Aggression Replacement Training

What do kids need in order to be successful?  Strong social skills?  The ability to control their anger and emotions?  An understanding of why it is important to behave in ethical, mature and appropriate ways?  These three areas are the underpinnings of Aggression Replacement Training – an evidence-based program that gives youth the tools they need to become productive adults.


Tidewater Youth Services Foundation is committed to being good stewards of donated funds, and supports programs and services that are based on sound therapeutic principles.  Aggression Replacement Training fits the bill!

In 2006, our public partner, Tidewater Youth Services Commission underwent an agency-wide system improvement project by implementing the evidence-based program, Aggression Replacement Training, as its primary treatment modality.  Master trainers from the International Center for Aggression Replacement Training in Canada spent an extensive amount of time training our staff in the delivery of the A.R.T. model.  A grant from The Beazley Foundation was used to support this important project.  In addition, thanks to generous support from Portsmouth General Hospital Foundation, we can continue to provide Aggression Replacement Training groups for youth in the City of Portsmouth.  Click here to read a letter from a family that participated in a Portsmouth A.R.T. group.

About Aggression Replacement Training

Aggression Replacement Training: A Comprehensive Intervention for Aggressive Youth has been extensively researched and is designated as a Model Program by the U.S.   Department of Justice and the American Correctional Association. It was developed as a means of working with aggressive young people to help them learn new, pro-social ways of behaving.  Its effectiveness has been confirmed in dozens of studies.

Underlying A.R.T. is the idea that every act of adolescent aggression in school, at home, and in the community has multiple causes, both external and internal.  Therefore, A.R.T. addresses three realms that contribute to aggressiveness: (1) weak interpersonal and social/cognitive skills,   (2) impulsiveness and a reliance on aggressive means of having their daily needs met; and (3) egocentric and underdeveloped moral reasoning.

The first phase of Aggression Replacement Training is called Skillstreaming. In this phase, basic social skills are modeled, practiced and reinforced.    Youth are taught “what to do”.  The second component, Anger   Control Training, is emotion-oriented.  Here participants are taught   to identify triggers, cues, reducers, reminders and use of appropriate   skills.  In short, they are taught “what not to do”.  The third phase, Moral Reasoning Training, presents a variety of moral  dilemmas and asks participants to explore possible solutions. In this way, youth clarify their values and determine internal reasons   about why it is important to behave in more ethical, mature and appropriate   ways.