BEO). For the feasibility of the study and accessibility of the adolescents, schools were selected with in the 5 km radius of the institute. A list of 10 schools was received from BEO office. The school principals of all the 10 school were approached for permission. Two school principals declined to give permission. Thus, eight schools were included. School principals gave permission to conduct study in eighth and ninth grade. These schools included government schools (run by the government fund), private-aided schools (schools run by trust with the help of government), and private-unaided schools (managed by a person without government aid). Eight schools were randomly allocated to the experimental and control group by lottery method. A basic information sheet about the study was sent to parents, and assent for screening anger level was taken from adolescents. Anger assessment checklist was administered to the students with prior scheduling without disturbing the academic activity. Students who could read and answer the questionnaires in English or Kannada were included in the study, and those who have conduct disorder and/or ADHD as per the teachers report were excluded. The adolescents were assessed for anger level by using AACL and VAS. Total 1300 students were screened for anger level, from which 220 were incomplete questionnaires, 70 students did not bring consent from their parents, and 7 were absent. Mild level of anger was presented in 320 adolescents, moderate level of anger was present in 663 adolescents, and 20 adolescents had severe level of anger. Handouts of anger management program were given to the adolescents with mild and severe levels of anger. Adolescents with severe level of anger were referred for psychological help. Adolescents with moderate level of anger (663) were randomly selected for the study (64 students in each group) by using a random number table. The students were briefed about the study, and informed consent forms were sent to the parents through them. Consent was taken from parents and assent from students for participation in the study.

Pre-test assessment was conducted for both experimental and control group adolescents (with moderate level of anger) using solving problems, communication, and adjustment tools.

The adolescents of schools allocated to experimental group were made into groups of 6–8 adolescents, and pretest tools were administered. Six sessions of anger management program were conducted for each adolescent group by using demonstration, role play, and discussion methods. Each group had weekly two sessions for about 45 min of duration. Sessions were conducted in the free class hours and sometimes 3pm to 4pm. Eight adolescents dropped out (four from experimental and four from control group) during the study for various reasons (dengue fever, long time leave, etc). The components of the intervention are summarized in Table 1 .

Description of anger management program

Post-intervention assessment

After two months of intervention, post-test assessment was conducted to find out the efficacy of anger management program. One session of education on anger which included anger and its consequences, effects of anger, and demonstration of mindful breathing was conducted to the control group. The steps included in the data collection procedures are summarized in Figure 1 .

Data analysis

Analysis was performed in IBM SPSS Statistics 22, and a p-level of < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant. The data was analyzed using frequency distributions, mean and median for the central tendency and range, and standard deviation. Chi-square was done to find the association between the categorical variables. Mann–Whitney U was used to test the homogeneity between experimental and control group. RMANOVA was used to assess the effectiveness of the intervention program. Using RMANOVA reduces type I error. Sphericity assumptions checked by using Mauchly's test, situations where sphericity assumptions violated, Greenhouse–Geisser are reported.

Sociodemographic details

Significant differences were found in religion, education, father's education, and father and mother's occupation of experimental and control groups [ Table 2 ].

Sociodemographic characteristics of the school-going adolescents ( n =120)

Anger level

No significant difference was found between the pre-test mean scores of the experimental and control groups on the anger level and domains of anger. However, a significant difference was found between their post-test mean scores. The scores of experimental group on the anger level and domains of anger were found to have significantly reduced after the anger management program. On the other hand, the scores of the control group did not significantly change after the anger management program [ Table 3 ].

Pre- and post-test results on anger level and domains of anger among experimental and control groups ( n =120)

Outcomes on problem solving skills, communication skills, and adjustment

No significant difference was found between the pre-test mean scores of the experimental and control groups on the problem solving skills [ Table 4 ]. However, a significant difference was found between their post-test mean scores. The scores of experimental group on the problem solving skills were found to significantly increase after the anger management program. On the other hand, the scores of the control group did not significantly change after the anger management program [ Table 4 ].

Comparing the pre-test and post-test results related to problem solving skills, communication skills of the adolescents, adjustment, and domains of adjustment ( n =120)

No significant difference was found between the pre-test mean scores of the experimental and control groups on the communication skills [ Table 4 ]. However, a significant difference was found between their post-test mean scores. The scores of experimental group on the problem solving skills were found to significantly increase after the anger management program. On the other hand, the scores of the control group did not significantly change after the anger management program [ Table 4 ].

Similarly, there was no significant difference on adjustment scale between the groups at pre-assessment. There was significant difference between their post-test mean scores. The of scores of experimental group on the adjustment and domains of adjustment were found to significantly reduce after the anger management program, and there was no significant change in the control group [ Table 4 ].

The present study reports that anger management program was effective in reducing anger level by improving problem solving skill, communication skills, and adjustment among school-going adolescents. In the current study, six sessions of anger management program were conducted for school-going adolescents. After two months of intervention, post-test assessment was conducted to find out the efficacy of the anger management program. The anger management program was effective in reducing the anger level in the adolescents [ Table 3 ]. Pre-test and post-test mean scores of domains of anger, like intensity, frequency, duration, mode of expression, and interpersonal relationship were significantly different within the experimental and between the experimental and control groups. The present study findings were in concordance with the results of a meta-analysis on effectiveness of school-based anger intervention and programs. It reports that anger management program, which included discussion, role play, practice, modeling, homework, reward for compliance, performance feedback, reward for performance, conducting parent or teacher group sessions, goal setting, visualization/imagery, contracting, and academic tutoring, was effective in reducing anger in school children.[ 31 ] The present study results are also supported by another meta-analysis conducted by Smeets et al .[ 32 ] (2015) on anger management for adolescents which revealed that anger management skills, social skills training, and assertive communication training had successfully reduced the aggression in adolescents. Furthermore in the current study, it was observed that adolescents enjoyed the experience of role play, demonstration, and re-demonstration. They were actively involved and engaged in all the activities. Students were asked to maintain anger diary and thought diary which made them introspect their thought process related to anger. A review study on mindfulness, relaxation, and anger problem suggests that mindfulness and relaxation can be used as a complementary therapy in intervening with anger disturbances. It reduces impulsive and maladaptive behavior. Mindfulness facilitates the cognitive change and helps in the development of self-regulatory ability.[ 33 ] In the present study, relaxation was practiced in each session. Adolescents reported that it calms their mind and increases their attention in studies. Adolescents were encouraged to practice relaxation in the home setting.

The mean scores of problem solving skills, communication skills, and adjustment were significantly improved. These findings were statistically significant within the experimental and between the experimental and control groups [ Table 4 ]. The results of the study showed that anger management program was effective in increasing the problem solving skills, communication skills, and adjustment, thereby reducing the anger level in the adolescents. This finding is consistent with results of a meta-analysis on anger management for adolescents which included anger management, social skills, problem solving skills, and family communication. These sessions were effective in reducing aggression in adolescents.[ 34 ] Another study conducted among adolescents reported that anger management training had a high and stable effect on reducing female teenagers’ aggression. Furthermore, group discussion program oriented toward communicative skills had reduced aggression in the experimental group significantly.[ 35 ]

The present study findings are also similar to the findings of study which evaluated the effectiveness of anger management intervention for school children which included changing thinking patterns, developing social problem solving skills or self-control, and managing anger, learning constructive behavior for interpersonal interactions, including communication skills, conflict management, and behavioral strategies.[ 36 ] In the present study, the experimental group showed significant decrease in anger level. The findings of the current study are in concordance with the finding of a study on anger management training for high school students. The results showed that aggression clearly decreased among students who participated in the anger management skills training group.[ 37 ] Similar findings were reflected in another study. They which included anger education program. They reported an increase in anger control and communication skill.[ 38 ]

The present study finding shows that the anger management program increases the adjustment of adolescents’ at their home, with peer, school, teacher, and their general adjustment ( Table. 4 ). Anger management training was found to help adolescents to improve their social adjustment.[ 39 ]

The purpose of the present study is to create awareness in the adolescents that they can identify the triggers for their anger and manage their anger in a healthy way. The intervention components have shown their effectiveness in the chosen variables of the study. The other component in this anger management program is modifying the anger-provoking thoughts, where the student experiences negative thoughts during the times they feel angry. These negative thoughts can occur from misunderstandings, or a lack of coping skills, or social skills. The present anger management program equips the adolescents in problem solving skills and communication skills, thereby enabling the adolescent to solve problems in better way and resolve the anger-related problems in their lives. Each of these sessions which dealt with anger in adolescents was successful and empowered them with adequate skills in managing their anger in a healthy way.


Anger management skill training is essential for adolescents. Therefore, the teachers, school administrators, school counselors, and who work with these adolescents should be trained. Periodically conducting anger management program increases the emotional regulations in the students, thereby healthy school environment can be maintained. Nurses can liaison with the teachers to design programs to intervene anger problems in children. Using the anger management program, nurses can incorporate several strategies in identifying and intervening children with anger problem and help them to manage their anger in healthy way. This can reduce the risk of child becoming violent and delinquent later in life.

Limitation and recommendation

Majority of the adolescents of this study belong to middle or low-income groups, urban and state board schools; hence, generalization to entire adolescent population may be limitation of this study. A major limitation is there was no screening for other mental health issues except for ADHA and CD. Childhood depression can cause anger outbursts, and likewise other disorders like DMRD, IED, psychosis, etc., Follow-up assessment was not conducted, and hence, it is difficult to say if the effects of the anger management programs were maintained for a longer duration.

This study examined the effectiveness of anger management program. Strategies used in the anger management program were very effective in reducing the anger level by improving problem solving skill, communication skill, and adjustment among school-going adolescents. The anger management program developed and implemented in the study can be used in the schools to teach the adolescents to manage their emotions constructively and prevent destructive behaviors.


The first author (AS) conceptualized the study with the help of second and third authors. AS carried out the data collection and analysis. GR, BB, and MM helped in data analysis and interpretation. First draft of the paper was written by AS. GR, MM, and BB reviewed the drafts and approved the final draft.

Financial support and sponsorship

Conflicts of interest.

There are no conflicts of interest.


We acknowledge the support and cooperation of the schools that participated in the study. We thank all the participants for giving valuable information.


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  1. Anger management: 10 tips to tame your temper

    1. Think before you speak In the heat of the moment, it's easy to say something you'll later regret. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything. Also allow others involved in the situation to do the same. 2. Once you're calm, express your concerns

  2. 11 Anger Management Strategies to Calm You Down Fast

    Failing to manage your anger can lead to a variety of problems like saying things you regret, yelling at your kids, threatening your co-workers, sending rash emails, developing health problems, or even resorting to physical violence. But not all anger issues are that serious.

  3. Control anger before it controls you

    The three main approaches are expressing, suppressing, and calming. Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive—not aggressive—manner is the healthiest way to express anger. To do this, you have to learn how to make clear what your needs are, and how to get them met, without hurting others.

  4. 11 Anger Management Therapy Techniques and Interventions

    3 Best Interventions & Counseling Tips Why Is Anger Management Therapy Important?'s Resources A Take-Home Message References The Psychology Behind Anger Management Anger is often portrayed as a "bad," reckless, or unhelpful emotion.

  5. Anger Management: What It Is, Skills & Techniques

    Treatments & Procedures / Anger Management Anger Management Everyone gets angry. But anger can take a toll on your physical and mental health. Anger management is a type of therapy that improves your coping and communication skills. It also teaches relaxation techniques so you can keep your cool.

  6. How problem solving skills can help with anger management

    Work on communication skills: Communication is the key to good problem solving, especially if the problem is a relationship or social problem involving others. Anger disrupts the open flow of ideas, because the focus shifts from solving the problem to either criticising the other person, or defending yourself from criticism.

  7. Anger Management Therapy Skills and Techniques

    Relaxation: Learning to calm the body Cognitive therapy: Learning healthy thinking patterns Skill development: Learning new behaviors Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most commonly used treatment for anger management, and many studies have shown its effectiveness.

  8. Your Anger Management Guide: Best Techniques & Exercises

    References Conducting Anger Management Therapy: 10+ Tips We don't have to accept destructive anger-driven behavior, and, perhaps more importantly, neither should others. There is a wealth of literature and advice available to regain control of our emotions. Anger is a real problem in society.

  9. Strategies for controlling your anger: Keeping anger in check

    Here are some techniques to help you stay calm. Check yourself. It's hard to make smart choices when you're in the grips of a powerful negative emotion. Rather than trying to talk yourself down from a cliff, avoid climbing it in the first place. Try to identify warning signs that you're starting to get annoyed.

  10. PDF Self Help for Anger

    Improving your problem solving skills. Consider making positive changes to your lifestyle. Improving your communication skills. When going through this booklet it might be helpful to try out each strategy one at a time, rather than trying to learn them all at once. However, simply take things at your own pace. Do I have an anger problem?

  11. Anger

    Answering such questions will help you become aware of the nature, reasons, and results of anger. The answers will also eventually help you develop a greater sense of self-worth and personal control, and the ability to use anger-management and problem-solving skills.

  12. What Is Anger Management Therapy?

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is often the treatment of choice for anger management, according to Engle. She says it can help you understand your triggers for anger, develop and practice coping skills, and think, feel, and behave differently in response to anger, so you are calmer and more in control.

  13. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anger Management

    Published: January 19, 2022. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for anger works to help you understand your triggers and replace them with healthy coping strategies. While anger is a normal emotion, when it crosses over into frequent outbursts or hurtful words at others, CBT for anger could be an effective form of treatment.

  14. Anger Management: Techniques for Better Emotional Control

    She specializes in anger, anxiety, depression, stress management, coping strategies development, and problem-solving skills. Theresa Welsh, LPC Theresa Welsh is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) with a passion for providing the utmost quality of services to individuals and couples struggling with relationship issues, depression, anxiety ...

  15. Anger Management Therapy

    Keeping an Anger Journal. Keeping a record of when you became angry, and why, can help you understand your anger. Keeping a journal can be a very powerful method of anger management. The act of writing down the emotions and feelings associated with anger before, during and after an angry episode can focus the mind.

  16. Anger Management Skills

    Anger Management Skills worksheet Give your clients a handy list of Anger Management Skills that they can refer to as needed. The techniques covered in this worksheet include: Learning to recognize anger, taking a timeout, deep breathing, exercise, expressing anger, thinking of consequences, and visualization.

  17. Behavioral Interventions for Anger, Irritability, and Aggression in

    CBT targets deficits in emotion regulation and social problem-solving that are associated with aggressive behavior. Both forms of treatment have received extensive support in randomized controlled trials.

  18. Anger Management for Teens: Helpful Worksheets & Resources

    Positive Emotions 20 Sep 2023 Anger Management for Teens: Helpful Worksheets & Resources 18 Jun 2021 by Jeremy Sutton, Ph.D. Scientifically reviewed by William Smith, Ph.D. Anger is not all bad. Used strategically, it can help us pursue our goals and, within limits, drive us to find a happier and healthier life in the long run (Young, 2013).

  19. Dealing with Strong Emotions: CBT for Anger Management

    CBT also teaches individuals specific skills and techniques to manage anger, such as relaxation exercises, problem-solving strategies, and anger awareness and monitoring. In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the principles of CBT for anger management, explore the various techniques used in CBT, and discuss how individuals can ...

  20. Anger management interventions.

    Thus, the second major area of skill development in our anger management programs involves facilitating children's development of more competent problem-solving and perspective-taking skills. As children become more adept problem-solvers, they can become better at anticipating problem situations before they escalate.

  21. Effectiveness of anger management program on anger level, problem

    Study reveals the improvement in the problem solving skills (81.66 ± 4.81), communication skills (82.40 ± 3.82), adjustment (28.35 ± 3.76), and decreased anger level (56.48 ± 4.97). Within the experimental and between the experimental and control group, post-test mean scores differed significantly ( P < 0.05). CONCLUSION:

  22. Anger Worksheets

    Coping Skills: Anger. worksheet. The Coping Skills: Anger worksheet describes six techniques for managing anger. Some of these skills can help to prevent or minimize explosive anger, such as triggers and warning signs. Other skills are intended to take control of anger, such as diversions, time-outs, and deep breathing.