320 -Anger and Anxiety Group and Individual Interventions | Journey to Recovery Series
Counselor Toolbox

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Journey to Recovery Individual and Group Exercises for Anger and Anxiety
What is the Purpose
~ Anger (Fight) and anxiety (Flee) protect you from perceived threats by alerting you there MIGHT be a problem
~ Have you ever gotten angry or stressed out about something just to find out that it wasn’t a big deal?
~ Problems
~ Based on prior learning experiences (but life changes)
~ Unsafe situations
~ Need for someone’s approval
~ May be overgeneralized (all or nothing)
~ Dogs barking
~ Semis
What is the Purpose
~ Problems
~ May be the result of transference
~ First love
~ Worst boss
~ May simply be inaccurate (Fire alarm)
~ Car backfiring
~ Sean’s “paint”
~ How does anger or anxiety affect you:
~ Physically: Sleep, pain, GI, immunity
~ Emotionally: Regret, guilt, feeling helpless
~ Socially: Fear vs. respect, negative impact on relationships
~ Occupationally: How you work with others, customer service
~ Spiritually: Your sense of connectedness to and impact within the world, karma
~ Environmentally: Break stuff, holes in walls, throw out things impulsively

~ Since anger protects people and it often results from application of prior knowledge or experiences, then it can be supposed that people with a lot of anger may have been exposed to significant threats (traumas) in their past
~ When you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail

Anger and Anxiety Triggers
~ The Alphabet List
~ A= Attitude
~ B= Bullying
~ C= Creating drama
~ D= Disagreeing
~ E= Expecting too much
~ F= Failing to keep a promise
~ G= …
Anger and Anxiety Interventions
~ Recognize anger and anxiety as a protective response based on that persons experiences and worldview.
~ In what way did the current situation make the person feel unsafe emotionally, interpersonally, physically or remind them of a time he or she was unsafe?
~ What emotions were triggered by this event and what vulnerabilities or skill deficits contributed to the event?
~ In what way did the situation trigger a sense or memory of loss?
~ How does the persons experience of the event alter his/her future?

Anger and Anxiety Interventions
~ The Alphabet List
~ A= Acceptance
~ B= Breathing
~ C= Compassion, Challenge
~ D= Dispute, Distract, Distress Tolerance
~ E= Express myself
~ F= Friend’s support
~ G= Gratitude
~ H= Higher Power/Hope
~ I=…
Anger and Anxiety Interventions
~ Identify 2 ways you could deal with the following symptoms, why they might occur and why it is important to recovery
~ Beach ball
~ Jenga (card draw)
~ Hat draw (same cards from Jenga)
~ Symptoms
~ Always feeling worried or stressed out
~ Insomnia
~ Fatigue
~ Shortness of breath
~ Muscle tension
~ Headaches
~ Irritability
Anger and Anxiety Interventions
~ Anxiety/Anger graphic novel or skit
~ Anxiety/Anger says…
~ Evidence for and against
~ Anger/anxiety thermometer
~ Vulnerability predictor/prevention
~ Handling criticism (role play)
~ Worry stone or beads
~ Worry box
~ Positive writing
~ Anger “Onion”

Anger and Anxiety Interventions
~ Hidden Heart
~ Fill a ziplock baggie with slips that tell about all of your hurts and anger (This is your heart)
~ Put the little bag inside of a paper lunch bag. Write on the outside all the ways they present themselves to the world to hide what is hidden on the inside.
~ For kids: Anger Tornado
~ RELAX Jar: Using beads with the letters R-E-L-A-X and other small beads and sequins, fill a small jar with rice. Leave a little air at the top so as it is rotated, the rice will slide around inside revealing the letter beads and sequins. When the person gets angry, she/he can turn the jar until finding all the letters that spell relax. (more resources here https://www.creativecounseling101.com/anger-management.html)

Anger and Anxiety Interventions
~ Hidden Heart
~ Fill a ziplock baggie with slips that tell about all of your hurts and anger (This is your heart)
~ Put the little bag inside of a paper lunch bag. Write on the outside all the ways they present themselves to the world to hide what is hidden on the inside.
~ No Rewards
~ What is going on with them
~ Role play an incident that triggers anger with neck cards
Anger and Anxiety Interventions
~ How can you use mindfulness to start to break that habit?
~ I am angry/anxious.
~ What am I angry/anxious about?
~ Is this actually a threat to me in the present moment?
~ What is the best response in this situation to help me achieve my goals

~ Reduce stimulants
~ Get enough rest
~ Strive for work/life balance (add fun)
~ Keep blood sugar stable
~ Be aware of your triggers
~ Environmental
~ Situational/interpersonal
~ Have a plan
~ Get support

Emergency Planning
~ How can you get safe?
~ Who can you call or text?
~ Strategies can you use to help you get into your wise mind?
~ Why is it important to you to manage these feelings?
~ Anger and anxiety are normal emotions that help people survive.
~ Answers can often be found by asking: “What happened to this person that would trigger this reaction?”
~ Situations that trigger anger and anxiety often involve a sense of being unsafe, a loss of something, emotions that are unable to be handled effectively, and an alteration of how that person envisions the future.
~ Problems arise when anger and anxiety are misinterpreted or the person does not have the skills to deal with the problem
~ Anger is not a simple emotion, it often covers up shame, embarrassment, guilt and/or anxiety.
~ By helping people identify the roots of their anger and more effective strategies, they can be empowered to reduce the frequency and intensity of these emotions and more effectively cope when they do arise.

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