Introduction to Anger Management - An introductory strong emotions course designed for men. (Part 1)

Date endorsed

Contact details:
Kerrie Keeley
Address Marymead Child and Family Centre
255 Goyder St,
Narrabundah ACT 2604
Phone 02 6162 5800
Program developer
Terry Norman
Facilitator requirements This delivery of the module requires two facilitators. While there are a number of advantages to using two facilitators, the main reason is that if a client becomes upset and needs to withdraw from the group for a period, one facilitator can be with the client, while the other can continue with the group.

Facilitators would need a tertiary qualification in counselling, psychology, case work or a related area. They would also need formal group work training from a recognised training institution, such as the 6-day course offered by the Institute of Group Leaders (IGL) – see
At least one of the facilitators should have significant experience in group facilitation, that is, at least 50 hours supervised practice in delivering anger management or men’s domestic violence behaviour change group programs.

In addition, group facilitators need to have appropriate knowledge and formal training concerning the impact of domestic and family violence on women and children:
• Formal training which must include knowledge of the gendered nature of domestic and family violence, the dynamics of domestic and family violence and its effects on women and children. It also needs to include recognising and responding to domestic and family violence.
• Knowledge of the criminal justice system and extensive knowledge of apprehended domestic violence orders and how they operate.

All modules of this program should be facilitated by either two males, or a male and a female.
Both facilitators must undertake formal, individual, clinical supervision in order to develop further their skills, to be able to apply knowledge to practice, and to challenge their ideas and practice. The clinical supervisor must have tertiary qualifications in a relevant discipline.

This program also recognises that group facilitators need to undertake ongoing professional development. Beyond the initial training required to facilitate behaviour change group programs, it is the responsibility of the program provider to ensure that group facilitators undertake ongoing professional development to build on existing knowledge and maintain an awareness of current research and the trends in practice.

Target group The course is designed for men over the age of 18 years. All potential clients need to be interviewed, either in person or over the phone, before the group begins, to ensure that they are suitable for a group situation, and not likely to disrupt the working of the group.

This program (the full seventeen-week program that is comprised of four courses) recognises the New South Wales Minimum Standards for Men’s Domestic Violence Behaviour Change Programs (NSW Attorney General and Justice) and endeavours to comply with its requirements.

Who cannot attend?
Perpetrators of serious domestic violence, and those people deemed likely to cause a disturbance in a group, and hence to affect the ability of other group members to derive benefit from the group situation, should be referred elsewhere. Deciding on a cut-off point is always a difficult task, but it is probably more a function of the group facilitators concerned, than the actual course description.

A participant will be ineligible to participate in a group program if the prospective participant:
• Is assessed as not having the preparedness to change.
• Is unwilling to accept the need for ongoing risk assessment and/or accountability to victims, or
• Is violent toward their partner or children, or is charged with a new criminal offence that is alleged to have occurred after they have commenced the program.

If a prospective participant is assessed as not being suitable for group work, they must be appropriately referred elsewhere.

Mandated Participants
Where a mandated participant fails to attend or participate in a group program, the referring agency should be notified to ensure prompt communication of a person’s non-compliance. Program providers must set and enforce clear and consistent policies to deal with non-attendance.

Is this program available for purchase?

This program (the full seventeen-week program that is comprised of four courses) recognises the New South Wales Minimum Standards for Men’s Domestic Violence Behaviour Change Programs (NSW Attorney General and Justice) and endeavours to comply with its requirements. The reason for this somewhat unusual structure, is that experience has shown that men are far more likely to commit to a 4-session course and then subsequently commit to further four-session courses, than they are to commit to a much longer course at the outset.

In accordance with the principles of the Mutual Aid Model, this program uses a balanced selection of interventions to facilitate maximum client involvement, and the opportunity to learn from each other. Typical interventions used include: involving clients in the construction of group rules and expectations (aiming to have clients take ownership of the group), modelling by the facilitators (modelling of respectful listening, respectful interaction, especially between male and female group leaders, and modelling respecting other points of view), group discussions, small group discussions without direction from a facilitator, role playing, and concrete verbal suggestions.

1.    Educational: The course aims to provide clients with a basic knowledge regarding emotions, and a variety of skills to enable them to manage their emotions.

2.    Therapeutic: The course also aims to provide a safe environment in which clients can tell their stories, and listen to the stories of others. Results of feedback from clients consistently suggest that this aspect of the course is regarded as very useful by clients.

Primary:  To provide clients with the opportunity to come into contact with material concerning emotions in general, and anger in particular, with the aim of getting clients to think about these issues within a group setting, and to influence their behaviour in a positive manner.

Secondary:  To enable clients to increase their self-confidence, to explore alternate ways of responding to anger-producing situations, and to change their responses to anger-producing situations in ways that will produce more positive outcomes for both the client and for his family and friends.

The course described in this document, is the first module in a sequence of four anger management modules for men currently offered at Marymead in Canberra, the agency where this program was designed.  Rather than offer a more extensive course of 8 to 12 sessions, as done by some agencies, Marymead has designed a sequence of four courses, the present course being the first introductory module to start clients on their journey of emotional regulation. 


The first three courses are four sessions long, running on four successive Tuesdays (or Wednesdays, or Thursdays) from 6 to 9 pm.  The fourth and final course is five sessions long. This gives a total contact time of 51 hours.


The Anger Management Program is comprised of the following modules:

1.Introduction to Anger Management - 4 x 3 hour sessions

2.Accepting and Valuing Strong Emotions – 4 x 3 hour sessions

3.Strong Emotions and Family Relationships – 4 x 3 hour sessions

4.Managing Anger and Behaviour Change – 5 x 3 hour sessions


All clients are required to complete all four courses to complete the program. This means clients attend 17 sessions (51 hours), resulting in an in-depth approach to emotional regulation. It is recommended that organisations that facilitate this program offer all four courses, twice yearly.


Introduction to Anger Management is the first in a sequence of four Anger Management courses currently being run here at Marynmead in Canberra, for which we are seeking accreditation, and which would subsequently be available for sale to interested organisations.  The course consists of four sessions, each of three hours' duration.


It is aimed at men over the age of twenty, who have anger issues.  The course has been proved to be effective for men with a variety of issues from quite mild but concerning to reasonably serious.  However, men with a history of domestic violence would probably need a more specialised course. 


The course addresses the following topics:


Session 1: What are emotions and what is anger; Letting it out but not practising; Strong anger can render us virtually incompetent; Levels of arousal, and the learning Quadrant.


Session 2: What makes you angry; bad things WILL happen; Rational vs, irrational beliefs; The Aggression cycle; the E.A.R. cycle; fight, flight, and assertiveness; more on assertiveness; the SEARCH principle.


Session 3: the positive use of strong emotions; heaqlthy vs. un-healthy negative emotions; self-talk and beliefs; challenging irrational beliefs; I-statements. 


Session 4: Communication, expectations of others and of self; reframing; relapse prevention; goal setting, Feedback.

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