Reflect on your most recent experience with anger: Was there a specific incident triggering it, or did your emotional response catch you by surprise? Assess whether you are content with how you handled your anger or if you would opt for a different approach in the future. Consider instances in your life when managing anger proved challenging. Keep reading to learn 55 anger management questions you can ask clients in therapy sessions.
As individuals, we naturally undergo a spectrum of emotions, some bringing joy and delight, while others pose discomfort and challenge. For certain individuals, anger may serve as a more comfortable and accessible emotion to express, acting as a shield against more vulnerable feelings, thereby indicating a need to address the underlying emotions.
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If we do not cope with or manage our anger, we can easily get into trouble. If someone is unable to effectively manage their anger, they may find themselves acting out in aggressive manners, which can be dangerous physically and emotionally.
Imagine that you have a closet in your home that you use to hide your uncomfortable emotions. When you feel something uncomfortable or vulnerable, you push it away in the closet and shut the door; out of sight, out of mind, right? But what happens when that closet becomes so full of emotion that you are unable to close the door? The emotions can compound into something bigger and contribute to a large expression of anger.
Individuals who are living with uncontrolled anger may experience:
- Become easily frustrated
- “Blowing up” or “exploding”
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Finding themselves in arguments easily
- Having their anger last more than 30 minutes
- Intense or inappropriate anger reactions
- Intentionally causing harm to others or animals
- Physical violence
- Road rage
Uncontrolled anger is not associated with any particular mental health diagnosis; however, it can be present among individuals who are living with various mental health concerns. Anger treatment often utilizes cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) during which clients learn to pick up on their unhealthy thoughts and false beliefs. Depending on personal needs, psychotropic medications may be helpful for those who have fluctuating moods. Helpful lifestyle recommendations can include abstaining from substance use and developing a healthy support system.
Preparing for a New Anger Management Client
As you prepare for a session with a new client, it is often helpful to spend time reviewing any information that you have already received. This can include self-evaluations and referrals from other health professionals. Allow for time to review other documentation that you will need to complete, such as a biopsychosocial assessment, consent of release, and other assessments or screeners.
Once you have met with your client and have a better picture of their anger management concerns, you can then work to develop an effective treatment plan. You may find that the use of Anger Management Worksheets is beneficial for you and your client. Worksheets can provide them with a reminder of what they learned in their sessions so that they can work to apply this knowledge to their daily life.
Lastly, it is important to be mindful of your own mental health needs. Mental health professionals are human beings who experience a range of emotions, and sometimes, we have bad days as well. Our best work occurs when we can focus on our client and their needs, so it is important that we take care of ourselves so that our needs are not taking away from the energy and focus we typically provide our clients. You may find that taking a moment to meditate, take a deep breath, or go for a short walk helps you cope with your own emotional experiences.
Anger Management Questions to Ask Therapy Clients
Anger is an example of a natural emotion that each of us can experience. Individuals who find themselves struggling to cope with or manage their anger may find several areas of their lives impacted. Anger management questions can be used to gather information about your client’s experiences and their perception of their anger, in addition to checking in on their ability to utilize the skills and resources that you have introduced to them. Continue reading for our list of anger discussion questions that you could use in therapy sessions!
- Can you tell me about any experiences you have had with relaxation techniques?
- Can you tell me about any changes that you noticed within your body, thoughts, and emotions after engaging in the relaxation practice?
- Can you describe a time when you observed someone cope with their own emotions in a healthy manner?
- How are you feeling today?
- Was there anything that happened recently that you wanted to talk about?
- Can you think of a situation since our last session that you feel you handled well?
- Were there any challenging experiences you had that you want to talk about?
- Can you tell me when you began to notice that your anger may have been a concern?
- How do others around you express themselves when they’re upset?
- How do you feel your anger has impacted your relationships?
- How do you feel you have been impacted by someone else’s anger?
- Can you think of a time when your anger surprised you, or caught you off guard?
- Can you think of healthy ways that you express your anger?
- Are there any unhealthy ways that you express your anger?
- Do you think that your anger is a habit?
- Which of the following resonates with you when you’re angry; exploding, being violent, feeling out of control
- Are there any signs or changes that you can pick up on during the escalation before you reach the point of anger?
- Can you tell me about your thoughts when you’re angry? Are there any common themes for you?
- Who in your life can you reach out to for support when you are having a hard time?
- Can you tell me about what you were doing before you felt angry?
- How was your day before the event when you were angry?
- When you become angry, do you want to leave or stay and fight?
- Were you able to get the outcome you had hoped for when you were angry? How might it have been different if you were able to express yourself in a healthier way?
- Do you feel as though you are responsible for your anger?
- How do you cope with distress when it comes up for you?
- Are there any emotions that you’re uncomfortable sitting with or feeling?
- Can you think of someone in your life who you don’t think struggles with anger? Why do you think that is?
- How do you feel your thoughts about a person or a situation impact your anger?
- How would you describe someone who handles their anger well?
- When you were younger, how did the adults in your life express themselves?
- Do you find yourself apologizing to others after the dust has settled?
- Have you noticed any patterns regarding your anger and other emotions?
- In what ways does your anger help you?
- Are there any benefits to being angry about this?
- Can you tell me about what you feel the “right” and “wrong” ways are to cope with your anger?
- Can you think of any ways that you have been harmed or hurt by your own anger?
- Have you noticed any changes in your body when you are angry often? Anything like holding tension, changes in your appetite, or your sleep?
- Do you feel in control when you use substances after becoming angry?
- What happens to your numbed emotions when you are no longer under the influence?
- How can handling your anger differently affect your life?
- Have you found any coping skills that help with your anger?
- Have you noticed any triggers or patterns for your anger?
- Are there any benefits or gains to your anger?
- Can you think of any ways your anger has harmed you physically?
- How often do you reach out when you are struggling?
- Have you had an experience where you initially felt an emotion you were uncomfortable with, and then felt angry? Can you tell me about what was going on?
- Are there any other feelings under your anger?
- Have you ever felt judged or criticized by others about your anger?
- How do those around you feel about your anger?
- What changes do you notice within your body when you feel angry? As an example, your heart may speed up, you feel warm, or you may clench your fists.
Final Thoughts on Asking the Right Therapy Questions for Clients with Anger Issues
Thank you for taking the time to read our article about anger management questions! If you haven’t encountered anger in your clinical practice yet, it is likely that you will at some point, as it is an inherent aspect of the human experience. By thoroughly understanding your client and the impact of their anger, you can assist them in acquiring skills and strategies to enhance their capacity for coping with this emotion.
If you are interested in learning more about uncontrolled anger, and anger management therapy, we encourage you to look for training opportunities and Continuing Education opportunities. Supervision can be a valuable resource to you as you work with clients who are struggling with their uncontrolled anger.
TherapyPatron.com helps mental health professionals better serve their clients. Our (editable, fillable, printable PDF) therapy worksheets can help you streamline your practice, effectively deliver different types of therapy, and support your clients be the best version of themselves.
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- American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Understanding anger: How psychologists help with Anger Problems. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/topics/anger/understanding