Small group counseling sessions are a vital part of the McEachern High School Counseling Department’s comprehensive program. The Small group topics that are listed on our action plan are determined through the use of needs assessment data and feedback from the school leadership team and advisory council. Our counselors use data to implement specific lessons for targeted students based on academic achievement data, discipline reports, personal concerns relayed by students, parents, and teachers, and/or crisis interventions. Group participants are identified by teacher, parent, or student recommendation as well as analyzing data that relates to the group topic of anger management as it relates to discipline referrals.
The small group lesson plans presented here focus on anger management in the spring of 2017. Students were selected to participate in the group through the use of school data and recommendations of teachers, counselors, and administrators. Passive parental consent forms were sent home by the counseling lead to 18 MHS students. Thirteen students showed for the initial group meeting. The Curriculum used: "Anger Management: A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Manual." School social worker, Lynet Mortenson co-led group with LPC Cheryl Francis per counseling lead Toni Dickerson request. By establishing this group, our goals were to provide a positive environment for recognizing and dealing with student’s anger and encourage students to utilize new calming techniques they learn from the group. The group also provided a foundation for support and to introduce school counselors and the school social worker as resources for the students. This group helped reinforced our program goal to improve our school’s promotion/retention and graduation rate as students are academically more successful when they are present in class. We want to motivate students to succeed in school and to provide resources for improved emotional well-being.
The group consisted of six lessons: purpose and rules, play therapy, learning anger cues, aggression cycle understanding, anger in the family and conflict resolution techniques. Lesson topics were selected to aid in student’s understanding of anger triggers by allowing students a safe environment to discuss their feelings and how he/she handles potentially volatile confrontations. We also implemented strategies for dealing with others. Teacher and administrative recommendations showed that all participants needed tools to help control anger and promote positive peer relationships. Lessons for this group focused on these identified needs. Participants demonstrated poor self-control in relation to escalation of anger. These students did not have the background or resources at home for dealing with their anger and were often referred for discipline. Therefore, lessons were geared to show students how to identify anger, its causes, and techniques to handle conflict and stress.
The data revealed that the small group proved to be successful. Perception data revealed that the students developed a strong rapport and were willing to share with one another; additionally, students were able to challenge one another or reach out in support when needed. An overwhelming decrease of -52% showed that students recognize that just because they are angry doesn’t mean they have the right to “go off” on someone. Our outcome data showed that 85% of our participants had a decrease in discipline referrals as a result of the anger management strategies learned from the group. Several students expressed their gratitude for the group and many stated that they wished the group could continue. Our group’s results will affect future counseling decisions through the establishment of future anger management small groups. We realize the implications of our anger management small group as it gave our students not only an outlet to vent their frustrations; it also gave them the necessary skills to cope with life’s everyday stress. Through the establishment of future anger management groups, counselors will be able to collaborate with teachers and administrators by working closely with students to identify potentially tense and explosive conflicts. Additionally, the data collected will help with our department’s future planning as we select goals, mindsets and behaviors for years to come.
Group Name: RESUBMIT SECTION
Goal: RESUBMIT SECTION By the end of May 2017, students selected to participate in the Anger Management group will reduce their number of discipline referrals by 30% (from 54 total referrals to 38).
Target Group: 10-15 participants
Data Used to Identify Students: Students were referred based on past behaviors observed by faculty and staff in and out of the classroom
School Counselor(s): Antionette Dickerson, Counseling Department Chair
Ayesha Fawzi, School Counselor
Reginald Hurns, School Counselor
Melissa Lynch, School Counselor
Kristy Royer, School Counselor
ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s): RESUBMIT SECTION
M1SE: Belief in development of whole self, including a healthy balance of mental, social/emotional and physical well-being
M2SE: Self-confidence in ability to succeed
M5SE: Belief in using abilities to their fullest to achieve high-quality results
BLS1: Demonstrate critical-thinking skills to make informed decisions
BLS9: Gather evidence and consider multiple perspectives to make informed decisions
BSMS1: Demonstrate ability to assume responsibility
BSMS2: Demonstrate self-discipline and self-control
BSMS5: Demonstrate perseverance to achieve long-and short-term goals
BSMS6: Demonstrate ability to overcome barriers to learning
BSMS7: Demonstrate effective coping skills when faced with a problem
BSMS10: Demonstrate ability to manage transitions and ability to adapt to changing situations and responsibilities
BSS1: Use effective oral and written communication skills and listening skills
BSS3: Create relationships with adults that support success
BSS5: Demonstrate ethical decision-making and social responsibility
BSS9: Demonstrate social maturity and behaviors appropriate to the situation and environment
Outline of Group Sessions Delivered: Group Session 1: Included administering pretest, explaining purpose and overview of anger management group; developing group rules with cooperation from students; icebreaker allowing students to introduce themselves and to develop rapport; processing student's individual frustrations of being selected by administration and school staff for anger management group; and allowing students to vent about things that anger them both in and outside of school.
Group Session 2: Led off with a play therapy icebreaker. The students played charades with words that were related to anger or anger management such as: forgiveness, explosion, punch, apologize, timeout, breathe, aggression etc. The group rules were revisited and then myths related to anger were discussed. The idea of an anger meter was introduced. Triggers and cues were discussed at length. The students filled out a brief list of questions related to their anger triggers. Then everyone was led in a breathing exercise.
Group Session 3: Group leaders reviewed group rules and then had the students try to remember the cues they had learned last week. Skittles were given to students who were able to give an answer. A visual demonstration was done regarding how anger builds by using a full glass of water and adding several drops of different colored dye as the students talked about different things that make them angry. The group discussed how things can build and build if they are not expressed or dealt with. Leaders discussed how, if you learn healthy ways to express your anger and get those bad feelings out, you can prevent yourself from getting to this level of toxic feeling - where you are so angry that you lose control. Leaders explained that they would work today to try to help the students each develop their own personal plan for managing their anger. Students were ask, in reference to the anger meter they learned about last week to identify the highest number they reached last week, where they are today, and what techniques they used to lower their meter. Then the group leader poured a little water with bleach into the glass. As the session progressed, and as the students discussed their positive strategies, the water in the glass continued to get lighter and lighter. The students responded very positively to the visual demonstration.
Group Session 4: This session started with an icebreaker which involved moving chairs. This game had the intended effect of reorganizing the students' seats. The chairs were placed facing out from the table. We placed one less chair than the total number of students present. Then, we played a game where the person standing asked a question of the group. IF the question ("everyone who went to the prom") applied to a student, then he or she had to find a new seat. We continued the game until we liked the arrangement of the students' seats. A prize (a camo water cup) was left under one chair. During this session we discussed the Aggression Cycle (Escalation phase, Explosion phase, and post-explosion phase). We then taught the students the ABCD Modal (which is a technique of thought stopping and cognitive restructuring). Students were asked to report the highest level of anger they reached on the anger meter that they could recall recently.
Group Session 5: During this session we focused on Anger and the Family. Students were encouraged to report the highest level of anger they reached on the anger meter during the past week. Then students were asked to discuss how anger is discussed in their individual families. Students shared their family makeup (who lives in the home, if they are adopted, living with relatives, have regular or no contact with their parent(s) etc. Throughout the discussion the leaders explained how role models in their home impact their beliefs and behaviors in school and out in the world. Leaders continued to encourage the students to be assertive and not aggressive in their interactions with others during times of conflict. Some students shared the effectiveness of the self-calming techniques they learned.
Group Session 6: This session began with a progressive muscle relaxation exercise. Then the leaders discussed the conflict resolution model and explained that assertive, aggressive, and passive responses are learned behaviors; they are not innate, unchangeable traits. Using the Conflict Resolution Model, we explained, you can learn to develop assertive responses that allow you to manage interpersonal conflicts in a more effective way. The students were encouraged to discuss their own progress with handling their anger more effectively. Chick- Fil-A biscuits, Twizzlers Candy and water were provided for the students' graduation. The students were also given completion certificates and, also, completed the post test.
Process Data (Number of students affected): RESUBMIT SECTION
Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used): Survey Question Pre-Test Results Post-Test Results Change
Anger is a bad emotion that should be avoided at all costs.
Angry people can never change the way they handle their anger.
If your anger is justified, you have the right to really “go-off” on the other person
All people have triggers that can help them recognize when they are becoming stressed, tense, frustrated and angry.
Temporarily getting away from a potentially volatile situation is a sign of weakness.
The way you think about a person or situation has a lot to do with the way that person feels about you.
Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data): The outcome data shows that 85% of the participants of the group had a decrease in discipline referrals. The other 15% showed no change which concludes that they did not get any disciplinary referrals after participating in the small group. The behavior of students were significantly impacted in a positive way due to the interventions.
Implications: RESUBMIT SECTION
Given the overwhelming success of the group, our team is committed to offering the anger group again next school year. With an emphasis on social/emotional learning, our team will explore ways to reach a larger school audience with messages regarding mental health and positive ways to cope with environmental and internal sources of stress. Finally, it is our hope that as we continue in this endeavor, our students will view their educational pursuits as a way to improve their personal and family future outlook.