Anger management counseling assists people with the expression and control of anger to prevent violent, upsetting, or dangerous outbursts. This form of psychotherapy addresses the root causes of anger, helps people develop healthy coping methods, and assists patients with the creation of a treatment plan that will meet their needs. In some cases it may be ordered or recommended by an employer or court to address a serious anger problem. Other patients may seek it out because they have concerns about their anger and want to be proactive about addressing it before it becomes a problem.
Some counselors prefer to meet with their clients alone for one on one sessions. These can include talk therapy, guided imagery, and exercises like asking clients to draw or make charts. As counseling proceeds, the counselor and client can speak together about anger triggers and how to productively deal with them. The client might learn about meditation, stress management, and ways to change thought patterns to head off anger before it builds. Sessions may include opportunities to role play, where counselor and client work together on how to express anger and address it, rather than bottling it up or releasing it explosively.
Group therapy sessions are also available. In such sessions, patients support each other with assistance from a facilitator, who is often a mental health professional. Patients may talk about triumphs and failures since the last session, and can exchange tips on coping tools and techniques. Sometimes group therapy is more effective for anger management counseling, as it may give patients an opportunity to feel as though they are not alone. Intense anger is not unusual, and group sessions provide a moderated and safe environment to discuss it.
When anger leads to a violent outburst that threatens people or property, the legal system may become involved. For example, if someone engages in road rage and the police respond, the matter may go to court. In rehabilitative justice systems, the court might order the offender to attend anger management counseling. This could help the offender modify the behavior to prevent the development of future episodes. Similar rehabilitation may be used in work settings, where employers can request that problem employees attend counseling to resolve their issues and help them work well with others.
Costs for anger management counseling vary. One on one counseling sessions typically require a fee. Some group sessions may be free, while others may be available on a sliding scale for those who cannot afford them. Insurance companies and community health programs sometimes offer financial assistance, particularly for court-ordered anger management counseling.