Connecting, Coping and Caring

Page 1

Connecting, Coping & Caring A training module to empower caregivers working with children in difficult circumstances

Tiny Seeds Hold the Potential for a Beautiful Life Heaven’s eyes look down upon our soil To observe the small gifts of smiles and tiny features Looking to see what has grown From the small seed given a little while ago. Heaven sent the gifts to bring beauty to the earth A wide variety of shades and hues Different blends of humanity and races To adorn this earth as a meadow of wild flowers. Heaven desires each child to grow In a circle of love and tenderness Like the flowers that are nurtured By the sun and rain and gentle winds. Heaven knows that sometimes children need to move to another place to find a richer love As some flowers are damaged in the unkind Climate in which they grow. Heaven looks down upon the earth And smiles to see how the flowers are blooming Proud to notice that others give Where some have faltered. Heaven blesses those extra hands - Willing to heal and love; Who give the extra time and attention To return the bright colors and smiles To the children that need this shelter. We, along with heaven’s smiles, wish to thank Each and every man and woman Who become the substitute sun and rain and gentle wind Who help these precious ones grow into what they are to become. Written by Randy Somers DCFS Child Protection Investigator, to honor caregivers during Foster Parent Appreciation Month

Acknowledgements This manual will help to serve as a road map, which gives an optional path to caregivers working with children in difficult circumstances, to create an enabling environment for young children and adolescents to mature into empowered and conscientious citizens. It is also an emphatic reminder that those who care for other people can do a better job of caregiving if time and attention also are given to their own personal needs.

of Bethune College and a practicing psychoanalyst, for her advice, encouragement, feedback & suggestions on reviewing the first draft of the manual. •

The team of administrative and support staff at Groupe Développement, Kolkata,

India for their financial and logistical support. These colleagues often shared responsibilities writing and translating some of the worksheets and handouts used in the module, and who patiently responded to all our demands and questions.

In our journey of conceptualizing, designing and implementing the programme, we are very grateful to the many people and organizations who helped to make this project on empowering caregivers a success. We would especially like to thank : Caregivers from our partner organizations

in West Bengal, India and Bangladesh namely, Don Bosco Ashalayam, Sanlaap, Praajak, Aparajeyo Bangladesh, Dhaka Ahsania Mission and Association for Community Development, for sharing their emotions, experiences, fears and anxieties and their active contribution to the development of this manual. •

Roop Sen, programme officer at Groupe

Développement, Kolkata, who was always there to talk about our ideas, and to ask good questions to help us think through the doubts and problems, who gave insightful comments and reviewed our work on a very short notice.

It cannot be stated strongly enough; the caregiver is a very important part of the caregiving equation. This manual explores a number of different topics which can make the role of caregiver easier, and at the same time, help the person receiving the care.

Dr. Pushpa Mishra, former principal

The European Commission and Groupe Développement for financial support.

Last, but not the least, the children whom we work with and whose lives and stories enabled us to understand our roles as caregivers, a little better! Chandana Baksi Uma Chatterjee

Samikhani, a mental health organization,

based in Kolkata, which helped us in terms of course materials, institutionalizing this programme and conducting the second series of these trainings in Kolkata and Bangladesh. We would especially want to mention Barnali Ghosh, Sharbani Das and Rinku Sen , for their valuable contribution during the implementation of the training series.


Foreword By Chandana Baksi The premise of the training programme

and adolescents that will heal their emotional, physical and sexual wounds and encourage them to discover their empowerment. The caregiver’s task is to contribute towards creation of such a space through sensitive handling of these residents. They do this through appropriate interventions in critical circumstances and initiation of processes - all aimed at facilitating physical and emotional safety, development of healthy life-skills, growth of self-confidence and self-reliance.

The manual is based on a series of orientation and training workshops conducted with caregivers from six organizations across Bangladesh and India (West Bengal) in the first phase. In the second phase, the trainings included two more organizations from West Bengal, India. These organizations run shelter homes and drop-in centers for children and adolescents who had either fled from their homes or were trafficked or were homeless for some reason.

Relation between the process and the goal

The workshops were attended by those who directly work with these residents and are entrusted with the task of looking after their well being or taking ‘care’ of them.

The uniqueness of development oriented intervention is that the ‘change-makers’ are also human agencies that are as dynamic and requiring as much care as those they ‘care for’. This takes us back to the goal of a care-giving agency of the kind in question.

This chapter seeks to outline some operating principles and share some findings that laid the foundation of the specific training module in question.

If the method of work or the organizational processes of a care-giving agency is contradictory to, or not in tune with the ultimate goal of the organization, then it is very likely to yield unsatisfactory results. An example might make this issue more explicit. If an organization runs on the basis of personal allegiance and complete dependence on the leader on matters big and small, no matter how wise and competent such a leader is, the pool of subservient workers will not be able to inspire a value for selfreliance among the residents.

Role of a care-giving agency The role of a care-giving agency as we as facilitators perceive it, is to create an enabling environment - a safe and appropriate context that will enable young children and adolescents to mature into emotionally balanced and responsible citizens who are adequately self-reliant. Thus the ultimate goal is to prepare the ground for the growth of empowered and conscientious citizens. As we know, it is not possible for a human agency to ‘empower’ another - such a claim in itself is disempowering, rendering the latter a mindless puppet into the hands of a benevolent despot. With this understanding, we strongly believe that a care giving agency can create an alternative space for traumatized and deprived children

In an organization where there is no space for a worker to question and assert, what are the chances of such an organization instilling a spirit of enquiry and encouraging the growth of assertiveness among the people they work for? Just like one cannot impress upon another the value of non-violence in a violent way, a group of


positively towards creation of an empowering context for the shelter-home residents.

the more are they getting out of control,” was the helpless confession of another.

The training methodology and content were chosen with utmost caution to preserve the consistency between the objective of the training and the process. The broad objectives of the sessions were

These are some of the genuine problems that surfaced during the group discussions. It is true that appeal to reason (explaining) or emotion (winning over by love) or conscience (being nice and good to them) do not do the magic very often. It has to be remembered that the group of children and adolescents these caregivers deal with are a disturbed and difficult lot. Aggressive behaviour, obstinacy, strong rivalry among residents, sexual acting out, substance abuse and delinquent behaviours like truancy and stealing are part of day to day occurrences in a shelter home. It is extremely stressful for any caregiver and cannot be handled by the ‘reasoning method’ alone. This is because, these children’s cognitive and emotional functioning are not at par with their chronological age. This, according to Dr. Bruce D. Perry*, is an impact of trauma that these children have gone through either at home or outside.

1) 2) 3)

enhancing understanding of the other (shelter-home residents primarily) learning how to handle the residents sensitively understanding the role of a caregiver.

The guiding principle that lay at the base of the training workshops is that the caregivers are humans first and ‘resources’ thereafter. Therefore any meaningful interaction with them needs to engage them not only as deliverers of the vital task of ‘care-giving’ but also as individual human beings with their strengths, limitations, faiths, needs and uniqueness. Needless to say, there is a fair degree of overlap between the two facets - the human face and the professional identity; in fact one feeds into and influences the other. A training space was created that was safe and nonjudgmental allowing the participants to open-up. The humanness of individual caregivers flowered and found acceptance in the learning group as a first step to facilitate acceptance of shelter home residents as individual human beings first.

Highlights of the needs assessment survey The need assessment for the training programme was done with the help of a questionnaire administered to 40 caregivers from four different organizations across India and Bangladesh followed by focus group discussions for a better understanding of their views and inferences. “We have tried out the so-called child friendly methods of handling them - explaining things to them again and again, being patient to them, trying to win them over with love - but it just wouldn’t work,” was the exasperated account of one of the caregivers. “I get angry and swallow my anger - I know I am not supposed to show my anger. But how long can I continue like this…I too am human,” said another most apologetically. “I had come to work in this sector with a lot of idealism and hope - but I am getting de-motivated. The more I am trying to be nice and good to them,


While the trauma needs handling by professionals, caregivers can attempt to modify their behaviour by role modeling and introducing some discipline in their lives. It has to be remembered that any intervention has to be in tune with the ultimate goal of the organization - that of helping them mature into emotionally balanced, responsible and self-reliant citizens. Such an appropriate intervention presupposes an understanding of the residents under consideration and principles of disciplining. From the survey the following was evident; 1)

63% wrote that adolescents showing interest in sexual matters (a socially unacceptable matter) are either from “bad” family background or were “perverts” or were “victims of sexual abuse”.

Only 37% believed that it is natural for adolescents to be sexually aware, interested and at times experimental. When asked about how they would go about in handling such situations, they were open with their confusion and need for some skills training as it is ‘really a problem’. What is noteworthy is the amount of inhibition they had to struggle with while discussing this problem.

*Bruce D. Perry, MD, Ph.D. - “The Threatened Child”, Principle of Working with Traumatized Children: Special Considerations for Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers.


30% wrote that adolescents are aggressive only when they are under the bad influence of someone or the other.

Though a sizable 70% wrote that it is natural for those going through this turbulent age to get easily agitated and lose control over their emotions, a discussion on how they handle aggressiveness in adolescents revealed that they are often clueless as to how to handle such “wrong” behaviour! 3)

50% wrote that a child or an adolescent can be best disciplined by inflicting fear and humiliation in him or her.

However, a discussion on discipline showed that they unfailingly associate discipline with punishment and was extremely vocal against ‘punishment’ of any sort. Yet all of them said that they strongly believe that discipline is essential for healthy upbringing. The confusion apparent in the above account is human, natural and expected. We have internalized the values of the society we are brought up in. At the same time, we also try to work with reason. Thus stereotypical ideas about children and adolescents, about how they should be brought up, conditioning about class, sex and education and social background constantly challenge our so called ‘rational’ and humanistic outlook and vice versa. This chaos is bound to have its reflection on our action no matter how much effort we put in to approximate a “child-friendly” handling.

Training Design The training module that is shared in this manual has a progression from ‘within to without’. We felt that a context has to be created that will allow an optimum volume of self-reflection and self exploration - recognizing one’s values and stereotypical ideas and tracing their roots, one’s behaviour patterns, one’s strengths and areas of improvement and most importantly one’s feelings. We believe that increased self-awareness and selfacceptance is essential for any attempt to enhance one’s understanding of another and sensitivity towards the other. Moreover, as evident from the survey report, what was required was not necessarily a cognitive injection of ‘how things should be’ but a new perspective of looking at interpersonal interaction that will eventually change their attitudes toward the residents in a positive way. One can acquire this new perspective only through


realization and not through preaching and teaching. Realizations can only come from within. Thus the workshops were designed to allow maximum experiential learning. The methodology used included written and nonverbal exercises, role-plays, interactive lectures, simulations, games, group work and handouts. The sessions were so designed to flow from a cognitive sharing and understanding of the people they work with and the nature of their job, to an emotive exploration and catharsis of their experiences leading to new realization followed by skills training to improve the newly identified areas of improvement. The entire process could be completed because of the tremendous trust and bonding that group members felt for one another. Like all workshops that seek to work with the self, this module too focused on creating a nonjudgmental and safe space for the participants, fostering a team spirit that encouraged the participants to accept themselves and their teammates as humans with ‘strengths’ and ‘lapses’. This set the tone for the workshop that aimed at facilitating nonjudgmental attitude towards shelter-home residents and enhancement of empathy towards them among other objectives like understanding of the role of caregivers and skills trainings. Chandana Baksi Mental Health Consultant Groupe Développement

You, the Caregiver, Are Very Important! By Uma Chatterjee “No one told me what to expect“

enough?” These self-doubts can erode one’s ability to handle caregiving responsibilities effectively and efficiently.

I remember my first visit to an organization with excellent institutional care facilities for children.

When an individual takes on the job of a caregiver, they soon find that the job is much more than it seems. The sacrifices of personal time, the demands of a ‘care recipient’, and the lack of proper training and information about appropriate resources, can cause overwhelming feelings of stress and anxiety.

One feature that struck me was the gradual process of initiation of the child from living in street like situations to living in home-like circumstances, rediscovering his roles and responsibilities and growing into a responsible, balanced individual.

What can be most difficult to deal with, though, is the lack of understanding and appreciation for this role of a caregiver. Caregivers can thus, often feel isolated and alone in their roles, which add the feeling of loneliness to feelings of stress and anxiety.

However, even after many other visits to several other organizations, one realization that dawned on me was that, there was no similar initiation process for caregivers. No scope for initiation into the role of an institutional caregiver, starting with the encouragement that you are entering a wonderful, but challenging, chapter in your life, followed later by the pride at the thought of your role as a parentlike caregiver and how you will shape the mind of a youngster, impacting him or her with your wisdom, insights and knowledge.

“I’m trying to do my best“ Through our training program with these caregivers, our endeavor was to strive to educate/ orient and inform them and their organizations about who they are; what they do; what challenges they face; and what support and services they need to be successful in their roles.

“Am I good enough?“ What usually exists is a feeling that “I want to help, I believe in making the most of the years the child is with me in the home. But when I tell my friends, colleagues & seniors, or even other family members, the comments I hear are a far cry from well wishes. ‘I would have never done that! Why do you do this?’ Or, the more common response: ‘Why don’t you just do it the other way?’ or ‘…and that’s the reason the child’s not listening to you. So you need to change yourself.’”

We started with the premise that the cornerstone of the Caregiving experience is anger, guilt and grief. You try to be kind and good all the time, but it just doesn’t work. You lose your temper, you yell, you have mean and angry thoughts about your care recipient (child). After you finally tame your temper, you seem to get swallowed by the overwhelming guilt and sadness. We were also aware of the fact that caregivers will bring to the workshops their own experience and certain expectations. What they would learn in the sessions would be determined to a large degree by

With support like that, no wonder the caregiver might find himself fighting self-doubts during his caregiving journey, asking himself, “Why me? Why am I the one to do this? Am I good


their readiness to assimilate new information, and its relevance to their own situation. Their focus is usually “problem-centered”. Caregivers had much to contribute from their own experience - the sharing aspect was an important component of the sessions.


Assessments of caregivers need to focus on their own perception of the situation, rather than on their availability and physical abilities. This would include how they feel about the caregiving responsibilities and their ability to manage multiple demands, their confidence in their caregiving skills, their organizational and time management skills.


Caregivers need to be reminded about managing their own physical and mental health.


To continue providing the tremendous service they offer, caregivers need:-

“All my feelings are normal“ These workshops were not based on a teacher / student model, but on a facilitator / participant model. We realized that the caregivers have the ultimate responsibility in the assimilation of new information in the manner most appropriate for them. We believe that effective learning often enhances choices and can profoundly affect attitudes, which in turn can lead to the most significant change. In order to reap the benefits of any new learning, caregivers and mental health professionals thus need to gain a better understanding of each other’s worlds.


Understanding & cooperation from employers, family, friends etc.


Someone to talk to, to do an errand, a place to go for a change of environment & fresh perspectives etc.

In our interactive workshop sessions, in addition to building relevant skills, we never missed an opportunity to try to ease their mind by reiterating several times that “all your feelings — all of them — are normal.

Information & Access to Services

As a caregiver for a child, you are responsible for ensuring that your care recipient is safe and well cared for. You are also responsible for your own happiness. You cannot make any one else happy all the time. It’s impossible. You are, after all, doing the best you can. And, that’s why you are successful!!”

The core issues Some of the significant issues/learnings from our work that we would like to bring to the fore through this manual are: 1)


Strategies need to be developed to identify and train potential caregivers before they actually find themselves in that role or before they perceive the acute need for outside intervention after they have started their work.

New skills (communication, financial management, time management / organizational skills, sometimes even medical-technical skills etc. This manual is thus, directed primarily at the well being of the caregiver. This is not a “how to” book focused on problems of the caregiver. Rather, it offers practical approaches to address common caregiver problems and some resources useful in improving the quality of life for all concerned. Uma Chatterjee Programme officer - Mental Health Groupe Développement

Active caregivers need help developing strategies to prevent overload. They need to develop technical skills and obtain emotional support before they actually need it. They need to learn how to manage problem behaviors.


Section I Self Exploration

Session Plan Session 1

Rapport Formation and Group Building

1 hr 30 mins

Page 3

Session 2

Needs Assessment

1 hr 30 mins

Page 4

Session 3

Revisiting Adolescence and Understanding the Roles of a Caregiver

5 hrs

Page 5

Session 4

Exploring Attitudes, Values, Beliefs & Feelings

2 hrs

Page 10

Session 5

Trust and Empathy Building

2 hrs

Page 13

Session 6


2 hrs

Page 16


Pages 17 - 26

Session 1 Rapport Formation and Group Building

Objectives of this session • • •

Getting acquainted with each other Sharing expectations and apprehensions about the workshop Formulating rules of group work

Many facilitators have a favourite “ice breaker” that works for them. Ice breakers are effective means of dismantling natural barriers among individuals in the group, increasing the comfort level of the participants, establishing rapport, promoting interaction, and preparing people to work or share with each other. It is a short, quick exercise to be used to open a session. It is intended to set the stage for further group discussion, team work, or individual sharing by creating a climate in which people feel comfortable communicating with each other. An ice breaker can be one of the tools a facilitator uses to help set a positive tone and create a supportive learning environment for participants.


Suggested activity Simon Says on page 86.

Introduce Your Partner

Getting acquainted with each other

Ask participants to divide themselves into pairs and share three things with each other; names, their day’s work, 3 likes and 3 dislikes Then each participant can introduces his/her partner to the group.

Hopes and Fears

Sharing expectations and apprehensions about the workshop

Divide participants into four or five groups. Ask them to individually write their expectations and apprehensions regarding the workshop. Arrive at a group consensus; write it down on a chart paper. Ask one spokesperson of the group to present it. Resource persons/facilitators process the expectations stated, share their objectives with the group and try to reach a consensus.

Setting Ground Rules

Formulating rules of group work

The group can collectively brainstorm and draw up a list of rules.

Participatory Guidelines

Part of setting the stage is to begin with a set of rules, agreements or operating principles and practices which will govern the group’s interaction during the workshops. To get group participation and commitment to the rules, it is recommended that these are discussed within the group and then listed on a flip chart. Typically, “rules” often include the following: • Respect - that all participants will listen to and respect each other’s point of view, treat each other with courtesy and allow opportunities for all to speak (as they wish). • Confidentiality - that information shared in the confines of the group is not to be shared outside the group unless expressly permitted by the person(s) to whom the information relates. • Punctuality • No side or cross talking, giving space and time for everyone to speak

Self Exploration


Session 2 Needs assessment

Objectives of this session • • •

Exploring the caregivers’ attitudes and beliefs towards dealing with children Exploring the perceptions of their roles as caregivers Assessing training needs


Exploring attitudes and beliefs

Ask participants to fill out the questionnaire individually. Their responses will reflect their attitudes and beliefs as caregiver’s towards adolescents and ideas about how to handle them.

Handout A1 Sample Questionnaire on page 17.

Group Discussion

Exploring perceptions and assessing training needs

Ask participants to form 3 groups and discuss a case study which is read out aloud by the facilitator.

Handout A2 Case Study on page 18.


Self Exploration

Session 3 Revisiting Adolescence and Understanding the Roles of a Caregiver Objectives of the session • • •

To identify and bring to the fore stereotypical ideas about adolescents To understand how these ideas influence our attitudes towards individuals To understand how our attitudes are reflected in our behaviour towards them


Suggested energizer Fire in the mountain on page 86.

Complete the Story

Identifying stereotypical ideas about adolescence

Divide the larger group into four or five smaller groups. Ask each group to pick up a chit with an incomplete story about an adolescent and then complete it. Ask one member of the group to then present it to the larger group.

Stories printed as chits below may be photocopied and distributed to the groups. 14 years old Raju, just can’t seem to sleep. He’s worried about what the elder boys on platform no. 13 will do the next morning.... Ranu is 17 years old. She has run away from her home in the village and come to the city of Kolkata…. Piyali and Prasanna study in a reputed school of Kolkata. One day while returning from school, they decide to indulge in some thrilling adventure.... Anando has become very late in returning home from the ‘mela’/ fair. The roads are dark and lonely. He is tense about what the elders at home are thinking…. Rahul had asked his brother Rohan to hide the cigarette packet. Rohan hid it in the old books almirah in the store room. While cleaning the house, mother saw it in there and….


Most often the stories show that we carry stereotypes about adolescents and young adults. The adventures that the adolescents undertook were all risky and hazardous. Participants usually assume that children and adolescents, if left on their own, will invariably venture towards negative modes of behaviour. This shows us that the baggage of attitudes & values that we carry while dealing with children and adolescents, influence our behaviour toward them.


Suggested energizer Silly Race on page 86.

Self Exploration


Session 3

Interactive Exploration 1

Defining and describing adolescence

Divide the participants into 4 or 5 groups. Give each group a chart paper, and ask them to jot down the following: • •

Definition of Adolescence Features of adolescence under these headings : Physical, Behavioral, Emotional

Ask each group to present their definition and descriptions. Facilitators will come up with their charts on adolescents’ development and elaborate on psychological issues.

Handout A3 Puberty of Boys & Girls on pages 19 - 21. The following session has been planned around these objectives: • • •

Enabling caregivers to identify those behaviours that indicate psychological illness as it is

important for caregivers to differentiate behaviours that require disciplining and those that require treatment. Introducing the concept of positive mental health as a philosophy with appropriate action that seeks to ensure overall well being and mental nourishment of individuals thereby guarding against or preventing to some extent the onset of psychological illness. Reinforcing the continuum between so called ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ to facilitate greater acceptance of mental health problems as human problems. This is necessary to de-stigmatise the arena of psychological problems that invariably requires sensitive handling and care.

Interactive Exploration 2

Identifying Psychological disorders and problems

The participants are asked to brainstorm on the word ‘Mad’. All responses elicited by them are recorded on the white-board and then the continuum between ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ is discussed.

• •

It is to be recognized that children at shelter homes are especially vulnerable to psychological problems. This is primarily for 3 reasons: Their childhood experiences in their respective families are mostly disturbing and unhealthy so much so that many of them have voluntarily left or fled from their houses. They are deprived of security, basic necessities of life, affection, attention and disciplining and such imperatives for healthy development of the body and the mind. Moreover they are often direct survivors of abuse - physical, mental & sexual, even outside the family. They have early exposure to violence, sex, substance abuse and other ‘criminal’ activities which are bound to have strong impacts on their mind and body. They are at an impressionable age and like all adolescents are going through a phase of ‘stress and storm’.

Sometimes what caregivers might think as ‘normal’ behavior requiring punishment, actually may be ‘abnormal’ behavior requiring medical or professional help. Here are some examples where treatment is required rather than punishment : • Impulse control problems : stealing, lying, violence, truancy • chemical dependence • learning disabilities • obsessive compulsive disorders • somatization • sexual ‘deviance’ • attention deficit and hyperactive disorders


Self Exploration

Revisiting Adolescence and Understanding the Roles of a Caregiver

Caregivers may feel a sense of relief on realizing that certain problems or behaviour in children are not reflective of their ‘faulty handling’ or ‘wrong actions’. These behaviour or problems can have medical / biological causes and may only be precipitated by a caregiver’s actions in the home. To further allay the anxieties and curiosities of the of caregivers, facilitators can share with them some disciplinary issues, difference between ‘Discipline’ and ‘Punishment’ and what could be some of the behaviours that they could adopt while handling “difficult” children in the shelter homes.


Understanding Discipline

Initiate a brainstorming session on the word “discipline”, followed by a discussion on the organization’s disciplining policy and the caregivers ideas about ways of enforcing discipline and punishment. The role of discipline in a child’s growing up process needs to be reinforced. Discipline gives the child security, helps the child to be organized and systematic and increases his/her level of tolerance, so important for developing maturity. Facilitators could share the scientific methods of “Positive and Negative Reinforcements” as opposed to the conventional practice of corporal punishment. It has to be reinforced here at this stage, that unlike what is usually thought (as was evident from the survey response in the needs assessment phase in our training experience), it is responsibility rather than fear that facilitates the growth of discipline in an individual. ‘Positive’ and ‘negative’ reinforcements make the child responsible for bearing / facing the consequences of his/her acts and inspire behaviour modifications through rational and non-humiliating means.

Handout A4 Disciplinary Issues: Some Guidelines on pages 22 - 23.

Sharing Case studies

Handling common disciplinary problems

Ask caregivers to share case studies from their shelter homes where they faced difficult disciplinary issues, including jealousy, aggression and ‘inappropriate’ sexual behavior. Discuss each issue with the larger group to identify alternative modes of dealing with them. Facilitators can help participants identify certain symptoms in adolescents that would require professional help rather than just “talking and trying to explain to them”.

Handout A5 on Common Disciplinary Issues in Institutional Settings on pages 24 - 25.


How I am feeling here and now

Ask each participant to share in the group, how he/she is feeling in the ‘here & now’.


Concentration exercise to focus on the sessions

Ask participants to close their eyes and concentrate on the noises that they can hear around them. After about 5 mins, they can share their experiences with the group.

Self Exploration


Session 3

The objectives of the following activity are: • To help caregivers empathize with the adolescents they work with by mentally revisiting their own adolescence • To help them to become sensitive to the needs of adolescents and understand their expectations from the caregivers • To have an understanding of how important it is for one to be able to share an intense or significant incident or feeling to an interested and good listener and hence, realize the importance of listening and • To chart and obtain a list of qualities of a ‘helper’ or the qualities that an adolescent wants to see in a caregiver will emerge from this activity.

Emotion Graph

Participants are asked to plot their emotional journey during the adolescent period. This could be done by indicating chronological age along one axis and marking the emotional highs and lows along another and later joining the points thus plotted. After going through the emotional journey and arriving at the graph representing it, participants could be given the option of sharing highlights of their period with a person of their choice. While sharing, both the speaker and the listener should focus on the feeling aspect of the experience. The speaker should also recollect and share the person he/she trusted most in those days of emotional turmoil.

A Note of Caution

The qualities of a person whom an adolescent feels comfortable to approach in times of need are capable, confident, respectful and not insulting, emotionally controlled, consistent,

affectionate, concerned, maintaining confidentiality, wise and comfortable to talk to and above all, one who is understanding

These are human qualities and not absolute ones. One can cultivate these qualities and acquire them in various degrees. However it is important to accept that as humans we have our limitations and hence room for improvements. One has to recognize one’s limitations and recognize them as such and only then can one attempt to work at them for improvement.

Group Discussion

Understanding Caregiver’s Roles

To help caregivers become sensitive to the needs of adolescents and realize what adolescents & children expect from them, the ‘goals’ of a care giving agent have to be explored. Role boundaries have to be reviewed and the importance of the care giver’s appropriate behaviour in fostering restraint, maturity, healthy interpersonal relationship and self-esteem in the adolescent, have also to be explored. Have a discussion on the role of a care-giving agency where benevolence versus empowerment


Self Exploration

Revisiting Adolescence and Understanding the Roles of a Caregiver

issues are thrashed out. This is needed as a premise on which the model behaviour of a care-giver would be outlined. Point out that care-givers are often role models for these children as they are the significant others in the latter’s’ lives. A care-giver’s behaviour consciously or unconsciously influences the behaviour of the adolescent; his/her inter-personal relationship with the adolescent informs the latter of how inter-personal relationships are nurtured and finally, a care-giver’s feedback directly impacts the adolescent’s self-esteem and level of confidence. Therefore a care-giver’s dealings with children and adolescents, play a crucial role in their becoming emotionally balanced, mature and responsible citizens in future.

Handout A6 on Roles of a Caregiver on page 26.

Self Exploration


Session 4 Exploring Attitudes, Values, Beliefs & Feelings Objectives of the session • • •

Self-Reflection: to bring out the human being that underlies the performer of the task (caregiving in this context) To understand the impact of our attitudes, values and beliefs on our interpersonal relationships. To be able to identify different shades of feeling in oneself as a first step towards understanding others’ feelings.

Win Over Debate

Exploring attitudes and flexibility

The facilitator presents a value-loaded or controversial statement to the participants from the list given below. The statements can be written on a white board for all to see. 4 corners of the room are marked with the following placards: Totally Agree, Partially Agree, Partially Disagree, Totally Disagree. Ask participants to take a stand according to their beliefs regarding that issue, and move to the corresponding corner of the room. Representatives from each corner take turns to present their case for their beliefs. Opposing camps must try to convince each other with the objective of ‘winning over’ more members to their respective corners. Individuals who are convinced may switch corners. After the issue has been thrashed out for about 10 or 12 minutes, the entire group must reassemble in the centre of the room. The facilitator then presents the group with another statement. This process is repeated until all the issues have been debated. Here is the list of statements for the facilitator. • • • • •

HIV test should be made compulsory for sex workers Sex before marriage is bad Women should not smoke One should always come to a decision after listening to others Flexibility is always better than rigidity

The exercise usually inspires only a few to change their sides; majority stay put in their original stance. However, usually when the last statement is provided – “Flexibility is always better than rigidity”, all people more or less agree. By now it requires very little prompting from the facilitator for them to realize that in spite of their faith in ‘flexibility’, their behaviour in the context of the other statements demonstrates more rigidity. This is usually because participants while doing the exercise are more concerned about their own task and beliefs and do not actually ‘listen’ to the others with openness. As a result there is very little understanding between them and each group finds the other imposing, unwilling to understand and the entire process extremely ‘frustrating’. The obvious link that has to be made here is how speaking or for that matter communication without ‘listening’ to the other, is a meaningless exercise and appears like an ‘imposition’ to the other. An analogy with the shelter home scenario can be easily drawn. Adolescents who are by nature seekers of reason and given to questioning, react to such “impositions” quite negatively. They have to be listened to and understood, (understanding is different from approving all that they have to do or say; understanding simply means to be able to gauge what they are trying to say, how they are feeling and why they are acting in a particular way) before they would be willing to listen to an adult. In an attempt to replace blindly held rigid faiths with flexible and rational attitudes, it is important to identify the areas of blind faith, trace their roots, question their significance and if possible replace them with healthier attitudes.


Self Exploration

Exploring Attitudes, Values, Beliefs & Feelings


Tracing origins of some of our beliefs and their precipitating childhood messages

Ask participants to form pairs and make a list of messages that they are aware to have come from their childhood - messages that influence their decisions even to this day. Ask them to rank them according to their strengths. E.g.. “Hurry up!”, “You have to do it well”, “One must always be nice to guests” etc. Ask participants to consider the following questions: • • • • •

Why must you follow the message? What would happen if you didn’t follow the message? What are the advantages of listening to the messages? What are the advantages of disobeying the messages? What are the alternatives?

Ask each person to share the top 5 messages in respect to these questions. In the larger group, ask each person to share what they discovered about themselves.


While most of us behave logically in many situations, under stress it is common for less rational types of behavior to take over. We may or may not be aware of this and it is worthwhile to examine the roots of these beliefs and values and their efficacy in the current situation. (E.g. Lying is bad. Rationally I know children lie sometimes; they lie as they are trying to hide something from me and we hide something only when we are scared of disclosure….but in the course of my stressful days work, when I catch a child lying I get mad thinking, “how dare he….why should he lie…it is bad’. Our rational understanding of this behavior is taken over by our childhood message that is ingrained in us. It makes me feel helpless and hence angry and even more stressed…I lose control over my emotions.)

Feeling Faces

Identifying different feelings, and being in touch with them

Show a chart with a number of “Feeling Faces” (some examples given in the next page). Ask participants to choose any two positive and any two negative feelings. Ask them to think of incidents where they felt so and share it with their partner. This process helps people to empathize and understand the requirements of the other person. It helps caregivers gauge and respond appropriately to what a child or an adolescent is experiencing. The facilitators may observe that participants sometimes may have problems in identifying and distinguishing between different feelings. The general tendency is to categorize feelings into two – ‘good’ feelings and ‘bad’ feelings. Thus the subtleties could get lost and participants may have difficulties in narrating incidents from their lives appropriate to particular feelings. It is here that the facilitator has to help them to be more specific and accurate in identifying and describing a feeling.

Feeling Charades

Make several chits with feelings written on them. Ask each participant to pick up a chit and mime the feeling for others to guess. Actors are not allowed to talk or make any sound. Here are a few feelings that could be included : • •

happy angry

• •

dejected confused

• •

guilty fear

• •

surprised jealous

Self Exploration


Session 4

It is important for us to realize that we often assume how the other person is feeling. We may or may not be correct in identifying that feeling. If we do not identify the feeling, there is an inappropriate response. Thus, there are always chances of misunderstanding and hence it is always best to clarify one’s understanding. It should also be made clear that our nonverbal messages are important as they communicate our feelings rightly or wrongly to the other. We may say something but our expressions may convey how we are actually feeling and when there is a mismatch, there is mistrust. It is here that participants will have to be reminded that if a caregiver wants to modify and truly understand any behaviour or language of the child in the shelter home, it would require him/her to understand both the content and the feelings involved. To bring about any change or modification, one has to understand the cycle of sensing, thinking, feeling and behaving.

Sensing (the incident or experience)



Interpreting / Thoughts

The caregiver must remember that we have to trace the feeling , thought and the incident from the evident behavior. We feel in a particular way Feeling as we think in a particular way on being exposed to an experience and it is important for us to know what we are feeling and the corresponding thought, if we want to change a resulting behaviour. The participants can then be asked to come up with some experiences and then with the facilitator identify the feelings and thoughts behind them and suggestions for future in case a change is desired in the behaviour.

Feeling Faces


Self Exploration

Session 5 Trust and Empathy Building

Objectives of the session • • •

To understand the power dynamics in interpersonal relationship as manifest in the relationship between the caregiver and the shelter home residents. Defining and understanding empathy. Skills training in handling problem situations in shelter homes with empathy.

Blind person

Exploring Trust, part 1

Divide participants into pairs. Blindfold one partner and let the other partner guide him / her around the room. Make sure the room is arranged with things scattered around forcing the guide to take a leading role and help the ‘blind’ person feel his/her way through the ‘world’. However, ensure that none of the objects lying around are injurious. Then reverse the roles. No one is allowed to communicate verbally while doing the excersize. Later, ask each participant to share his feelings with the group as a ‘helper’ and a ‘helpee’. Possible responses could be : • •

Feelings as a Helper : anxiety, avoidance, overbearance, powerful, responsible Feelings as a Helpee : insecure, anxiety, fear, anger, dependence, powerlessness, also fun

Then ask participants • Which role did you feel more comfortable in? • How were you feeling in both roles? • Once you hear your partner’s feedback, how do you feel? • Did your partner understand your feelings or were you misunderstood? Participants could be asked the following question- “who is the blind person and who is the guide in a shelter home situation?” The obvious analogy brings home the fact that children in their state of dependence (blind person) vis-a-vis the caregiver (the guide), feels as insecure, scared, inadequate, powerless and angry in spite the latter’s best intent to ‘guide’ them. It is the difference in their respective situation that breeds suspicion and some extent of hostility in the children. Very often, it has little to do with the personal attributes either of the child/ adolescent or of the particular caregiver. It is important for caregivers to accept that it is not easy to trust, especially when one is as vulnerable as a shelter home inmate. Trust has to be earned and it is often a slow process. Another finding from the exercise is that the responsibility that ‘power’ entails is often very stressful for the guide (caregiver). One has to work with one’s stress, redefine one’s role and make realistic expectations from self to deliver one’s responsibilities. It could be stressed that progress is possible when both the ‘helpee’ and the ‘helper’ understand each other and cooperate with each other.

Odd couple

Building Understanding and Empathy

Ask participants to form pairs. Each pair gets a chit with a pair of related words written on it. These pairs of words could be • • •

Hammer and nail Sculptor and clay Dog and master

Pairs are requested to enact the relationship between the given objects and swap roles after sometime. Ask participants to share how they felt while enacting each role.

Self Exploration


Session 5

The structure of this sub-session has 3 parts. • • •

The first part aims at self awareness of how spontaneously ‘understanding’ or ‘empathetic’ the participants are. The second part involves an interactive lecture session on empathy. The third part involves role play as to how to handle some typical shelter home situations with empathy.

Debrief One member of each pair has a power over the other. This power can be expressed through intimidation( hammer and nail), manipulation (clay and sculptor) or smothering (dog and master). In all 3 situations, the ‘powerless’ half feels limited, out of control and therefore oppressed. In a typically adult-child/adolescent relationship, one is in control and the other is being controlled. The game is designed to place one in the shoes of that person who is being controlled in some way or the other.


Exploring Awareness about one’s spontaneous self

Ask participants to form pairs. One partner mirrors the actions of the other and then the roles are reversed. Ask participants to share their feelings in the larger group.


Even though these are just games and with groups of colleagues, it becomes evident that sometimes when we have power, we tend to become revengeful and aggressive. We try to make things difficult for others around us. Thus, it reveals that we all possess shades of grey and experience feelings of power and helplessness as the adolescents around us. It is worthwhile to recognize one’s natural tendencies so far as exercise of ‘power’ is concerned, accept them and work on them for appropriateness. Also, once participants go through a mock situation where they are overpowered by their partner, it becomes easier to review their expectations from he shelter home children. Usually the pair where the ‘subject’ is conscious and understanding of the ‘mirrors’ difficulties and acts keeping the convenience and difficulties of the other in mind ends up performing better. This can be cited to illustrate the common saying “You get what you give” in the context of human relationships

Defining Empathy

A session on defining empathy can now follow where its difference with sympathy and advice giving can be explored and clarified. It needs to be pointed out that ‘empathy’ is feeling with someone and is different from ‘sympathy’ or a feeling for someone. To empathize means to place oneself in another persons shoes, understand his/her feelings and at the same time retain sufficient detachment to be able to provide the person with appropriate help / assistance. ‘Empathy’ is different from ‘Sympathy’ which is more like identifying completely with the other person thus feeling the pain of someone who is suffering or the anger of the person in rage and not being able to maintain the optimum detachment required to actually help that person cope with his/her situation better. It is to be emphasized that with the vision of empowerment and self-sufficiency, it is most appropriate to deal with a child/adolescent with empathy. Sympathy & active support i.e. doing things for him/her, will generate dependence and bock the road to self-reliance. Advice giving even with the best intent, springs from a judgmental attitude and is very likely to be taken as imposition from elders. Chances of listening to that advice are slim and moreover, it doesn’t help them in becoming responsible decision makers. It needs to be made very clear that in crisis situations,


Self Exploration

Trust and Empathy Building

acute depression, trauma or suicidal attempts, direct action is necessary rather than anything else. In such occasions, caregivers have to take decisions on behalf of the distressed individual and do whatever is necessary for his/her recovery and well-being.

Role Plays

Write down situations of a care provider and a child, based on issues revolving around various feelings. Some examples: • •

Conflict / Doubt Anger

• •

Fear Confusion

Based on the above, pairs of participants could be asked to then enact role plays on various incidents relevant to their shelter homes with intervention by facilitators to practically explain handling these issues sensitively.


The reactions and responses of both participants in the role play can be understood and explained with the help of the cycle discussed earlier - sensing, interpreting, feeling and behavior. The facilitator should bring out how judgments, beliefs and attitudes stand in the way of understanding the other and determine our behaviour towards the other; identify the incorrect or inappropriate questions / responses and then try and understand the correct, more appropriate styles and also pointing out the difference between empathy and sympathy or advice giving. Also it must be brought to the fore that the role in which the care provider sees herself/himself, will affect the process of problem solving. For example, if you think your duty is to solve the problem, you will be task bound and feel forced to give a solution. However this solution will be the caregiver’s own solution and may or may not be accepted by the child/adolescent in question. More importantly, this will not help the shelter home inmate to develop problem-solving skills. Therefore such an intervention is not consistent with the vision of empowerment.

Self Exploration


Session 6 Closure

Objectives of the session • • •

To enhance knowledge about self and facilitate acceptance of self. To help develop a positive self concept. To identify areas where working with self is required to function better as a caregiver.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Ask participants to individually identify & chart down 5 strengths / positive qualities that they have and 5 areas where they need to improve themselves in their role as caregivers and their plans to improve. • • •

Strengths Areas of improvement Plans regarding improvement


We have to try and rephrase the negatives / areas of improvement in a positive manner. For example, ‘I lose my temper very easily’ could be written, as ‘I will try to be more patient’. Identify any one situation / task which needs improvement. Try to explore the causes and reasons and then take small steps to bring some changes in the next one month.

Positive Strokes

Ask participants to pass chits around with the names of other group members. Each participant writes two positive adjectives about others and passes the chit around until each person has written for all others. Each member of the group could then share his / her list in the larger group space. OR Pin a paper on each participants’ back and all others write at least two positive things about each other. This can then be taken away as a souvenir from the group!!


Self Exploration

Handout A1 Sample Questionnaire

When an adolescent behaves in an aggressive manner, is it because -

£ £ £ £

He is the product of faulty family upbringing He is a bad boy He is disturbed for some reason He is mixing with bad influences

When an adolescent shows interest in pornographic magazines or overtly sexual pictures/literature

£ £ £ £

He is a pervert He must be coming from a dirty family background He is a victim of sexual abuse He is displaying natural curiosity

How does an adolescent look up to a significant adult?

£ £ £ £

As a role model As an enemy As a friend Generally indifferent

In disciplining adolescents, what feeling when aroused in them is most effective?

£ £ £ £

Fear Guilt Responsibility Humiliation

We must accept adolescents as children who are emotionally dependent on adults







Spare the rod and spoil the child



Adolescence is a time when the individual is generally very indifferent to the likes and dislikes of other people





Adolescents defy adults, as they do not respect the latter





Self Exploration


Handout A2 Case Study


aroon (14 years) leaves his village and comes to the nearby city. He lost his mother a year ago when his little sister was born. Haroon’s father remarried, as he needed someone to look after the little one. Haroon and his step-mom didn’t get along and his father on the last occasion beat him up for being rude to his step-mom. Haroon came to the city with a lot of expectations- of a happier life full of options and opportunities. At the railway station, he met his uncle and wanted help from him. His uncle ran a tea stall and said that he’s not in a position to offer him shelter. Haroon spent two nights in the railway station and finally a drug peddler approached him, offered him food and introduced him to the job. A few weeks went by and a police raid took place. The other peddlers fled but Haroon was arrested and put behind bars. In the prison, other prison mates sexually abused him and Haroon was on the verge of a breakdown when he was produced in court. The judge ordered psychiatric treatment for him. He was admitted into a mental hospital and stayed there for a few weeks. The hospital authorities then contacted a shelter home for street children. In the shelter home, Haroon talked to everyone very sweetly but soon the workers found out that he was a great storyteller, lying quite a bit and also stealing. Apart from this, after a few more weeks, the boys reported that he was disturbing younger boys, trying to touch their private body parts etc. The caregivers tried to explain things to him with affection; Haroon offered to change his ways but went back to his habits soon after. Then again he was explained to; then scolded. Love, shame, fear, nothing seemed to work. On the last day of his stay in the shelter home, he was caught stealing again. This time he was shut in a room for three hours. When his door was opened, he seemed to have fled through the window and already gone. He went straight to his uncle who then refused to help him and literally shooed him out of sight. He took a train and went back to his village and to his father. By this time one year had passed and his father had thought that he had lost his son for good. Seeing Haroon, his father was shocked and hurt and angry and said, “Who are you? I don’t know you! Go away from here!” Haroon left home and committed suicide at the railway tracks. Question for groups: Who or which agency is most responsible for Haroon’s situation and why ?


Self Exploration

Handout A3 The Puberty of Boys

Psychologically the task of puberty is: • to loosen or dissolve old ties with family members in order to be able to enter into new •

relationships; to develop their own values, sense of identity, independence, ability to assert themselves.


• •

There is instability, frequent changes of moods from elation to depression, at times confusion, Often changing to rigorous radicalism in adolescence (in ethical, religious, political views, and in general outlook.


• • •

Superficial short lived friendships alternate with intense more lasting ones as also group membership Side by side with the need for social acceptance is a tendency towards being alone, to indulge freely in moods and frequently overvalued fantasies. An increased suggestibility invites exploitation.


• •

The changes for a new self-image and revised perception of their role in society as a male or female. Erotic feelings are indulged in through day dreams and flirtations rather than direct relationships.

Three overlapping stages can be distinguished 1. 2. 3.

Pre-puberty (approximate age 10-13 years) Puberty (approximate age 13-16 years) Adolescence (approximate age 16-20 years up to 23 years)



The main task is the development of the sense organs and the senses. a. As a weapon in the struggle for existence of the increasingly independent young person in a hostile world. b. For a sexual biological purpose, it enables the individual to find a sex partner suitable for him Aggression

The young boy feels provoked both by his own strength and power and by the external world, feels provoked by fate that made him such a strange creature, neither a child nor an adult. This leads to an acting out of the aggressive drive. Isolation

The boy stands before a void, feels a kind of isolation, often causing terrible anxiety and feelings of being worthless, having no power, no control. The fundamental mood of the young person is one of fighting against this isolation and for recovering a position in the world. Experimentation

To explore their powers and test their limits and overcome the fear of being thrown into the world.

Self Exploration


Handout A3 The Puberty of Boys

Adult Baiting

Wish to devalue the adult whose superiority is resented. Wish to reduce the distance between adult and child, enabling the youngster to discover ‘likeness” between him and the adult which gradually removes the sense of isolation, leads to better understanding and progressive identification Adventure Seeking

Mastering demanding, dangerous and frightening situations strengthen self confidence, a feeling of one’s own value. Clubs /Gangs

Collective bonds provide a sense of belonging, being accepted. 2

Actual Puberty

Processes initiated in pre-puberty and earlier develop further. These include: • Psychological repercussions to bodily changes and sensations that may vary from a pride in outgrowing childhood to embarrassment, diffidence and fear. Guiltfeelings and acute anxiety often are connected with misconceptions. • Intellectualization i.e., thinking critically about things and himself increases, which helps control impulses and impulsive behaviour. Inner disturbances lead to a sense of fatigue and absent-mindedness. • Assessment of the environment including relationships with family members becomes more objective. • The boy’s individual identity becomes more differentiated and integrated. The need for mastering aggressive impulses is a major task. The strength of these impulses varies from a. Inherited physiological tendencies b. Accumulated sexual energy converted to aggressive energy c. Reactions to adult’s insensitive, inappropriate, negative behaviour d. Environmental influences (media etc.) • Outlets are sought both in fantasies and action • Whether or not the aggressive energy leads to delinquent or criminal behaviour depends on the qualitative distribution of restricting forces (such as conscience, self-control, personal-cultural development) and impulsive aggressive forces. 3


• •

The struggle for achieving the maturity of independent adulthood continues. Unfavourable earlier developments and maladjustments will also continue to grow, unless corrective steps are taken.


1 2 3 4 5


Difficulties in development due to over-dependence; Juvenile depression and obsessive compulsive neurosis Substance abuse Delinquency and criminality Deviant sexual habits

Self Exploration

Handout A3 The Puberty of Girls

Some general aspects (physical, intellectual, social, emotional) have been discussed separately. The girl’s earlier experiences in her social environment are vital for the manner in which she sees her role in society as a girl and woman. As she enters the puberty phase 3 overlapping stages can be distinguished. Pre Puberty (Approximate age 11-13 years)

• • •

There is an urge for increased activity and the direction this activity takes depends on parental models, guidance and attitudes, such as balanced, overindulgent, over-restrictive, negligent or depriving. Too little love and affection may make a girl inwardly and outwardly wayward. The girl’s attitude towards her mother is generally ambivalent. It is important for her future development, which part-image of her mother (the “good” or the “bad” she identifies herself with. The girl’s attitude towards her father and elder brother in a favourable family environment usually combines love and attraction. Finding faults with parents help her to attain a level of detachment. Incestual Molestation or assault is a traumatic disappointment in her love for her family members, which can have far reaching consequences for her mental health.

Puberty (Approximate age 13-16 years)

• • • • •

Menstruation trauma: The girls reaction to the onset of menstruation varies with the type of information she received about it, her mother’s attitude and the girls own experience relating to her feminity. There is need to come to terms with physical changes and associated changes in her social role. The natural tendency of a girl is to protect her body and accept social prohibition. There may occur increased aggressiveness, moodiness and depression. The girl shows side by side a sense of social responsibility and caring, envy, jealousy, even hatred depending on her attitude towards specific persons. Girls are especially sensitive regarding their sense of justice and self-esteem, though they may pretend to be callous and insensitive. Hurl feelings may give rise to vengefulness and aggression. In the normal course all aspects of her personality develop towards greater competence,confidence and independence.

Adolescence (Approximate age 16-20 years)

Tendencies initiated earlier develop further in positive and/or negative directions. The struggle for finding her own identity and position in life continues. MAL-DEVELOPMENT IN FEMALE PUBERTY • Masculinity : Development into a ‘masculine” woman. There is an underlying wish and

• • •

attempt to be (like a) male. Rejecting boys and men, the woman has a need to dominate her boy friends or husband. She is generally of depressive’ disposition. Shows bad temper and aggressiveness. Feminine Masochism : Developed from feminine passivity, sometimes following a trauma or sexual assault. Histrionic Disorder : Often derived from feminine masochism and conflicts relating to sexuality. Promiscuity : Maybe a further deviation from normal development. Other reasons maybe that the girl is sexually insensitive or she cannot be satisfied with just one man.

Self Exploration


Handout A4 Disciplinary Issues: Some Guidelines

Give a patient hearing to all concerned - ascertain all relevant facts

Allow time for correction before taking punishing action. Every person is capable of

correction. Rejection preempts correction. Set a “probation time’ of good behaviour (1 to 6 months) before deciding on final action. (Probation principle of J.J. Act). Avoid hasty action. •

Take into consideration actual options for the ‘offender’, including life circumstances and

the objective of rehabilitation. •

Take into account the child’s age and developmental stage for instance. For instance, for

a child it is normal to experiment with ‘forbidden things’. Many adults keep struggling to attain’ maturity. Empathy is the keyword. •

Consider the effects of your action on other boarders, i.e. the home community. Ask

yourself: will the disciplinary action increase or reduce the sense of insecurity deprived children commonly suffer from? Will it improve or aggravate existing disciplinary problems: Remember most children will identify with a ‘victim’ of perceived injustice. •

Take constructive remedial action: Group work with residents can help to increase

awareness, cooperation and a feeling of being valued; it can motivate changes to improve communication and mutual understanding. •

Remember the model role of staff and other authority figures, especially the importance

of staying calm (anger breeds anger). It helps to recall that most of us/our children have at times made a nuisance of ourselves/themselves, thrown tantrums, hit others, broken or thrown objects etc. - and still we/our children are accepted as valued members of our families. •

Ask yourself is the contemplated action a desirable precedent? This may be seen in relation

to the objectives of the institution, such as integration into the mainstream expectations of a funding agency or simply in an ethical perspective. •

Does the punishment fit the ‘crime’? Could we be over-reacting? Are we letting off our

‘steam’? Are we indulging in vengefulness, personal bias, and intolerance? •

Maintain a consistency of disciplinary standards whilst at the same time taking into

account the individuals need. •

Make sure that the children are quite clear what action is being sought to be corrected. The

disciplinary action should follow the unwanted behaviour as soon as possible to make a clear connection. •

Clarity and transparency at all levels of the institutional administration will help avoid

misunderstandings and manipulation. •

Learning by natural consequences, which have been discussed beforehand is helpful.

Children make conscious choices knowing the consequences. •

Encouragement and support work better than punishment. Love produces an inner urge to

please the loved/loving person.


Self Exploration

Handout A4 Disciplinary Issues: Some Guidelines contd.

The fallacy of punishment

Temporary forced submission / compliance / deterrent

Misconduct is paid for, the matter is closed

There is little or no development of conscience

The child perceives rejection of her/his person, rather than of a particular behaviour

Punishment is often disproportionate to the offence

There is room for victimization, insensitivity, and cruelty

A destructive sense of humiliation, discouragement occurs

There is an effect of arousing active or passive aggression,

A wish for revenge

There may occur further traumatization in an abused child.

Punishment should be used as a last resort only when all other means of correction have failed The scientific application of therapeutic ‘behaviour modification’ methods is desirable.

Self Exploration


Handout A5 Common Disciplinary Issues in Institutional Settings

Rivalry and fighting among children and adolescents

Keep in mind that a child in an institution is a child without a family of her/his own (even if there is a family somewhere else). Children or adolescents are in a stage of development where they keep facing challenges and are in constant need of guidance, support, understanding, and encouragement and before all, love and affection. In an institution the number of staff /housemothers is usually quite inadequate to meet all these needs of any of the large number of children they are in charge of. It is natural, therefore, that children, especially those deprived since their earliest days of adequate nurturing, those who were abused, neglected and traumatized, to develop an acute sense of rivalry with other children about attention from caregivers, about any of their limited possessions, about their own best friends and so on. These rivalries, coupled with the accumulated anger resulting from earlier frustrations, often lead to intense fighting, even mutual or self-injury. Such situations present difficult disciplinary problems. While we cannot have ready answers to all possible problems, we may remember certain principles of how to approach such circumstances. 1


Remember, any child in an institution is basically insecure, wants to be unconditionally accepted and loved and understood in its genuine needs for emotional support. Approaching any child with respect, understanding, and a perceptible liking - love may not always come easily - will help to calm ruffled feathers. 2

The challenge:

You love her more than me! No need to get defensive, proclaiming that you love everyone the same - they won’t take your word for it! Rather than attempting (fruitlessly) to give equal amounts of love, food, attention, objects, tell the child you love him or her uniquely, i.e. there is only this one such Somu in the whole world and you love him/her for what she/he is as this unique person who cannot be equalled by any one else. And further, give each according to their need i.e. one may need time today to discuss a problem, another may need a textbook etc. the child should end up feeling: mother (or her substitutes) will be there for me when I really need them; then it becomes easier to trust that the others cannot and will not take your carer away from you. 3

Children/adolescents need what?

• • • •


How to respond to kids who are fighting?

• • •


Acceptance of their feelings, like anger, frustration etc. We might say for example: ‘this is not easy! it sure can be frustrating!’ Appreciation of every effort, every small improvement or success while they are working on something Help in focusing on solutions (rather than reactions), like: ‘This is tough. What do you do in a case like this?’ If there is an injury (one child has hit, bitten, scratched another), attend to the injured party (rather than scolding, blaming the attacker) first and do what may be needed to soothe their sense of hurt, reduce the pain etc. Start by acknowledging the children’s anger towards each other, for instance, ‘you really do sound very angry with each other!’ That usually has the effect of calming them at least partly. Listen to each child’s side with respect. Show appreciation of the difficulty of the problem, for example. “I can see, one bicycle and two boys wanting to use it; that’s difficult.’

Self Exploration

Handout A5 Common Disciplinary Issues in Institutional Settings contd.

• • 5

Express faith in the children’s ability to work out a solution. Leave the room/yard etc.

How to handle the fighting? •

First determine the level of seriousness. Level 1: Normal bickering.

Ignore it. Tell yourself, the children are having an important experience in conflict resolution.

Level 2: The situation is heating up. Adult intervention might be helpful.

• • • • •

Acknowledge their anger. ‘You two sound really mad at each other” Reflect each child’s point of view. Describe the problem with respect. Express confidence that the children can sort out the problem. Leave the room.

Level 3: The situation is possibly dangerous:

• •

enquire: is this a play fight or a real fight? Let the children know: play fighting is by mutual consent only. If it’s not fun for both, it has to stop.

Level 4: The situation is definitely dangerous and adult intervention is necessary.

• • 6.

Describe what you see: “I see two very angry children about to hurt each other” Separate the children. ‘It’s not safe for you to be together. We must have a cooling-off period. Quick - you go to this room and you to the other!’

When the children / adolescents can’t work out a problem by themselves.

Remember, we don’t have all the answers yet.

We try not to interfere and if we must step in, it’s always with the thought that we’ll get the children to dealing with each other as early as possible, i.e. let them experience themselves as solvers of problems.

The attitude should not be: ‘I’ll decide, who keeps, shares, gets what or I’ll decide, who’s right or who’s right or wrong, reasonable or unreasonable.

What eases the tension and makes harmony possible is the attitude of: “Who needs what? Who feels what? What solution can be worked out? That takes everyone’s feelings and needs into consideration.

Self Exploration


Handout A6 Roles of a Care giver

The objective of any care-giving agency is to help children grow into mature, balanced adults, responsible citizens contributing to their society’s well being. Keeping this in mind, a caregiver would strive well to do the following: 1.

Model calm, restrained behaviour

• • • 2.

Model relationship building:

• • • • • 3.

Listen, build trust, show understanding, tolerance, and unconditional acceptance Affection respect Be flexible to accommodate changing needs /different views. Avoid power struggles, force, compulsion, ridicule, sarcasm, and ‘talking-down’. Treat the other, the way you would like to be treated.

Promote self-esteem, self-confidence:

• • • • • • • • • • •


Control anger, rude language, rejecting behaviour, negative judgments, blaming, humiliation (viz Anger ladder) Avoid hitting, beating, harsh punishments. Focus on promoting the learning of new appropriate behaviour.

Show respect, speak in private Assign tasks / responsibility, foster adequate reality assessment Facilitate developing potentials, reward progress / achievement Accept mood changes, encourage critical thinking Grant adequate independence / exposure, set limits, provide guidance Channelize energy in constructive ways Foster fellow feeling, cooperative attitudes Encourage creative activities Develop sources of recreation / enjoyment’ Foster realistic aspirations, acceptance of limitations Foster development of an appropriate self-image, self esteem

Self Exploration

Section 2 Communication Skill Building

Session Plan Session 1

Rapport Formation and Group Building

1 hr 15 mins

Page 29

Session 2

Attending, Listening and Responding Skills

4 hrs 30 mins

Page 30

Session 3

Assertiveness Skills

4 hours

Page 35

Session 4

Errors in Communication

1 hr 30 mins

Page 37

Session 5

Conflict Resolution

30 mins

Page 38

Session 6

Anger Management

3 hrs

Page 39


Pages 43 - 62

Session 1 Rapport Formation and Group Building Objectives of this session • • • •

Getting acquainted with each other Group Building Sharing expectations and apprehensions about the workshop Formulating rules of group work


Getting acquainted

Each participant shares his name & organization with the group.

Socio-gramming Group Building

Ask participants to stand in a circle and take two steps forward every time they find a statement applicable to them. While each person responds individually, after each statement, a smaller group with commonalities amongst themselves emerges, thus fostering bonding. This exercise aims to facilitate group bonding and breaking of inhibitions, so is necessary for the effective functioning of a learning group. Suggested statements are : • • • • • • • • • • •

Those who live in Kolkata proper Those who are not visitors for the first time Those who have ancestral home in Bangladesh Those who work directly with children Those who are unmarried Those who live with their parents Those who have a personal hobby Those who feel they are stressed Those who are at the moment feeling physically fine Those who are apprehensive for some reason Those who are hopeful that this training will help

Hopes and Fears

Sharing expectations and apprehensions about the workshop

Divide the group into four or five smaller groups. Ask participants to individually write their expectations and apprehensions regarding the workshop. Arrive at a group consensus; write it down on a chart paper. Ask one spokesperson of the group to present it. Resource persons/facilitators process the expectations stated, share their objectives with the group and try to reach a consensus.

Setting Ground Rules

Formulating rules of group work

Brainstorm collectively and draw up a list of rules to be followed during the course of the workshop.

Communication Skill Building


Session 2 Attending, Listening and Responding Skills Objectives of the session • •

Understanding what is effective communication Skills Training in Attending, Listening and Responding

Stretching Activity

What is communication?

Ask participants to stand up, put their heads between their legs and try and see their surroundings. Ask participants : What did the exercise mean to you? Possible responses can be - “ have another perspective of the world; to see how the world appears to a child whose eye level is close to the ground; to see how it feels to take a round about way when a straight forward way is available...”


This was a simple stretching exercise but it held different meanings for different individuals. While the speaker’s content was the same for everyone - the listeners understanding was different. So the first lesson about communication is that a gap exists between what is communicated and what gets communicated. The gap exists because of differences in our attitudes, experiences, assumptions, values, exposure, personality and background. Communication is ineffective if the gap is huge or if the listener does not receive what is transmitted. Certain skills are required to bridge the gap. These pertain to listening and speaking.


Importance of attending skills

Ask participants : What do we communicate? Possible responses can be - we communicate information, wants and feelings. Ask participants to note where they feel the need to improve their communication skills. In order to make participants realize the importance of attending skills, ask them a simple question : What holds you back when you want to communicate something to another person? Possible responses can be – “What will the other person think about me?; What if the other person gets angry?; What if I am misunderstood?; I find it difficult to express feelings as I feel too vulnerable; I am ashamed to express my wants; If the other person is in an unfriendly mood...”


“Assumptions & mind reading” are major deterrents to effective communication. Point out that “assumptions” about self and other people’s thoughts; judgment together with an attempt to mind read other people’s reactions are some of the most important blocks we face while trying to communicate. For example: Looking at a teacher the student feels that she/he is in a bad mood and as a result gets nervous while giving his lessons. So the first thing about communication is to reassure the


Communication Skill Building

Attending, Listening and Responding Skills

speaker that you are willing to listen with an open mind. This leads on to the skill of attending. A speaker approaches a listener with expectations of acceptance and feels free to express herself or himself if the listener can assure him of being open and willing and neutral ears. It was shared that this can be and has to be done non-verbally at least initially and attending skills can be learnt and applied.

Sharing in Pairs

Understanding nonverbal communication

Ask participants to sit in pairs back to back and share any incident from their recent past. Subsequently let the pairs face each other and then share an incident. Each person should get a chance. These exercises help participants appreciate the importance of non-verbal communication. Ask participants : How did you feel in each situation, when were you more comfortable and why?


SOLER: Why is it important to the speaker? What is the importance of non-verbal communication. Share research that shows communication involves only 8% of verbal communication and 92% of non-verbal communication. Most participants would say that they enjoyed speaking much more when they could see their listeners and observe their facial expressions. In this context the following can be shared as guidelines for appropriate attending: S O L E R

Sit squarely facing the speaker to convey your availability Open posture to indicate your openness to the interaction Lean forward a little while listening to convey your willingness to listen Eye contact to be maintained to convey the importance of the person to you and also to observe the non-verbal expression of the person Relaxed sitting condition to indicate that the listener is free from preoccupation.

For some participants the first change that they may find possible to implement in their shelter homes is that while talking to a child, they can share similar eye levels and maintain a neutral, open eye contact.

Communication Skill Building


Session 2

Brainstorm Listening

Ask participants to brainstorm on the meaning of word “Listening“, then discuss • •

What is listening? Why is it necessary for us to listen?

Group responses can be: to get information, to learn, to understand the other, to give relief to the other, to convey to the other person that he is important to me. Facilitators should guide the discussion to introduce the following idea: Listening = hearing + understanding. Listening is complete when one can understand the meaning of that sound, the feeling behind the sound, and the context of the sound. For example “How I hate you!” might literally indicate resentment, but in a certain context and said with a certain feeling might actually communicate just the opposite message. Just ‘hearing’ the sound of the sentence is not enough to understand the intended meaning. It is necessary for us to listen in order to • Understand the other • Establish trust and acceptance in the speaker • Enable / encourage the other to express himself/herself.

Facilitators have to highlight that in the context of their work with children, caregivers would have to focus primarily on speaker’s (child/adolescent) need to share, listener’s / caregiver’s need to understand the speaker and the necessity of establishing a trusting relationship between the speaker and the listener.

Questionnaire Administration Listening to your Reactions

Administer the questionnaire “Listening to your Reactions”. It has 10 statements which can be heard frequently from shelter home residents. Ask participants to rate their level of discomfort in listening to these statements with understanding of the feeling the speakers were experiencing.

Handout B1 Questionnaire: Listening to your Reactions on page 43.

Questionnaire and Group discussion Exploring blocks to total listening

Introduce the theme by suggesting that listening can be of various kinds - superficial, pretentious and total. In this session we will look into the various blocks to ‘total listening’ when one is aware of the sound, understands the meaning and context of the sound & the feeling behind it. Ask Participants to individually think about What could be the blocks to total listening for you? Let all participants share their thoughts with the larger group.


A discussion on what causes hindrance to empathetic listening can follow. Some of the blocks that may emerge – • defensive attitude, • identification with the child and consequent anger against the perpetrator, • rigidity about finding out the truth, • judgmental attitude.

Handout B2 Blocks to Effective Listening on page 44.


Communication Skill Building

Attending, Listening and Responding Skills

Speaking and Listening in Pairs

Practice Attending and Listening Skills

Ask participants to pair up as speaker and listener. The speaker speaks for 5 minutes. The listener needs to ‘attend’ to the speaker and listen to her. After 5 minutes, the listener tells the speaker what she had listened to and could understand. The speaker gives feedback on the listener’s attending style and listening skills. Roles are reversed after one cycle is completed.


Purpose of Responding

Ask participants to brainstorm on the different purposes of ‘responding’. Possible responses could be: to let the others know how I feel, to answer queries, to make the other person talk more. Facilitators can add ‘ to let the other person know that the listener has understood him /her’. Mention that in any helping profession, it is very important to make the speaker feel comfortable and encourage him / her to open up. Point out that in shelter homes where children are deprived of the warmth and security of parental homes, it is of utmost importance to convey to them that they are understood and that they have a space where they could feel emotionally secure.


Need to identify our pattern of responding

Ask participants to fill up a questionnaire where a set of six sentences / situations are accompanied by five responses each and individual participants are asked to indicate the option that was closest to their spontaneous response. This exercise will help participants become conscious of their natural response pattern and facilitate self-monitoring, change & see if it’s the most appropriate kind of response pattern for our profession.

Handout B3 Questionnaire: Need to identify our pattern of responding on page 45 - 46.


Share with the group that there are broadly five categories of responses : Evaluative, Interpretative, Supportive, Probing and Understanding (EISPU). Explain the motive behind all the responses. Participants can reflect on the group response pattern. The group can share when supportive responses are needed. The merits of understanding responses and the demerits of evaluative responses can also be discussed.

Handout B4 Response Categories on page 47

Skill Practice

Listening, Responding and Feedback

Introduce skill practice in groups of three where each person becomes a speaker, listener and an observer by turn. It is the task of the listener to practice active listening and offer an understanding response while the observer gives feedback on the listener’s skills and appropriateness of the response.

Communication Skill Building


Session 2

Chinese Whispers

Activity to practice Speaking skills on page 87


The exercise will demonstrate that to minimize loss due to transmission, contents have to be clear, audible and simple. Also loss in communication is almost unavoidable and hence it is always better to have opportunities to clarify.

Presentation Styles

Self-assessment of personal styles of speaking / presentation

Ask participants to make a presentation individually in the context of a hypothetical situation which can be like this – “present your case to a panel of experts telling them why you think you should get the scholarship to go abroad and study social work”. Give preparation time of 15 minutes and speaking time of 3 minutes. While one participant presents his/her case, others are to observe and note down feedback on his presentation style to be shared later following the “PCP” or “praise – criticism – praise” order.

Handout B5 on Rules of Praise and Criticism on page 48. Participants should be given detailed feedback from their co-participants and note them down for working on these to improve their respective styles. They can work on these by practicing in front of the mirror and are told that on the last day of the training programme, they could be offered another space where they could re-examine their presentation skills and find out from others if they notice any change in their presentation styles.


Communication Skill Building

Session 3 Assertiveness Skills

Objectives of the session • •

Identifying one’s pattern of interpersonal communication and presentation style. Assertiveness training for effective communication


Assessing individual assertiveness skills

Ask participants to fill out the questionnaire in Handout B6. Let participants tick those situations where they find it difficult to assert their views or share their thoughts, feelings without being disrespectful to others. E.g. Giving criticism to a close colleague, having to refuse to accept additional work, asking for a debt to be returned from a friend etc. If participants share that they face problems asserting themselves in many of the situations and usually accept situations as they are; then discuss “Why do you ‘choose’ to behave in that way?” Possible responses from the participants could be : “People will think I am selfish, arrogant, unhelpful; I am scared that if I don’t keep shut I might blow the lid; people will think I am quarrelsome; I don’t want to create unpleasantness; I might lose a friend...” Discuss each situation noting the outcome of the behaviour - impact on oneself, on the other person, and on the relationship. Ask participants to share in the larger group situations where assertion is difficult.

Handout B6 Questionnaire : Assessing Assertiveness Skills on page 49.

There are basically four modes of communication : Passive, Aggressive, Passive-Aggressive and Assertive. Distribute handouts B7 and discuss the four responding styles along with their characteristics Handout B7 Characteristics of the different modes of communication on page 50.

Quiz on Communication Styles

Assessing participants understanding of communication style

Distribute the Handout to the participants and ask them to identify what style of communication is represented in each situation.

Handout B8 Quiz on Communication Styles on page 51 - 52.

Exploring Assumptions

Blocks to Assertive Communication

Circulate the Handout B9 (Tradition versus Legitimate rights) which has a column of ‘traditional thoughts’ that often stops us from asserting ourselves and a corresponding column of one’s legitimate rights that one needs to keep in mind while trying to remove one’s blocks to assertive behaviour. Ask participants to do the following exercise individually. The exercise is to be done in two parts.

Communication Skill Building


Session 3

Part 1

Make 3 columns on a sheet of paper and ask participants to make notes from personal experiences on the following : 1 a situation where you could not assert

2 the thought or consideration that stopped you from asserting

3 the impact of such nonassertion on your feelings and on your relationship with the other.

Participants can share the incidents they have written down in column one and seek support from the group to formulate assertive statements. Participants may find memories of non-assertion causing them some discomfort. They may also realize that their ‘passive’ behaviour is taking a toll on their relationship with others and increase their level of stress. Part 2

Ask participants to create three columns once again. In the 1st column ask them to write about their legitimate rights vis-a-vis their ‘traditional thought’; in the 2nd column let participants formulate assertive “I” statements {“I think, I feel and I want’} and in the 3rd column they can write down how they were feeling after formulating assertive statements and assess the probable impact of their assertive behaviour on their relationship with the other.

Handout B9 Traditional myths versus Legitimate rights on page 53.

Skill Practice Being Assertive

Ask participants to rewrite a problem situation in an assertive way and share that with your partner. How is it making you feel now? Explore the consequences of positive thoughts and assertive behaviour. What could be the negative consequences? Benefits of Assertiveness : Personal power, internal well-being, self-respect, feeling of independence, mature behavior, meeting one’s own needs Negative Consequences : Upsetting the status quo, immature behaviors by others, revengeful responses by others, aggressive reactions by others, blaming behaviors by others inappropriate anger by others

Handout B10 Self-expression skills on page 54.

Skill Practice

Listening and Expression Skills

Ask participants to enact roles in certain situations from their daily life (husband, wife, caregiver, parents etc.) and practice listening and expression skills. Caregivers might find that in some situations with ‘difficult people’, these skills may not seem enough. Make a list of some difficult situations and share specific techniques of dealing with these.

Handout B11 on Handling specific communication situations on page 55. Several role plays of ‘difficult’ cases can be taken into consideration and participants can enact these characters from their real life experience of interacting with such characters at the work place and outside.


Communication Skill Building

Session 4 Errors in Communication

Objectives of the session •

Skills training to improve communication styles

Role Play

Identifying errors in communication

Facilitators can do a role-play showing the interaction between an adolescent boy and a caregiver in a shelter home setting (see handout). Ask participants to point out the errors in communication that are apparent in the interaction.

Handout B12 Role play: errors in communication on page 56.

The facilitators can help participants in identifying the errors and reiterate some typical behaviour of speakers & listeners. Speakers

Use of ‘I’, Addressing concrete situations Concrete behaviour, Focused on topic, Open up - share your own feeling rather than accusing the other


Summarizing Taking in while listening Open questions Praise for behavior Feedback of feelings

Handout B13 Do’s and don’ts of effective communication on page 57.

Group Work

Identifying Errors in Communication

Divide participants in small groups of 5 or 6 people. Give them the handout with the dialogue. Ask them to identify errors in communication and write down the corrected version. Share this with the large group.

Handout B14 Erroneous Dialogue on page 58.

Skill Practice

Listening and Responding Skills

Distribute handouts on listening skills and self-expression skills. Ask participants to individually try and rephrase the statements in the handouts above.

Handout B15 Listening skills on page 59.

Communication Skill Building


Session 5 Conflict Resolution

Objectives of the session • •

Understanding the importance of conflict resolution as an important interpersonal skill. Identifying ones conflict resolution styles

Facilitators can clarify that the goal of conflict resolution is to share our angry feelings in a way that will enhance our chance of being heard, and to listen to the truth and the hurt behind the other person’s angry blasts. We are working on the assumption of “us” as opposed to “me versus you”. Our goal is not to wage war but to resolve the conflict. For this one first needs to know ones style of communication in a conflict situation and then try to modify the hostile content & style of speaking.

Self Assessment

How I act in conflicts

Divide participants into pairs. Ask each participant to study the handout How I act in conflicts. In the list of statements, they must tick those that are relevant to them. Score the checklist together and see the dominant styles of resolving conflicts emerge. This activity will help identify individual style of ‘handling’ or ‘reacting’ to conflict situations. Let participants share their self assessment with their partner to ascertain how their style affects others. Let them identify where they would like to change their style. A brief session on exploration of the merits and difficulties with the various styles can be conducted.

Handout B16 How I act in conflicts on page 60 - 61. Suggest “assertive way of communication” as an alternative to aggressive and passive ways of reacting to conflicts. A home assignment could be set to work on how they could alter reactive ways of conflict handling into proactive ways of dealing with the situation.


Communication Skill Building

Session 6 Anger Management

Objectives of the session • • •

Understanding anger as a natural human emotion Understanding that anger management is required when it continues to bother us, affects our health, work and significant relationships. Exploring two components of anger management : • controlling the angry behaviour and • reducing the intensity of feeling.


The manifestations of uncontrolled anger are a major disciplinary issue in any shelter home. Anger and aggressiveness is the most common behavioural reaction found in deprived, abused and neglected children. It gets aggravated in puberty and adolescence due to both hormonal changes and environmental influences. Caregivers are by no means exempt from this form of ventilating impatience, hurt or frustration, thus reinforcing the unwanted behaviour by modelling it themselves. All of us get angry at some time, more or less often, more or less intensely. Angry behaviour has social sanction, especially for male children and adults, whereas it is seen as inappropriate in females. Anger and aggression often become the only vehicle for ventilating any negative, unpleasant feelings, including hurt, sadness, disappointment, fear and defensive apprehension of becoming the target of other people’s attacks. At times, anger is a deliberate strategy to scare and thereby control other people. At other times, it emanates from a sense of helplessness, an impotent impulsive rage without reasoning or control, like a small child’s tantrums. Anger management is necessary for caregivers primarily for 2 reasons: • To reduce their own stress as so called ‘ provocation to anger ‘ may be plenty • To be an effective role model to the residents who learn more from their observations than from the lessons taught to them. As these children and adolescents are already exposed to lot of violence and are themselves prone to excessively aggressive behaviour, an exposure to a healthier and an alternative way of expressing a common human feeling, anger, will go a long way in encouraging the growth of emotional balance.

Group Discussion

Understanding Anger

Participants are asked to reflect: • What makes us, you and me, angry in general? Possible responses: Usually, when people do things that are not to our liking. • What, then, is our demand? Possible responses: Every one should do things the way we want it. • Others may make the same demands. What happens then? Possible responses: Fights, clashes. • Am I willing to do everything so as to please every one else? Possible responses: Usually not, except when we suffer from the so-called ‘please disease’, where we suppress our own needs for fear of others getting angry and end up full of suppressed anger against them.

Communication Skill Building


Session 6

Is it possible to please all those around us?

Possible responses: What one may approve, another may disapprove. So, however hard we may try, we cannot please every body all the time. • •

If not, does anger offer a solution; does it give us what we want? If it does not, what other options do we have?

These may include: • Accepting our own limitations and their needs. • Accepting other’s limitations and their needs. • Accepting that most situations are beyond our control. Modifying our expectations to what is realistically possible, given our particular life situation and the nature and limitations of those around us.

The Cost of Anger

Understanding Stress Response

Negative feelings (anger, fear, anxiety, frustration etc.) produce physiological changes leading to chemical / hormonal imbalances. These may be short-term or long-term / chronic. The changes affect all the organs in our body leading in the long run to many serious, even life-threatening illnesses (heart problems, diabetes, cancer etc.) • Wanting to punish others, we end up punishing ourselves • Anger consumes a lot of energy, a lot of time and mental space. • Preoccupation with anger interferes with concentration, affects performance, leads to failure and unhappiness. When we are angry, our work efficiency is low. • Angry behaviour gives rise to criticism, social disapproval, strained relationships. It may be a cause for loneliness / depression. Be aware that you have a choice

When things are not to your liking, you can choose to spend your time and energy on being – • Reactive (reacting to what others did to you, mostly by being angry sometimes by misbehaving) or • Proactive, i.e. constructive. That means, you • think, know you can make the best of a situation • do what you can to make the future better • focus on a future goal rather than past events. • avoid behaviour that may make enemies. They can ruin your future.

Self Exploration

Understanding the anger cycle

Ask participants to think of a situation that really made them angry in a way that they later regretted. This exercise is to be done individually first and then shared with a partner of choice. Ask participants to think : • • • • •


What happened? What was your reaction – physical, verbal and behavioural? Who were you angry with? How did the situation make you feel besides angry? What were your thoughts behind your feeling?

Communication Skill Building

Anger Management

After a brief recapitulation of the cycle of sensing > thinking > feeling > intending > behaving/expressing, participants are guided to focus on the thoughts that lie behind the feeling. The distorted thoughts that may emerge from the narrated incidents are : “All or nothing” / “over generalization” / “mind reading” / “should statement” / “labeling” and “personalization and blaming”

Sensing (the incident or experience)


Handout B17 Distorted Thoughts on page 62.


Interpreting / Thoughts


Each distorted thought can be taken and substituted with a rational thought using “restructuring” principles like – assessing in terms of percentages, examining evidence, double standard method, semantic alteration, redefining ‘terms’, re-attribution. As we know, thoughts give rise to feelings which are then expressed . So a ‘distorted thought’ which may have given rise to a feeling of anger and found expression in an aggressive behaviour, when restructured, is likely to give rise to a different feeling and eventually to a different behaviour.

The Anger Ladder

The concept of the Anger Ladder can be introduced and classification of expression of anger from the ‘infantile and most immature level’ to a ‘healthy’ level can be shared. Some self-motivating techniques for getting rid of ‘immature’ behaviour and substituting them with healthier ones can be discussed.

Facilitator’s Notes The ‘Anger Ladder’ helps in identifying where exactly a person stands on the continuum ranging from wholly negative, immature and destructive behaviour via various intermediate stages to positive, constructive, mature, resolution-oriented behaviour. The ladder helps in setting specific shortterm goals (e.g. eliminating the use of physical violence, breaking objects, abusive language, screaming etc.) and long-term goals (e.g. resolving disputed in a pleasant manner, focusing anger on the source, thinking logically etc.). Climbing’ the ‘Ladder’ is likely to be a slow gradual process and that the learner needs to be encouraged / reinforced at each stage for achieving small successes according to the short-term goals set earlier. This climb requires a lot of effort in controlling unwanted impulsive behaviour and involves a step-by-step increase in self-control leading to an equivalent growth in self-confidence and self-esteem.

Communication Skill Building


Session 6

Summarizing Explain that constructive expression of anger would thus have to involve identifying the distorted and irrational thinking pattern and restructuring the same with constructive thinking patterns. An attempt to find meaning in the ‘provocation’ can also be made. Share that one needs to forgive the offender in order to free oneself of the burden of anger and this act of forgiveness can come only when the provocation can be understood from the perspective of the ‘offender’. However it may also be mentioned that this is not always possible and is anyway a difficult task.

Role Plays

To practise the styles of conflict resolution and anger management

Some references from shelter home situations can be drawn whereby it can be shown that • When a child is behaving in an “irritating way”, she in actuality is probably trying to seek attention; • When a boy makes a caregiver feel ‘out of control’, he is actually trying to gain more power as he finds the system dominating; • When a child is behaving ‘hurtfully’ she is probably taking a revenge as she perceives the space or the person as hostile and abusive; • When a child or an adolescent makes the caregiver feel discouraged & helpless, then one is probably withdrawing from the task for which he feels inadequate to cope.


Communication Skill Building

Handout B1 Questionnaire : Listening to your Reactions

Read the statements given below and rate them according to how difficult it would be for you to hear them. Use the following numbers to indicate your ratings. 1 2 3 4

No difficulty at all A little difficult Reasonably difficult Very difficult


You never understand what I’m trying to say. You never ever listen!


I am from a very rich family. My father knows many ministers. Even the prime minister loves me. He also cares a lot for my father!


The elder brother in the family for whom I use to work, used to love me a lot. He used to fondle with me when no one was at home.


Oh, you must hear about the way I have managed to seduce that girl in my neighbourhood. I see her waiting for me in her car everyday when I am cycling back home.

Wassim When I smoke I feel stronger. I can think better! Maria

I love Shona. We will stay together forever. We will do everything together.


You love him more. You always take his side. It is no use telling you anything. I will deal with him on my own.


Believe me, I feel that the devil has taken over. I really didn’t plan or want to steal it intentionally!


You have to let me go home - or I will run away!

Raghav That scoundrel! He is complaining against me to you!! He was the one who showed me

the dirty pictures first!!

Communication Skill Building


Handout B2 Blocks to Effective Listening

10 Attitudes that Prevent You from Listening 1.


You believe that you are right and the other person is wrong. You are preoccupied with proving your point instead of trying to understand what the other person is thinking & feeling and expressing your angry feelings more directly. 2.


You believe that the problem is the other person’s fault. You feel convinced that you are completely innocent and tell yourself that you have every right to blame him / her. 3.

Need to be a victim

You feel sorry for yourself and that think other people are treating you unfairly because of their insensitivity and selfishness. Your stubborn unwillingness to do anything assertive to make the situation better gives people the impression that you like the role of a martyr. 4.


You cannot imagine that you contribute to a problem because you cannot see the impact of your behaviour on others. 5.


You are so fearful of criticism that you can’t stand to hear anything negative or disagreeable. Instead of listening and trying to find some truth in the other person’s point of view, you have the urge to argue and defend yourself. 6.

Coercion Sensitivity

You are afraid of giving in or being bossed around. Other people seem controlling and domineering, and you feel you must resist them. 7.


You feel entitled to better treatment from others, and you get frustrated when they do not treat you as you expected. Instead of trying to understand what really motivates them, you insist that they are being unreasonable and that they have no right to feel and act the way they do. 8.


You want what you want and when you want it, and you throw a tantrum if you don’t get it. You are not especially interested in what others are thinking and feeling. 9.


You put up a wall because you believe that you will be taken advantage of if you listen and try to grasp what the other person is thinking and feeling. 10.

Help addiction

You feel the need to help people when all they want is to be listened to. When friends or family members complain about how they feel, you make “helpful” suggestions and tell them what to do. Instead of being appreciative, they get annoyed and continue to complain. You both end up feeling frustrated.


Communication Skill Building

Handout B3 Questionnaire : Need to identify our pattern of responding

Read the situations carefully and tick the response that you would give spontaneously Mother : “I feel like tearing my hair…I get so angry and upset when I see my daughter behaving like this. She is so intelligent, but I can’t tolerate her horrible behavior any more.”

Responses “This behaviour is very rampant at this age. One has to discipline them £ correctly.” “Being a parent myself, I can understand your problem since I have suffered £ this too.” “You seem to be feeling very helpless. Probably you are trying to understand £ how you can explain this to her.” “Have you tried talking to her about this issue?” £ “Maybe she is behaving like this because of keeping wrong company.” £ Son :

“I feel other boys of my age are much more masculine than I am. Why am I not

like them? I feel so small and at times, even feel like not wanting to live anymore.” Responses “What do you mean by saying that you don’t want to live anymore?” £ “There is no point in just being disappointed or unhappy. You need to do £ something to improve your physique.” “You feel shy in front of the other boys because you are not like them. You want £ to be like them. You seem to be suffering.” “Irrespective of your physique you are mentally very strong.” £ “You don’t do any exercises or workouts, and that’s the reason for the way you £ feel about yourself.” Father : “My son is very ill. I need to take some leave urgently. However, I have exhausted all my leave. I don’t know what to do.”

Responses “You seem to under terrible stress. Your heart says that you should be with your £ son but you also know that you need to keep your job as well.” “For this of emergencies, you should have saved some leave.” £ “Have you tried telling the boss about your need?” £ “You think no one else will be able to adequately take care of your son, so you £ are so stressed.” “I am on good terms with the boss. Maybe I will put in a word for you” £ Daughter : “My parents are trying to force me to get married. I don’t want to get married. I don’t think I am mentally ready. I want to study further. If they create such pressure, then I will be forced to run away from home”

Responses “Calm down. Don’t worry. I will talk to them so that they don’t pressurize you.” £ “Have you thought about your future plans?” £ “Your parents are forcing their decisions on you and that is why you are £ resenting them.” “You don’t agree with them. You also don’t like being disobedient. So you seem £ to be caught in a difficult situation and feeling stressed.” “All parents want the best for their children. Good girls do not get upset with £ their parents or disobey them.”

Communication Skill Building


Handout B3 Questionnaire : Need to identify our pattern of responding

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I am studying so hard but seem to be forgetting all that I learn. Am falling behind everyone in class.” Responses “Other than studies, you may be better than others in other extra-curricular £ activities. Maybe you could focus on those!” “What’s your daily study routine?” £ “The present syllabus is cumbersome and that’s the reason for your £ performance. I will help you. Relax.” “If you do not concentrate on your studies, you will not remember anything £ even if you sit with your books for hours at a stretch.” “You are anxious about your academic performance. You feel that you put in £ hard work but don’t seem to getting adequate results.” Boy :

“I don’t feel like socializing with anybody nowadays. I feel bad, have headaches. In the past , I used to laugh, play and have a good time with others.” Responses “You have developed a fear / lack of confidence about mingling with people. £ That’s the reason you don’t seem to be enjoying anybody’s company.” “Since when are you feeling like this?” £ “You seem to be unhappy, because you are unable to mix with people as £ before.” “You should not withdraw yourself. Try to mix with the others. Then you will £ not feel like this.” “Everyone goes through these temporary phases. I am sure you will also be £ able to overcome this.” Boy :


Communication Skill Building

Handout B4 Response Categories

Intentions Underlying the Responses

In exploring the intentions underlying the responses, we will refer to the person with the problem as the “sender” and the person giving the responses as the “receiver”. There are five underlying intentions. E


A response that indicates the receiver has made a judgment of relative goodness, appropriateness, effectiveness, or rightness of the sender’s problem. The receiver has in some way implied what the sender might or ought to do. I


A response that indicates the receiver’s intent is to teach, to tell the sender what his problem means, how the sender really feels about the situation. The receiver has either obviously or subtly implied what the person with the problem might or ought to think. S


A response that indicates the receiver’s intent is to reassure, to pacify, to reduce the sender’s intensity of feeling. The receiver has in some way implied that the sender need not feel as he does. P


A response that indicates the receiver’s intent is to seek further information, provoke further discussion along a certain line, question the sender. The receiver has in some way implies that the sender ought or might profitably develop or discuss a point further. U


A response that indicates the receiver’s intent is to respond only to ask the sender whether the receiver correctly understands what the sender is saying, how the sender feels about the problem, and how the sees the problem. The Phrasing of an Accurate Understanding

The phrasing of the response may vary in the following ways: 1


Content refers to the actual words used. Interestingly enough, responses that are essentially repetitions of the sender’s statements do not communicate the receiver’s understanding to the sender. It seems that just repeating a person’s words gets in the way of communicating an understanding of the essential meaning of the statement. It is more effective if the receiver paraphrases the sender’s message in the receiver’s own words and expression. 2


Depth refers to the degree that the receiver matches the depth of the sender’s in his response. You should not respond lightly to a serious statement and, correspondingly, you should not respond seriously to a shallow statement. In general, responses ‘which match the sender’s depth of feeling or ‘which lead the sender to a slightly greater depth of feeling are most effective. 3


In the receiver’s efforts to paraphrase the sender’s statements he may find himself either adding meaning or omitting meaning. Some of the obvious ways in which meaning can be added are: (1) completing a sentence or thought for the sender (2) responding to ideas which the sender has used for illustrative purposes only, and (3) interpreting the significance of a message. Perhaps the most obvious ‘way’ in ‘which meaning can be omitted is by responding only to the last thing the sender said. 4


The receiver should keep the language he uses in his response simple in order to ensure accurate communication.

Communication Skill Building


Handout B5 Rules of Praise and Criticism

How to give Praise and Criticism Comment on specific actions

For example, ‘You handled that stubborn and angry child very well by listening to her argument instead of interrupting’ rather than, ‘You’re quite good with difficult people, aren’t you?’ The second comment was too general, it didn’t give the other person specific feedback about what she/he did well. Another example is ‘You missed the deadline for that report’, rather than, ‘You’re absolutely hopeless at managing your time.’ Again the second statement is too general and subjective. ‘Absolutely hopeless’ is not a good starting point for developing specific time management behaviour. Follow this up with reasons for your comments

This is helpful whether the comments are positive or negative because we need to know what we are being praised for is we are to know how to use it as helpful feedback: ‘You missed the deadline for that report, probably because you have been spending more time on field visits than we planned. Perhaps we should discuss how you should allocate your time in future?’ Don’t use praise as a way of manipulating people into doing something for you

e.g. ‘You’re the most hardworking member of the home and I really appreciate the effort you put in for the function in the afternoon. Perhaps you could just make sure that the place is cleaned up once everybody has left?’ This manipulation makes the praise insincere. When giving criticism, seek solutions, rather than commenting on somebody’s personality

‘I am getting far too many complaints about you from some of the other boys in the home. What is the matter with you?’ is very unhelpful. Instead say: ‘You seem to be getting into some disagreements with some of the other boys in the home at the moment. Do you know what the problem is?’ Above all, avoid public put-downs, or criticism in situations, which will cause



Communication Skill Building

Handout B6 Questionnaire : Assessing Assertiveness Skills

Read the following statements and tick the ones where you find it difficult to express your views/ opinions 1)

A close friend has borrowed money and has forgotten to return it or is not giving it back


A salesman keeps persisting and insisting that you buy a product


Asking for some time for yourself


When you are busy and some unwanted guests arrive


Trying to enumerate ones qualities and suitability for a job


When other people use very hurtful language


When you are asked to do work in addition to your own


When you need to take leave from your workplace because of personal reasons


When you need to say "No" to your child or people younger to you


When people around you lose their temper


When you need to ask for help from others for a personal cause.


When someone blames you


When your opinions / feedback sound like as if you are criticizing


When someone in trouble asks you for help and you do not have resources to meet the request


Any other situation

Communication Skill Building


Handout B7 Characteristics of Different Modes of Communication

Passive Giving in Quiet Doormat Few opinions One`s own needs are unimportant Self-defeating Isolated Avoids conflict Taken advantage of Rights are relinquished Wants are not okay Too agreeable Other’s needs come first

Passive-Aggressive Mean-spirited Intentionally forgetful Resents others Subtly negative Faults others Feels unjustly treated Hostile dependency Lacks responsibility for own behaviors Wants needs “guessed” by others Hurts through silence Simmering volcano Builds anger and resentment Uncooperative


Communication Skill Building

Aggressive Creates conflict Abusive Intimidating Blaming Hostile Forceful Inappropriate anger Demanding Attacking Getting your way Derogatory name calling Sarcasm Sabotaging Frequent yelling Threatening

Assertive Respectful messages Clear communication Desire to solve problems Directness Uses “I” statements •I feel •I think •I want Saying “no” acceptable Appropriate Accepts responsibility Looks for win/win solutions Understands want are okay, even if not met Willing to state feelings Thinking about yourself Good self- yourself Confident

Handout B8 Quiz on Communication Styles

Here is a quiz on your ability to distinguish between the interpersonal styles described earlier. Read each situation and identify the communication style of the character in question. Situation 1 Rahul Dinesh Rahul Dinesh Rahul Dinesh

“Is that a punctured tyre and some broken spokes in my bicycle that you took out yesterday?” “Look, I just got home…it was a horrible day and I don’t want to talk about it now.” “I don’t care…. we are going to talk about it NOW!!” “Have a heart.” “We need to decide right now who is going to pay to have it fixed, when and where.” “I’ll take care of it. Now leave me alone.”

Question: Rahul’s behaviour is







Situation 2 Wife “You left me so by myself at that party…. you were being selfish.” Husband “You were being a party pooper.” Wife “I didn’t know anybody…the least you could have done is introduce me to

some of your friends.” Husband “Listen you are an educated adult…you can take care of yourself. I’m tired of

your bugging me to take care of you all the time.” Wife “And I am tired of your inconsideration.” Husband “Okay, I will stick to you like glue next time.” Question: Husband’s behaviour is







Situation 3 Worker 1 “Would you mind helping me for a minute with this case study of the child

who came to the center yesterday?” Worker 2 “I am busy with writing another report. Catch me later.” Worker 1 “Well, I really hate to bother you, but it is sort of important and urgent.” Worker 2 “Look, I have to submit my report by 4 o’clock today.” Worker 1 “Okay, I understand. I know it’s hard to be interrupted.” Question: The behaviour of Worker 1 is







Communication Skill Building


Handout B8 Quiz on Communication Styles

Situation 4 Daughter “I got a letter from my friend this morning. She wants to come and spend two

weeks with us. I would really like to see her.” “You have just come back from a camp…your exams are due in 15 days…. When will you study and make up for all the lost time?” Daughter “Well, I do want her to come, but I know I need to concentrate on the upcoming exams too! Maybe, I could let her know that and invite her to come for a couple of days instead. We will meet as well as I will have enough time to do my work. What do you say to that?” Mother “Great! I think that’s a good decision.” Mother

Question: The mother’s behaviour is

£ Situation 5 Rani Meeta Rani Meeta Rani






“Wow! You are looking great today! How are you?” “Don’t joke! My haircut is horrible and this colour of my shirt doesn’t even suit me.” “Well, if you don’t believe me, have it your way.” “And I feel just as bad as I look today.” “Right. I have got to run now.”

Question: Rani’s behaviour is







Rani’s behaviour is passive. Rani allows the compliment to be rebuffed and surrenders to Meeta’s rush of negativity.


Mother’s behaviour is assertive. The request is specific, non-hostile, open to negotiation and successful.


Worker 1 is passive. His opening line is followed by complete collapse.


Husband is aggressive. The tone is accusing and blaming. The wife is immediately placed on the defensive and no one wins.


Rahul is aggressive. His initial hostile statement produces resentment and withdrawal.




Communication Skill Building

Handout B9 Traditional Myths versus Legitimate Rights




Prioritising my own wants and wishes indicates selfishness

It is your right to occasionally prioritise your wants / wishes


It is shameful to err. Every situation should have an appropriate explanation

You have the right to err


If others do not understand my feelings, either they are making a mistake or I am mentally disturbed

You are the best judge of your feelings


I should give more value to opinions of others, especially elders, and keep my opinions to myself

You have the right to have opinions and take decisions


Their must always be a parity between logic and my work

You have the right to change your opinion or approach to your work


It is better to adjust instead of questioning others

You have the right to protest against unfair and undeserving behaviour


I must not interrupt while others are talking. Asking questions is indicative of immature behaviour.

To understand something clearly and comprehensively, you have the right to question.


Let things be as they are. It is counterproductive to complicate things.

You have the right to discuss and bring about productive change


It is wrong to waste others’ valuable time to seek solution to my own problem

You have the right to express your feelings, good or bad.


When someone takes time, thinks and gives advice, I must take heed because this is usually correct / helpful

You have the right to not follow or ignore others’ advice


If I believe I have done a good job, it is enough. There is no point in telling everybody. No one likes a person who beats his own drum. When people praise me, I should modestly accept and not feel proud.

You have the right to be acknowledged for your work


I must always help others in need. If I don’t, there will be no one to help me when I need it

You have the right to say No


I must not be unsocial. If I say I want to be alone, others might think that I don’t like them.

Even if others want your company, you have the right to remain alone or spend time by yourself, if you wish.


I must always give a justified reason for my wishes or feelings.

You are not compelled to give justification for your every wish, thought or feeling


I should always help anyone in trouble

You have the right to refuse to take responsibility for others problems.


Even if others do not reveal, I must always be sensitive to others needs and wishes

You have the right to be able to gauge or estimate others needs and wishes


I must always be in the good books of other people

You have the right not to be preoccupied at all times with what others are thinking about you.


There is no point in antagonising anyone. If anyone asks a question, it is better to just simply answer him or her.

You have the right not to respond to every situation or event.

Communication Skill Building


Handout B10 Self expression skills

Use “I feel” Statements. For example “I feel upset”

Avoid you statements such as “You’re making me upset”. These “you” statements sound critical and judgemental and always trigger fights and arguments. Here are some examples of expressions to avoid: •“You always/never” •“You are wrong” •“You shouldn’t ...” •“You’ve got no right...” •“Its your fault” •“You’re making me angry” Don’t act out your feelings. State them. Use “I feel” statements

Acting out emotions can take these forms: •Pouting •Being sarcastic •Stony Silence •Being critical •Gossiping •Being argumentative •Door Slamming •Being rude •Martyr playing •Frowning •Drinking too much •Negative body language Negative feelings can be expressed by saying, “I feel...”

•...concerned •...misunderstand •...coerced

•...pressured •...angry

•...frustrated •...uncomfortable

Vulnerable feelings can be expressed by saying something like “I feel...”

•...sad •...ignored •...unloved

•...nervous •...hurt •...intimidated

•...rejected •...inadequate •...disappointed

Wishes and desires can be addressed by saying something like:

• • • •

“I would really like to spend more time with you” “I really want us to work out this problem and be closer” “I really want to feel close to you” “I want you to try and understand my point of view”


Generally speaking most people want to feel cared about and appreciated. The greatest fear that people have is being put down, rejected or judged. • Reassure the other person by letting them know that you respect them and that they are important to you, even if you are angry or disagreeing with them at the moment. • Let the other person know that you want to work out the problem in a mutually satisfactory way. • Don’t criticize or condemn them as a person. Nothing is ever done by doing this. Attacking them personally is very different from commenting negatively on something they are doing or thinking. • Listening and self-expression skills are only techniques. Real communication results from the spirit of genuine respect for yourself and the other person. If your goal is to prove yourself right, to blame the other person, or to get back to them, any communication technique will fail. But if your goal is to resolve the problem and to understand how the person is thinking and feeling, these powerful methods will help will help you resolve conflicts and enjoy greater intimacy.


Communication Skill Building

Handout B11 Handling Specific Communication Situations

Someone who is passive-aggressive (refuses to talk to you)

• • •

Don’t insist that they talk to you right now. You’ll only lose by trying to control them. Empathize with their reasons for being unwilling to talk and give them permission to back off temporarily Emphasize that you feel some communication is needed & suggest that you can talk things over later, when they’re more in the mood.

Someone who is hostile

• • •

Listen & hear the truth in what the person is saying Acknowledge how he or she is feeling Change the focus - draw attention to the hostile way the feelings are being expressed and about the way you are being treated.

Someone who is stubborn & argumentative

• • •

Disarming technique - find the truth in the other person’s point of view; they will soften & suddenly become more open to your point of view. Empathise Inquire

Someone who is pushy and makes unreasonable demands

This is stressful because some of us have tendency to believe that we must always say yes and please every body & saying no is difficult. The only way then is ‘Punting’ - You tell the person you need to think about their request and you will get back to them. In the meantime you can figure out what you want to do, and if the request seems unreasonable, you can practise how to say “no”.

Someone who is a chronic complainer

• •

Complainers don’t want advice / help; they simply want to be listened to!! Use the disarming technique and agree with them instead of trying to “help” them.

Someone who is critical & judgmental

• • •

Disarm the person who is criticizing you. Find some truth in the criticism instead of getting defensive. When you acknowledge it, the person who is criticizing you will back off and calm down. Use the empathy & inquiry techniques. Encourage the other person to express all their criticisms and negative feelings. Express your feelings with “I feel” statements instead of arguing.

Communication Skill Building


Handout 12 Role Play : Errors in Communication



You are again teasing him... there seems to be no end to your mischief.


What am I doing? He is the one who always acts weird! Even the other day he was acting in a strange manner. You always get angry with only me - Ok, fine! Any ways, I don’t care!


You seem to be getting very cheeky with every passing day and too big for your boots! You were responsible for the boy who ran away last month. Anyway, what else can one expect from boys like you who have come from streets & stations?


I haven’t forced anyone to run away. He wanted to go, so he has gone. People always blame others for their faults. In any case, if you keep nagging someone to do this or that, he is obviously going to run away!


If asking you to follow a routine, bathe & eat on time means nagging, then, well, from now on I will have nothing to tell you anymore. You are all grown ups, I guess, I will have to learn from you all now!

Communication Skill Building

Handout B13 Do’s and Don’ts of Effective Communication

Building Blocks to Effective Communication • • • • •

• •

• •

Listening : focusing on the present; not bringing up past problems or mistakes; creating

safety to express anything. “ I feel that right now you need me to just listen to you” Praising : giving earned rewards frequently; recognizing efforts rather than products or end results. “You worked so long and so hard on the project.” Feeling : sharing feelings such as anger, joy and frustration using ’I’ statements. “I feel...” or “I’m so angry when...” or “I love you.” Respecting : letting others make decision; avoiding judging & advising; trying to help him / her make his/her own decisions. “It’s your choice...” or “What can I do to help you?” Listening : identifying the feeling as well as the content and asking the person to confirm it. “It sounds like you were very frustrated by the change in the class timings. Is that right?” Trusting : being consistent; asking for input and understanding that children need to learn in their own way even if they make mistakes. “ I know you’ll be thoughtful and responsible.” Affirming : finding the Positive to express. “You are so competent” or “You make me happy when you...” Reflective Listening : reflecting what another says; paraphrasing a person’s words, so he/ she knows that he/she has been heard. “You sound angry about your friend’s response. Is that so?” Clarifying : asking for more information when unsure. “Could you tell me more about your fight with your friend?” Acting : finding physical ways to show care, concern and attention. Making eye contact; touching when appropriate; hugging; staying near the person.

Road Blocks to Effective Communication • • • •

Judging : making Judgments. “You should...” or “ You ought to...” Rejecting : giving no support. “It’s your problem, not mine...” Blaming / Criticizing : placing fault on the other person. “It’s your fault “ Labeling : calling names or words that are negative. “Only somebody stupid would do it

that way.” • • • • • •

Transferring : Not listening and jumping in with one’s own problems. “Let me tell you what

happened to me” Ordering : giving solutions with no choices. “You must do this now”. Threatening / Bribing : using threats or bribes to try to make someone do something. “If you don’t do what I want...” or “ If you do what I want, I will do this thing for you.” Waffling : not being clear and consistent in setting limits. “Well, maybe...” or “We’ll see” or “I’ll think about it...” Nagging : persistently repeating orders or requests. “I’ve told you a thousand times that...” or “How many times do I have to ask you to...?” Acting : using body language that sends negative messages or that rebuffs; being physically abusive. Crossing arms; not looking at speaker; walking away; tapping feet; shaking finger in face; hitting; kicking

Communication Skill Building


Handout B14 Erroneous Dialogue



It’s really bad that you return so late everyday from office.


Oof, there you start again!


Nobody likes the bitter truth. I really don’t know why I got married in the first place!!


What are you trying to say?


Well, all that I am saying is in English! What language should I speak so that you will understand?


Stop beating about the bush. Why don’t you say what you what you want! After a hard days work, I just cannot tolerate your constant whining & nagging.


Who knows what you do at office. Nobody is there to check whether you are working or playing the fool with others around.


When you chat and while away time with your friends, do I say anything? Today Minu, tomorrow Rita, there is no end to your programmes.


You are damn right I will. What’s it to you. You have no right to infringe upon my personal space!


Yes, yes. How dare I infringe upon your space, your highness! You need a subject, not a husband!


I don’t need you to tell me what a husband-wife relationship should be all about. I have a pretty good idea myself.


Really! It is because of you that our marital relations have come to this level. At the drop of a hat, either you run away to your parents’ house, or sisters house or friends place!


That’s enough... it’s absolutely no use talking to you about anything.

Communication Skill Building

Handout B15 Listening Skills

The Disarming technique


2. 3. 4. 5.

Find some truth in what the other person says. They have to be right to some extent, since no one is ever 100% wrong. Usually, when you agree with the other person, they will then stop arguing and agree with you. This remarkable phenomenon is called ‘The Law of Opposites’. If you feel ‘angry’ or ‘attacked’, express your feelings with non-challenging ‘I feel’ statements, such as ‘I feel upset that.’ Avoid the temptation to argue or strike back. Don’t get defensive. Answer in such away that your dignity and self-esteem are maintained, even if you agree with the other person’s criticism. Give up your desire to lash out or blame the other person. Try to maintain an attitude of mutual respect so that nobody has to lose face or feel put down. Avoid getting into who is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. This serves no purpose.



2. 3. 4. 5.

Put yourself in other person’s shoes. Listen carefully and try to understand accurately what they are thinking as they are talking. State what you think the other person is thinking by saying something like “It sounds like... “ and then paraphrase respectfully what you understood. Also try to understand what the other person is feeling. Listen with your ‘third ear’. Notice their body language. Do they appear tense? Angry? Hurt? Acknowledge what the other person is feeling, based on what they said and the manner in which they said it. Ask a question to confirm how they are feeling, such, “I can imagine you must be frustrated with me. Is this true?” Ask them if you have accurately understood what they are thinking and feeling. Use an “I feel” statement to let them know how you would feel if you were in their shoes. You might say, “I would be feeling the same way if this had happened to me.” Accept the other person’s feelings. Do not be hostile, critical or defensive. Let them know that you are willing to hear what they have to say.

Gentle Inquiry


2. 3.

4. 5.

Most people have an intense fear of expressing their feelings openly. They are always afraid of conflicts and will avoid telling you that they are angry with you. They deny their feelings and then, act them out. You can prevent this if you ask the other person to tell you about their negative feelings. You can also ask the other person to tell you ore about the specific problem that makes them feel upset. What are the details? How often does it happen? How do they feel about it? What did you do that turned them off? Ask the person to tell you directly what you did or said that hurt their feelings. When they tell you, don’t get defensive. Instead, use empathy and the disarming technique. Find out some truth in what they have to say. If you feel upset or initiated or put down, express your feeling with an “I feel” statement. Use tone of voice that is respectful not challenging, when asking what made them unhappy or angry. Do not use any form of sarcasm. Don’t be afraid of anger and conflict. They are healthy. Don’t let the other person’s unhappy feelings go unexpressed. That makes the feeling much more intense.

Communication Skill Building


Handout B16 How I act in conflicts

The proverbs listed below can be thought of as descriptions of some of the different strategies for resolving conflicts. Proverbs state traditional wisdom. These proverbs reflect traditional wisdom for resolving conflicts. Read each of the proverbs carefully. Using the scale given below indicate how typical each proverb is of your actions in a conflict. 5

Very typical of the way I act in conflict


Frequently typical of the way I act in conflict


Sometimes typical of the way I act in conflict


Seldom typical of the way I act in conflict


Never typical of the way I act in a conflict

£ 2. £ 3. £ 4. £ 5. £ 6. £ 7. £ 8. £ 9. £ 10.£ 11.£ 12.£ 13.£ 14.£ 15.£ 16.£ 17.£ 18.£ 19.£ 20.£ 1.


It is easier to refrain than to retreat from quarrel If you cannot make a person think as you do, make him or her do as you think Soft words win hard hearts You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. Come now and let us reason together When two quarrel, the person who keeps silent first is the most praiseworthy. Might overcomes right. Smooth words make smooth ways. Better half a loaf than no bread at all. Truth lies in knowledge, not in majority opinion He who fights and runs away lives to fight another day. He hath conquered well that hath made his enemies flee Kill your enemies with kindness. A fair exchange brings no quarrel. No person has the final answer but every person has a piece to contribute. Stay away from people who disagree with you. Fields are won by those who believe in winning Kind words are worth much and cost little Tit for tat is fair play Only the person who is willing to give up his or her monopoly on truth can ever profit from the truths that others hold

Communication Skill Building

Handout B16 How I act in conflicts

£ 22.£ 23.£ 24.£ 25.£ 26.£ 27.£ 28.£ 29.£ 30.£ 31.£ 32.£ 33.£ 34.£ 35.£ 21.

Avoid quarrelsome people as they will only make your life miserable A person who will not flee will make others flee Soft words ensure harmony One gift for another makes good friends. Bring your conflicts into the open and face them directly only then will the best solution be discovered. The best way of handling conflicts is to avoid them Put your foot down where you mean to stand. Gentleness will triumph over anger. Getting part of what you want is better than not getting at all. Frankness, honesty and trust will move mountains There is nothing so important you have to fight for it. There are two kinds of people in the world, the winners and losers. When one hits you with a stone, hit him or her with a piece of cotton. When both people give, a fair settlement is achieved. By digging and digging, the truth is discovered






£ 6£ 11 £ 16 £ 21 £ 26 £ 31 £

£ 7£ 12 £ 17 £ 22 £ 27 £ 32 £

£ 8£ 13 £ 18 £ 23 £ 28 £ 33 £

£ 9£ 14 £ 19 £ 24 £ 29 £ 34 £








£ 10 £ 15 £ 20 £ 25 £ 30 £ 35 £





Communication Skill Building


Handout B17 Distorted Thoughts

10 types of erroneous thinking 1

All or nothing thinking

If something does not happen to absolute perfection, then the entire effort is unsuccessful. 2

Over generalisation

Assessing overall nature of things based on limited examples or experiences 3

Mental Filter

Consider all situations hopeless just based on one or two unsuccessful / painful experiences. 4

Negative thinking

Negating all the positive experiences and recounting / highlighting only the negative ones. 5

Jumping to conclusions

Predicting a situation without considering the details of the context or criticizing someone without sufficient evidence or information. 6


Exaggerating a problem or one’s own weakness 7

Emotional reasoning

To reason that a particular individual or an experience is actually bad or negative based on one’s own doubts about the individual or a painful experience. 8


Using “should” statement to judge an individual or an incident and refusing to accept alternative perspectives or ideas. 9


Arriving at a conclusion about someone’s character based on his or her behaviour under special circumstances 10

Personalisation and blame

Blaming oneself or someone else completely for an incident when in reality it was beyond the control of one individual and several factors could have contributed to it.


Communication Skill Building

Section 3 Stress Management

Session Plan Session 1

Understanding Stress

Session 2

2 hrs 30 mins

Page 65

Stress Awareness

2 hrs

Page 69

Session 3

Dealing with different behaviour

2 hrs

Page 72

Session 4

Stress Management

2 hrs

Page 75


Pages 79 - 84

Session 1 Understanding Stress

Objectives of this session • • • •

Getting acquainted with each other Sharing expectations and apprehensions about the workshop and formulating ground rules of group work Defining Stress Introducing the Stress Awareness Diary


Getting acquainted with one other

Ask participants to share three things with the group; their names, about their organizations, and one thing about them that nobody can guess on just seeing them.

Internal versus External Awareness of the World Realising differences between inner and outer world

Ask participants to focus attention on the outside world. Ask them to try and be aware of all that is happening around them. (e.g. “I can hear….”) Next ask participants to shift attention to their body i.e. their internal world. Let them try and hear/feel all that’s happening within them (e.g. “I can hear my heart beating or my stomach making sounds or I can feel a pain in my right knee” etc.)


This exercise will help participants be able to separate and appreciate the differences between the inner and outer world. Many a times we are not able to realize these subtle differences.

Setting Ground Rules

Formulating rules of group work

The group can collectively brainstorm and draw up a list of rules. • Acceptable Behaviour: Confidentiality, Punctuality, Regularity, Mutual Respect • Unacceptable Behaviour: Side Talking, Cross Talking and Speaking for others, being judgemental.

Positive and Negative Experiences

Understanding our Thoughts, Emotions, Feelings, Behaviour Tell participants We have been through a lot of changes since birth and we are continuously going

through such changes and will do so till death. Some changes make an indelible impression on our minds, changing perhaps our whole outlook, way of thinking and functioning. There are some changes which make us feel bogged down mentally, physically and emotionally. Ask participants to individually think of such changes, positive or negative experiences; the incidents / experiences could be from their childhood or recent past. But these positive or negative experiences should have had a significant impact. Ask participants to write down how it affects them. Try and be very specific about these experiences and its impact. Now individuals can share these experiences in the plenum while they are categorised under thoughts, emotions/feelings, behaviour and physical / bodily / physiologically. An example of the tabulated data from each sub-group is given overleaf.

Stress Management


Session 1

Event / Experience : Thoughts (T)


• parents don’t love me • if only things would have worked out… • people are not worthy of my trust


• I feel that I have to work harder to achieve that…

Emotions / Feelings (F)

Behaviour (B)

Physical / Physiological (P)







• anger • fear • anxiety • helpless and confused

• confident

• avoid and withdraw • speak rudely • bad performance in class • took sleeping pills

• more hardworking

• rise or fall in BP • shivering • sleep disturbance • eating problems

• more energy in my body


Whenever there is a change, we get affected in some ways. From our experiences we see that some are positive which affect our thoughts positively, motivate us and help us to function better and contribute to our general well-being. Similarly, there are also experiences which adversely affect us, make us anxious in a manner that we try to escape from it or withdraw, feel helpless and even try alternative strategies, which might prove counterproductive and increase our negative feelings. It dominates our thoughts, emotions, behaviour and our body; we brood, worry, we feel tensed bodily (headache, sweating, stomach problems etc.). How we see these changes, how they affect us, depend on our way of perceiving it, our constitution/predisposition and capacity to cope with it and how we use some stress relieving or relaxation techniques.

Brainstorming on “What is Stress” Defining Stress

Ask participants that after doing this exercise, how would they now define “stress”. Let each participant share in the group how they perceive ‘stress’; and some personal experiences. Resource persons can then introduce the concept of stress, its definition, causes, impact and symptom formation, using the handout C1. They can also introduce the concept of ‘individual stress’ with an analogy: when we hammer on a piece of wood, it breaks. However, if we do so on a piece of cloth, it only changes shape. Similarly, the target’s reaction to a stressor is absolutely individual. How each of us reacts in a stressful situation depends on our constitution, how far we are exposed to external hazards or are protected etc.

Handout C1 Stress : Causes, Impact and Symptoms on pages 79 - 84. Resource persons can also share that the following workshop will help participants identify these individual stressors, their related anxieties & conflicts as well as coping techniques. It can be clarified that the term ‘management’ has been used because one is dealing with negative stressors, unsuccessful coping strategies and their corresponding impact.

Group work

Sharing Objectives

Ask participants to individually think of their expectations / worries regarding this workshop. Ask them to share their views in 3 groups. One spokesperson from each sub-group can present to the larger group.


Stress Management

Understanding Stress

Resource persons can then share the objectives and add from the group if necessary. The main objectives are: To understand experientially the comprehensive meaning of stress Identify personal and professional stressors and means of coping Explore de-stressing strategies related to discipline including caregiver role & handling children


Suggested energizer Two Truths & a Lie on page 88.

Stress Awareness Diary

Identifying individual stressors

Ask participants to individually think and write in detail as many stressors as they can identify in the following areas: • •

Personal stressors Interpersonal stressors

• •

Family stressors Work Stressors

They should describe the consequent thoughts (T), feelings/emotions (F), behaviour (B) and physical effects (P). Also add their wish (W) for each stressor i.e. what do they want to do in that situation that they have enlisted. Participants could use a format similar to the one shown here. Participants should then add to a cumulative score, the maximum number of identified stressors in each column. Next they should divide into sub groups and enlist the common as well as specific stressors in each area and the corresponding TFBPW. One spokesperson from the group can then present it to the larger group.



Personal stressors (B)



Family stressors

Interpersonal stressors

Work stressors

Stress Management


Session 1


To bring into focus the number of stressors in our daily lives and its inter-related effects. This is a common experience which we all undergo in various degrees; it can happen anytime, anywhere and each of us get affected similarly (TFBP). Our wishes (W) also help us to understand which can be both positive or negative. The diary helps us to identify, differentiate and connect with our thoughts, emotions and behaviors, which we normally tend to either ignore / suppress or take for granted. It is also true that what we can’t see is far more difficult to identify as opposed to what we can (F as opposed to B). The more easily we are able to identify our feelings (F), the easier it will be for us to express to others as well as provide relief to self. The more we are aware of how we are feeling, the more we learn to use adaptive methods (i.e. less defense and more greater chance to resolve our stressful situation). Note During sessions, participants may share their inadequacy and difficulty in naming / identifying their feelings / emotions; e.g. I don’t know the word for this feeling, or what is this feeling called? Such anxieties may bother participants. Participants may also find it difficult to distinguish between thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Facilitators / Resource persons may need to help participants several times during their activity. Participants may share the observation that many of us are not able to express, but do have the ability to think explicitly. A parallel can be drawn with the children at shelter homes. Sometimes overtly a child comes across as extremely quiet and inexpressive and is often labeled as ‘dumb’ or ‘stupid’. However, this process would have shown that all individuals could get into this process of detailing, differentiating and expressing.

Breathing Awareness Ask participants to do the following: 1 Close your eyes. Put your right hand on your abdomen, at the waistline and put your left hand on your chest at the center. 2 Experience your normal breathing pattern. Which hand rises more when you inhale; the hand on your chest or that on your belly?


When we breathe, we use two breathing patterns - chest and abdominal. Chest : often shallow breathing, sometimes irregular-rapid / slow; associated with anxiety or other emotions; higher muscle tension; blood not properly oxygenated; increased heart rate. Abdomen : deep & natural breathing; seen in new born babies and sleeping adults; non-constricting; more deeper; decreased muscle tension and anxiety present with stress related thoughts or symptoms; easiest way to elicit relaxation.


Stress Management

Session 2 Stress Awareness

Objectives of this session •

Identifying stress areas and discoverng coping strategies

Warming Up

Abdominal Breathing

Tell participants to : 1. Lie down on a rug on the floor in a ‘dead body’ posture-legs flat & straight on the ground and slightly apart, toes pointed upwards, arms on the sides & not touching the body, palms up and eyes closed. 2. Bring attention to their breathing and place their hand on the spot that seems to rise and fall the most as they inhale or exhale. 3. Gently place both their hands and a book on the abdomen and follow their breathing. Notice how their abdomen rises with each inhale and falls with each exhale. 4. Breathe through their nose. 5. Press their hand down on their abdomen as they exhale and let their abdomen push their hand back up as they inhale deeply. Ask participants: Is your chest moving in harmony with your abdomen or is it rigid? Tell participants to spend a minute or two letting their chest follow the movement of their abdomen.

Individual Activity

Stress Awareness Diary

Ask participants to individually go through their stress diary. Let them select the maximum stress related areas and whom they would hold responsible for the stress (e.g. self, environment or others like authority figures etc.) Ask participants to jot down in their diary against each stressful situation- the multiple factors that are responsible. They can prioritise by writing 1,2,3 and so on against the factors.

Group Sharing 1

Stress Awareness Diary

Divide participants into sub-groups based on the maximum stress area eg. all those who have the highest score in the ‘work area’ can make one group; ‘personal area’ can make another group and so on. After recording the stressful situation try and think of ways of coping with the situation you actively implemented. Share with group members how they felt while doing this exercise and if they want to share any experiences. Also ask participants to share whom or what they think are responsible for this stress i.e. self, environment or any authority figure and the associated thoughts, feelings, behaviour physical effects and wishes (TFBPW). Participants could use a format similar to the one shown here. Maximum Stress Area (Personal / Family / Interpersonal / Work) Stressors

Factors responsible : Self / Environment /

Others (authority figures etc.)


Stress Management


Session 2


This is common experience which we all pass through despite varied backgrounds. Each one of us will feel that, “ this does not happen to me alone”. The degree and intensity may vary, may also affect differently but there is an effect on everyone. It can also happen anywhere, anytime and each of us gets affected in the same ways - thoughts, feelings, behaviors and physically. In addition, ones wishes at these times also are important and help us to understand what we want; sometimes a wish is negative e.g. we express our futility, a tendency to attack self, there a feeling of helplessness etc. At other times, the wishes are positive such as the wish to solve or get out of the situation. Facilitators Observations When we had done this exercise and asked participants to divide themselves according to their maximum stress area, we found it very interesting to note that women in our group had ‘personal’ and ‘family’ stressors scores highest while men had highest cumulative scores in the ‘work’ area. This seemed to point towards the priority areas of the two sexes!!

Group Sharing 2

Stress Awareness Diary

Tell participants to remain in the same groups and share coping alternatives with one another i.e. the stressor and the commonly agreed upon coping strategies. Add or delete in the group chart. In the column for Maximum stress area, participants could mention the incident (if they wished), and factors responsible (i.e. self / environment / authority ) In the column for Common alternative coping strategies, participants could include their own suggestions; for example ”...if I would have done it this way, it would have been better or I wish I could have spoken about this to someone and asked for help.” One spokesperson from each group presents in the larger group. The resource persons must facilitate inter group interaction. Participants could use a format similar to the one shown here. Maximum stress area


The coping strategy you used

Common alternative coping strategies


If a participant is very uncomfortable in sharing a personal stressor, the facilitator must reiterate that the focus is on the dealing / coping mechanisms and not the source of the stress. Also that confidentiality is the core ground rule. However, the participant must be given the option finally to share his/her personal stressor with discretion. Now in the same group, identify the minimum stress area and also share the reasons for the low score i.e. what are some of the positive experiences in coping with stress, your strengths etc.


Stress Management

Stress Awareness


Suggested energizer Hey we are a lot alike on page 87.

Group Sharing 3

Stress Awareness Diary

Choose the second major stress area and repeat the procedure in Group sharing 2.

Relaxation Exercise Body Scanning

Close your eyes. Start with toes and move up your body. Ask yourself, “Where am I tense?” Whenever you discover a tense area, exaggerate it slightly so you can become aware of it. Be aware of the muscles in your body that are tense. Then say to yourself, “I am tensing my neck muscles…I am hurting myself…I am creating tension in my body.” Note that all muscular tension is self-produced. At this point be aware of any life situation that maybe causing tension in your body. How did you feel while doing this activity-more stressed or relaxed, positive or negative feeling?


In the previous exercise, we realized that being aware and accepting ones own limitations / irritations, facilitates our ability to be neutral and to be able to cope with the situation despite our own personal blocks. One must also be aware of the bodily tension that becomes a part of us and often involuntary and is associated with our stressful thoughts. It is in such circumstances that these relaxation exercises can be used to destress oneself.

Feedback session

Group Sharing 4 (Optional) Stress Awareness Diary

If time permits, group sharing could be repeated with the third major stress area.

Stress Management


Session 3 Dealing with different behaviour

Objectives of this session • • •

To highlight the diverse manifestations of agression To understand the various sources of unacceptable manifestations of anger To generate and understand adaptive and functional disciplinary strategies


Asks the participants to reflect how they are feeling at this moment….tense, anxious, relaxed etc.

Brainstorm Aggression

Ask participants to brainstorm on the word “Aggression”. Focus on the manifestations of aggression among the people you know and chart them down under the following heads: • • • •

Thought manifestation Behavioural manifestation Emotion / feeling manifestation Physical / Bodily manifestation


On reviewing the various manifestations of aggression, the facilitator can highlight how this is a natural phenomenon, a basic emotion which we all experience but express differently. It is also true that a same / similar manifestation in two people, does not have an identical source or cause. Ask participants to individually think and write down the various behavioural manifestations of aggression among adults and then among children at their workplace, home etc. These can be from their own experiences too. Participants can then share them in the larger group. The facilitator charts down these responses from participants in table with the following categories : Acting out, Verbal, behavioural, Passive Aggression, Symptomatic / medical problems

Group Discussion Anger

Divide the larger group into smaller sub-groups (ideally 5 groups to discuss each category / column above). Discuss in your groups the unacceptable manifestations of anger in each of the category and then think of as many causes of this behaviour in children. The sources or causes could be from a personal or indirect experience. One member of each group then makes presentation in the larger plenum. Maladaptive Behaviour/ Unacceptable manifestation of anger


Stress Management

Sources of anger

Dealing with different behaviours


It is easier to feel irritated and frustrated when we see manifestations of anger, easy to criticize or punish in order to control children’s maladaptive behaviour. But understanding the source helps to understand the behaviour of the individual. It avoids generalizations from the behaviour. It also gives an idea of the time line i.e. the onset of the behaviour, how long has the individual been behaving like this etc. It helps us to reduce our own irritation and it helps in dealing with the person rather than look for standardized way of disciplining which may or may not work.


Suggested energizer Animal Scrabble on page 88.

Group Activity

Alternative ways of disciplining children

In your same groups, think of the various methods of disciplining children that you use or know of at your work place and their consequent positive or negative consequences. • • • •

Unacceptable behaviour Disciplinary method used (either you use or know of) Immediate +ve effects Immediate -ve effects

Write the alternatives on chart papers and each group makes a presentation in the larger plenum.


The aim of reliving various experiences both personal or indirect, is to understand that healthier alternatives can be possible even in the face of traumatic experiences. Once we learn to identify the source/ cause and disassociate ourselves from the painful event, it gives us a better opportunity to have a different perspective and formulate alternate strategies which are more adaptive and functional. Feeling guilty about our manifestation hampers the awareness and acceptance of the source / cause of these behaviours. Once we accept that, only then we will be able to stop judging & evaluating others.

Group Activity

Alternative ways of dealing with anger

In the same groups, now refer to the various ‘sources of anger’ in your group chart (Exercise 4) . Think and write alternate ways of dealing with ‘source statements’. Share in the sub-groups. One spokesperson can presents to the larger group. Inter-group interaction follows which will improve upon existing strategies. Source of Anger

Alternative Disciplining Techniques

Stress Management


Session 3


When we are aware of the causes / sources, it becomes easier to think of specific handling strategies rather than generalized, and sometimes ineffective disciplinary techniques. One must be aware of healthier ways of disciplining where self-respect and worth will remain unaffected and individual’s learn from their natural consequences; take responsibility of their actions instead of forgetting so that effects of discipline can be sustained. While disciplining thinking of individual causes of a behaviour before taking a disciplinary action in a neutral environment should be the aim. Feeling guilty about our manifestation hampers the awareness and acceptance of the source / cause of these behaviour. Once we accept that, only then we will be able to stop judging & evaluating others.

Relaxation Activity Breathing Activity

1 2 3 4 5


Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet on the floor. Breathe in deeply into your abdomen (stomach inflate) and say to yourself, “Breathe in relaxation”. Let your self pause before you exhale. Breathe out from your abdomen (stomach deflate). Say to yourself, “Breathe out tension”. Pause before you inhale. Use each inhalation as a moment to become aware of any tension in your body. Use each exhalation as an opportunity to let go off tension.

Stress Management

Session 4 Stress Management


Warming Up

1 2 3 4 5

Lie down on a rug on the floor in a ‘dead body’ posture; legs flat & straight on the ground and slightly apart, toes pointed upwards, arms on the sides & not touching the body, palms up and eyes closed. Bring attention to your breathing and place your hand on the spot that seems to rise and fall the most as you inhale or exhale. Gently place both your hands and a book on your abdomen and follow your breathing. Notice how your abdomen rises with each inhale and falls with each exhale. Breathe through your nose. If you experience difficulty breathing into your abdomen, press your hand down on your abdomen as you exhale and let your abdomen push your hand back up as you inhale deeply.

Psychodrama Invite 5 volunteers from the group and explain specific roles to each of them: Person 1 : the victim comes up with a stressful situation in his/her life. Person 2 and 3 : the stressors are told of their roles Person 4 and 5 : reflectors of thoughts and feelings respectively Rest of the group act as auxilliary / alter egos Reflectors stand behind the victim and try to identify the relevant thoughts and feelings at various stages of the psychodrama. When the victim agrees with a particular thought or a feeling, he / she nods in agreement. Otherwise, remains still. At various stages, whenever anyone feels necessary, the members from the group go up next to the victim and speaks in his voice i.e. in the first person (“I” statements). They try to come up with alternatives to the victim’s reactions and more acceptable interventions. When one ‘auxiliary ego’ speaks, the others in the group outside the role play remain seated. After a particular case is enacted, a feedback round is done whereby the victim shares his feelings before, during and after the interventions. Other group members share how they felt while intervening.


Examining Objectives

Facilitators interact with participants to understand how much the objectives, agreed upon at the beginning of the workshop, were fulfilled or achieved, where are the gaps and why.

Stress Management


Session 4


Progressive relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and relaxing, in succession, sixteen different muscle groups of the body. The idea is to tense each muscle group hard (not so hard that you strain, however) for about 10 seconds, and then to let go of it suddenly. You then give yourself 15-20 seconds to relax, noticing how the muscle group feels when relaxed in contrast to how it felt when tensed, before going on to the next group of muscles. You might also say to yourself “I am relaxing,” “Letting go,” “Let the tension flow away,” or any other relaxing phrase during each relaxation period between successive muscle groups. Throughout the exercise, maintain your focus on your muscles. When your attention wanders, bring it back to the particular muscle group you’re working on. Once you are comfortably supported in a quiet place, follow the detailed instructions below: 1

Relax : To begin, take three deep abdominal breaths, exhaling slowly each time. As you

exhale, imagine that tension throughout your body begins to flow away. 2

Fists : Clench your fists. Hold for 7-10 seconds and then release for 15-20 seconds. Use

these same time intervals for all other muscle groups. 3

Fore arms : Tighten your biceps by drawing your forearms up toward your shoulders and

“making a muscle” with both arms. Hold, and then relax. 4

Arms : Tighten your triceps; the muscles on the undersides of your upper arms, by extending

your arms out straight and locking your elbows. Hold, and then relax. 5

Forehead : Tense the muscles in your forehead by raising your eyebrows as far as you can.

Hold, and then relax. Imagine your forehead muscles becoming smooth and limp as they relax. 6

Eyes : Tense the muscles around your eyes by clenching your eyelids tightly shut. Hold, and

then relax. Imagine sensations of deep relaxation spreading all around the head. 7

Jaws : Tighten your jaws by opening your mouth so widely that you stretch the muscles

around the hinges of your jaw. Hold, and then relax. Let your lips part and allow your jaw to hang loose. 8

Neck : Tighten the muscles in the back of your neck by pulling your head way back, as if you were going to touch your head to your back (be gentle with this muscle group to avoid injury). Focus only on tensing the muscles in your neck. Hold, and then relax. Since this

area is often especially tight, it’s good to do the tense-relax cycle twice. 9

Relax : Take a few deep breaths and tune in to the weight of your head sinking into whatever

surface it is resting on (i.e. on the floor if you are lying down or on the backrest of the chair where you are sitting). 10

Shoulders : Tighten your shoulders by raising them up as if you were going to touch your

ears. Hold, and then relax.


Stress Management

Stress Management


Upper Back : Tighten the muscles around your shoulder blades by pushing your shoulder

blades back as if you were going to touch them together. Hold the tension in your shoulder blades, and then relax. Since this area is often especially tense, you might repeat the sequence. 12

Chest : Tighten the muscles of your chest by taking in a deep breath. Hold for up to 10

seconds, and then release slowly. Imagine any excess tension in your chest flowing away with the exhalation. 13

Stomach : Tighten your stomach muscles by sucking your stomach in. Hold, and then

release. Imagine a wave of relaxation spreading through your abdomen. 14

Lower Back : Tighten your lower back by arching it up. (You should omit this exercise if you

have lower back pain.) Hold, and then relax. 15

Buttocks : Tighten your buttocks by pulling them together. Hold, and then relax. Imagine

the muscles in your hips going loose and limp. 16

Thighs : Squeeze the muscles in your thighs all the way down to your knees. You will

probably have to tighten your hips along with your thighs, since the thigh muscles attach at the pelvis. Hold, and then relax. Feel your thigh muscles smoothing out and relaxing completely. 17

Calves : Tighten your calf muscles by-pulling your toes toward you (flex carefully to avoid

cramps). Hold, and then relax. 18

Feet : Tighten your feet by curling your toes downward. Hold, and then relax.


Scan and Repeat : Mentally scan your body for any residual tension. If a particular area

remains tense, repeat one or two tense-relax cycles for that group of muscles. 20

Relax : Now imagine a wave of relaxation slowly spreading throughout your body, starting

at your head and gradually penetrating every muscle group all the way down to your toes. The entire progressive muscle relaxation sequence should take you 20-30 minutes the first time. With practice you may decrease the time needed to 15-20 minutes.

Stress Management


Session 4


This is a procedure for achieving deep muscle relaxation quickly. Whole muscle groups are simultaneously tensed and relaxed. Note Notice the contrast between sensations of tension and relaxation. Avoid excessive tightening of neck & back muscles. It can cause muscle or spinal damage. Over tightening of toes and feet can cause muscle cramping. Also the release of tension of particular muscle should be gradual and not instant i.e. one must not let the muscle become suddenly limp.

Feedback session

Participants feedback, including stress felt with the activities, co-workers and resource people. Followed by feedback from Resource persons


Facilitator must reiterate that its natural to experience both positive & negative feelings. If we are aware, we are better equipped to cope. Feeling stress is not a problem; Not knowing what it is & how to combat it, is!!


Stress Management

Handout C1 Sress : Definition and Symptoms


Stress is the “wear and tear” our body experiences as we adjust to our continually changing environment; it has physical and emotional effects on us and can create “positive” or “negative” feelings. As a “positive” influence stress can compel us to action, result in a new awareness and an exciting new perspective. As a “negative” influence it can result in negative and painful feelings, health problems, interpersonal conflicts and lowering of productivity. This write-up is primarily based on books on stress and relaxation, studies on the “negative” aspects of stress available on the internet and experiences of working with shelter home staff. Signs

There are several signs and symptoms that we may notice in ourselves when we are under stress. These vary depending on the severity and duration of the situation causing stress and the personality of the person experiencing it. The signs and symptoms of stress are manifested in our feelings, thoughts, behaviour and physiology. Feelings

anxious, scared, irritable, moody, helpless, hopeless, trapped, defensive, sad and apathy are some of the feelings we experience when we are stressed. Thoughts

doubts about self worth and competence, inability to concentrate, worrying about future, preoccupation with thoughts and task, forgetfulness, slow thinking or racing thoughts are some of ways in which we think when we are stressed. Behaviour

behavioural changes associated with stress are stuttering and other speech difficulties, crying for no apparent reason, acting impulsively, startling easily, laughing in high pitch, nervous tone of voice, grinding teeth, increased smoking, increased use of drugs and alcohol, being accident prone, sexual dysfunction, losing appetite or over eating, impatience, quick to argue, withdrawing, procrastinating, staying isolated, neglecting responsibility, poor job performance, poor personal hygiene etc. Physiology

perspiration and sweaty hands, increased heartbeat, trembling, nervous ticks, increased blood pressure, dryness of throat and mouth, tiring easily, urinating frequently, sleeping problems, diarrhea or constipation, vomiting, butterflies in the stomach, headaches, premenstrual tension, problems related to ovulation, pain

Stress Management


Handout C1 Sources of Stress

We experience stress from 4 basic sources Environment

Our environment bombards us with demands to adjust. Threats to survival or physical integrity, invasion of personal space, insufficient working and living space, noise, dirty or untidy conditions, pollution, badly organized or run down environment, all cause stress in varying degrees in individuals Social stressors

Demands on our time and attention, deadlines, financial problems, job interviews, performance pressure, disagreements, loss of or separation from loved ones, changes in the family, conflict of expectations in relationships, work stress, all act as social stressors. (A separate section on work stress has been added at end of this section because of its special relevance to this group. Work situation can be a source of environmental stress and also act as a social stressor). Physiological

A third source of stress is physiological. The rapid growth of adolescence, premenstrual syndrome, post-natal condition, menopause, illness, aging are some of the examples. Moreover, lack of exercise, or “taxing of the body� by poor nutrition, excessive consumption of caffeine, sugar or salt and unbalanced and unhealthy diet all produce stress. Thoughts

Some stresses are internally generated. This can come from anxious worrying about events beyond our control and a hurried approach to life. In fact, some personalities (Type A) are susceptible to stress. Moreover, perfectionism, excessive self- denial, tendency to exaggerate consequence and catastrophise events lead to stress. Unrealistic expectations from self in terms of achievement and having everything under control, as also unrealistic expectations from others in terms of total and constant approval, appreciation, and submission are some of the very common causes of stress.


Stress Management

Handout C1 Impact of Stress

Stress can cause severe health hazards. These are some of the ailments caused by stress • • •

Hypertension Cerebral attack Respiratory problems

• • •

Cardiac problems Psychosomatic illnesses Increased blood sugar

• •

Digestive problem Peptic ulcer

Apart from affecting physical health, stress tells upon our psychological well being. It affects our feelings, moods, thoughts and behaviour, mostly negatively. These are some of the impact of acute stress on our mental health. • •

Depression Paranoia

• •

Uncontrolled anger Suicidal tendencies

Substance abuse

When it affects our body and mind, it very naturally negatively impacts our interpersonal relations and productivity. A worker under severe stress would deliver less both in terms of quality and quantity. This usually operates in a vicious circle where poor performance level causes further stress and the situation eventually heads towards a breakdown. Stress can render an individual dysfunctional in terms of work and human relationships. In this context it can be mentioned that exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation caused by prolonged stress and frustration produces a state of ‘burnout’ in an individual. Such an individual would need medical supervision, psychological counseling or may even have to be hospitalized for healing. For it is only after proper healing that she/he would be able to resume appropriate social and professional responsibilities and activities, utilize her/his, creative potentials, enjoy the pleasures of life and regain optimal energy, strength and motivation for work.

Stress Management


Handout C1 Stress Management : Safeguards

These measures are suggested to facilitate personal self-care and as protection against susceptibility to stress. • • • • • • • •

Formulate realistic expectations - from self and others; explore strengths and weaknesses

as neutrally as possible Set goals realistically - prioritize the tasks, stock take resources available, calculate time available and redefine role boundaries Look after your health needs - optimal and healthy food, optimal rest and measured physical exercise Look after your relationships - establish fulfilling relationships that are mutually nourishing, supportive and strengthening Nurture internal resources - giving space and time to one’s creativity and not bogged down by duties all the time Give time - giving time to body and mind to cope with adjustments Share - to create a space for release of thoughts and feelings to prevent bottling up of emotions Define your purpose in life - to move in a direction with firmness of purpose and taking problems in your stride.

To integrate self-care at the organizational level the following can be considered:

• • • • • • •


Retreats for the staff necessary for unwinding and staff bonding Allotment of free time for in house care givers in their daily routine where they would get

some space for themselves Personal growth sessions for care givers where they can share their feelings, thoughts and views and offer each other support and suggestions Time to time changes in duty allotment especially of in house staff to break the monotony of work Participatory process of policy making to ensure ownership and a sense of belonging to the organization and maintain level of motivation among staff Forum for open articulation of problems to ensue easy flow of messages between management and staff Formulation of guidelines for managing interpersonal interaction to ensure respect for all

Stress Management

Handout C1 Work Stress

Here is a list of factors we face in work situation that causes stress Categories of Job Stressors Factors unique to the job


• • • • • •

Role in the organization

Career development

own decisions about our own job or about specific tasks) Hours of work / shift-work Physical environment (noise, air quality, etc) Isolation at the workplace (emotional or working alone)

Role conflict (conflicting job demands, multiple

supervisors/managers) Role ambiguity (lack of clarity about respon sibilities, expectations, etc)

Level of responsibility

• •

Under/over-promotion Job security (fear of redundancy either from

• • Relationships at work (Interpersonal)

Workload (overload and under load) Pace / variety / meaningfulness of work Autonomy (e.g. the ability to make your

• • • •

economy, or a lack of tasks or work to do) Career development opportunities Overall job satisfaction

Supervisors Coworkers Subordinates Threat of violence, harassment, etc (threats

to personal safety) Organizational structure/climate

Participation (or non-participation) in deci

sion-making • •

Management style Communication patterns

Stress Management


Handout C1 Stress : Phases, Symptoms, Action


Phase 1


Phase 2

Mild Symptoms

Phase 3

Entrenched Cumulative Stress

Phase 4

Severe / Debilitating Cumulative Stress Reaction


Signs / Symptoms


• • • • •

feelings of vague anxiety depression boredom apathy emotional fatigue

• talking about feelings • taking a vacation • making a change from regular activities • taking time for yourself

• • • • • • •

sleep disturbances more frequent headaches/colds muscle aches intensified physical and emotional fatigue withdrawal from contact with others irritability intensified depression

• more aggressive lifestyle changes may be needed. • short-term counseling

• Increased use of alcohol, smoking, nonprescription drugs • depression • physical and emotional fatigue • loss of sex drive • ulcers • marital discord • crying spells • intense anxiety • rigid thinking • withdrawal • restlessness • sleeplessness • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

careers end prematurely asthma heart conditions severe depression lowered self-esteem / self-confidence inability to perform one’s job Inability to manage personal life Withdrawal Uncontrolled rage, grief Suicidal or homicidal thinking Muscle tremors Extreme chronic fatigue Over reaction to minor events Agitation Frequent Accidents Carelessness, forgetfulness Paranoia

Stress Management

• Significant intervention from professionals.



Simon Says 10 minutes

Participants stand around the facilitator, who describes various actions for the group to do. Participants must act only if facilitator says “Simon says“ before describing the action. For example, if the facilitator says “Simon says touch your toes“ participants must touch their toes. However, if the facilitator just says “touch your toes“ participants must do nothing. Anyone who breaks either rule will be out of the game. The facilitator gradually speeds up the instructions and tries to take the group by surprise. The participants must be alert and agile to stay in the game. Participants are eliminated until the winner remains.

Fire in the mountain 10 minutes

Participants are asked to run around in the room randomly while chanting, “fire in mountain-run, run, run!!” The facilitator suddenly says a number and they have to huddle together to form groups accordingly. The extra member in any group is out. The game goes on till only 2 people are left.

Silly Race 10 minutes

Divide into two groups. Both groups will be given a set of activities to do. The group that finishes first, wins the game. The activities are: • • • • •

Any one member must whistle tune for 10 seconds Any one member must sing a song for 10 seconds without stopping or laughing Pose in a group statue for 10 seconds Your group has to write down 10 words beginning with the letter S Line up yourselves by your feet/shoe size without talking


Group Building 25 mins

Ask participants to stand in a circle and take two steps forward every time they find a statement applicable to them. While each person responds individually, after each statement, a smaller group with commonalities amongst themselves emerges, thus fostering bonding. This exercise aims to facilitate group bonding and breaking of inhibitions, so is necessary for the effective functioning of a learning group. Suggested statements are : • • • • • • • • • • •


Those who live in Kolkata proper Those who are not visitors for the first time Those who have ancestral home in Bangladesh Those who work directly with children Those who are unmarried Those who live with their parents Those who have a personal hobby Those who feel they are stressed Those who are at the moment feeling physically fine Those who are apprehensive for some reason Those who are hopeful that this training will help



Chinese Whispers

Speaking skills 20 mins

Ask participants to sit in a semi-circle. Ask one participant to volunteer. Let him think of one statement and whisper it to his neighbour, who should whisper it to his neighbour and so on. Do not allow them to repeat more than once the message they are relaying. The final message is the last one in the semi-circle said aloud and is usually heavily distorted from the original one.

Hey! We’re a Lot Alike Team-building 15 minutes

1 2 3

4 5

Divide the class or meeting into small groups (2-4 each). Tell participants that this is a competition among groups, to see who can come up with the longest list. The topic of the list is: Things We All Have in Common Tell participants that when you ring the bell or clap your hands, they can begin. At that time they need to come up with a list of everything they can discover about one another that they have in common. Give them a couple of examples: Brown eyes; like to read mysteries. Tell them they’ll have five minutes, and to continue adding to the list until you ring the bell clap again. Give them five minutes between the bell or the claps. Now find out who’s the winner. Ask first, who had five or more? Then, who had eight or more? And so on until you’ve established the winning group. Give a bag of candy to the winning group. (If you give each group a couple of open containers of candy, they’re likely to share with the others during the workshop.)

Grab Bag

Sharing personal characteristics 15 minutes

Pull out an object / chit with name of an object from a bag and explain how you are similar to it OR Look around in the room, select any object and share how you can identify with that object.

Quick Draw

Communication 15 minutes

1 2 3 4

Divide the group into 2 equal teams. Each player on each team is numbered. The leader stands at one end of the room at an equal distance from both teams, with a prepared list of emotions or objects. One player from each team runs to the leader and receives the first word on the list and runs back to his team mates. He begins to draw the object as quickly and as specifically as possible. When the word is communicated so that the team guesses it exactly, the next player is sent to receive the next word. As each new person approaches the leader he calls off his number and and the leader whispers the word on the list that corresponds with his number. The race continues until one team has guessed the entire list.

Hints Don’t worry about drawing well! Communicate through your drawing! Keep drawing!

Gift Game

Sensitivity 15 minutes

Have each member tell what gift he/she would give each member. This is a fun activity which tends to bring out surprising amounts of creativity and sensitivity once givers realize the responsibility they have towards the receivers.




The Signature Game 15 minutes

Get as many signatures in the time provided.

Two truths and a lie 15 minutes

Ask each player to makes 3 statements about herself, two of them true and the third a lie. For example: “I have an older sister; I once rode an aeroplane; I can sing seven different nursery rhymes.” The group tries to guess which is the false statement. In the example the false statement is I have an older sister. Note: Make it clear from the start that you are looking for facts, not opinions or subjective statements such as ,” I’m rich” or “I am beautiful.”

Animal Scrabble 15 mins

On slips of paper, write the names of animals that make an obvious noise. Create five to ten slips for each animal. Give each participant a slip of paper but tell them to keep their animal a secret. The participants who are blindfolded, are to find the rest of their kind, but there is no talking and no looking at each other. So how do they find the others? They have to make the noise of the animal! Once two of the same kind have found each other, they stay together to find the others. Continue till all of the like animals have formed their own groups.



References and Resources



The Feeling Good Handbook Empowering caregivers

By David D. Burns, M.D. Published by : The Penguin group

Positive Caregiver Attitudes

Lots of information including journal exercises, articles, resources, humor, and highlighting other personal caregiving websites.

by James Sherman, PhD Published by : Pathway Books

Preventing Caregiver Burnout

Offers updates on excellent articles , diseases, online support groups, and an opportunity to ask questions of leaders in the field of caregiving.

by James Sherman, PhD

Other material Several articles and materials have been produced by Samikshani, a Mental Health Resource Organization, based in Kolkata, India. For more details contact : The Secretary, Samikshani 37 South End Park Kolkata 700 029 India Phone (+91 33) 2466 3504

The Caregiver’s Home Companion is a monthly newsletter and website dedicated to addressing the information, resource and community needs of caregivers. The newsletter is available both in print and online, and the website includes current news and information affecting caregivers as well as an archive of news, tips and non-medical caregiving advice. The website also offers community forums for caregivers to share their questions and experiences. Information on the stages of caregiving. Managing stress. Solutions to caregiving situations.


Publication Design by Thoughtshop Foundation

Groupe Développement (GD), is a French International NGO that works in Latin and South America, Central and Eastern Europe, Central, South and South East Asia to protect children from trans-national organised crime such as trafficking for purposes of prostitution or other forms of exploitative labour. Sanjog is Groupe Développement’s South Asian chapter on child protection initiated in June 2003. The programme Sanjog (GD), is engaged in building linkages across South Asia to combat trafficking and exploitation of children and specifically in protection, prevention and psychosocial rehabilitation of victims and at-risk children and youth against trafficking and exploitation. The GD South Asian regional office in Kolkata has been working to build capacities of organisations supported by them; organizations that run shelter homes and drop-in centers for children and adolescents who had been trafficked or were homeless for some reason. This manual is based on a series of orientation and training workshops conducted with caregivers from six organizations across Bangladesh and India (West Bengal). The workshop series was developed to help care providers rediscover their roles, responsibilities and sources of inspiration in their work with children. It is hoped that this training manual will serve as an useful resource for mental health professionals who are likely to do similar work with care providers at institutions or shelter homes. GROUPE DÉVELOPPEMENT, KOLKATA, INDIA © 2005