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Anger is a normal emotion. But if it causes problems with relationships or work, a person may benefit from anger management classes.
In this article, we look at what anger management therapy involves. We also explore the options for in-person, online, and free anger management courses.
Anger management therapy comes in many forms. A person may attend it online or in person, alone or in a group. It may be part of family or couples counseling. Or, a person’s employer or a court might require it.
Anger management classes usually aim to help people understand their anger and improve their coping strategies. The specific approaches may vary among classes and providers.
A person may benefit from anger management if they:
- feel unable to control their anger
- physically or emotionally hurt others due to anger
- experience problems at work or legal problems
Some mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or depression, can make managing anger very challenging. Addressing these underlying health problems is another goal of some forms of anger management.
In-person therapy allows people to role play real-world situations. They will receive feedback on their behavior and gain support when they feel overwhelmed. Some treatment options include:
Anger management psychotherapy
Psychotherapy allows someone to work one-on-one with a therapist. The therapist can help a person understand their emotions, identify coping strategies, and receive support for stress and depression.
A 2009 review found that several types of therapy are effective for anger, including cognitive behavioral therapy and psychodynamic therapy.
Family therapy can help parents and caregivers respond to and manage their child’s emotions in a more effective way.
Another type that can help a person regulate their emotions is dialectical behavior therapy. According to a 2014 review, it has a positive impact on anger and aggression and can help with mindfulness and self-management skills.
Anger management group therapy
Group therapy is different from classes or support groups. It typically involves a therapist providing psychotherapy and skill-building for people who share similar conditions or experiences.
Group therapy can reduce feelings of isolation and provide additional support. Some people prefer a combination of group and individual therapies.
Anger management support groups
A support group offers education about anger and support from people with similar experiences. It is a chance to share feelings and ask for advice.
Many support groups do not include licensed therapists as mediators. Instead, group members lead or mediate sessions. They are usually free to participate in.
One popular option is Emotions Anonymous, a 12-step program that a person can attend at any time for as many sessions as they like.
Anger management training
These classes use a training model to improve people’s understanding and management of their emotions. Rather than offering therapy, these courses treat managing emotions as a skill.
Numerous organizations offer anger management training, including various churches and nonprofits.
Some traditional anger management programs and support groups are now accessible online, including Emotions Anonymous, which offer video conferencing, message board meetings, and Facebook chats.
Many therapists now offer traditional sessions online, too.
Some other options include:
- Talkspace, an online therapy that offers similar benefits to in-person counseling
- Course for Violence, a $25 anger management class for people with a history of domestic abuse
- Sanvello, an app for coping with anxiety, stress, and depression
Free classes can provide useful introductions to anger management. They may offer less personalized approaches and lack the fellowship and sense of belonging that traditional therapy and support groups provide, however.
New Hope for Anger and Domestic Violence
The New Hope for Anger and Domestic Violence course focuses on the link between the emotion and this form of violence.
It is free and lasts for 8 hours. However, participants who require a certificate of completion must pay a $25 fee.
For people who want a more comprehensive understanding, there are three additional classes for graduates of the beginner class.
Anger and Irritability Management Skills
The Anger and Irritability Management Skills class is designed for people who have served in the military.
The aim is to help people manage their emotions in a healthy way and cooperate with others.
Open Path Anger Management
The Open Path platform offers several anger management courses for different people. For example, some are designed for people with experiences of family and domestic violence.
The introductory class of the basic anger management training is free. It focuses on identifying and understanding emotions.
Participants may then decide to continue and pay for a certificate.
How long does a typical course last?
A person usually spends less time in court-ordered anger management classes than in individual psychotherapy, for example. In many cases, a person takes a single class that lasts 1 day.
These classes can help a person understand their anger, but they are unlikely to address the issues behind the anger, such as trauma or relationship difficulties. When anger causes ongoing problems, a person may benefit from longer-term therapy.
Meanwhile, support groups can offer a lasting sense of belonging and understanding, as well as practical tools, and many of these are free.
Anger can disrupt a person’s relationships and career, and it may cause legal problems. However, there are various ways to understand and deal in a healthy way with the causes of anger and their effects.
No single approach works for everyone, and a person may need to try courses, support groups, and forms of therapy before they find the most effective option or combination of approaches.