Aggression Replacement Training® is a new IIRP event which explores how to reduce violence and youth aggression for those working in education, criminal justice, social services and youth counseling. The Aggression Replacement Training process involves engaging and empowering aggressive youth to take responsibility for their behavior and learn healthier ways of interacting with others.
Dr. Craig Adamson, Assistant Professor at the IIRP Graduate School and Executive Director of Community Service Foundation/Buxmont Academy, IIRP's demonstration projects for at-risk youth, said that Aggression Replacement Training is an evidence-based restorative practice that has demonstrated success over the past two years with youth in the CSF Buxmont programs. "What I like about Aggression Replacement Training," said Craig, "is that it's very restorative. It's engaging and empowering. Aggression Replacement Training talks about how youth relate to all the stakeholders in their lives and how to engage appropriately with one another. It also looks at what happens with shame, how you can identify your own feelings in the moment, and it is very explicit with kids."
Youth work through three streams and hone in on the specific skills they need to acquire to make positive changes, Craig said. Each of three 10-week sessions begins with a survey. The "How I Think" survey helps youth identify moral reasoning skills they need to acquire. A "Skill Streaming" survey looks at techniques and social skills needed when reacting to others. The "Aggression Questionnaire" helps youth identify things that trigger them and how they can better understand their own responses.
Students meet with co-facilitators three times per work. They use flash cards and role plays to develop practical skills for coping with their aggression. Craig said, "What we're seeing with kids is an increase in social connectedness, an increase in their ability to deal with frustration and find new coping methods, and an ability to be proactive rather than deal reactively to situations."
A professional development event will be held at the IIRP Bethlehem Campus on October 24-25, 2013. This 2-day event will train people to administer the Aggression Replacement Training with youth.
"Graduate students who get excited about this," added Craig, "can then get into a course – 27 hours online – that will cover the theoretical portion of Aggression Replacement Training, including what are the main driving forces, the cognitive behavioral forces behind this. Why do kids need to think before they behave?"
The online course, an 500 entry level course that will be open to anyone who has taken the ART training, will be offered for the first time during the Spring 2014 term, to be taught by Mark Amendola and Bob Oliver of Education and Treatment Alternatives, Inc.
The 2-day training can be taken in conjunction with attendance at the IIRP's 16th World Conference.