Michael Bates, Director
Aggression Replacement Training
ART seeks to address deficits in three areas that have been repeatedly observed among delinquent youth:
- Poor social and inter-personal skills—which affect their ability to form pro-social relationships and function effectively in the community
- Aggression and impulsivity in meeting their own needs
Poorly developed empathy and moral reasoning as am internalized control on behavior.
Components of ART
Aggression Replacement Training includes 3 curricula:
- Behavioral: structured social skills training,
- Affective: anger control training
- Cognitive: moral education
- Behavioral: Structured Learning/Social Skills Training
This training component includes 10 sessions focused on the skills most often identified as deficient among delinquent youth. The topic areas are:
- Expressing a complaint
- Responding to the feeling of others
- Preparing for a stressful conversation
- Responding to anger
- Keeping out of fights
- Helping others
- Dealing with and accusation
- Dealing with group pressure
- Expressing affection
- Responding to failure
Sessions typically are delivered in a classroom type setting, that usually last somewhere between 45 to 90 minutes, depending on group composition, size and pacing. Within each topic, the class includes a review of homework from previous sessions, presentation of mew skills, role playing new skills for the youth, discussion of the new skill,a nd the role playing of skills by the youth themselves. Finally, each youth plans the homework they will use to practice the skill.
- Affective: Anger Control Training
This training is taught by one or two trainers with groups of 6 to 10 adolescents. The goal of sessions is to teach adolescents:
- To understand what causes them to feel angry and/or act aggressively
- Techniques they can use to reduce their anger and aggression
During the sessions, trainers present information about the skills, model their use in role plays, guide youth in practicing the skills and provide feedback on their practice.
- Cognitive: Moral Reasoning
This training uses moral dilemma discussion groups to teach youth youth how to think about moral issues, how to deal with situations that do not have clear cut solutions and how to use principles of fairness and justice in their interactions with others. Dilemma discussion groups attempt to achieve two major goals:
- Increasing the moral reasoning stage of the adolescent
- Helping the adolescent use newly learned and more advanced reasoning skills in the real world.
How to group operates
Moral dilemma discussion in groups typically runn about one hour, and include a full discussion of one dilemma and introduction of a second. Participants can then use days intervening until the next group to think about the moral dilemma that has been introduced for discussion at the next session.
The outcomes of ART include decreased rates of recidivism, increased social skills, greater positive integration and adjustment in the community, and decreased self-reported anger in response to moderate anger-stimulating situations.