Self-control vs. External Help in Anger Management

Anger management refers to the short-term and long-term control of anger. It relates to systems and methodologies that can be used to manage anger so that it does not become destructive. Some amounts of anger are necessary for self-development as it a way in which individuals express their feelings of right and wrong. However, when anger becomes rampant or frequent, it causes much harm to the victim as well as the perpetrator.

There are two broad methods for managing anger, namely, self-control and external help.


Every individual needs to exercise some amount of self-control on his/her thoughts, actions, and behaviours. This is applicable towards controlling all emotions, including anger. When a person gets angry, he/she needs to apply self-control to stop the conversion of the ‘anger emotion’ into a harmful and derogatory act, which could be either verbal abuse or physical aggression. Self-control can be applied in several ways – the mind urges the body to stop reacting; the mind sends messages to the mouth not to speak harsh words; physical self-control by staying away from the site of a crime, which has affected the person, etc.

To use self-control effectively, a high level of self-confidence and willpower is required as the mind is telling the body what not to do! When self-control is used as a technique for anger management, the whole process is largely individualistic and intrinsic as the procedure is happening internally within the person – it is his mind talking to his body and soul. Various techniques, both physical and mental can be effectively used to manage anger. In the realm of physical techniques, walking, yoga, exercise, etc., can be used for self-control, while in the mental realm, meditation and reading self-help books is quite helpful.

External Help

When people are unable to use self-control techniques to help themselves manage their anger, they always have the option to seek external help in the following ways:

  1. Individual CounsellingDepending upon the personality of the ‘angry’ person, he/she can seek individual counselling, which is a one-on-one session with a counsellor. This counsellor need not be a psychiatrist and can be anyone who is mature enough to dissect the situation, understand the triggers and the temperament of the angry person, and help solve the problem. Some amount of empathy and sympathy also helps the angry person. However, when severe cases of anger need to be managed, the help of a psychotherapist is required. Under the definition of individual counselling comes par-child, teacher-student, and mentor-mentee counselling.
  2. Group CounsellingGroup counselling is used when there is a cohesive group of persons with the same nature and level of problems. In the case of anger management, group therapy sessions are held wherein the attendees are helped to manage their anger. This is usually in the form of a full course administered over several sessions and is moderated by a psychotherapist. During group sessions, mock situations are enacted so that the participants can learn to control their anger as per the guidance of the counsellors.
  3. TherapyFor severe anger management cases, full-fledged therapy is also used. This is a method wherein trained therapists, who are experts in the field of psychology and sociology, do individual counselling. The individual undergoes various tests and psychoanalysis whereby his personality and behavioural traits are mapped and studied. Upon these medical findings, a specific customized therapy is introduced. Depending upon the severity of the case, some hypnotherapy may be used as well to get into the subconscious mind of the person.

Whether anger management is done through the self-help method or through external sources, it is a necessary element as uncontrolled anger can be destructive to man and nature.

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