Sara Harowitz, Psy. D

Anger Management

Having difficulty controlling your anger? Early childhood trauma can lead to  adult anger. Trauma affects how we learn to control our emotions. It shifts our attention, thoughts, and actions into survival mode. With childhood emotional trauma, we learn to hide and bury our feelings as a method of survival. Though it momentarily helped to endure our pain and suffering as children, it hinders our ability to identify our feelings and direct our behavior as adults.

Anger is a common response to victimization or to feelings of betrayal in which a person was neglected, or their personal safety compromised. Victims often act aggressively or impulsively in adulthood as a form of protection, experiencing feelings of frustration from an incessant need to control their surroundings. 

Even loving and attentive parents can teach their children to hide or bury their feelings when something upsetting happens by saying, “Don’t cry, don’t feel bad. Everything’s okay.” What is intended to be an innocent, supportive, and loving act later develops into an inability to process negative feelings. The child learns to bury their  anger they’re feeling rather than to feel into it and process it. As an adult, being able to process unhealthy or distressing emotions, such as, anger, sadness, shame, fear, and guilt is essential to healing from childhood trauma.  

Childhood is a developmental period in our lives in which we learn about interpersonal relationships and how to effectively manage our emotions. Childhood abuse or trauma can disrupt this experience, causing people to inadequately learn how to manage their emotions or how to navigate interpersonal relationships. Consequently, as an adult, the person may not have learned the skills to effectively control their emotions, resulting in anger impulses or destructive behavior.

Consequently, when anger occurs, people with a history of childhood trauma may not know how to effectively modulate those emotions, resulting in strong anger impulses and destructive behavior. In my practice, I offer anger management treatment. Together we will work through understandable, controlled healing guidelines to further your awareness and control of your feelings, triggers and behaviors, learning proven anger management techniques that ultimately prevent anger episodes from occurring. During your treatment, you will learn methods for reducing the intensity and frequency of your anger episodes, if they occur.  You will learn how to feel and manage the emotion of anger in a healthy way, without hostility or violent outbursts without escalating a situation. You will learn how to attain constructive responses and discover what triggers your anger.

For some individuals, anger management therapy can be  life changing in which the person no longer feels they are held hostage by their own emotions. The aim of therapy is for you to feel in control of your emotions so that you respond to them appropriately.