Anger Issues

Anger Issues and Counselling for Jealousy in Belfast


What is anger?

Anger Management

Anger is an intense emotion that most of us feel from time to time. Suppressing anger is not the optimal way to deal with it; nor is the full expression of it because either extreme can lead to an undesirable outcome. With Cognitive Behavioural Therapy you can learn to deal with your anger in a constructive manner without suppressing it, or expressing it in an inappropriate way.

What causes anger?

Anger results from a person's reaction to how he perceives an event, not from the event itself. How is this possible? Imagine the following situation. Someone calls you 'selfish'. In any given group of people, not all will react with anger at being called 'selfish'. Each person might have a different reaction with some feeling angry, and others feeling hurt, ashamed, or guilty. Still others might react by feeling depressed, or even indifferent.

Therefore, if you agree that individual people react differently under the same circumstances, you are saying that not everyone perceives a situation in the same way. That difference in perception depends on the beliefs, inferences and interpretations learnt from earlier experiences.

Example of self-talk leading to Anger

In this example, you will see that the person feeling guilty and depressed is talking to herself in a very different way than the person feeling angry. That is because we perceive the situation according to our beliefs. These beliefs, and not the activating event itself, are the primary CAUSE of our anger.

Activanting Event



Someone calls me selfish
I need to work harder in behaving better. I always let people down.
I always do the wrong thing...What a horrible person I am!
Guilt and possible depression
Someone calls me selfish
Me, selfish? I am not selfish and you shouldn't think like that. I don't deserve to be called selfish because it's not true. Who's talking anyway? You are the one selfish. Anger

If the activating event were the cause of your anger, it could only be prevented by changing that situation. However, an alternative way of dealing with the anger, it would be changing anger into a less intense emotion, such as annoyance, for example. That would require you to take responsibility of your feelings. If you accepted the fact that your maladaptative beliefs are the cause of your anger, you could work towards changing those beliefs, instead of blaming the situation for "triggering" your feelings. In therapy, you can learn that you have a CHOICE to feel differently (remember, your feelings are largely CAUSED by the way you perceive the event) by changing those dysfunctional beliefs.

Feelings of disappointment or annoyance y be at times healthier (although still negative emotions) than anger, guilt or depression. Changing irrational beliefs about the situation that triggers feelings of anger could help you desengage from anger rumination quicker and notice a lesser level of anger.

Imagine the emotional impact on a person in the same situation if his or her beliefs were as follows:

Activanting Event



Someone calls me selfish
It would have been preferable if he hadn't told me that I am selfish, but there is no reason why he shouldn't express his opinion, as much as it is unfair. At the end of the day, I don't have to agree with her/his view. Besides, I don't even understand what he means by me being selfish. I will ask him if he can give me examples when he is bothered with me to see if we can put things right.
Disappointed (but not angry)

Cognitive Behavioural Treament for Anger problems

In CBT, anger management will focus on identifying and modifying those irrational or dysfunctional beliefs that are CAUSING your anger. You will develop strategies for communicating anger in an appropriate and respectful way. You can learn to control the factors that contribute to the anger by becoming more assertive and alleviating your anxiety.

Anger management is very effective once you recognise that you make yourself angry and you are willing to change some of your beliefs and behaviours. You may be able to transform unhealthy anger into healthier feelings such as annoyance or disappointment. This may be accomplished in as few as 6 to 12 therapy sessions. Between sessions, you will be asked to perform some tasks to practice what you have learnt.

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