Allenmore Psychological Associates remains OPEN. During this period of concern and anxiety having access to quality behavioral health care is important and our staff is dedicated to ensuring your behavioral health care needs are met. In the unlikely event that the WA Department of Health directs us to close we will notify patients via telephone on the day of their appointment (similar to our Snow Day policy). If you are an existing patient who is demonstrating symptoms associated with the coronavirus or impacted by related closures (e.g. cannot find day care due to a school closure) and need to cancel we ask that you inform our staff as soon as possible, APA will not charge you for a late cancellation.


Anger is an emotion that is familiar to everyone. It is normal for all of us to experience anger periodically. Anger, just like other emotions, aides in mobilizing us to take action in relationship to others and our environment. Being angry on occasion for short periods of time may not be harmful; it may even be helpful, such as when it motivates us to assertively communicate our wants and needs to others or set limits on others’ behavior.

What are Anger Problems?

When we get angry frequently, stay angry for long periods of time or lose control of our anger and become aggressive, it can lead to problems in relationships with co-workers, family friends, friends and other individuals. When anger control problems become entrenched, often there is a cycle of accumulated stress and frustration, leading to an angry outburst, followed by guilt and shame, and promises to oneself and others to change. Often during this phase of the cycle, the individual feels that they are “in control” of their anger but unfortunately they are again accumulating stress and frustrations heading for the next outburst. Overtime this cycle has a very negative impact on the self-esteem of the individual with anger problems and causes increasing amounts of damage in their life. When an individual is ready to exit this destructive cycle and make permanent changes to overcome their anger problems, we are here to help. For over 30 years, we have been providing effective anger management counseling to Tacoma, Seattle, Puyallup and greater South Puget Sound area residents. Changing this pattern begins with an understanding of factors contributing to the problem for the particular individual.

There are a variety of factors that give rise to anger problems. It can be a symptom of an impulse control disorder such as Intermittent Explosive Disorder or it can be a symptom of other disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, a Substance Abuse Disorder or a Psychotic Disorder. Certain medical conditions such as head trauma or Alzheimer’s Disease can also contribute to anger outbursts. It is important when assessing anger problems to make an accurate diagnosis to better understand the various causal factors giving rise to the anger problem.

When talking about anger problems, it is helpful to distinguish between anger, rage and aggression. Anger is an emotion that is usually triggered by some provocation, such as frustrating or annoying circumstances, unreasonable demands, insults, disrespectful treatment, injustice or a threat. Rage is an extreme form of anger, which is oftentimes out of proportion relative to the precipitating circumstances. Aggression is behavior that often, but not always, is instigated by anger and is hurtful, damaging or destructive and which is used for defensive or offensive purposes. Anger and rage can be distinguished from aggression. Anger and rage are emotions, whereas aggression is a form of behavior. A person can experience anger without being aggressive. And, they can be aggressive without being angry. Examples of individuals acting aggressively without anger are soldiers in combat, football players, and boxers. Aggression in situations such as these might be considered by many to be socially acceptable. But, there are other situations where aggression is considered socially unacceptable by most people; for example, domestic violence, road rage, bullying others, murder and other assaultive behavior toward others. In situations such as these, where it escalates into rage and aggressive behavior that is destructive to others as well as their property, it behooves us to learn to control or better manage our anger. Fortunately, there is effective counseling available for anger problems at Allenmore Psychological Associates.

How we think about our anger is important. At Allenmore Psycholgical Associates, we encourage people to take responsibility for their feelings and behavior in counseling. This is the case with anger or any other emotion. We believe that taking responsibility for our feelings and behavior is empowering, and in most cases, a necessary prerequisite for effective changes in behavior to occur. There are a lot of misconceptions about anger and how to address it. For example, some people justify their anger by blaming others, asserting that others make them angry. This is not the case. Your anger has as much, or more to do with what goes on inside your mind than it does environmental circumstances. How we appraise or view situations determines how we feel about them. If we change the way we appraise or view a situation, we can change how we feel and behave with respect to the situation. This is true with respect to any emotion, not just anger. Other people believe that giving vent to their anger will dissipate it. In actuality, giving vent to your anger may actually intensify it. Assertively communicating about your feelings of anger may be helpful, but venting your feelings of anger or rage is not helpful. Still others believe that substituting some other behavior for angry, aggressive behavior, for example hitting a punching bag, may enable them to act out their anger benignly. Research shows you may still feel angry or become angry again because you have not addressed the cause of your anger. Anger management counseling is a preferable method of handling these concerns because it will help you identify and address the root causes of your anger, as well as teaching you useful techniques for decreasing emotional reactivity. To learn more about anger and how it can impact your life, consider reading one of the recommended texts from our resources section.

Indicators and Warning Signs of Anger Problems

Oftentimes people who are troubled by anger problems and seek counseling report that the intense anger, rage and aggression that they experience seems to occur suddenly and unexpectedly. This makes it difficult for them to control or manage their anger. However, there are almost always indicators or warning signs of mounting anger. By learning to identify these warning signs, and by applying techniques learned in anger management treatment, you can eventually to put an end to angry outbursts and aggressive behavior. These warning signs can be divided into categories: sensory, feeling, thought and action. Everyone’s warning signs are different. By learning your specific warning signs, you can take alternative steps to avoid an angry outburst and/or aggressive behavior.

Anger Management Counseling in Tacoma

Treatment at APA for Anger Problems

At Allenmore Psychological Associates the treatment approach we utilize to help people with anger problems and anger management is cognitive-behavioral therapy. Treatment begins with an assessment to find out more about you and your anger problems. Everyone is different, and it is important to get to know you, your personal history, symptoms, and patterns of thinking and behaving. There may be co-occurring conditions such as mania, a personality disorder, PTSD, ADHD, an alcohol or drug abuse problem, or medical condition that need to be evaluated and addressed. Once we have completed a thorough assessment, we will develop an individualized anger management treatment plan with specific goals and objectives. Initially in counseling we will encourage you to view anger as a choice, to help you learn what provokes you to feel angry and to become familiar with the indicators or warning signs that you are about to become angry. You will be asked to monitor your anger and perhaps keep a log so as to develop a better understanding of the factors that give rise to your anger. Since stress is often a factor, you will be taught strategies to manage stress and physiological arousal (the fight or flight response) such as breathing techniques, progressive muscle relaxation and mindfulness meditation. Your counseling will explain how certain cognitions or thoughts can create angry feelings. For example, you will learn the role that “should thoughts” and “blaming thoughts” play in causing and exacerbating anger. You will also be taught how to change these thoughts, develop alternative ways of thinking or at least not “buy into” anger causing thoughts. Treatment with medications is sometimes recommended, for example, in treating co-occurring conditions such as Bipolar Disorder, a Psychotic Disorder or ADHD. Substance abuse treatment may also be recommended, if this is a co-occurring problem, since substance use causes alterations in mood and problems with impulse control that can contribute to anger problems.

Allenmore Psychological Associates has been providing individualized anger management counseling to Tacoma and greater Seattle area residents for over 30 years. If there is evidence of domestic violence, we may recommend treatment in a specialized state certified domestic violence program. While Allenmore Psychological Associates does not offer domestic violence treatment, there are a number of programs in the community where you can be referred for specialized treatment. Because our practice is firmly established in the Tacoma community, we have close working relationships with other providers and treatment programs that are available in the Puget Sound region. Thus, the counselors at Allenmore have the necessary resources to complete a thorough initial evaluation and then either provide or connect you with the most appropriate treatment for your specific needs.

Contact Allenmore for Help with Anger Problems

Our team here at APA includes a number of experienced therapists who offer anger management counseling. We regularly help people from Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, and other neighboring cities throughout Western Washington regain control over the feelings of anger and rage that cause problems in their personal and professional lives. If you are struggling with these types of feelings, our counselors want you to know that effective treatment is available. We genuinely look forward to helping you overcome your anger problems, and thereby empowering you to enjoy the quality of life you deserve. Please give us a call at (253) 752-7320 to schedule an appointment.

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