Often when we are angry, the main thing that we are aware of is our angry mood. Our mood can vary in strength from a mild irritation to a white hot rage. When we look for causes of our anger, we most often direct our attention outwards, to events, people or situations in our immediate world or surroundings.

Our mood is a key part of the anger, but it is not the only part. The other part we need to consider is the environment. We need to look at how changes in this affect us, and how we in turn may make changes in our behaviour that affect our environment. At Cork Cognitive Therapy we offer a comprehensive CBT programme in Anger Management.

What causes anger

It can be caused by reacting to things outside us such as other people or events (such as a traffic jam) or by worrying over our own personal problems. Upsetting memories from the past can also lead to angry thoughts and feelings.

It is important to note that it is not people or events that make you angry; it is your reaction to them that makes you angry. Some people tend to be more angry than others.

Research has shown that they have a low tolerance for frustration. It may be that some people are naturally more like this from birth, but it may also be that they have not learned to handle anger and to express their feelings in other ways. Getting very angry is never helpful and the belief that it can make you feel better is not true.

Research has found that if you let your anger loose it can get out of control. Being angry means you do not learn to handle the situation.

CBT for Anger

A meta analysis is a research study that combines the results of multiple studies to give an overall assessment. Meta analysis is one of the most robust ways of deciding if a particular mechanism works or not. In 1998 Richard Beck and Ephrem Fernandez examined whether CBT was effective for dealing with anger. They looked at over 50 studies involving 1,640 participants and found that the average participant was 76% better off after the treatment.

What’s involved?

The course of CBT for anger management involves a detailed examination of your personal anger. This will lead to a systemic formulation which is like a timeline that shows you how you got to where you are today and why you use anger. The formulation will also detail what maintains the anger. The focus of treatment then moves to breaking the cycle and enabling more positive choices.