Two Categories of Anger

Anger is either situational or existential. In my work over the years I have found people present with anger management issues either because of a trigger event in their lives or because of more existential concerns.

It is easy to spot situational anger. The individual will describe one or a set of events in their lives that trigger anger and aggression. On the other hand, existential anger is more subtle. It involves the individual having lost meaning and purpose in their lives and hence he/she carries a deep sense of bitterness. This type of anger is pervasive across the individual’s home, community and work life.

While situational anger can be addressed with skill building work in anger management classes, addressing existential anger may require psychotherapy to discover the root(s) of this loss of meaning. Only a licensed mental health professional can make a competent assessment of which course of action is best.

Carlos Todd, PhD

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