Individuals who have difficulty controlling their anger often have difficulty coping with pressures from the outside world, other people and the way that these stressors impact behaviour. Individuals who have difficulties with anger and aggression often experience difficulties with negative thoughts and beliefs and interpersonal relationship problems. Anger can occur for a variety of reasons such as the belief that life is unfair, others who may have violated our respect, childhood situations where a person has been repeatedly criticised and humiliated and made to feel that they are worthless and unlovable. People often defend themselves against these situations by demonstrating aggression to protect their feelings of self worth.
Signs and symptoms of individuals who have difficulty controlling their anger also interpret experiences differently to others and experience errors in communicating with others. They may also experience tingling, heart palpitations, increased blood pressure, headaches and fatigue, deeper respiration, cortisol to depress the immune system, pupil dilation and increased energy.
Within Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) clients are assessed to identify anger symptoms and problem behaviours. After identifying the extent of an individual’s problem through formulation, an intervention plan is made. The Cognitive and Behavioural interventions used to aid in the reduction of anger symptoms include stress reduction and relaxation programmes to reduce the sense of threat, violation, frustration, fear and guilt.
Once an individual is able to identify their negative automatic thoughts, they are then asked to test these within real life settings teaching them to demonstrate a more balanced way of thinking. This also includes identifying individual’s core beliefs and schemas from early life and how they link to an individual’s aggressive behaviour.