Teen Anger Counseling

Managing teen anger issues is possible through teen anger counseling. If not treated teen anger can result in bullying, abuse, and violence. Learn about resolving teen anger issues and determining if teen anger counseling will benefit a teen struggling with anger.

Teen anger can either be a response or a symptom. As a response, it may be a transient, justified, and normal occurrence. It is normal to feel anger as one deals with betrayal, grief, loss, failure, shame, and other difficult, but typical, parts of the teen experience and of life. As a response, it may also signal something more traumatic and worthy of investigation: bullying, child abuse, cyberstalking, a threat. In addition, teen anger can be a symptom of several different disorders: substance abuse, intermittent explosive disorder, conduct disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder, for example. These may or may not require teen anger counseling.

Both prior to, and in the course of  seeking counseling for teen anger, getting to the root of why the teen is angry is a crucial element. This article gives an overview of some considerations when thinking about teen anger counseling.

Is there a need for teen anger counseling?

If the teen’s anger is readily identified as a response to a normal life event, consider how quickly you want to rush into counseling. A lot of this will depend on the teen: if s/he has a history of difficulty dealing with emotional disturbances to his or her life, then being proactive may be the best course of action. If you don’t have good reason to think your teen can’t get through the stages with only family and faith support, it might be good for the teen to learn that s/he can handle it. Because the difficult bits of life keep on coming. A too quick turn to counseling could deprive the teen of a chance to work out his or her feelings of anger on his or her own in a safe environment. In this case teen anger counseling may not be the best answer.

Anger As a Symptom

If the teen’s anger is continuing unabated weeks after an incident, or you can’t determine that the anger is a response, it’s worth considering anger as a symptom.

Three disorders common to teens and having anger as a hallmark are listed here with key symptoms:

  • Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) is most commonly found when people have grown up in a family with abuse and explosive behavior. There may also be a genetic component. The person with IED is subject to explosions of rage that typically last 10 to 20 minutes and often resulting in destruction of properties and injuries to people. The episodes may be clustered or separated by long periods. The person may feel bad about what happened afterward.
  • Conduct Disorder has risk factors including brain damage, child abuse, failure in school, and trauma. The person with Conduct Disorder is aggressive to people, destructive to property, and often breaks rules. Conduct Disorder often co-exists with other disorders such as mood disorders or post traumatic stress disorder. Early treatment is key to success.
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) requires care to be accurately distinguished from a strong will. Risk factors include abuse or neglect, exposure to violence, an unstable family situation, harsh discipline, and an imbalance of brain chemicals. It is characterized by persistent opposition that has lasted more than months and is disruptive to home and school environments, hostility directed at authority, along with defiance, disobedience, arguing with adults, anger and resentment, and refusal to comply with instructions.

Teen Anger Counseling

When anger is a symptom of one of these mental disorders, specialized teen andger counseling to fit these particular situations may be used. The counseling approaches include:

  • Individual and family counseling
  • Parent-child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) in which parents learn more effective parenting techniques
  • Cognitive problem solving training in which the teen addresses the patterns of behavior that are leading to the outbursts.
  • Social skills training, in which positive and effective interaction are taught.

In the case of IED, certain pharmaceuticals have been found useful for helping to manage rage, including anticonvulsants, anti-anxiety agents, mood regulators, and antidepressants. Group counseling and relaxation techniques are also possibilities.



Related Article: Teen Violence Treatment >>