Group process as a mechanism of change in the group treatment of anger and aggression

James Gerhart, Krista Holman, Bailey SeymouR, Brandy Dinges, George F. Ronan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Angry reactions can present unique challenges to the process of conducting group therapy, especially when providing group treatment to participants who have histories of angry or aggressive behavior. This article briefly reviews relevant literature and describes a group-based violence reduction training program (VRTP). The VRTP conceptualizes anger and aggression from a frustration- aggression framework and employs treatment derived from research in the area of social problem-solving. An emphasis is placed on how fostering group experiences consistent with Irving Yalom's classic work on the theory and practice of group therapy can reinforce skill acquisition and general treatment responsiveness. Management of the group process is a plausible mechanism of change in group treatment of anger. We highlight the challenges and benefits of dealing with anger-infused communication while ensuring the integrity of the overall group process. Case examples are provided for illustration of VRTP. Future research can answer important questions about group process and mechanisms of change in group-based treatments for anger and aggression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-208
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal of Group Psychotherapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015


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