Anger management activities for groups help people understand what makes them angry. They can also teach people how to deal with their frustration, irritation, and anger before they build up stress, create conflicts in relationships, and cause chaotic situations.
Activities for Groups
Find the best activity that works for the people in your group depending on your resources and the personalities of the participants.
Role-playing various situations teaches members valuable anger management skills. Observers will see how to handle an anger-provoking situation while role players will learn how to control their emotions. The idea is to learn anger management techniques through a simulated example.
- Divide the group into observers and actors. Usually only two actors are necessary.
- The actors will put on a skit, which may be based on a reenactment of a real-life situation that made one of the group members angry when it occurred.
- Actors should be briefed on the skit and their lines. The lines don't have to be memorized; the main thing is to have an idea of what to say or how to respond.
- One actor should play the persecutor. His or her role is to say or do things that could trigger anger in the other actor.
- The other actor should play the victim. His or her role is to respond to the other person, while at the same time noticing how they feel when they feel attacked, accused, demeaned, or misunderstood by the other person.
- Observers should make notes as they watch the skit.
After the skit is over, the observers can share their notes with the group while the actors can share their feelings about what they experienced. The group should then come to a conclusion of how the situation could have been handled better and make some generalizations of how similar situations can be handled in the future.
Brainstorming Solutions With a Group
Brainstorming is a conceptual tool often used in business but it can also be used therapeutically. When used in a group for anger management, it offers someone wrestling with an anger management issue a new perspective. Others who have the same or similar issues will also gain new insights.
- A group member should ask the group a question about anger management. This question should state a real problem they are having with anger management and ask for a solution.
- The group should decide the benefits of coming up with a solution. What is the goal the question is hoping to achieve?
- Each member should list at least ten possible answers within a selected time-frame, say 10 to 15 minutes. This is better than everyone simply shouting out an answer as it occurs to them, because every answer influences everyone else and it will be harder to come up with original ideas.
- After the time limit, everyone should read their answers aloud.
- The group can now select the answers they think are the best and debate their value.
- A decision should be made on the best answer or the best collection of answers that can be applied to solve the problem.
Field trips are often associated with school field trips, where students get a chance to visit places where they can experience the things they have been studying in class. The same principle can be applied for anger management. For instance, at its worst, anger can lead to someone committing a crime out of uncontrolled rage. So, a field trip to a prison to talk to inmates who are incarcerated because of things they did out of anger would be a very powerful, sobering experience for the group.
Of course, the field trip could also be to a court room, a juvenile detention center, or any other place where members can see what can happens when anger is not properly managed.
- Determine the purpose of a field trip. How will it provide an educational experience for the group? What will they learn about anger management?
- Select a place that accepts field trips. Also, figure out dates and transportation details.
- Create a description of the field trip and ask how many members are interested in going. If there is not enough interest, then determine the reason. It could be the place or the cost or the times chosen. If these objections cannot be properly addressed, then a new field trip should be proposed. (Repeat steps one through three again.)
- If enough members of the group are interested in going on a particular field trip, contact those in charge of the facility or organization that you are interested in visiting to arrange the details.
- Ask members to formally sign up for the trip. It's important to get a high enough level of commitment to make the trip work.
Invite a Speaker to the Group
Bringing in outside speakers to discuss therapeutic topics, such as licensed professionals, authors or those who have overcome psychological issues can be beneficial. Guest speakers can introduce new ideas or provide role models for change. Often speakers may do pro bono work or ask for a nominal fee because they want to contribute.
- Discuss with the group who they would be interested in inviting. Also discuss why they believe the chosen speaker would benefit them.
- Make a long list of suggested speakers. As many will not be able to attend, you will need multiple names on your list.
- Contact the people on your list until you find someone interested in talking to your group.
- Arrange a time and place that works for everyone and ask for volunteers to set up the event.
- Prepare a formal introduction for the speaker, as well as some way of thanking them for their talk after it's over.
- Encourage group participants to ask questions at the end of the speaker's presentation.
- Discuss lessons learned from the group speaker in the next group session.
Anger Management Games
Generally speaking, activities tend to have a somewhat serious approach. Games, in contrast, can lighten up a situation while still providing numerous insights. Some highly effective anger management games include charades and quiz nights.
Charades is a word-guessing game, but the person who wants others to guess the word they have in mind acts it out. Through mime, the other players make educated guesses until they narrow down what the actor has in mind. For an anger-management group, the game should have something to do with anger or therapy. The game helps raise awareness about anger issues, and it also helps to create a playful, bonded group.
- Cut strips of paper and write a different word on each one. Only use words related to anger management or therapy.
- Place the pieces into a covered paper bag.
- Ask the first player to pick a paper strip without looking into the bag.
- The player should make gestures to give clues about the word.
- The audience will start to guess.
- Let the audience know if they are getting warmer or colder through mime. Finally, let them know when they get the name right.
Designating group sessions as a 'quiz night' once in a while can raise awareness about anger management topics in a fun way. Planning for and conducting quiz night games can also help create a stronger, more bonded group.
- The group should be divided into those who will ask questions, keep score and otherwise run the event and those who will participate as contestants.
- Determine how many questions are needed, and have the members who will write the questions keep them related to anger management topics, including ways to solve anger-related problems.
- Break contestants into two teams who will then compete with each other. If there are a large number of contestants, you can even create elimination rounds to select the best team to compete in a final round.
- Issue a prize to the winning group. If funds can be raised, a good prize should be given out as opposed to something trivial. Good prizes could be a dinner and a movie, a day at the spa or a box of chocolates.
Use a Mix of Activities and Games
It's best to use a mix of activities and games to engage members' interests and increase a sense of group bonding. You don't want to over-stimulate people with too many group activities, and you also don't want to bore them with too many lessons.
It's best to start a group with an activity that provides information and stimulates insights when members are most receptive, and then introduce games when interest begins to wane. Paying close attention to your group and its needs is the best way to determine what you should do to help them.