Counseling Men Blog
Advice for men – and the women who love them!

What is Anger Management Counseling?

Posted by Dr. Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC on Tue, Apr 11, 2017

man-in-anger-management-counseling.jpegGetting mad is something that everyone does, so it can be hard to determine when it's normal and when it's a problem. But if you're wondering if it could be a problem for you, then anger management counseling is for you.

Sometimes one of the hardest things to do is to recognize when you need help. The next hardest thing can then be to ask for help, especially if you're a man. But you don't have to know for sure you need help with anger problems before getting anger management counseling. That's what it does is help you figure that out. Here's a little secret - a lot of people need it (and everyone can benefit from learning the techniques it teaches).

Do I Really Need Counseling for Anger Management?

The first thing anger management counseling does is assess if you even have issues with anger. It's like going to a primary care doctor because you have a nagging cough. Is it just allergies and will eventually go away, or do you have an infection that requires an antibiotic to resolve? You're not sure, so you seek out an expert to find out. A professional counselor will give you the same kind of experienced insight and recommendation about your anger.

I wanted my husband to go to counseling but he refused so I am at the moment in couples counseling without him (about a year now). He is very unpredictable, easily hurt, and can ratchet up the anger level very quickly to the point that he can rage in front of our son - calling me names, it is all my fault, he is stuck with a wife who is selfish, etc. About 6 months ago he screamed at me to the point that the neighbors were concerned and called. At that point he went to anger management counselor who told him he did not suffer from anger management problems but stress. Does this make sense? -Chloe

Although I can't say for sure without knowing more, but I would likely disagree with this assessment because it sounds like Chloe's husband has both stress and a problem with anger (stress being one cause). Regardless of whether stress is the reason, he's got some pretty extreme emotions coming out that need to get addressed if the neighbors are calling because of how loud he's screaming.

One benefit of counseling for anger management is that it can dig deeper, as it did here, and determine more precisely what's really going on and then recommend the best ways to resolve it. The difference between anger management counseling and anger management classes is that counseling provides recommendations specific to you and your circumstances, as opposed to classes which give general advice that can apply to anyone. When the format is one-on-one, rather than in a group, the treatment is tailored to your unique situation.

Who Needs Anger Management Counseling?

As I wrote earlier, everyone can benefit from it, but certain people really need it. Here's an example of a guy who needs counseling to learn to manage his anger because his comes out in less obvious places.

I think all of this is legitimate, but what about people who have enough sense to not physically display their anger in front of guests, only alone or when their significant other or immediate family is around? This is the case with my SO, he will get angry when other people are around and curse and scowl, but he never breaks things or screams unless he's alone or just with me. Also he wouldn't pick a fight with a stranger at a food stand or anything like you mention, but he has certain "triggers" that get him. I still think he might have the explosive disorder, just more specific to certain annoyances. -Grace

Unfortunately, there are a lot of men like Grace's significant other who need help, but won't get it. If that's you, or someone you care about, there are signs when you need anger management. A number of men are like Charlie Sheen, Sean Penn, and Mel Gibson, who need anger management help, but won't admit it until either a judge orders it or they suffer a really, really big loss, like losing their wife and kids.

What's Anger Management Counseling Like?

Counseling is a series of conversations that explore situations when anger management problems arise in order to better understand why and how to change extreme responses. Sometimes the strong reaction is to be expected, but can be expressed in less destructive ways.

It helps to learn what triggers and causes your anger. By gaining this insight into your behavior (why you do what you do), new and better responses can be developed. There are proven tools and techniques for managing anger that are beneficial to learn how to use when you get mad.

Some people know without a doubt they or their loved one needs anger management counseling - "My husband needs help. He sounds just like everything on your site, and I'm dying and about to my wits end with his anger, verbal abuse and rage episodes." But for others it isn't so obvious. Just like that nagging cough, it's smart to seek out an expert's opinion and recommendations before things get worse.

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