Expressive Therapy for Anger Management


Expressive therapy for anger management takes many forms as people learn to release their pent up feelings of anger.


Everyone gets angry at times. It is a natural and basic emotion generally triggered by a real or perceived emotional hurt. Feelings of anger vary from person to person and are experienced at different degrees ranging from feeling slightly irritated or frustrated to an intense and uncontrollable rage.

When a person has angry feelings, and is not able to express those feelings in a healthy way, the anger is often suppressed. By holding in or ignoring the feelings of anger, they often build to extreme levels eventually erupting into uncontrolled angry outbursts that may cause emotional or physical harm to other people. Learning how to express anger in healthy ways is an important aspect of anger management.

Expressive Therapy for Anger Management

Expressive therapy is one of the many techniques used to help people learn how to manage their feelings of anger. The term expressive therapy is used to describe several different kinds of anger management techniques.

Expressive Therapy in the 1960s

Often when people hear the term expressive therapy, they think of group encounters that were very popular in the 1960s and 1970s. Still used today, this form of expressive therapy encourages people to yell, scream and pound pillows to get out their built up anger. The pillows represent the people from their past and their unresolved anger issues.

Expressive Therapy as Creative Therapy

The term expressive therapy also refers to using creative arts as a method of managing anger. This type of therapy is also known as creative arts therapy and expressive arts therapy.

Proponents of using expressive therapy as a method of anger management believe that the body will heal through a combination of creative expression and the use of imagination. During an anger management counseling session or class, therapists help identify the anger triggers and unresolved anger issues.

Types of Expressive Therapy Using the Creative Arts

Although there are many types of expressive therapy for anger management, the following are several of the most common:

  • Music therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Dance therapy
  • Drama therapy
  • Writing therapy

Music Therapy

When music is used as a form of expressive therapy in managing anger, it is used as a mood stabilizer. When you feel angry turning on the radio or listening to the songs on your ipod will help you relax.Music has the capability of causing an emotional and physical reaction in the listener. It can make you feel more energetic, happy, or sad. Certain kinds of music will cause the listener to become reflective of past experiences or memories.

In addition to listening to music, expressive therapy encourages creating music as a form of anger management. Possible ways of expressing yourself musically include:

  • Singing
  • Humming
  • Whistling
  • Playing a musical instrument

Dance Therapy

Dance therapy combines the benefits of music therapy with those of movement and is an excellent way of reducing stress and releasing anger.

Art Therapy

Using art as a form of therapy for anger management includes all mediums of visual art. Several of the most common are:

  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Photography
  • Sculpture
  • Pottery

In this form of expressive therapy, the end result is less important than the process of creating the art.

Drama Therapy

Drama therapy uses a variety of theater techniques as a means of managing anger. This form of expressive therapy evolved from psychodrama, a common form of therapy for anger management. Psychodrama explores feelings and emotions through acting out anger issues.

Other forms of drama therapy used as a means of anger management include:

  • Role playing
  • Mime
  • Theater game
  • Puppetry
  • Group dynamic games
  • Improvisation

Writing Therapy

Writing therapy is an effective method of getting your feelings, thoughts and emotions out by putting them down on paper. Many people find that keeping a journal helps them to let go of angry feelings in a positive way.

The various types of expressive therapy for anger problems are all constructive healthy methods of anger management.

Expressive Therapy for Anger Management