Curriculum Description

Choices® is a short-term group intervention for middle and high school youth that teaches anger-management and decision-making skills. The Choices® program provides tools to help youth understand their feelings and learn skills to modify their responses. Specially trained group leaders help youth learn coping skills. The curriculum gives detailed resources for six one-hour sessions that provides both structure and flexibility. The groups may be conducted in a school or community setting for 6-12 group members. Parents attend an orientation session and a student graduation session. The curriculum includes comprehensive lesson plans, transparencies, training aids, group activities and student handouts. The approach is based on cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) methods. Research indicates that CBT is an effective methodology for anger management.

Ideal candidates for the Choices® program are youth ages 12-17 who have deficient impulse control and have poor decision-making skills. Typical participants have been identified by school personnel or community juvenile authorities. Some are first offenders charged with minor infractions, such as conflict with authority or fighting with peers. The program is not suitable for youth who have severe mental health problems or who have histories of violent or criminal behavior.

By the end of the program, students will:

  • Link behavioral choices and consequences
  • Identify internal warning signs of anger
  • Understand how thinking affects behavior
  • Use positive counter-thoughts to control strong negative feelings
  • Use calming skills
  • Apply steps for problem-solving