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Anger Management Cognitive Behavioural Therapy #SoteldoPsychotherapy #Anger

Updated: Mar 28

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Failed or unmet expectations result in anger. Anger tends to emerge and thrive in instances when there is a disparity between expectations and reality. CBT has a detailed and effective approach in the management of anger, as manifested in numerous research that backs the efficacy of the strategies in this form of psychotherapy, including one by Aaron Becks titled prisoners of hate and cognitive of substance abuse.

This feature delves into the strategies and techniques used in CBT in the management of anger and related issues. Below is a highlight on how CBT is effective in anger management;

Getting started

The first step in CBT anger management is the preparation which involves the participant weighing their options. Recognizing choice opens up the eye and mind on the possibility of effectively dealing with and defeating anger-related issues. While it is certain that we are incapable of controlling a lot of happenings around us, like weather, the past, thoughts, or even emotions, we are in charge of our ability to choose how we respond to each circumstance and situation.

We also can choose on what to do in the instances of intrusive thoughts, sensation, and our emotions. We have the power on choosing to put our focus on the things we can control or are those that we cannot change irrespective of our response.

One of the strategies used in identifying our ability to choose how we respond to the various instances is based on cost-benefit analysis. You must have an insight or retrospect on the advantages and disadvantages of anger in every particular situation, making sure you check if the cost of anger outweighs the benefits. the eventual revelation is that the cost of anger is the same as the cost of aggression. While we are incapable of taking charge of anger, we can choose what we do with the anger. The choices in our response to anger can either be angry and aggressive, angry and passive-aggressive, angry and assertive or angry and passive, the result which will define our response to the particular situation.

The choice you make to respond to a situation or event that causes anger is highlighted below;

1. The “should” rule

It is important that in our response to anger, we recognize going against the should rule. Our behavior and the behavior of those around us are guided by set rules and expectations. Other people's actions or inactions coupled with our own experiences might result in feelings of guilt, anger, and pressure.

While it is almost impossible to control other people’s behaviors and emotions that might affect us, we have the power over our own choices.

The next stage in this responsive phase is picking a particular direction based on our values. Our values are defined by what makes us angry, our frustrations, and what enrages us. While we have no control over how people act in regards to our values, we have the power to act in accordance according to our will.

The final step in this approach is acting in the direction of our values. Evaluate the steps you need to take, and in which direction you should head. While those around you might ignore your wishes and sometimes intrude into your space, find a suitable reactive response to such cases. Be part of the solution by practicing fairness, truthfulness, and having principled interactions with others.

2. Identify what hurts

The next stage is identifying things or situations that hurt or scare us when our set rules are broken. The rules can either be close to our self-esteem, while others may be far off. The actions and reactions of others might greatly affect us, making us angry. We should accept the fact that those around us are responsible for their own emotions, attitude, behavior, and thoughts. It is also essential to identify that other people's input into our lives are not always intrusions, but can sometimes be of assistance.

3. Hot thoughts

The response to supper hot, anger-driven, and reactive thoughts must be cool, rational, and reflective thoughts.

4. Response to anger

To respond to anger arousal, techniques like relation that may include muscle relation, calm music, and visualization come into play. Another practical approach towards anger is redefying anger in totality and identify that anger is energy to problem solve. We must understand that anger becomes a problem is we use it to violate our deeper values, principles, and morals. How we use anger towards ourselves and those around us is what makes it a problem or not. We can turn the anger into a more positive and principled helpful response to ourselves and those around us.

5. Moral disengagement

You must identify factors that transform anger into aggression, which is a more destructive form. Such beliefs include excuses and the rationales we try to make to justify anger. The numerous excuses we give towards our response to anger lead us into disregarding our morals, rules, and principles. The result is engaging in negative responses that include demands, sarcasm, blames, and threats. It is important to remind ourselves how such techniques are costly and focusing our energy on the positive benefits of practicing empathy, patience, grace, and understanding.

6. Response towards aggression

This phase involves identifying the specific dysfunctional behaviours that might emerge. Although we might be tempted to show acts of aggression in total disregard for other people's rights, we can practice being empathetic with those that make us angry.

7. Outcome

The final phase in the response to anger is a reduction in resentment and guilt. We must view anger as a stepping stone to greater heights rather than a self-perpetuated failure or a failure. The guiding principle in gaining redemption towards anger is following the principles in "should statements." The guiding principles include reactive thoughts, anger beliefs, anger arousal, and our general response towards the stimuli of anger. Good and timely response results in fewer and spread out anger episodes.


The above-mentioned techniques and strategies highlight the best likely intervention towards aggression and anger. Although we are inclined to view anger as instant and our inability to control it, it is possible and practical to view anger as the energy that emerges when there is an antagonism between our reality and our expectations. We have to deal with the existing gap between our expectations and our reality because we can take control of the energy. Breaking down into smaller steps can give us the ability to identify the control that we have over it, enabling us to see the choices, possible interventions, and existing preventive measures.

Raquel Soteldo RP(Q), MA, ABA, PMP, CCC

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