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55 Questions for Anger Management Clients in Therapy

Take a moment to think about the last time you felt angry. Was there an event that led to your anger, or do you feel like your reaction snuck up on you? Are you happy with how you responded to your anger, or would you do something different in the future? Has there been a time in your life when you struggled to manage your anger? Keep reading to learn 55 anger management questions you can ask clients in therapy sessions.

As humans, it is natural for us to experience a wide range of emotions. Some emotions are pleasant and enjoyable, while others are uncomfortable and difficult to sit with. For some, anger is a safer emotion to feel and express when compared to other emotions that make them feel vulnerable. This means that anger can be used to mask an underlying emotion that should be addressed.

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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:

  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Become easily frustrated
  • Physical violence
  • “Blowing up” or “exploding”
  • Finding themselves in arguments easily
  • Intentionally causing harm to others or animals
  • Having their anger last more than 30 minutes
  • Road rage
  • Intense or inappropriate anger reactions

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. 

Getting Ready for Your First Therapy Session with 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 Clients in Therapy

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!

  1. How are you feeling today?
  2. Was there anything that happened recently that you wanted to talk about?
  3. Can you think of a situation since our last session that you feel you handled well?
  4. Were there any challenging experiences you had that you want to talk about?
  5. Can you tell me when you began to notice that your anger may have been a concern?
  6. How do others around you express themselves when they’re upset?
  7. How do you feel your anger has impacted your relationships?
  8. How do you feel you have been impacted by someone else’s anger?
  9. Can you think of a time when your anger surprised you, or caught you off guard?
  10. How do you cope with distress when it comes up for you?
  11. Are there any emotions that you’re uncomfortable sitting with or feeling?
  12. Can you think of someone in your life who you don’t think struggles with anger? Why do you think that is?
  13. 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?
  14. Are there any other feelings under your anger?
  15. Have you ever felt judged or criticized by others about your anger?
  16. How do those around you feel about your anger?
  17. 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.
  18. How do you feel your thoughts about a person or a situation impact your anger?
  19. How would you describe someone who handles their anger well?
  20. When you were younger, how did the adults in your life express themselves?
  21. Can you think of healthy ways that you express your anger?
  22. Are there any unhealthy ways that you express your anger?
  23. Can you tell me about what you were doing before you felt angry?
  24. How was your day before the event when you were angry?
  25. When you become angry, do you want to leave or stay and fight?
  26. 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?
  27. Do you feel as though you are responsible for your anger?
  28. Do you find yourself apologizing to others after the dust has settled?
  29. Have you noticed any patterns regarding your anger and other emotions?
  30. In what ways does your anger help you?
  31. Are there any benefits to being angry about this?
  32. Can you tell me about what you feel the “right” and “wrong” ways are to cope with your anger?
  33. Can you think of any ways that you have been harmed or hurt by your own anger?
  34. Have you noticed any changes in your body when you are angry often? Anything like holding tension, changes in your appetite, or your sleep?
  35. How do your emotions, such as anger, impact your substance use?
  36. Do you feel in control when you use substances after becoming angry?
  37. What happens to your numbed emotions when you are no longer under the influence? 
  38. How can handling your anger differently affect your life?
  39. Are there any benefits to learning to cope with your anger?
  40. Have you found any coping skills that help with your anger?
  41. Is there anything that hasn’t been helpful?
  42. Have you noticed any triggers or patterns for your anger?
  43. Are there any benefits or gains to your anger?
  44. Can you think of any ways your anger has harmed you physically?
  45. Do you think that your anger is a habit?
  46. Which of the following resonates with you when you’re angry; exploding, being violent, feeling out of control
  47. Are there any signs or changes that you can pick up on during the escalation before you reach the point of anger?
  48. Can you tell me about your thoughts when you’re angry? Are there any common themes for you?
  49. Who in your life can you reach out to for support when you are having a hard time?
  50. How often do you reach out when you are struggling?
  51. Is there anything keeping you from reaching out to that person?
  52. Can you tell me about any experiences you have had with relaxation techniques?
  53. Can you tell me about any changes that you noticed within your body, thoughts, and emotions after engaging in the relaxation practice?
  54. Can you describe a time when you observed someone cope with their own emotions in a healthy manner?
  55. How do you feel that the skills you have learned so far are helping you with your uncontrolled anger?

Final Thoughts on Therapy Questions to Ask Clients with Anger Issues

Thank you for taking the time to read our article about anger management questions! If you have not come across anger in your clinical experience, there may come a time when you do. It is, after all, a natural experience. With a strong conceptualization of your client and the effects of their anger, you can help them learn skills and strategies that can improve their ability to cope with their anger.

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.

TherapyByPro is an online mental health directory that connects mental health pros with clients in need. If you’re a mental health professional, you can Join our community and add your practice listing here. We have assessments, practice forms, and worksheet templates mental health professionals can use to streamline their practice. View our anger management worksheets or view all of our mental health forms, worksheet, and assessments here.

  • Sale! Coping Skills Worksheet Editable Fillable Printable PDF Template Tracker
  • Sale! Anger Management Worksheets Bundle PDF Templates

View all anger management worksheets

Resources:

  • American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Understanding anger: How psychologists help with Anger Problems. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/topics/anger/understanding

Kayla Loibl, MA, LMHC
Author: Kayla Loibl, MA, LMHC

Kayla is a Mental Health Counselor who earned her degree from Niagara University in Lewiston, New York. She has provided psychotherapy in a residential treatment program and an outpatient addiction treatment facility in New York as well as an inpatient addiction rehab in Ontario, Canada. She has experience working with individuals living with a variety of mental health concerns including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and trauma.

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