CBT for Anger: What It Is? And How To Manage It?

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t enjoy feeling angry. But what do you do when anger starts to take over? If left unchecked, anger can lead to problems in your personal life, work life, and even physical health.

That’s where cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) comes in. CBT is a type of therapy that can help you manage your anger effectively. Motivational interviewing, cognitive restructuring, muscle relaxation, avoidance, deep breathing, exposure, and self-confidence are the most common CBT approaches that help with anger.

In this blog post, we’ll explore what is CBT and how it can help you manage your anger. Stay tuned!

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. It is most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression but can be useful for other mental and physical health problems.

The following are the two major components of CBT:

  1. Functional assessment: Examine your feelings and thoughts about a behavior. The analysis focuses not solely on the ideas that lead to the behaviors but also on the stimuli that lead to the thoughts.
  2. Skills development: Concentrate on developing new management skills that can be applied in everyday situations.

A CBT therapist will participate actively in your sessions, providing you with direct guidance and advice and helping you focus on controlling your anger.

They will also provide tasks, like maintaining an everyday mood diary, to help you become more aware of negative remarks that you make to yourself and understand how those ideas might impact your moods and actions.

It’s crucial to remember that altering negative patterns of thought and actions takes time. The trick is to practice the approaches consistently.

How Does CBT Work To Cope Up with Anger?

CBT for anger management uses a variety of inquiries and exercises to assist you in understanding the triggers that can induce your anger to become overly intense, resulting in unnecessarily negative outbursts. The first approach is to identify the type of anger you are dealing with.

Once you’ve identified the triggers and their underlying causes of anger, your CBT therapist may introduce you to various techniques and exercises to try out to see which approach works best for you.

Your CBT therapist can assist you in discovering and testing out the most efficient methods for coping in situations that you initially found challenging and anger-provoking through a sequence of weekly or daily 50-minute sessions.

As the work proceeds, you will gain the confidence to interact with new and more effective anger management techniques without your therapist’s assistance. For example, after a course of anger therapy, you should be capable of communicating clearly and confidently in circumstances that might have formerly triggered unconstructive angry outbursts.

5 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques to Manage Anger

  1. Deep Breathing & Muscle Relaxation
  2. Cognitive Restructuring
  3. Assertive Communication
  4. Behavioral Rehearsal
  5. Problem-solving approach

The core principle of CBT is to target the patterns of your thoughts and identify how it influence your emotions, which then influence your behavior.

CBT demonstrates how negative thoughts can result in negative actions and emotions. However, positively reframing your thoughts can result in positive emotions and beneficial behavior patterns. The following are the most popular CBT techniques to manage anger.

1. Deep Breathing & Muscle Relaxation

Excessive anger causes an increase in heart rate and respiration. You will feel relieved and more in control if you breathe gently from your nose into your abdomen and then exhale slowly. Set about 10-15 minutes for this activity.

Anger can cause muscle stiffness in your shoulders and neck. Continue to breathe even if your neck muscles are rigid. Repeat this carefully until you notice the stiffness and pain in your neck release.

2. Cognitive Restructuring

Cognitive restructuring includes examining patterns of negative thoughts. For example, you may overgeneralize, assume the worst, or overreact on minor issues. This kind of thinking can influence your actions. Your therapist will ask about your thoughts to uncover negative tendencies in various situations. Once you identify them, you may understand how to reframe them to be more productive and positive.

3. Assertive Communication

People often adapt to what they have experienced in their life, especially their communication skills. The cure to damaging, destructive communication practices is assertive communication skills. It is a method of communicating to explain your thoughts more appropriately.

Assertive communication assists people in clearly expressing their desires and feelings to others. It is a method of obtaining what you desire without offending others or turning back without getting what you need.

4. Behavioral Rehearsal

Behavioral rehearsals are commonly used to treat anger issues characterized by negative thinking.

You will be challenged to anticipate what will happen before beginning a task that ordinarily causes anxiety, resulting in anger. Then, you’ll discuss if the prediction turned out to be true later.

Over time, you may notice that the predicted tragedy is not very likely to occur. So instead, you’ll probably start with lower-anxiety chores and work your way up.

5. Problem-solving approach

CBT can also help you in using strategic methods to solve the situation. It’s essential to have a problem-solving approach rather than venting your frustrations on everyone around you.

This appears to be being flexible in your thinking and transforming angry ideas into more beneficial ones. It also examines the costs and rewards of continuing to look at the situation with anger.

Anger Management CBT Examples

If something isn’t right in your life, anger might motivate you to take action. However, how you control your responses and behaviors might be the distinction between making significant changes and constantly dealing with the adverse effects of angry outbursts.

CBT strategies to control anger can also be adjusted to an individual’s situation. Here are some examples:

Pent-Up Anger

Some people experience pent-up anger because it is awkward to express their anger verbally. As a result, they tend to avoid conflict and dismiss sentiments of displeasure. This form of anger may be exhibited passive-aggressively or as an outpouring of anger.

CBT approaches would concentrate on detecting triggers and negative thoughts and assertively communicating anger. For example, a CBT therapist may initially request you to pen down your anger. Then, you would try expressing your anger to the individual you are furious with; this may be done in class through role play.

Repressed Anger

This sort of anger is motivated by guilt and can result in emotions of worthlessness, hopelessness, or degrading oneself.  These sentiments may be suppressed and expressed via self-harm, eating disorders, or drug misuse.

On the other side, you may strike out at individuals in your life, increasing your feelings of isolation. CBT can help you tackle negative actions and thoughts. You may learn to replace disturbing thoughts and emotions with reasonable, self-compassionate beliefs by employing cognitive reframing strategies.

Volatile Anger

Volatile anger occurs when you are quickly provoked by little and significant irritants and express your anger impulsively. Unfortunately, this form of anger may be extremely harmful. People around you are always conscious, which can make it difficult to establish long-term connections. Volatile anger, if left untreated, can escalate to violent outbursts.

CBT can assist you in recognizing the triggers, indications, and physical clues that lead to an explosive outburst. It can also offer skills for relaxation and de-escalation, such as deep breathing.

How Much Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Cost?

CBT is costly because becoming a therapist, keeping licensure, and establishing a practice are all expensive expenditures. The fee for each appointment includes the hours spent with the counselor and their work between the sessions. While therapy may appear to be an expensive investment, it may pay off in terms of quality of life long after you’ve completed it.

For a 50-minute session, CBT costs vary from $100 to $200, with $130 on average. This differs greatly depending on the state and city where you seek therapy.


CBT is a well-known and efficient method of anger control. It is built on the relationships between your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors and how these might impact one another.

CBT for anger management includes multiple techniques that can be selected based on your symptoms and anger type. Your therapist can assist you in determining which CBT technique is most suited to your specific requirements.

Nowadays, you can enroll in an online CBT session or anger management classes that can help you manage anger symptoms. Remember, if the symptoms worsen, you need to visit a healthcare facility immediately.

Carlos Todd PhD LCMHC

Dr. Carlos Todd PhD LCMHC specializes in anger management, family conflict resolution, marital and premarital conflict resolution. His extensive knowledge in the field of anger management may enable you to use his tested methods to deal with your anger issues.


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