Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Aggression

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Aggression

Cognitive behavioral therapy for aggression is a well-researched treatment that helps children and adolescents recognize their anger, manage it, and use social problem-solving skills instead of aggressive behaviors. This treatment has proven particularly successful when combined with parent management training (PMT) and social skills instruction.

In a group setting, children or adolescent learn to recognize physiological cues of anger and how to respond positively. This cognitive behavioral technique known as “reframing” has been scientifically proven to reduce anger, improve behavior in angry children, and lessen aggression’s impact on others.

Many of these techniques are beneficial for adults as well, such as cognitive reappraisal, stress reduction and relaxation strategies. Relaxation techniques typically involve slow deep breathing, repeating a calming phrase or word, visualizing an image of calm and focusing on one’s breath or muscle tension.

CBT for irritability, aggression and oppositional defiance has been proven effective in several randomized controlled trials. It can be delivered individually or in a group setting and is suitable for youth with moderate to severe levels of anger and irritability that impact school performance, family relationships and social functioning.

The American Psychiatric Association has increasingly identified irritability and anger as core symptoms in oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder (American Psychiatric Association 2013). Anger is a normal emotion, but when not used appropriately it can become uncontrolled, destructive, or inappropriate.

Anger is a complex emotion that can be difficult to manage. It may be caused by frustration, provocation or the feeling of not being able to express yourself clearly. Additionally, anger may stem from feelings of shame or low self-worth.

Determining how best to manage anger and frustration requires finding a therapist who will teach you strategies outside of therapy sessions, so you can practice these skills when feeling angry at home or at work.

It is essential to find a therapist who will give you tools for thinking through the consequences of your behavior and challenging any negative thoughts that have formed. This includes debating whether it is acceptable for you to use aggression or if someone else should bear the brunt for any aggression displayed.

Some of these tools are straightforward, such as reminding yourself “I’m not that angry” when you feel a flare-up coming on. Others require more complex skillsets like being able to recognize and manage your feelings of anger more consciously.

One way to manage anger is by writing down your thoughts and statements when feeling overwhelmed. Then you can compare them with how others might respond in similar circumstances and consider how you could handle things differently and become more assertive.

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