EMDR for Anger

What is anger?

Do you feel like you get angry easily and often? Do you feel like your anger is disproportionate to what’s making you angry or that it’s hard to control? Are you not sure what causes these reactions? Or do you just want to work on your anger and how you handle it? Everyone deals with anger to some extent, but when anger is a result of a trigger or a past negative experience or event, it can feel hard to manage or control.

Anger is a normal human emotion and has several functions, but it is also a complex emotion and can vary in intensity.  Anger can manifest both physically and psychologically. Physical manifestation may involve:

  • anger, outburst, intense, madIncreased heart rate
  • Muscle tension
  • Adrenaline

And psychologically, anger can look like:

  • Aggressive Behavior
  • Hostility
  • Resentment
  • Passive-aggressive actions

EMDR and Anger

EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, was initially developed for trauma, but it has since been proven to also be effective in the managing and decreasing of strong and intense emotions. EMDR uses bi-lateral stimulation to process and decrease the intensity of past, negative experiences and events and the strong emotions associated. Anger, especially when intense and persistent, can sometimes come from past traumatic experiences or unresolved emotional wounds. EMDR helps to process these experiences, and in turn, allowing someone to let go of their anger and find healthier ways to cope.

So how exactly can this work? During a session, an individual focuses on distressing memories or emotions while engaging in bilateral stimulation. This process is believed to engage the brain’s healing mechanisms, allowing the person to reprocess the memory and decrease the intensity of emotions, such as anger.

For anger specifically, EMDR can help someone find the underlying cause of the anger, like negative beliefs about yourself or others, past traumatic experiences, or unhealed emotional wounds. By focusing on the root of the anger, EMDR can help someone develop healthier coping strategies and reduce the intensity and frequency of anger. Some benefits of using EMDR to focus on anger are: 

  • Processing Trauma: Anger often stems from traumatic experiences. EMDR can help process these.
  • Addressing Triggers: EMDR can help to identify and desensitize triggers, develop healthier responses, and reduce the intensity of anger.
  • Changing Negative Beliefs: Anger can be fueled by negative beliefs about yourself, others, or the world. EMDR can target these negative beliefs and replace them with more realistic ones, which can lead to a decrease in anger.
  • Improving Emotional Regulation: EMDR can improve someone’s ability to handle difficult and strong emotions and learn healthier coping strategies.
  • Improving Coping Skills: EMDR can help someone develop coping skills for anger and difficult experiences that may cause anger.

Whether or not you feel like your anger is related to a past experience or trigger or it’s just something you want to work on, EMDR can help. Schedule your free consultation today. 

For more research on the effectiveness of EMDR for anger in various experiences and situations, follow the links below:

EMDR Treatment of Distressful Experiences that Fail to Meet the Criteria for PTSD

Intervening in the Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma by Targeting Maternal Emotional Dysregulation with EMDR Therapy

EMDR and Parenting: A Clinical Case

EMDR and Family Therapy in the Treatment of Domestic Violence, Chapter 12, page 243-261

Change in Adult Attachment Status Following Treatment with EMDR: Three Case Studies

Gessica Cross, LCSW

Co-Owner and Licensed Therapist

Gessica Cross has helped people find  greater joy and healing from prior trauma, anxiety,  and depression, as well as processing sexual and/or gender identify and life transitions. She is formally trained in EMDR and graduated with a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Illinois with honors. She moved to Colorado after completing a post-graduate fellowship in India in which she provided pro bono work among survivors of kidnapping, abduction, and human slavery. She has specialized in helping people recover from situations of trauma, depression, and anxiety for the last ten years. She is excited to work with you!

Previous Post
Does Virtual EMDR Work?