Youg man sitting on a counch

If you’re not sure how your anger is affecting your quality of life, or that of other people including family, friends and work colleagues, it can be helpful to ask yourself if any of the following statements are true:

  • People have told me that they think I have a problem with anger 
  • I have a reputation as someone who is quick to anger 
  • I sometimes feel guilty, ashamed or embarrassed as a result of my outbursts 
  • I have experienced problems in my relationships with others as a result of my temper 
  • I’ve put other people in harm’s way when angry
  • I’ve put myself in harm’s way when angry 
  • I’ve lost a job or have been denied advancement as a result of my anger
  • I’ve been cautioned or arrested because of an altercation caused by my anger.  

If you don’t identify with any of the above, but you still worry that your anger is more in control than you are, there are a number of ways to get help. Initially the best starting point is to speak with your GP who will be able to talk you through the various options available. Seeing your GP is especially important if you have a mental or physical health condition which could benefit from treatment and support. In some cases, anger eases when the symptoms of a health problem are appropriately managed. 

Talking therapies for anger 

Talking therapies involve speaking with a qualified professional who won’t judge but will offer a space safe to explore your concerns. 

Counselling

Counselling is usually delivered as a short-term treatment, of typically four to six sessions which can be delivered either over the phone or in person. The number of sessions someone attends depends on various factors and is a decision made following an initial assessment with your practitioner. Counselling is an established and safe, non-judgemental space to learn new ways of managing anger with the aim of reducing both the frequency and intensity of outbursts. Depending on a person’s individual situation, they may be offered one-to-one, group or couples counselling. 

If you’d like to speak to a counsellor in confidence about your anger, and whether short-term counselling could be an appropriate treatment for you, please call the retailTRUST helpline on 0808 801 0808. 

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a structured short-term talking therapy which helps you to understand how thoughts, feelings and behaviours affect each other. CBT offers individuals the protected space to gain a greater insight into their personal triggers. This allows them to develop personalised coping strategies which can help them manage their specific needs on an ongoing basis. In the case of someone who wants to learn how to control their anger and respond differently, CBT teaches the practical skills to be able to do this. 

If you’d like to speak to a counsellor in confidence about your anger and understand if CBT could be an appropriate treatment for you, please call the retailTRUST helpline on 0808 801 0808. 

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is usually delivered over the longer term, and sometimes after other approaches have been tried first. Psychotherapy sessions tend to take place in a face-to-face setting and may occur more than once a week. Psychotherapy can also last many years, depending on the client’s issues. This type of talking therapy is particularly effective in exploring more deep-rooted psychological issues from the past that might be influencing current anger, for example, trauma in childhood. The role of psychotherapy in anger management is to help the client learn more about themselves so that they can understand why they express their anger the way they do and why certain situations cause them to feel out of control. 

Psychotherapy is usually accessed privately but you can also speak with your GP who may be able to make a referral for support via the NHS. You can also visit the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy to find a therapist near you. 

Anger management courses 

Many NHS Trusts run free anger management courses which often involve working in a group setting, although some may also involve one-to-one sessions. Depending on the course, participants may use a mixture of counselling and CBT techniques. Your GP will be able to advise you of the options local to you.