CBT for Anger
Anger and CBT
People with problems controlling their anger have difficulty coping with pressures from the outside world, other people, and the way these external stressors impact on them.
Day to day problems, negative thoughts and beliefs, and interpersonal relationship problems are interrelated because an increase in stress-related tension also increases the likelihood of anger and aggression.
There is a broad spectrum on the anger continuum between irritability and anger caused by the belief that life is unfair, and that someone has violated our strong internal standards of behaviour at one end of the continuum, and hostility and uncontrollable rage at the other.
Rage is caused by childhood situations where a person has been repeatedly criticised and humiliated and made to feel that they are neither worthy nor lovable. These wounds to the self over a long period of time become the trigger where people defend themselves against these negative feelings by mobilising extreme aggression to protect their repeated feelings of low self-worth.
There is a big difference between losing your temper because someone has violated your standards of housekeeping, order, driving competence or childrearing, and the potentially explosive and violent outbursts which are activated by jealousy, rejection, and in circumstances where one is fighting for ones life against punishing or destructive relationships.
But all these anger problems have the same ingredients:
- The way we interpret our experience.
- The way we recognise, express and control anger.
- The errors in communication with others.
The Physiology of Anger
It is statistically proven that the inability to successfully manage anger can damage the body, and that hard driving/achievement striving Type A personalities who multi-task without recuperating through relaxation are 7-8 times more at risk of the cardiovascular threat of heart attack and stroke than their more lay back ‘take it as it comes’ Type B counterparts.
When a client comes in with anger control problems they are given a complete psychological assessment using diagnostic tests to measure anxiety, depression, self esteem levels and their personality type. An anger test is used to understand the specific areas that trigger anger responses and an individual diagnosis and blueprint for treatment is collaboratively discussed with the client.
A problem list is drawn up with 5-6 problems that the client wants to change through CBT.
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CBT has three stages:
1. Clients often tape sessions which are initially designed to change their anger behaviours through specific techniques that are used immediately to bring anger symptoms under control. This also includes an extensive stress reduction and relaxation programme to reduce the sense of threat, violation, frustration, fear and guilt that these outbursts and loss of control can produce.
2. The second part of the treatment is designed to use standard CBT to challenge negative thoughts and beliefs about the self, other people, and their future by:-
- first identifying these negative automatic thoughts
- testing them as hypothesis rather than facts
- discovering what errors of logic are being made
- substituting them for a more balanced way of thinking.
3. The third part of CBT Counselling looks at deeper core belief and schemas modification to mitigate against relapse from early life (up to sixteen) in the areas of:-
- subjugation (being controlled or invalidated as a child)
- mistrust (feeling abused or exploited by others)
- punitive parent (criticising, shaming, verbally abusive)
- emotional deprivation (in the areas of nurture, empathy, protection, mentoring)
- vulnerability to harm from others
- not being good enough/worthy
- These are often present as some of the underlying non-conscious beliefs which are at the source of anger problems.
Virtual Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Convenient, private and secure
Online Therapy is available to anyone, anywhere in the world at home or in the office using a tablet, mobile phone or laptop / computer and a good internet connection.
This service would appeal to client's for a variety of reasons.
- Clients location would make it difficult / impossible to access Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy.
- Clients time-pressure, work deadlines, and work-based travel make it difficult to commit for the normal counselling time-scale.
- Clients family commitments make it easier to have treatment on-line at home.
- Clients prefer an initial face to face assessment, and then combine both treatment modalities.