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Addressing Anger in Relationships: A Brief Guide for Your Career as a Counsellor

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While many people try to suppress anger, it’s actually a natural human emotion that can be healthy to express in the right ways. If you’re pursuing a counsellor therapist career, then you may encounter clients who struggle with excessive anger or expressing their anger in unhealthy ways within their relationships.

At Rhodes Wellness College, our Professional Counselling program qualifies graduates to work with individuals and groups on a variety of issues, including trauma and abuse, addictions, family and relationship problems, and more. Anger can be a recurring theme in many of these situations, making your understanding and use of proper methods important for you to best help your clients. Continue reading to learn more about the triggers of anger in relationships and how to help your clients overcome these strong emotions.

Understanding Addictive Anger After Clinical Counsellor Training

According to research, behavior and substance addictions may have the ability to affect the brain in similar ways, altering the functionality of the prefrontal cortex (Grant, 2016). Anger may contribute to some addictive behaviors, and may give the illusion of power to an individual (Schwarzbaum, n.d.). When individuals feel this sense of power, and feel that they can elicit the changes they desire with it, then they can fall into a cycle of anger that isn’t healthy (Schwarzbaum, n.d.).

Allowing anger to become an emotion that is presented by habit may initially give an individual the attention and intimidation factor they desire. However, after some time, it usually backfires and drives resentment between the parties involved (Schwarzbaum, n.d.). When you complete your clinical counsellor training, it will be essential for you to understand where someone with these habits is coming from in order to identify their shortcomings and help them grow. After your training, you will be able to carefully listen to clients, assess their situations and help them find successful solutions.

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During your counsellor therapist career, you will need to get to know each client’s unique situation to help them address anger in their relationships

Identifying Common Triggers of Anger in Relationships

To best help your clients struggling with feeling and expressing their anger in healthy ways, you’ll need to become familiar with common triggers that your client may be facing. Each individual is unique and will have a different situation that you must consider, but starting with general struggles that many face will help you take the first step toward healing with them.

Common triggers include not feeling prioritized in a relationship, feeling like the sole bearer of household chores, financial irresponsibility, inconsideracy, lack of commitment, and more (Catchings, 2022). These triggers are found internally within the relationship, but anger may also arise within the relationship from an outside source. If an individual doesn’t know how to cope with a frustrating or stressful situation, then they may take it out on their partners (Catchings, 2022). During your counsellor therapist career, you’ll want to try and dig deep into your clients’ relationships to try and uncover the specific triggers that are starting to consume their lives and result in bouts of anger. 

Tips for Clients to Help Them Effectively Communicate Their Anger

While consistent anger may not be ideal, it’s more important to help clients understand how to effectively communicate their anger rather than suppress it. Learning skills to help manage responses to feelings of anger and an angry partner can help to promote intimacy and maturity within the relationship (Smith, 2020). 

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It’s important to teach your clients how to manage anger in order to avoid shutting down

A common reaction following anger is the desire to shut down and cut off communication (Smith, 2020). To avoid prolonged distancing and resulting anxiety around the situation, you should help your clients learn how to communicate their needs with the other party. Simply asking for time to collect thoughts before resolving the issue is a great way to combat this feeling of reclusivity (Smith, 2020). Another piece of advice to give to your client is to refrain from emotional triangles, created by venting about issues within the relationship with a third party. This may hinder communication efforts between the two parties and result in prolonged issues that go unresolved (Smith, 2020). As always, it’s best for an individual to sit down with their partner to have an honest conversation about what is bothering them. 

Are you interested in earning your professional counselling diploma?

Contact Rhodes Wellness College for more information.

Works Cited

Catchings, C. (2022). How to Control Anger in a Relationship. Talkspace. Retrieved on July 21, 2022 from https://www.talkspace.com/blog/how-to-control-anger-in-a-relationship/

Grant, J. (2016). Expanding the Definition of Addiction: DSM-5 vs. ICD-11. Europe PMC Funders Group. Retrieved on July 21, 2022 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5328289/

Schwarzbaum, S. (n.d.). Assessing Anger: How Anger Can Become Addictive in Relationships. Couples Counseling Associates in Chicago. Retrieved on July 21, 2022 from https://www.couples-counseling-now.com/assessing-anger-part-3-anger-addictive-relationships/

Smith, K. (n.d.). When Anger Becomes Emotional Abuse: How to Control Anger and Frustration in a Relationship. Mental Health and Wellbeing. Retrieved on July 21, 2022 from https://www.psycom.net/control-anger-frustration-relationship.

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