Therapy Directive: My Anger Book
During my work as a Clinical Social Work Intern with children and families, I worked with a kindergartener for anger management skills. It was the first time I worked with a client at that stage of development. I was nervous, anxious, and of course excited! After one session, I found myself wanting a creative workbook to discuss anger with them. So, I created My Anger Book to use during our sessions together.
Here’s how it works: the workbook is separated into four sections. Each counseling session, we completed one or two pages per section.
The first objective was identifying scenarios and situations that made the client angry.
The second section of this anger workbook is focused on somatic symptoms when angry as well as angry actions. I divide this section into 2-3 counseling sessions, depending on the client.
After identifying the scenarios and situations that made the client angry, the next step was exploring the body. When we feel emotions, we often feel them in our body. This is called somatic symptoms. For example, when a person feels anger, they may experience chest pain, sweating, a rise in body temperature, etc.
Why talk about somatic symptoms? Because physical symptoms can inform our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Because physical symptoms can also act as warning signs to our decompensating behavior.
In this section of the anger workbook, the client identifies any somatic symptoms they may experience when they feel angry. Most notably is a page that features a blank human body template. The client draws on the human body where they experience their anger.
Here is an example:
After the client identifies somatic symptoms, it becomes time to identify angry behaviors, or their actions when they are angry. It is important for the client to be aware of their behaviors, especially if they involve harm towards the self or others. This portion of the workbook incorporates drawing the anger actions.
Anger is always accompanied by other emotions. This is why I incorporated the Anger Iceberg activity: to explore other emotions the client may be experiencing when they are angry.
The last portion of this workbook involves learning and practicing self-soothing skills. It incorporates the Anger Iceberg. The client becomes Captain of the Self-Soothing Sailboat. When the captain spots the anger iceberg, they have four options to choose from to calm down.
“When you see your anger iceberg, which direction will you steer the ship?”