Anger Management

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Daytime, Evening & Weekend Classes

Accelerated Classes, earn up to 12 hours in one weekend

Experiencing anger is normal. The issue is how you express your anger. Although anger appears to be primarily destructive, once given the tools, anger can be constructive. Constructive uses of anger includes the identification of problems and knowing when someone has crossed your boundaries.

Anger does not have to negatively impact your relationships and career. With anger management classes, you can learn how to deal with your anger to improve the quality of your life and your relationships with others. A certified anger management professional can assist you in identifying the sources of your anger, unhealthy behaviors, and negative thoughts. To replace these negative thoughts and behaviors, you will learn relaxation techniques, healthy coping skills, effective communication skills, and conflict resolution skills.

Anger management classes are available at various times and days to suit your needs. Anger coaching is appropriate for court-mandated individuals, self-referred individuals, and work-referred individuals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why am I here?

  • My boss sent me.
  • The judge sent me.
  • My significant other asked me to attend class.
  • Anger is causing me problems and I need to deal with it now.
  • Someone I care about has issues with their anger, so I’m looking to find out how I can help them? Can I help them?
  • I feel ashamed and guilty about actions I have committed.
  • It doesn’t feel good when I get angry. I do not like to feel guilty. I do not like to feel ashamed, and I do not like regretting my feelings.

What is anger?

  • Anger is a secondary emotion to fear.
  • Fear, by definition, is the unpleasant emotional state consisting of psychological and physiological responses to a real or perceived threat or danger, including agitation, alertness, tension, and mobilization of the alarm reaction.
  • You get angry when you are scared and you experience a loss of control.
  • Anger serves as a self-defense mechanism.
  • Anger may be a result of displaced aggression.

When is anger a problem?

  • Anger has become a problem is when it leads to violence.
    • Violence is displayed in many ways:
      • Emotional violence (using words to psychologically hurt someone)
      • Physical violence (using yourself or objects around you to inflict harm on yourself or another person or even pets).
  • Additional signs that anger has become a problem:
    • A change in the intensity of your anger (e.g. you used to get annoyed by someone tapping their pencil, now you imagine yourself going over to the person, yelling at them, and breaking their pencil).
    • A change in the duration of your anger (e.g. after counting backwards from 10, you were able to think clearly and let the anger go, now nothing stops your anger and you ruminate about it for longer periods of time.)
    • A change in the frequency of your anger (e.g. you use to be frustrated about getting stuck in 5 o’clock traffic just as the brake lights turn on, but now you find yourself angry through your whole commute, even once the traffic has lightened up.)
    • You may notice you have become short-tempered with those you love.
    • You may be yelling obscenities or honking your horn at drivers on the road.

How do I know I am angry?

  • Cognitive Signs:
    • You may not be able to get things done.
    • You feel you are unable to concentrate on tasks.
    • You might not function as well at work or at home.
    • Your grades at school may be going down.
    • Your work projects are left unfinished.
    • You forget important appointments or frequently miss scheduled meetings.
    • Things around you have become distractions.
    • You are not performing as well as you used to.
  • Physical Signs:
    • Headaches
    • Muscle aches
    • Changes in breathing (faster or slower)
    • Upset stomach
    • Sleep disturbances
    • Flushed or pale complexion
    • Change in skin tone (color or sweating)
    • Prickling sensations or numbness in extremities
    • Increased heart rate
    • Increased resting blood pressure
    • Body sweats
    • Teeth grinding
    • Clenched fists
    • Yelling, screaming or a raise in your voice
    • Hitting or breaking things

How are people responding to me?

  • People’s faces look like they are disgusted with my behaviors.
  • Strangers and loved ones look angry or disappointed with me.
  • Friends do not invite me over.
  • Friends and family no longer call me.
  • I find myself alone more often than not.
  • I am getting into fights
  • Strangers refuse my help.
  • The police or security guards escort me out of places.
  • My friends do not let me drink with them.
  • I become a victim of road rage.
  • It seems my kids don’t feel safe with me.
  • Folks are afraid of me.
  • I’ve been asked to leave houses, parties, or my classroom.

What are some things I can do to stop from getting so angry?

  • Leave the situation. If someone is making you angry, walk away. If it is the environment you are in (class, work, meeting), leave the room.
  • If you like to listen to music, turn it on and use it as a distraction.
  • If you can, go for a 10-minute walk or exercise.
  • If you enjoy playing video games, turn them on and start playing.
  • If you are inclined to physical violence, punch a pillow or scream it out. DO NOT inflict harm on yourself or another person.

How do friends, family, and co-workers treat me?

  • They aren’t calling me back.
  • They aren’t picking up my phone calls.
  • I’m feeling abandoned.
  • They get angry with me.
  • I embarrass them.
  • They act scared of me.

Does anger affect everyone around me? Here are a few scenarios:

  • The impact of anger on personal relationships:
    • John hasn’t hit anyone yet, but his wife is scared and the intimacy in the relationship has ended. Although John has not physically harmed his wife, his anger has caused severe damage to his relationship with his wife. She no longer trusts him and is now frightened of him, especially when he has mood swings. She expressed that she just wants to feel safe again and being around her husband makes her nervous. John does not listen to his wife so she is forced to move in with her parents until he goes for help and gets his anger under control.
    • A client’s son has a temper tantrum at a family picnic and the cousins won’t invite their family over anymore. The family was embarrassed by a teenager lashing out and refused to invite them to future gatherings.
    • Janice’s daughter has trouble at school. Her daughter is not attending class, refuses to raise her hand to speak, and her grades steadily begin to go down. Janice’s anger at home is negatively impacting her daughter’s performance in school.

Where does anger come from?

  • Psychologically
    • Personality traits may play a role in the experience of anger.
    • Some research suggests that some people have a predisposition for to experience anger more than others. This predisposition may impair the regulatory process in the brain; and as a result, may increase the likelihood of impulsive antisocial and/or aggressive behavior.
    • When people are in situations that cause anger, they develop unique coping styles and anger expression styles; and these styles may be maladaptive.
    • Healthy coping skills yields positive affect and includes behaviors such as re-framing, problem solving, and creating positive meaning.
    • Some people develop adaptive strategies; whereas others develop maladaptive strategies.
    • Individuals who develop adaptive strategies are more likely to resolve the situations that cause anger; whereas people who develop less-effective styles are more likely to exacerbate the situation, resulting in an increase in their anger.
  • Biologically
    • The amygdala has been identified as the area of the brain responsible for anger processing. Damage to this area of the brain results in the inability to recognize and/or experience and express anger.
    • Research has found that emotional reactions including anger occur before higher-level cognitive processing (Mayne & Ambrose, 1999). This rapid response of emotions is an adaptive trait because of its inability to assist in a quick reaction to potential threats in the environment. However, this response process happens in the primitive part of our brains; and as a result, it is possible for emotions such as anger to be triggered inappropriately or without awareness of anger.
    • Once an emotion is activated, a regulatory process begins where the individual begins to take in cues from the environment. Then higher cognitive thought is used to evaluate the course of action. The environmental cues, thoughts and behaviors then filter back to the amygdala, which takes in the information and regulates the emotion (Mayne & Ambrose, 1999).
    • The brain evaluates if anger is a justifiable response, considering the environmental cues (who is to blame, potential harm, and the usefulness of anger in the given situation).
    • Processing occurs extremely quickly. Some estimates suggest it takes only a quarter of a second between the trigger and the emotional response from the amygdala.
    • This process triggers reactions in the body similar to flight-or-flight reactions, which starts the flow of adrenaline and nor-adrenaline through your body. Your body is getting ready to fight against a wrong done against you.
    • Blood flow is also increasing to the frontal lobe near an area over the left eye, which controls reasoning. This area is known as the orbito-frontal cortex (OFC);and damage to this area results in impulsive behavior. In general, the amygdala and the OFC operate to create a balancing effect. The amygdala may trigger a reaction, but the OFC introduces reasoning, which helps prevent irrational reactions like throwing or breaking things in response to a trigger (Edmonds, M. & Archer, 2009).
    • Although not always the case, aggressive behaviors and/or violence may be displayed as a reaction to an emotion like anger.
    • In animals, aggressive behaviors are often the result of conflicts over resources. Similarly in humans, anger- induced aggression often involves disputes over resources or status (insults).
    • There are two categories of aggression that have been identified in human beings:
      • 1) Instrumental (proactive) aggression: typically directed toward reaching some goal, and displayed in a non-emotional way.
      • 2) Hostile (reactive) aggression: associated with an elevated emotional state, and involves aggressive behavior. This type of aggression is more impulsive, less controlled and is a defensive reaction in response to a situation such as being frustrated, receiving an insult, or being provoked by another in some way (Mayne & Ambrose, 1999 and Scarpa & Raine, 1997).
  • Brain Chemistry
    • Some people have a predisposition to anger based on their genetic make-up and biological chemistry.
  • Developmentally
    • You may have learned to express anger from growing-up in an angry home life.
  • Learned Behavior
    • Anger worked for a while. It may have even helped you to get what you wanted.
      • Example: You are waiting for your flight to board and the airline attendant informs you that you have been bumped to the next flight. Instead of stepping aside, you cause a scene and demand the mistake be fixed. The flight attendant gets you back on your flight. Yes, anger succeeded in getting you back on this flight. However, should you cause another scene on the plane, the airline may escort you out of the airport and may ban you from future flights with them. Anger may have helped you in that moment, but it has the potential to negatively affect your future.

Do men and women experience anger differently?

  • Women
    • Anger for a woman, in part, can be triggered by close, intimate relationships, such as with a partner, family members, friends, and co-workers.
      • Research has shown that when a woman’s core values or principles are violated, anger may be triggered. However, a woman’s anger may be inhibited due to her fear that showing the anger could damage her relationships.
      • Women’s anger may be provoked mainly by lack of relationship reciprocity in their closest intimate relationships.
      • Many women use terms or phrases to describe anger that are cooking metaphors such as “simmering” “stewing” or “boiling”. The inhibited anger may come out a little at a time through passive-aggressive behaviors.
      • If an angry outburst does occur, a woman is more likely to feel guilt and self-blame because of the loss of control.
  • Men
    • Anger is more likely to be a result of a perceived sense of loss of control or violation of his views of right and wrong.
    • Men are more often provoked by strangers, faulty mechanical objects, or global societal issues in which a principle was at stake or an injustice was perceived.
    • Men are likely to judge others, as well as their own behaviors as either right or wrong, and then may feel the need to react in a certain way according to society’s standards.
      • "Right" anger is anger that is considered justified, appropriate to the offense, and makes the point.
      • “Wrong” anger may involve a loss of control, such as hitting and/or a failure to react in a masculine way.
    • Words used to describe anger by some men include a runaway horse, fire, flood, or vortex (Thomas, 2003 a.&b.)

How do you diagnose an anger problem?

  • Anger is a symptom of some disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), such as oppositional defiant disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, intermittent explosive disorder or borderline personality disorder. However, no criteria currently exists in the DSM-IV to specifically diagnose an anger problem.
  • Although there are no diagnostic criteria for anger problems, symptoms have been identified that correlate with higher anger populations such as:
    • More intense anger across various situations
    • Tendency to suppress anger
    • Tendency to express anger negatively and with more serious consequences
    • Tendency to blame others for bad events
    • Perception that others’ behavior is intentional towards/against the person
    • More likely to respond with a negative verbal response
    • More likely to act physically aggressive
    • Poor coping with common stressors
    • Lower self-esteem
    • Greater risk for substance abuse (Del Vecchio & O’Leary, 2004)
  • Although no diagnostic criteria exist in the DSM at this time, some researchers have proposed criteria and disorders which they suggest should be added.
  • The term “anger attack” has been coined by some researchers to refer to brief periods of anger out of proportion to what is considered appropriate in the situation, and accompanied by a feeling of being out of control.
  • Individuals experiencing these “attacks” have reported symptoms similar to those experienced during a panic attack, such as increased heart rate, sweating, and loss of feeling in control (Lench, 2004).

If “anger” is not in the DSM-IV, are there tests that will tell me about my anger?

State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI)
  • It is the most well-known and widely used anger scale developed by Spielberger.
  • This measure is a 44-item scale that measures anger by evaluating experience, expression, and control of anger at a particular time.
  • The Anger Expression and Anger Control scales assess four relatively independent anger-related traits:
    • (a) expression of anger toward other persons or objects in the environment (Anger Expression-Out)
    • (b) holding in or suppressing angry feelings (Anger Expression-In)
    • (c) controlling angry feelings by preventing the expression of anger toward other persons or objects in the environment (Anger Control-Out)
    • (d) controlling suppressed angry feelings by calming down or cooling off (Anger Control-In).
      • Individuals rate themselves on 4-point scales that assess both the intensity of their anger at a particular time and the frequency that anger is experienced, expressed, and controlled.
  • This measure distinguishes between state anger and trait anger.
    • State anger is a distinctive episode of anger that may vary in intensity and duration. The experience of state anger occurs along a continuum from mild to moderate emotions including irritation, annoyance, and frustration, to highly elevated emotions including fury and rage.
    • Trait anger is defined by the frequency with which one has episodes of state anger. Trait anger describes a more consistent personality tendency to experience state anger.
  • Someone with low trait/high state anger is a person who has infrequent, yet intense/violent episodes of anger whereas someone with high trait/low state anger will experience consistent, but mild-moderate (without intense/violent episodes) anger.
  • High anger expression is associated more frequently with aggression and violence while high anger suppression is associated with hypertension (Mayne & Ambrose, 1999 & Deffenbacher, et al., 1996a).

The Novaco Anger Scale (NAS)

  • The NAS measures the intensity of your anger, qualifies your reactions to certain situations, assesses how you experience anger, and gives a person an understanding of what kind of situations provoke your anger
  • The test is broken down as follows:
    • Total
      • General inclination toward anger reactions, based on cognitive, arousal, and behavior sub-scales
    • Cognitive
      • Anger justification, rumination, hostile attitude, and suspicion
    • Arousal
      • Anger intensity, duration, somatic tension, and irritability
    • Behavior
      • Impulsive reaction, verbal aggression, physical confrontation, and indirect expression
    • Anger Regulation
      • Ability to regulate anger-engendering thought, effect self-calming, and engage in constructive behavior when provoked

Biofeedback

  • This is another tool that may be utilized to assist in assessing anger and anger-related arousal.
  • Biofeedback is especially helpful to utilize with clients whose health is being impacted by their anger (such as elevated heart rate and high blood pressure) (Mayne & Ambrose, 1999).
Since there is no set criteria from which to evaluate anger, it may be helpful to assess many different facets of the emotion and its impact on the person and their relationships. Examples: how prone to anger the person is/trait anger, the intensity of the experience of anger/state-anger, the expression of anger expressed, and the conditions that brought on the anger (the antecedent).

What is Anger Management?

  • Anger management involves modifying both internal and external cues that bring out anger in an individual.
  • The purpose is to help the person avoid anger activating triggers and/or regulate the physiological, cognitive and behavioral responses to the triggers in an effort to keep the anger from escalating/loss of control.
  • Anger management is not meant to suppress anger, but to help the person maintain control.
    • Anger suppression has been shown to be detrimental to health and has been linked to problems including cardiovascular disease.
  • Anger management helps a person achieve a balance between completely suppressing the emotion and losing control/acting in destructive way.
  • Expressing emotions, including anger, is important for an individual's emotional, social, and physical health, as well as helping to address the situation in a constructive manner (Mayne & Ambrose, 1999).
  • The expression of anger can serve multiple purposes depending on the situation and the relationship to the person.
    • Anger expression can serve to demonstrate power, which may be an attempt to make certain that the activating trigger doesn’t get repeated.
    • Anger expression may help preserve the relationship with the person by addressing the problem that caused anger in the first place.
    • Finally, anger expression is a way of communicating one’s beliefs about appropriate and inappropriate ways of behaving. (http://health.howstuffworks.com/mental-health/human-nature/other-emotions/anger3.htm).
    • Roffman (2004) puts it eloquently, “the experience of anger presents itself as a moment of responsibility for effective action”.
  • Anger expression can be put into three different categories:
    • 1) anger-in: tendency to feel anger, but suppress the feelings, keeping them in. Individuals who are categorized as anger-in, experience anger that is as intense as anger-out individuals, but rather than openly express the anger, they are internally upset and hold grudges and may be critical.
    • 2) anger-out: a tendency to openly express anger, usually in negative and aggressive ways.
    • 3) anger control: tendency to regulate the emotional and behavioral response to anger. Anger-control individuals are more patient and calmer than anger-out or anger-in individuals, and tend to engage in self-soothing/calming activities that lower cognitive and emotional arousal (Deffenbacher et al., 1996b).
  • Both anger-in and anger-out styles have been associated with negative consequences.
  • Anger-in has been associated with higher blood pressure, increased severity of cardiovascular disease and increased death due cardiovascular issues. Anger-in has also been correlated with depression.
  • Anger-out has been associated with drug addiction, binge-eating, impulsivity, and narcissism along with anxiety (Stewart et al., 2008).

What are the different treatments?

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
    • CBT is based on the Cognitive Model of Emotional Response.
    • Cognitive-behavioral therapy is based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors, not external things, like people, situations, and events.
    • The benefit of this approach is that we can change the way we think to feel/act better even if the situation does not change.
  • Behavior Modification Therapy
    • Focuses on changing of undesirable behaviors and replacing them with healthy behaviors
    • Techniques learned will include: assertiveness training, desensitization, environment modification, positive reinforcement, modeling, social skills training, and relaxation techniques.
  • Relaxation
    • Yoga
    • Pilates
    • Tai Chi
    • Meditation
    • Massage
    • Pressure points
  • Pharmacological/ Psychotropic Medications:
    • Anti-anxiety
    • Mood stabilizers
  • Homeopathic
    • Ginseng, mint, or chamomile- based teas
    • Acupuncture
For more information about one of our classes, call:

(424) 239-6472

MULTIPLE LOCATIONS
We have offices throughout Los Angeles, the Valley and South Bay
near public transportation.

Services are provided in safe, private,
comfortable and confidential offices
FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING/EXTENDED HOURS

GROUP AND INDIVIDUAL 1-1 Classes AVAILABLE


Group or Individual sessions are available
during the day, evenings and weekends.

In addition, we offer Tele-mental health services:
Online and Telephone Counseling.

We offer Accelerated Programs:

Saturday and Sunday Classes
up to 12 hours of classes

OR

Day & Evening Classes
Up to 6 hours

For more information or to register for a class, call:
 
(424) 239-6472
  

DAZ Foundation

DAZ Foundation
Locations: Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Venice, Marina del Rey, Playa Vista, Mar Vista, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Torrance, Cerritos, Lakewood, Inglewood

Phone:   (424) 239-6472
Website: http://www.DAZFoundation.com
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