Stress Management Management Techniques What Happens in Anger Management Classes? By Amy Morin, LCSW Amy Morin, LCSW Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a psychotherapist, the author of the bestselling book "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," and the host of The Verywell Mind Podcast. Learn about our editorial process Updated on February 10, 2022 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Daniel B. Block, MD Medically reviewed by Daniel B. Block, MD LinkedIn Twitter Daniel B. Block, MD, is an award-winning, board-certified psychiatrist who operates a private practice in Pennsylvania. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print asiseeit / E+ / Getty Images Table of Contents View All Table of Contents Attending an Anger Management Class Classes or Individual Therapy Curriculum Benefits of Anger Management Classes Getting Help Whether you’ve been mandated to attend anger management or you’re interested in attending a class on your own accord, you might wonder what to expect or how it could help. While there are many different ways a class might be led, in general, anger management classes aim to teach people the skills they need to regulate their emotions and calm themselves down. Attending an Anger Management Class Attending a class may feel a little intimidating at first. But, you could learn valuable life skills that could help you gain better control over your emotions so anger doesn’t cause problems in your life. Anger management classes may be taken by anyone who wants to get a better handle on their anger. A parent who yells at their kids, a partner who is emotionally abusive during arguments, or a supervisor who blows up at employees are just a few examples of the type of people you might encounter in an anger management class. Sometimes, anger management classes are court ordered. A judge may order a violent offender to complete an anger management program. Or, a judge may mandate that a parent attend anger management class as part of a custody agreement. Anger management classes are sometimes used in residential settings. People with traumatic brain injuries, for example, may attend anger management classes while in a psychiatric setting. How to Develop an Anger Management Plan Classes or Individual Therapy Many anger management classes are conducted as educational classes rather than group therapy. Usually, a trained instructor walks participants through a series of anger management strategies. Then, armed with new strategies participants can work to diminish their aggressive behavior and reduce the anger in their daily lives. Keep in mind that anger is a normal emotion. Anger only becomes an issue when it is expressed in unhealthy ways. Consequently, good anger management classes are geared toward managing anger not learning how to hold it in. In short, anger management teaches people how to identify their anger and respond in healthier ways. For this reason, it's important to view anger management as an opportunity to optimize your well-being and improve your relationships rather than as something punitive—even if it's court ordered. Sometimes, people who are attending an anger management group also may require individual therapy. A person who has experienced past trauma, for example, may benefit from having a therapist help them process their trauma while simultaneously learning anger management skills through a class setting. Anger management also can be taught in individual therapy. Individual therapy offers more flexibility in terms of scheduling. Plus, the participant can receive more individual attention, as well as privacy. But, therapy typically costs more than a class and does not contain the added benefit of learning from other people in a group setting. Hearing what works for another person or watching a fellow classmate role-play a situation may lead to new understanding. Top Anger Management Strategies Anger Management Curriculum There are different types of curriculum used in anger management classes. But, most of them are based on cognitive behavioral therapy strategies. The cognitive behavioral approach to anger management involves teaching participants how to recognize the warning signs that their anger is rising. Participants also are taught relaxation strategies and calming techniques or how to make behavioral changes. They’re also taught how to change the thoughts that fuel their angry feelings, which are the cognitive changes they will make. Overall, these strategies can be adapted for various groups including adolescents, individuals with substance abuse issues, and even parents. Depending on the type of curriculum and the needs of the group, anger management classes may range from eight sessions to 28 sessions. Classes usually take place on a weekly basis and they are usually one to two hours in length. Classes are usually fairly small. For instance, some groups may include only 10 people at a time. And, completion of the class may result in a “diploma” or certificate of completion. Usually, members are given a workbook with weekly homework assignments. These assignments give participants an opportunity to practice the skills they’ve learned. How to Deal With Anger in a Healthy Way Benefits of Anger Management Classes Improving your ability to respond to stressful or frustrating situations in a healthy and productive way is one of the primary benefits of anger management. You will learn how to be assertive without being aggressive or intimidating. And, in the end, your relationships and your well-being will improve. Not only does anger management teach you how to communicate your needs in a healthy way, but it also will help you maintain better health. It may even help you curb the side effects of unhealthy anger like headaches, sleeplessness, and stomach issues. Additionally, learning to manage anger effectively reduces the likelihood that you will turn to drugs or alcohol as a way of coping with stress, frustration, and anger. Instead, you will know how to reduce these feelings in healthy and productive ways. Getting Help If you struggle to control your anger or find that you lash out at others and later regret your words or actions, attending an anger management class could be beneficial. It could help you gain better control over your anger and learn how to interact with others in a more productive way. Finding an appropriate class can feel a bit overwhelming when you aren’t sure where to look. But if you think you could benefit from an anger management class, start by talking to your physician. Your doctor may be able to help you locate a class or refer you to a mental health agency who can assist you in locating resources. You also can contact your local community center or hospital. They may offer classes or may be able to direct you to another resource in your community. Get Help With Online Anger Management Class 1 Source Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Bradbury KE, Clarke I. Cognitive behavioural therapy for anger management: Effectiveness in adult mental health services. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy. 2007 Mar;35(2):201-8. doi:10.1017/S135246580600333X Additional Reading Lök N, Bademli K, Canbaz M. The effects of anger management education on adolescents' manner of displaying anger and self-esteem: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 2018;32(1):75-81. doi:10.1016/j.apnu.2017.10.010 Walker AJ, Nott MT, Doyle M, Onus M, Mccarthy K, Baguley IJ. Effectiveness of a group anger management programme after severe traumatic brain injury. Brain Injury. 2010;24(3):517-524. doi:10.3109/02699051003601721 Wilson C, Gandolfi S, Dudley A, Thomas B, Tapp J, Moore E. Evaluation of anger management groups in a high-security hospital. Crim Behav Ment Health. 2013;23(5):356-71. doi:10.1002/cbm.1873 By Amy Morin, LCSW Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk, "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Stress Management Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.