Anger can be considered a universal primary emotion. Anger can occur when an important goal is blocked or a desired activity is interrupted, or when you or someone you care about is being antagonized in some capacity. As humans, we develop certain expectations or rules about ourselves, others, and the world (e.g., people should treat me fairly). When these expectations are not met, we are likely to experience anger.
When is it time to get help?
The experience and expression of anger can often be adaptive. However, anger becomes problematic if it is felt too intensely, too frequently, or is not appropriately expressed. When anger becomes experienced too intensely or commonly it may create physical strain on the body that can produce significant health problems, including hypertension and reduced immune system functioning. To add, if we give permission to act on anger through dysfunctional behaviours it may lead to violence and aggression that can result in a multitude of negative repercussions, for instance physical harm to self or others, disruption to relationships with family and friends, legal issues, and experiences of regret, guilt, or shame. Engaging in anger through threats, demands, and sarcasm can also result in harmful consequences. It is important to note that we can choose how we respond to our anger.
How can CBT help with anger problems?
Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based practice that is widely used to help with issues of anger. Individuals will learn to identify their thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, and behaviours that allow them to get stuck in unhelpful patterns of anger. Treatment may involve:
- Understanding the costs and benefits of handling anger
- Recognizing what thoughts fuel our anger response (e.g., rules and expectations of other people’s behaviour that are not being met)
- Finding more realistic and reasonable ways of thinking which may reduce anger
- Building an awareness and acceptance towards anger
- Identifying and acting in accordance with one’s values when one becomes angry
- Develop coping strategies to address physiological responses of anger
How can the team at Oakville Centre for Cognitive Therapy help?
At the Oakville Centre for Cognitive Therapy, we have trained psychologists with experience in addressing concerns with anger. If you experience anger that is interfering with daily functioning and are interested in receiving evidence-based treatment, please contact us at 905-338-1397 or email us via the Contact Us page of our website.