Inside an Anger Management Counseling Session

When it comes to anger management counseling, there are some specific things that you can do within a session to help your client experience high quality results and improvements to their own ability to control their anger.  Here is a basic overview of what should be included in a successful anger management counseling session.

Discuss Triggers

One of the keys to discovering ways for your client to control their anger through anger management counseling is to pinpoint the things that are likely to set off their anger.  There may be a common thread through these triggers which is important to your client. Knowing why they get so angry is key to understanding how to put a stop to it. So the first thing you should help your client do is to identify various trigger events for their anger. 

Triggers may have many sources, and sometimes these can even go back to childhood memories. They are usually sources of sadness which have evolved over time into angry feelings as that sadness has not been relieved. Helping your client to understand their source of anger will not only help them to understand where the anger comes from, but how to ultimately stop it. Once they understand the source they’re quicker to recognize when they are getting angry and nip it before it expands out of control. 

Calming Skills

Once a patient understands what they are getting angry about, they’ll be more likely to recognize their anger early on. Once they have the ability to recognize anger early on, it’s time to use anger management counseling to teach them the necessary skills to calm themselves before their anger escalates out of control. These skills should also include teaching the client how to recognize when they have ceased to think logically as the anger takes control and puts them into an alternate state of mind that is mostly reactionary and less logic based.

Calming skills can include breathing skills, time management skills and learning to put themselves first. Breathing skills are the most basic and they will give the most immediate result for your clients.

Teach Communication Skills

Many anger management counseling clients are surprised to learn how much poor communication is affecting their anger and how quickly and how much it escalates.  Unfortunately, this is a very highly misunderstood truth.  Anger often starts from a trigger but then escalates as the angry person continues to use poor communication tactics to try to get what they need.  Poor communication then results in the inability for anyone around the angry person to actually be able to help that person because that person doesn’t ask for what they need correctly, and then they just continue to get more and angry as time goes on.

Give your client many different skills for good communication so that they can try out various styles.  A person who is having anger management problems probably has never before tried to improve their communication, which is why the anger has gotten to the uncontrollable point that it has.  Therefore, a lot of time and patience will be needed as part of the anger management counseling.  This should be one of the main focuses as you and your client work on together.

Express Needs

One very common root of anger is unmet needs.  You’ll need to work with your client to identify ways in which their needs are not being met and ways in which they can proactively have these needs met without resorting to anger.

When a person feels that their needs aren’t being met, it can be frustrating and difficult.  This is why teaching your clients how to recognize and express their needs is a very important skill and should be a large part of an anger management counseling session. 

This can be a challenge as unmet needs which have gone on for years and years are often a reason for anger.  You’ll be working with a client who has a long history of failing to use good communication and skills to get what they need.  Breaking old habits is hard, so working on figuring out ways for your clients to get their needs met before they have to become angry will be a significant amount of your time together.    

Focus on Problem Solving

You should also help you client focus on problems solving.  This may include focusing on actions instead of feelings when they are angry. This is one of the easier parts of anger management counseling because if you have a client who has looked at themselves and their anger hard enough to realize that they need anger management counseling, they are usually ready to make a change and begin to focus on doing something to help themselves.  They will very likely be ready to learn some problem solving skills.


Are you ready to pursue a career in counseling? Get information on schools in your area and online using our counseling degree finder at the top of this page.


For more information, read on at the link cited below.