Anger Management Specialist

Brian C. Hocking, PhD

Psychologist located in Charlottesville, VA

Uncontrolled anger can sabotage your personal and work relationships, take a toll on your health, and degrade your quality of life. If your temper flares frequently, or if you’re chronically angry or grumpy, Dr. Brian C. Hocking, a psychologist in Charlottesville, Virginia, can help you with anger-management strategies. If you’re in the Charlottesville area and want help with managing anger, call Dr. Hocking at his office or use the convenient online form to book a consultation.

Anger Management Q & A

What is anger?

Anger is an emotion that can range in intensity from mild irritation to extreme fury or rage. It's a natural, adaptive response to external threats.

When you’re angry, your body produces higher levels of the stress hormones, adrenaline and noradrenaline, and your heart rate and blood pressure increase so you can defend yourself from a potential attack.

Anger can manifest in both healthy and unhealthy ways. The main healthy approaches that people use to deal with anger are either expressing your anger assertively -- stating your needs and desires without hurting others -- or calming your behavior and feelings. When these approaches don’t work, you may hold anger inside or express it in unhealthy ways.

Suppressing anger, by holding it in or redirecting it, may cause passive-aggressive behavior, cynicism, or hostility. Unexpressed anger can also lead to high blood pressure or depression. Aggressive behavior -- such as being pushy or demanding, lashing out, or physically or emotionally abusing others -- can be dangerous to others and yourself as well.

Why am I so angry?

If your temper is out of control, if you’re chronically irritable, or if your anger damages your personal and work relationships, several factors could be at play, including:

  • Genetics
  • Disruptive or chaotic childhood
  • Lack of effective communication skills
  • History of concussion or another brain injury

Is it healthy to express anger?

Anger that’s expressed aggressively is not healthy for you or those around you. While the burst of adrenaline you get with anger may make you feel good temporarily, it soon subsides.

Aggressively expressed anger escalates angry feelings and does nothing to resolve the situation that triggered it. It also takes a heavy toll on your relationships and body.

What is anger management?

Anger management is a type of psychotherapy that teaches you how to manage your feelings and reactions, rather than trying to force others to behave as you wish. Depending on how you express your anger, Dr. Hocking may use numerous techniques to help you manage it, including:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): replacing negative beliefs with positive ones
  • Relaxation techniques: calming your nervous system
  • Problem-solving skills: making plans to resolve problems while understanding that some problems can’t be solved
  • Communication skills: learning how to express your needs and listen to others
  • Coping strategies: identifying anger triggers and devising positive ways to handle them
  • Lifestyle changes: getting adequate sleep and keeping stress levels low

If you’d like to learn to control your temper, contact Dr. Hocking for anger management therapy. You can call his office or use the online form.