Managing Anger With the Help of DBT Therapy

Angry beard man

Have you found your anger to get in the way of a healthy life? Anger is a natural emotion. However, in excess and when expressed inappropriately it has its consequences.

There are many ways to effectively manage anger. One of those ways is dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).

People have used DBT therapy for decades for emotion management. Here we will discuss DBT basics, and how they can be applied to the management of anger.

We will also talk about some DBT therapy techniques. There is a lot to learn, so hang on tight while we tell you how DBT therapy can help you manage your anger.

Coping Skills Therapists in Colorado

Winnie Siwa, LPCC

Winnie Siwa, LPCC

(719) 345-2424
Deja Howard, MSW, SWC

Deja Howard, MSW, SWC

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Olivia Woodring, LPCC, NCC

Olivia Woodring, LPCC, NCC

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Bethany Cantrell, LPC

Bethany Cantrell, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Rebecca Johnson, LPCC, NCC

Rebecca Johnson, LPCC, NCC

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Stephanie Kol, LPCC

Stephanie Kol, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 203-7021
Bonna Machlan, Ph.D., LPC, CAS

Bonna Machlan, Ph.D., LPC, CAS

(719) 452-4374
Kelsey Motley, LPCC

Kelsey Motley, LPCC

(719) 345-2424
Jasleen Karir, SWC

Jasleen Karir, SWC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Meghan Purcell, LPCC

Meghan Purcell, LPCC

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439

DBT Therapy's Creation

DBT is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) designed to help people with extreme mental health issues.

Marsha Linehan, an American psychologist, founded it after dealing with mental health issues herself.

She went on to college, and graduate school, and earned a doctorate. DBT therapy uses both cognitive and behavioral concepts to assist people in identifying and changing their thoughts that result in anger.

DBT therapy teaches people about identifying and changing thoughts that contribute to their anger.

In DBT people also learn new ways of dealing with their anger.

The four main modules of DBT are as follows: Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness.

While each module focuses on different areas for a client to work on, each has a goal of helping people become mindful of emotions, and find ways to effectively regulate them.

How DBT Helps People With Anger Issues

DBT can treat many anger-related issues. One of these is chronic anger. People with chronic anger usually have trouble controlling their temper.

These people may lash out to respond to minor issues. If chronic anger is left untreated, it leads to other health problems, like strokes or heart disease.

If people have occasional intense anger, then they will benefit from DBT therapy as well.

These people's anger, though not occurring super often, can still be debilitating and land the person in trouble.

Some individuals with occasional intense anger may find it hard to relax or socialize and can struggle with working or driving because those tasks require focus and reasoning.

When one manages their anger, they will find themselves in less full-blown conflicts.

Those conflicts not only create consequences for the individual but for others around them, too.

In DBT therapy, people with anger problems learn how to point out and understand thoughts and feelings not just in themselves but other people.

DBT Therapy Techniques

In DBT, there is a concept called "Opposite Action." It helps individuals consider their anger differently, then change their behavior.

With a therapist's help, people can shift away from destructive behaviors into constructive ones.

People can also use mindfulness to manage their anger. This focuses on the present moment and helps people be aware of thoughts, feelings, and actions while in it.

To respond more appropriately to triggering situations, clients may practice recognizing when they begin to feel angry.

Distress tolerance is another DBT therapy approach to managing anger.

This helps people accept current emotional states and think about strategies to manage feelings without behaving destructively.

People who are angry can engage in breathing exercises and guided visualization, which might relax and distract them from the stressor.

Another technique that people with anger issues might find helpful is interpersonal effectiveness.

If people are disrespectful or aggressive towards other people, then interpersonal effectiveness will help them get their needs met without unnecessary bad vibes evolving when they need to speak with others.

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The DEAR MAN Technique

We would like to zoom in on the DEAR MAN technique, as it has to do with interpersonal effectiveness; it is used to deal with other people.

D means Describe, which means looking at only the facts, such as "My roommate regularly leaves dirty dishes on the coffee table."

E means Express, and the use of "I" statements. A is for Assert.

This means using specific language to request your needs.

R means Reinforce. You can use words and body language for this.

Moving on to MAN, M means Mindfulness to control your anger.

A means to Appear confident. Make eye contact with whomever you speak, and sit up straight.

N stands for Negotiate. This means being open to compromise.

Using DBT Therapy for Anger

If you would like to use DBT therapy to manage your anger, then you need to begin by understanding the anger.

You are likely angry because you are responding to an overwhelming or threatening situation.

Resources and tips are out there to assist you in your quest to feel better despite being angry.

One thing you can do is speak with a therapist about DBT therapy.

Through the therapist or on your own, you can find a support group for your educational purposes and connect with other people with similar issues.

Once you implement the techniques into your life that you and your therapist have worked on, you may find that you are leading a happier and healthier life by appropriately managing your anger.

You can practice the techniques by scheduling time for it. When challenging situations arise, you can use cognitive restructuring.

Practice these techniques consistently if you would like to recognize and respond to your anger in a healthy way before you can no longer control it.


DBT therapy, if one is willing to do the work in it, has many ways of helping mental health clients manage their anger. 

Once one gets going in DBT, they will find that there is a lot more to learn, and things to implement into one's life to appropriately manage their anger. 

DBT has been used for decades to manage complex emotions, and anger is one of them. 

Anger happens to everyone, at least from time to time. 

Anger is a normal response to various unfavorable events. It needs to be managed effectively by people to avoid hurting themselves or others around them, whether physically or emotionally.


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July 14th, 2024

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