But there are healthy and unhealthy ways to express your anger. If a person is continuously dealing with their own anger in a harmful manner, it can get out of control and lead to serious problems in one’s personal life and possibly that of those around them.
“If you find yourself acting in ways that seems out of control and frightening, you might need help finding better ways to deal with this emotion,” states the American Psychological Association (APA) in its article “Controlling anger before it controls you”. As an anger management counselor, you can help someone dealing with anger management issues understand how they express their anger and how to cope with it in a healthier manner.
According to Living Life Counseling (which offers anger management counseling and programs), there are at least 10 common anger types.
Some of these include buried anger (where a person does not realize they are angry but has physical symptoms), defensive anger (where someone uses anger out of ‘protection’ when they feel hurt), mood-altering anger (using anger to elevate oneself out of a depressive or melancholic state) and intentional anger (used to intimidate or bully others to get what one wants).
Problems dealing with anger stems from a variety of sources: for example, it could be genetic or physiological (something ingrained from birth) or environmental (such as upbringing). Another important role of an anger management counselor is helping clients understand the root of their anger and that they are not alone.
“One of the challenges of my profession is the difficulty in eliminating the stigma of having anger management issues,” states Shannon Munford, M.S., an anger management expert recognized across the country, and owner of Daybreak Counseling Services. “I want people to know it’s more common than they think. I love working with anger management clients because anger does not discriminate. I get to work with all ages, races, nationalities, economic backgrounds, as well as men and women.
“…anger does not discriminate…”
Anger Management Counselors At a Glance
- Degree Level Requirements: Master’s Degree
- Licensure Requirements: To practice as a counselor or therapist you generally must be licensed; to function as an anger management coach, licensure is not necessarily required.
- Specializations: Domestic Violence, Employee Misconduct, Bullying, Criminal Threats, etc.
- Median Annual Salaries: $40,080*
- Job Outlook: 37% growth from 2010 to 2020**
Career & Job Description
An anger management counselor may work with clients in one-on-one or group settings, providing therapy, workshops and/or classes. Some counselors may also address anger in couples’ therapy style sessions. Some roles of an anger management counselor include:
- To explore whether clients have anger concerns (such as does the anger affect their relationships, performance at work or school, or all facets of their life; is there evidence of self harm or harming others; are there mental and physical symptoms, from ulcers to depression…?)
- Help clients understand the root of their anger (for example, unresolved issues from the past).
- Help clients recognize the personal physical and emotional signs linked to their anger before the situation escalates.
- Lead therapy sessions and/or classes so clients can learn to manage stress, respond rather than react, develop assertiveness (rather than aggressiveness), improve self-talk and self esteem, embrace forgiveness, etc.
- Use a variety of approaches, depending on training and setting, such as social skills training, mindfulness training, cognitive/behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques, problem-solving training and other anger management interventions.
- Work with clients to develop healthy anger management goals, assess progress and encourage.
- Teach workshops and seminars in a variety of settings, including corporate, community or court-ordered programs.
Specializations / Concentrations
Depending on an anger management counselor’s practice and experience, he or she may develop several specialties. For example, Munford (of Daybreak Counseling Services) specializes in working with children, couples, athletes, celebrities, CEOs and managers and individuals who are developmentally delayed, as well as scenarios such as criminal threats, employee misconduct, child custody disputes and assaults.
Other specializations that may fall under anger management counseling include domestic violence, divorce/separation, bullying, trauma/abuse, oppositional defiant disorder, substance abuse/addictions, anxiety, depression, relationship counseling and more!
There are also professional counselors who help patients in several areas. For example, a counselor may be specialized in anger management among other areas, from grief/bereavement and obsessive compulsive disorder to bipolar disorder or geriatric counseling.
Numerous types of professionals may be trained to lead or facilitate anger management programs and support.
For example, the National Anger Management Association (NAMA) strives to certify mental health providers (who meet training and experience requirements) including “professional counselors, chaplains, certified coaches, educators, social workers, psychotherapists, psychologists, pastors, social workers, psychiatrists, substance abuse and domestic violence counselors and other professionals working in community settings.”
Explore Your Career Path
The Educational Journey
While you do not necessarily need a Master’s degree to offer anger management classes and programs, you DO need a Master’s degree to practice as a professional counselor (and having the ability to work with patients dealing with other struggles as well).
If you want to take a break between your Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, there are numerous vocational opportunities to gain relevant experience.
Bachelor’s Degree: Relevant Bachelor’s degrees include Psychology, Social Work, Human Development, Family Studies and other related programs.
Relevant Careers with a Bachelor’s Degree: Crisis center worker, a youth probation officer, a family or youth shelter case manager, a research assistant, a children and family services worker, a community recreational coordinator, a psychiatric technician, a community support worker, a life skills counselor, an entry-level social work position, a substance abuse counselor and more. (Note that some of these positions may require a few more specialized courses and/or certification/licensure).
Master’s Degree: Relevant degrees to become a counselor that specializes in anger management (and possibly other areas) include a Master’s in Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy, Social Work or Education (i.e. a Master’s of Education in Counseling Psychology).
While there are no mandatory certification requirements to deliver anger management programs, to be a considered an expert in the field, it is advantageous to gain certification. For example, both the National Anger Management Association (NAMA) and Century Anger Management offer certified anger management specialist or professional credentials.
If you wish to practice as a professional counselor (helping clients with anger management and other concerns and mental health issues) you must be licensed, such as, as an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor), LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) or LMSW (Licensed Master Social Worker), etc. Requirements vary by state but normally require a Master’s degree, completion of a defined number of supervised clinical hours and passing an exam. (The National Board for Certified Counselors has a directory that can help you find out about your state’s licensure requirements: http://www.nbcc.org/directory).
- Approximately 25% of women have experienced domestic violence during their lifetime.
- Every day in the United States, three women and one man are killed by their intimate partners, on average.
- Each year, at least 3 million and up to 10 million children witness domestic violence.
- Due to social and cultural expectations, men are less likely than women to report or talk about abuse inflicted by a female partner.
- Men and women “assault one another and strike the first blow at approximately equal rates,” states the Domestic Violence Resource Center (DVRC), based on surveys conducted.
- According to the DVRC, “Men and women engage in overall comparable levels of abuse and control, such as diminishing the partner’s self-esteem, isolation and jealousy, using children and economic abuse; however, men engage in higher levels of sexual coercion and can more easily intimidate physically.”
- Reference & Data Information Provided by the Following:
- * May 2012 (for Mental Health Counselors, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- ** May 2010 (for Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- † Salary data from US BLS http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211014.htm
- ‡ Job Outlook data from US BLS http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm
- Other Sources/References
- Shannon Munford M.S., Owner of Daybeak Counseling Service, Century Anger Management certified Adult and Adolescent Anger Management Educator