anger management


“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.”

— Chinese Proverb

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What Is Anger Management?

We Specialize in Therapy for Anger Management

Anger is an undeniably human emotion. When we’re dealing with stress, injustice, failure, or just plain “wrongness,” anger can bubble from underneath the surface and escalate the situation. At times, anger is understandable and even healthy — motivating you to take action to resolve a problem instead of passively sitting back. It can also help you relieve stress or open up dialogue about your negative feelings. 

However, when left uncontrolled, it can alienate you from others or cause you to do or say things you’ll regret later. 

There are many possible causes of anger. Sometimes, anger can be a reaction to present circumstances or memories of a past experience. It can also be in reaction to an external factor (e.g. humiliation at the hands of another person) or an internal factor (e.g. being frustrated at yourself for committing a mistake). Some thought patterns can also lead up to an angry outburst, such as:

  • Blaming others — Assigning blame to others is typically an attempt to avoid shame and responsibility for your own actions. 

  • Inflexibility — Being unable to accept what’s actually happening vs. what you wanted to happen can lower your tolerance for frustration and make you more prone to anger.

  • Collecting straws — Going about your day and mentally tallying every small incident (e.g. your coffee was too cold, you stepped in a puddle, someone was rude to you on the bus, etc.) until you reach “the last straw” and your anger spills over is an unhealthy, yet common, way to justify an angry outburst. 

  • Overgeneralizing — If you’re stuck in a black-and-white way of thinking, you might view things as worse than they really are. 

  • “Mind-reading” — You might assume other people’s intentions or feelings, convincing yourself that they meant to hurt or disrespect you and becoming unnecessarily hostile towards them as a result.

Anger management therapy aims to help challenge these thought patterns and manage the physiological and emotional effects of anger.

Instead of attempting to change the circumstances or people that bring about your anger, anger management focuses on improving your self-control — recognizing your triggers, learning to cope with them, and expressing your emotions in a healthy way. 


What Does Uncontrolled Anger Look Like?

By itself, anger isn’t necessarily bad. It’s the way you react to anger that determines the severity of its consequences. Uncontrolled anger can look different from person to person, so it can be hard to define or identify. 

Some may let their anger out through yelling or screaming at others, or even engaging in aggressive or violent behavior (e.g. physical violence, threatening others, etc.). This tends to be the most common image of uncontrolled anger. While some may find they feel better after “releasing” their anger in this way, aggression often leads to more anger in themselves and others. 

Others may seethe quietly, building up resentment and hostility towards the world. They may be constantly dwelling on the events that made them angry, unable to focus on what’s in front of them. 

Others may also engage in passive-aggressive behaviors, which are indirect attempts to punish, stop, or change someone else’s actions (e.g. giving someone the silent treatment, making sarcastic remarks, procrastinating on a task they don’t want to do, etc.). Some may view it as a more “polite” alternative to aggression, but it still isn’t a healthy way of resolving issues — passive-aggressiveness tends to elicit confusion and frustration in others.

Uncontrolled anger doesn’t have an official diagnosis, unlike other conditions that can impact your well-being, such as depression or anxiety. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with consequences. 

An increased risk of heart disease and high blood pressure has been linked to anger. Anger has also been seen as a symptom of conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcissistic personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), and major depression. Chronic anger also increases the risk of substance abuse. Anger not only affects you but the people around you as well. 

If you’re aware that you have anger issues but don’t know what to do about them, you may benefit from seeking help. 


NYC Therapists Who Specialize in  Therapy for Anger Management

Connecting with the right therapist is the most important factor in your search. We’re here to help you find a great match.

How Do I Know if I Need To Seek Help for Anger?

Here are some signs that you may benefit from anger management therapy:

  • You’ve been known to get (or you think about being) violent or aggressive while angry.

  • People around you (e.g. friends, family members, coworkers, etc.) have commented on your anger issues or have grown increasingly distant after experiencing too many angry outbursts.

  • You don’t have a comfortable working relationship with your coworkers (e.g. they seem afraid of you or don’t want to work with you).

  • You’ve been banned from a business establishment as a result of an angry outburst.

  • You feel angry most of the time, even when you don’t have a clear cause to get angry.

  • You’re still nursing a grudge or planning revenge for an incident that happened a while ago.

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list. If your anger has disrupted your daily life and made it difficult to enjoy the activities you used to do or the company you used to keep, you may want to seek therapy.

How Therapy Can Help Anger Management

Sometimes, you might default to anger because you have trouble expressing other feelings or you’ve been taught that you’re not allowed to show certain feelings (e.g. men aren’t allowed to show sadness or fear because it’s a sign of weakness). You might have turned your anger into a crutch — a defense mechanism to shut out stress and insecurity. 

Anger management therapy can help you gain a better understanding of the elements that trigger your anger and how you respond to them, as well as the consequences of your responses on you and your relationships. A therapist can walk you through essential strategies for diffusing your anger and managing your responses in a healthy way, such as assertiveness and direct communication.

You can also learn relaxation techniques to lessen the intensity of your anger, such as breathwork or focusing on relaxing imagery. Over time, you’ll be able to identify negative or destructive thought patterns and work on breaking free from them. Anger management therapy can help you take the first steps toward a future of forgiveness and compassion — towards yourself and others.

What Does Therapy for Anger Management Look Like?

We Specialize in Anger Management in NYC

There are many different approaches to therapy for anger management. Examples include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which is geared towards shifting your thought patterns and behaviors, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), a form of CBT aimed more towards helping you manage difficult emotions, and psychodynamic therapy, which focuses on identifying the roots of your anger. In some cases, family therapy and couples therapy can also help, especially when your loved ones have been significantly affected by your anger.

As everybody has different needs, a therapist can work with you to identify which type of therapy you’ll benefit the most from. 

What if I’m Not Ready To Start Therapy?

Seeking therapy can feel overwhelming, so it’s okay if you don’t feel ready just yet. If you want to start getting a handle on your anger today, here are some useful tips you can put into practice:

  • Practice relaxation techniquesDeep breathing exercises, mindfulness practices, and other small activities (e.g. picturing a relaxing place, repeating calming phrases, listening to music, writing in a journal, etc.) can help lessen the intensity of your anger and put you in a better mood for resolving the issue. 

  • Learn to walk away — It’s incredibly easy to say or do something you’ll regret when you’re consumed by anger. Give yourself a small break to think before you speak or act. In addition, try not to dwell on past grievances and learn to forgive. 

  • Focus on “I” instead of “you” — Blaming others tends to worsen the situation. If you’re angry, focus on “I” statements instead. For example, “I’m upset that you didn’t wait for me before eating,” instead of “You never want to eat together anymore.”

  • Seek support groups — Talking to others who experience the same struggles can make those struggles easier for you. Here is a locator for nearby anger management support groups.


Are You Struggling To Manage Your Anger?

We can help.

We offer many therapeutic approaches to help you manage anger and negative feelings more effectively. Contact us today for a 30-minute complimentary consultation with a therapist who specializes in anger management.


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Amy Schell, LMHC
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Ariel Zeigler, Ph.D
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Begoña Núñez Sánchez, LP
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Carole Taylor-Tumilty, LCSW
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Christina Mancuso, LCSW
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Jessa Navidé, Psy.D.
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Justin L.F. Yong, LMHC
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