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Counselors Addressing Anger Management

Counselors Addressing Anger Management

While anger is a normal human emotion, it can become problematic when it starts to cause impairment or disturbances in the life of a person and those around them. Anger is defined as a negative state of emotion that can be associated with physiologic arousal and thoughts that can be directed to a person or object that is considered to be the cause of the issue. The presence of anger can contribute to irrational thoughts and behaviors if it is not properly regulated, and the ability to effectively recognize anger is important for keeping a person and those around them safe. This is where a counselors input can prove to be invaluable when it comes to strategies for anger management. While not as common, anger can lead to extreme acts of violence, so counselors that have awareness of triggers and warning signs, can help to identify when anger may escalate.

As a counselor, do I believe that I am fully informed about ways to manage anger that presents in a client?

This is question that I pose when presented with a client that states anger as their chief complaint. When a client presents with concerns about their degree of anger, this can be tied to the lack of control that they may experience whenever they find themselves in this emotional state. As a counselor it is my responsibility to guide a client through the process of defining their anger, its origins, and how it impacts their quality of life.  When the impact of anger becomes too great or too frequent a person will seek out the aid of a counselor to obtain better control of this particular emotion.

Signs and Symptoms of Anger

Anger generally has a negative connotation because it can be associated with yelling, screaming, and acts of violence if properly reigned in. However, anger is considered to be a healthy part of human emotion that can be warranted in certain situations, which does not lead to violence. Unfortunately, when anger becomes destructive or harmful, this is when assistance should be sought out. When an individual is unable to process and manage their anger it can become dangerous.

The manner in which anger management is achieved is through the assessment of a person’s state of anger and trait anger.

  • State anger is the intensity of the anger that is experienced by a person at a period in time
  • Trait anger is associated with a person that experiences many anger outbursts and are perceived to be always irritable

The identification of the type and presentation can prove to be instrumental when it comes to determining the best course of action.

Management of Anger

Though there are a number of applications that can be applied to manage anger, one of the most common employed strategies is the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps to assess and monitor a person’s anger patterns in order to apply tools to reduce occurrence when they are provoked. The use of CBT has been shown to help to identify those specific trigger or stressful events that might cause a person distress in their daily lives.  A counselor works with the client to help identify the particular triggers that can lead to anger and tries to mitigate the feelings by changing those thoughts that centers around the triggers. This is a process that takes time and this should be carefully communicated to the client. 

The benefits of CBT can include improved emotional regulation and learning how to take the time to pause before a person acts out of anger. As a counselor it is important to work closely with the client in order to identify the underlying causes of the angry outbursts and work to engage in better regulation when triggers arise.


To learn more about anger management techniques and strategies, click on the fact sheet below. It is through a collaborative effort that a counselor and client can work to address anger outbursts that can negatively impact quality of life.

ABCT Anger Fact Sheet:


Anderson-Malico R. (1994). Anger management using cognitive group therapy. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care30(3), 17–20.

Chipidza, F., Wallwork, R. S., Adams, T. N., & Stern, T. A. (2016). Evaluation and Treatment of the Angry Patient. The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders18(3), 10.4088/PCC.16f01951.

Shoreline. (2022). Signs and symptoms of anger and irritability

Staicu, M. L., & Cuţov, M. (2010). Anger and health risk behaviors. Journal of Medicine and Life3(4), 372–375.

Abimbola Farinde

Dr. Farinde is a professor at Columbia State University and has published multiple articles about psychopharmacotherapy. Dr. Farinde has worked as a clinical specialist for the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center in Fort Hood. As a devoted clinical pharmacy specialist and addictions counselor who excels in all clinical environments, she has worked with active duty soldiers with dual diagnoses of a traumatic brain injury and a psychiatric disorder providing medication therapy management and disease state management. Dr. Farinde has also worked with mentally impaired and developmentally disabled individuals at a state supported living center. The breadth of her clinical practice allows her to bring a unique perspective to her educational material. In 2021, Dr. Farinde was awarded the Davida Coady Gorham Medical Professional of the Year award. She is an adjunct mentor with California Southern University.

More by Dr. Farinde

Opinions and viewpoints expressed in this article are the author's, and do not necessarily reflect those of CE Learning Systems.

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