Getting Along & Keeping Cool

Adolescent Anger Management; Aggression and Violence Control

(For summary of sessions, see HERE)

The ‘Getting Along & Keeping Cool’ group program is based on Novaco’s (1975) cognitive-behavioural model of anger and aggression. It recognises that the emotion of anger is usually a response to a specific trigger which is mediated by the person’s beliefs and expectations about the situation. Along with the emotion of anger is an adrenalin-based physiological reaction. An aggressive response, along with the physical tension, usually leads to an escalation of the triggering event and the associated thoughts and angry feelings. In the program it is also recognised that alongside or underlying the feeling of anger may be other feelings such as humiliation and shame.

The components of the program are: learning to recognise signs and symptoms of anger; identifying feelings other than anger; reducing physical tension; evaluating and changing cognitions; and learning prosocial ways of responding to anger, particularly being assertive. Of importance is the distinction between anger (the emotion) and aggression (the behaviour). The program teaches that anger is a normal and sometimes useful emotion but that aggression is an unhelpful and unhealthy way of expressing anger.

The core components of the Getting Along & Keeping Cool program are delivered through psycho-education, self-monitoring, facilitated group discussion,  handouts,  videos and role plays. The program uses a central theme of a pressure cooker. The use of the visual model of the pressure cooker model is another way of helping participants remember concepts and to apply skills.

Session 1: Introduction to Programme

  • Introductions
  • Icebreaker exercises
  • Establishing goals and group rules
  • The difference between anger and aggression

Session 2: Overview of how anger works

  • Introduction to the Pressure Cooker Model
  • Recognising the signs of anger – the “steam”
  • Introduction to triggers
  • Introduction to self-monitoring (Hassle Logs)

Session 3: Identifying anger triggers & behavioural strategies

  • Triggers and Hassle Logs
  • Learning ways to “let off stream”

Session 4: Identifying feelings and looking at consequences

  • Identifying feelings other than anger
  • Recognising the costs and benefits of aggression

Session 5: Effective Communication

  • Anger rights and responsibilities
  • Introduction to assertiveness skills – “loosening the lid”

Session 6: Effective Communication (cont.)

  • Assertiveness skills

Session 7: Using self-talk to manage anger

  • Influence of thoughts on feelings
  • Using self-talk to manage anger – “turning down the flame”

Session 8: Putting it together

  • Review and reflection
  • Closing activity
  • Preparing for relapse

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