PREPSEC International promotes multiple programs that can be used both individually or together with 3-4 other programs. Most of these programs are published by Research Press, but some training is advisable to ensure their optimal implementation. Training seminars are offered in different countries and in various languages. Please feel free contact the name identified with each program or one of the PREPSEC board members for consultation when deciding to implement one or more of the programs.

Anger Control Training

Anger Control Training (Amendola, M & Oliver, R.)

Anger is a natural recurring human emotion that we all experience, some more intense than others. For many of us the outlet or resolution for our anger lies in something other than aggression.

We teach kids that all emotions are acceptable but all behavior is not. A significant percentage of the time for the majority of people, anger leads to aggression in the form of relational, verbal or physical attempts to harm the other person. Anger Control Training is designed to serve two related purposes: (a) to help the anger arousal of overtly aggressive youth to become a less frequent occurrence and (b) to provide such youths with the means to learn self-control when their anger is aroused. In essence, just as Skillstreaming is designed to teach youths what they should do in problematic situations, Anger Control Training teaches them how to appropriately express their anger in an assertive non-aggressive manner.

The work of Eva Feindler built upon the substantial foundation provided byRaymond Novaco (Novaco, 1979; Feindler 1989,1996)..  Feindler and her research group have contributed greatly to the development of Anger Control Training, both with important research findings and with substantial refinements in technique (Feindler, 1979; Feindler & Fremouw, 1983; Feindler, Latini, Nape, Romano, & Doyle, 1980; Feindler, Marriott, & Iwata, 1984). This series of investigations provided elaboration of Novaco’s intervention sequence into a chain in which clients learn (a) triggers- the external events and internal appraisals that serve as provocations to anger arousal; (b) cues- the physiological and kinesthetic sensations that signal to the individual the level of anger arousal; (c) reminders- the self-instructional statements that may function to reduce anger arousal; (d) reducers- techniques that in combination with reminders may reduce anger arousal (e.g., deep breathing, backward counting, peaceful imagery, and consideration of long-term consequences); and (e) self-evaluation- the opportunity to self-reinforce and/or self-correct depending on how well or poorly the previous steps have been implemented.

In our work on Anger Control Training and our use of it as one of the courses in the Prepare Series, we stand on the foundation built by Luria, Meichenbaum, Novaco, Feindler, and others. We hope our own efforts to refine the technology of anger control have proven worthy additions to the ongoing progress of research and development.

The  program structure focuses sequentially on teaching external and internal  triggers and  the ability to impact metacognition (thinking about thinking) through the use of a strategy of trainings stating aloud their pro-social self talk. One of the driving principles behind the Anger Control curriculum is identification of the  impact of cognitive distortions and the concept of the “bubble talk.”  The “bubble talk” highlights the fact that it is what we say to ourselves or how we interpret the event.  This is the battle ground for the chronically aggressive youth, as he/she is inclined to externalize, attribute hostile intent to benign events, and usually from an ego-centric ideologue.

Empathy Training

The Importance of Empathy and Emotional Intelligence to Social Competence Training


We know now that training our youth in empathy will have a dramatic effect on their future behavior.  There have been studies in the United States dating back to the 1970’s showing the power or empathy in creating the process of growth and change in others.

In a recent publication by Dr. David Burns empathy is defined as the ability to put yourself in another’s shoes and understand what that person might be thinking and feeling.  Studies have shown that empathy is an opponent of aggression and a tool for reducing bullying and violence while leading the promotion of prosaically behavior.  Some studies have shown that aggression has its beginnings as a result of the breakdown of empathy.  Several researchers have suggested that anyone working with youth teach empathy to students as a key strategy to reduce aggression and promote healthy social development.

In the 1970’s there were many studies done in the U.S. regarding the importance of empathy among lay people.  Studies by Truax and Carkuff showed that bartenders, teachers, counselors and hairstylists were able to facilitate emotional growth if they demonstrated accurate empathy.  The concept of accurate empathy has resurfaced today in the writings of Daniel Goleman’s book on Social Intelligence.  He calls it “primal empathy” and basically suggests that saying the precise feeling word back to the person will facilitate emotional growth in that person.

Daniel Goleman defined empathy as an important part of social intelligence training and founded an institute at the University of Illinois to study the effects ofr social intelligence training on academics and behavior.  This organization, CASEL, has provided hundreds of research studies on the profound effects of social intelligence training.  CASEL published a study in 2011 regarding programs that taught students to manage their emotions and to practice empathy, caring and cooperation.  The student’s achievement improved significantly.  After an analysis of 208 programs, students in the experimental groups were better behaved, more positive and less anxious than their control group peers.  Another study from Loyola University examined empathy training and found similar results including an 11 percentile point difference in academic success compared to controls. 

Another good source of research is Adelman-Taylor’s book, Mental Health in Schools, which reinforces the importance of teaching empathy and social intelligence in schools.

Empathy training has also been used for entire school districts.  A good example is the state ofr Connecticut that teaches RICE—all students receive training in Respect, Impulse Control, Compassion, Caring and Empathy.  This training is done in every classroom with great success for the district; it is ranked among the top academic performers in the United States.

The message from these studies is very clear—that educators take the time during the academic day to practice empathy, caring and cooperation to improve academic achievement and behavior to establish cultures of caring and respect.

Contact:  Dr Sara Salmon


Moral Reasoning Training

As part of a companion guide to Arnold Goldstein’s (1999) The PREPARE Series  (Revised Edition), this Moral Reasoning Training Manual provides updated advice and supplementary materials for facilitating the moral reasoning (or more generally, moral judgment) of behaviorally at-risk students.  “Moral judgment” encompasses moral reasoning as well as prescriptive social decisions or values (Gibbs, 2003).  Despite some of the adolescent population in the United States that exhibit aggressive behavior, people generally prefer to live in a world that is non-violent and caring (DiBiase, Gibbs, & Potter, 2005).  Yet there is more to mature moral judgment and behavior than espousing moral values and positive preferences.  We see daily examples of moral “speech” that does not match moral behavior.  Politicians, sports figures, actors, actresses, etc. verbally expose moral and ethical speech but often are conflicted with their behavior.  This contradiction has an influence on adolescents who are developing their own moral view of the world and their interactions with others.  “Having” moral values in the mature sense means not only affirming them but also understanding the deeper reasons for their importance, and the use of values in daily decision making.

Despite their generally favorable evaluations of moral values, many at-risk students and delinquents around the world are developmentally delayed in their moral judgment (see Gibbs, Basinger, Grime, & Snarey, in press).  We should be clear that egocentric bias is a part of adolescent development.  However, in healthy development we see in later adolescence maturation on a more empathetic view of the world.  Those individuals that experience developmental delay need assistance in clarification of values and the importance of empathy in the context of developing healthy and mature interpersonal relationships.  Moral developmental delay among antisocial youth is fully discussed in PREPARE, Aggression Replacement Training (Goldstein, Glick, & Gibbs, 1998), and other sources (see DiBiase et al., 2005; Gibbs, 2003, 2004); here we will recap the main ideas.

Persistence of Immature Stages

We conceptualize moral judgment development in terms of stages.  Adapting from Lawrence Kohlberg’s (1984) still-influential cognitive developmental stage model of moral judgment development, our (Gibbs, 2003) revisionist model breaks Kohlberg’s stages down into immature (Stages 1 and 2) and mature (Stages 3 and 4) levels.  In the immature or superficial and egocentric level,

  • Stage 1 (might makes right)


  • Stage 2 (tit-for-tat exchanges)

confuse morality with the physical or pragmatic (powerful people, physical punishments, impressive consequences, etc. at Stage 1; exchanging favors, exacting vengeance, not getting caught, etc. at Stage 2).

Immature or superficial morality normally tends to decline with cognitive and social development.  Through expanding spheres of social interaction, relationships, and perspective-taking, adolescents and adults typically “construct” or achieve a mature level of morality consisting of

  • Stage 3 (mutualities)


  • Stage 4 (social systems)

At this mature level, the Golden Rule is understood to have a more subtle or profound interpersonal meaning (“mutuality,” Stage 3) than simply doing to others if they do for you.  Also, respect for others and oneself is understood as the basis of society (“social systems,” Stage 4).  The mean moral judgment stage by adolescence is Stage 3 in many countries (Gibbs et al., in press).

The effective facilitation of Moral Reasoning assists with clarification of thinking errors and distortions that many developmentally delayed adolescents experience.  It also enhances the other PREPARE curricula and challenges “how” youth think about difficult situations and ultimately move towards the development of a more mature social perspective – taking within their interpersonal relationships.

Problem Solving Training

Problem-solving ability is an immensely important set of skills that assist adolescents to deal effectively with the navigation of stressful situations that they face daily. The conflict, confusion and difficult choices adolescents are up against, create additional stress. To have in place a useful strategy for dealing with this ongoing conflict is essential for problem resolution.

The rationale behind Problem Solving Training is to teach youth a “do-it- yourself” way to solve their own problems. Youth should not simply be taught what to think, but more importantly, how to think. In this training strategy, a structured method or process to follow is prescribed that can help them learn how to solve the many problems that will arise in their future lives.

The following program description includes many of the theoretical  underpinnings of Goldstein, D’Zurilla, Nezu, Spivack, Shure and others.  It is presented in a series of sequential sessions, taught at a pace that ensures that youth have a good grasp of the concepts before moving on.  Although a structured program, there are many opportunities to use interactive activities to appeal to and accommodate the large numbers of kinesthetic learners also in need of strategies to resolve issues

Session 1: Program Overview

Session 2: Barriers to Problem Solving: Cognitive Distortions/Thinking  Errors

Session 3: Problem Signs/ Stop and Think

Session 4: Problem Identification: Goals, Obstacles and Change

Session 5: Gathering Information: from your own perspective and from others

Session 6: Brainstorming Alternatives

Session 7: Evaluating Consequences and Outcomes

Session 8: Practice “I can do it!”

The goal of parents and educators is to prepare children to become responsible citizens.  We can accomplish this by strengthening their ability to think clearly and carefully, even under stress. Problem solving training has proved to be successful for antisocial behavior both as a single modal program  and in combination with anger control training  or with social skills training . As such, problem solving should be viewed, in the context of this curriculum, as both skill and meta-skill. The development of high levels of competency in problem solving is, therefore, supported by other Prepare

® Curriculum courses.

For more information contact: Kim Parker at or Robert Calame at

Social Perception Training

The ability of social perception is one of the most important factors within the concept of social competence. Goldstein (Goldstein, 2004) argued that the ability to recognize, understand and interpret interpersonal cues is a key skill of social performance and thus should be emphasized in a separate program. In fact, Goldstein recommended social perception training in addition to anger control training, social skills training and moral reasoning training when working with individuals with behavior problems.

The SPT program includes an introductory session and sessions devoted to the 9 specific topics. Each topic can be covered in one session but could also be treated in more detail over two sessions. The program is therefore flexible in relation to time, depending on the age group and the topics the facilitator wishes to emphasize. However, the program typically last from 11 to 16 sessions.

Introduction to Situational Perception Training

Identifying Emotions

Open and Hidden Rules in Different Situations

Cultural Differences

Setting Events

Thoughts, feelings, body signals and actions

Interpreting others’ intentions

Cognitive Distortions

Timing (right time and place)


The program has a formalized structure, emphasizing the precise interpretation of different categories of situational cues and how clarifying of these influences how a situation may unfold. In addition to theory and rehearsals of the topic of each session, one role-play in each session is specific analyzed from the perspective of the specific session and also from the previous sessions. This reflection leads to a continuing role-play that should unfold in a way that all parties appreciate.

SPT can be adapted for both children and adolescents, in combination with other Prepare courses or as a program of its own. The ideal age for starting the SPT program seems to be between 10 and 14 years of age.

For more information: Contact Knut K. Gundersen


A.M.E. Protocol • Intake and screening of youth referred for TAME: Treatment readiness is examined; assessments conducted; introduction of TAME components, including self-monitoring tool known as the “hassle log.”

• Session 1: Orientation to structure of TAME group and rationale for program. Understanding emotions with emphasis on anger. Practice identification of angry responses and deep-breathing relaxation exercise.

• Session 2: Sequential analysis of behavioral incidents (activating event or trigger, behavioral response, consequences). Youth practice identification of components using idiosyncratic angry and/or aggressive episodes.

• Session 3: Aggressive beliefs and interpretations. Group identification of various cognitive distortions; practice re-attribution exercises.

• Session 4: Relationship strategies and interpersonal techniques. Introduction of interpersonal effectiveness skills adapted from dialectical behavior therapy (Linehan, 1993b).

• Session 5: Self-instruction training. Introduction of in-the-moment self-coaching techniques for non-aggressive behavioral responses.

• Session 6: Anticipation of consequences. Practice thinking ahead – prediction and evaluation of possible consequences of aggressive behaviors.

• Session 7: Problem solving. Introduction of multi-step problem solving process including self-evaluation, reinforcement, and feedback.

• Session 8: Relational aggression prevention. Build awareness of types of teasing, use of rumors, and methods to evaluate friendships. Practice confrontation, apologizing, and self-respect skills.

• Session 9: Program review. Exercises designed to utilize all skills and concepts introduced over previous 8 sessions. Individualized feedback to students. Administration of final assessment instruments.

• Session 10: Follow up booster session. Review of all skills, including definition, demonstrated examples and discussion of appropriate situations in which skills can be used. Check in with students regarding changes and progress since completing the program, including successful and unsuccessful attempts to use skills. Provide feedback and reinforcement to encourage skill maintenance and generalization.

For more Contact:  Professor Eva Feindler

Family Ties

Family TIES:

A Family-Based Intervention to complement

Prepare® ART®, and TIES Youth groups

Published in book form in October 2012 by Research Press, Champaign, Illinois, the Family TIES program (formerly referred to as Family A.R.T.®) is an initiative designed to work with the family systems of troubled youth. Youth who are receiving training in ART® and/or Prepare Curriculum® components, are better able to transfer their learning to their “real world” repertoire when their family members and/or significant others learn alongside them. Family members can therefore understand and, by practicing together, then reinforce the social competency being developed by the youth trainees.

Today, what was called a “generation gap” in the 60’s and 70’s, we like to refer to as a “communication gap” that exists between youth and parents and other family members. Family TIES targets the development of communication skills by all family members to strengthen interactions and relationships, thereby helping to improve the “ties” in the family structure.

 The model includes training elements from social skills or Skillstreaming, Anger Control Training, Empathy Training, Problem Solving, Moral Reasoning, Character Education, Situational or Social Perception Training and Stress Management Training.

 With the understanding that the parents and family members are the best possible transfer coaches for effectiveness in the learning process of Prepare® Curriculum or ART® skills, research on Family TIES was conducted to examine the effectiveness of the model. Over 6 years at Batshaw Youth and Family Centres in Montreal,Canada, evaluation material was gathered. In 2012 it was revealed that both youth and parent participants in the program , self-reported positive changes, in the reduction of: aggression, tendency to get angry, rule breaking and reported somatic problems. The research using further self reporting tools also revealed that youth and parents reported positive changes in categories such as communication, problem solving and general family functioning. Further research is indicated and strongly recommended. Encouraging results in use of the program are already being found in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Canada, the United States and even quite remarkably in Russia.


The model goes for 12 weeks (more is possible) and includes the following

Lesson plans:

 Week 1 Connecting with Parents and Introducing Family TIES

Week 2 Introducing Social Skills and Preparing Parents for Role Playing

Week 3 Teaching Skills: Making a Complaint Constructively

Week 4 Teaching Skills: Negotiating

Week 5 Working Together: Parents and Youth

Week 6 Angry Behavior Cycle Situations

Week 7 Role Playing Relevant Issues

Week 8 The Trust Account

Week 9 Role Play, Role Play, Role Play

Week 10 Parents as Coaches

Week 11 Recognition and Wrap Up

Week 12 Booster Session


Family TIES focuses primarily on the structured learning techniques of Albert Bandura and the philosophy of Virginia Satir when it comes to improving communication. The individual sessions also help with anger control, empathy, gaining trust, and problem solving.

The model involves a multi-family approach where all may grow from their own, and other group members’, learning experiences.


The objective of this book is to share the process that has been used for over 10 years now, with facilitators internationally, who are about to embark on a systemic family approach to helping youth in need. This interesting approach promises to be a powerful method of enhancing generalization of PREPARE Curriculum® and ART® components.


For more information contact:

 Robert Calame at


Kim Parker at

Social Skills Training