One of the first things you learn in anger management therapy is that your anger doesn’t just cause chaos in your own life. It causes chaos and pain in the lives of everyone around you. If you’re part of a couple, in fact, your out-of-control anger could endanger your relationship.
Mental health issues don’t take place in a vacuum and don’t come in neat little packages. If you have trouble with anger, you might also struggle with substance abuse, an eating disorder, or have troubles in your work or intimate relationships.
At The Soho Center for Mental Health in Greenwich Village, New York City, New York, our expert and caring counselors may advise you to pursue more than one type of counseling to help you feel better and achieve your goals in life. Here’s why couples counseling could be an important part of your anger management treatment.
It’s all about communication
Angry outbursts, rage, and cutting remarks may allow you to express your strongest emotions and get temporary relief. However, such strategies rarely accomplish your goals and, if they do, they come with repercussions such as hurt feelings, reciprocated anger, resentment, or worse.
Anger management isn’t about squelching your anger or denying it. Anger management teaches you to identify all of your intense emotions and express them in a way that allows them to be addressed, but without aggression.
In anger management, you learn new strategies and skills through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). These skills help you communicate better with everyone around you. However, if you’re in a relationship, your partner may benefit from learning these skills, too.
You each stop playing the blame game
When you’re in couples therapy, both of you learn to take responsibility for your own emotions and your own reactions. Although you may be the one in anger management therapy, that doesn’t mean your partner is always “right” and you’re always “wrong.”
In couples therapy, each of you learns to express intense emotions, frustrations, and needs with “I” statements, as opposed to “you” statements. In other words, instead of lashing out by saying something like, “You really piss me off when you do that!” You may learn to say something more accurate, and less hurtful, such as, “I’m feeling irritated right now.”
When each partner in a couple learns to take responsibility for themselves, there’s no more room for blame. You learn that your anger is your own response; nobody else can “make” you angry.
You have a safe space for unsafe subjects
You and your partner may have issues, either separately or together, that are difficult to talk about. If you cheated on your partner, for example, you may be afraid to confess your infidelity. Or, if you were cheated on, you may have the impulse to lash out in anger or get some sort of revenge.
In couples therapy, your counselor guides the conversation so that you can each express what’s on your mind and in your heart safely. You learn to listen and absorb what your partner has said, rather than react immediately.
Through couples counseling, you discover more about each other and learn compassion, too. For instance, you or your partner may reveal past abuse or trauma that affects your emotions and your relationship today. In a counseling session, you’re guided through these difficult subjects so that you can share them safely, and when you’re ready.
Couples therapy is also a place to discuss issues in the relationship itself, such as opposing views on child-rearing, finances, or household tasks. If one of you is dissatisfied sexually, we address that, too.
You’re in it together
When you’re in couples therapy, you go through the process of learning new skills with CBT and DBT at the same time that your partner does. You each make strides as an individual. You can also help each other make breakthroughs and learn new skills and strategies as well as to help each other employ those new strategies in the future.
If you struggle with anger that affects the one you love the most, contact us about anger management and couples counseling today. You can make an appointment by using our online form or calling our knowledgeable staff today. We also offer teletherapy via a secure online portal.