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Aggression Replacement Training

1~ Role play scenarios to find options ~

 Nineteen people just completed an ART class organized by the Stichting Justitiele Inrichtingen Bovenwinden (SJIB) at its office in the FX Complex in Madame Estate.  The Students did not paint, sculpture or even draw but there was a lot of modelling.

  ART stands for Aggression Replacement Training.  The trainees from Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten  learned how to run the ART program. They will now return to their homes and begin helping to calm aggressive individuals.

The 10-week long three-hours a week course which includes home work is designed to help aggressive individuals age 9 to adult learn how to cope with anger.  Research has shown that many people who become aggressive and perhaps even violent for whatever reason have not learned how to control and manage anger.

  The program began nearly 30 years ago as a means of helping reduce gang violence in the Chicago area and has been effect and expanding ever since.

  ART starts by teaching the aggressive individuals, usually in groups of six, 10 social skills like how to make a complaint, how to keep out of fights, how to apologize, respond to failure, negotiate and understand the feelings of others.

Phase two helps the individual recognize he or she is getting angry.  The students are taught to understand what triggers their aggression, they are taught to recognize their body signs that they are getting upset and then are given tools to help relax.

  Once the person has calmed down,  ART teaches the group how to use the social skills to resolve the conflict that caused the anger.

  The third and final part of the program is called moral reasoning where the group is given a series of difficult situations that they must figure out how to choose the best response.

  The course is quite dynamic with a lot of discussions and more importantly modelling.  The trainers role play scenarios to show the group alternative ways to act instead of being aggressive. Once the skill is modelled, each of the participants takes on the role and practices the skill and anger control techniques. Between sessions the students are asked to try out the skills as homework and report back how the encounter went.  Then more modelling takes place.

  The training was conducted by Peter Bleumer, Psychologist and Psychotherapist from the Netherlands and James Williams, Probation Officer from St. Eustatius and Saba.

  “I started in ART in 2000,”  said Bleumer. “I did the first ART class for the Dutch Islands four or five years ago and come back each year.”

  To remain a certified ART trainer practioners have to conduct at least one ART class a year and attend a one day update program annually.  The ART trainer program ran Monday to Thursday and the update was conducted Friday for current certified ART trainers on St. Maarten, who now were also taught methods on how to conduct Family ART.

  ART can be used as either an intervention after an aggressive person has gotten in trouble with the law or as a prevention program.  A judge can order aggressive individuals to take the course or like on St. Eustatius Williams has brought the course into the school system.

  Williams was a student in the first ART class in the Netherlands Antilles held on Bonaire and has gone on to become a trainer of trainers.

  As more individual are trained each year more prevention programs are becoming available.

The current group consisted of social workers of the SJIB, a school guidance counsellor, Turning point, Community Development Family and Humanitarian Services, Jeugdzorg en Gezinsvoogdij Caribisch Nederland Saba and Statia,

Security Company Saba and even the St. Maarten Little League.

 

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