By Abena Benjamin and Tom Alexander
Pen or Pencil
Crayons & Markers
Chip Pieces (for the game)
Start by given your client one of the blank sheets of paper and have them make a list of 6 to 8 things that cause them to become angry; for example, they could put that "others ignoring them" makes them angry. Once they have this list, next to each cause of anger have them write one symptom of anger; for example, they could put yelling or clenching fist. They should have the same amount of symptom examples as they have causes of anger so that each cause can have one symptom written next to it on the bingo board. Next they should make a list of the consequences of being angry; for example, they could put that it "pushes others away". Again, they should have just as many examples of consequences as they have for the other categories. Next have them list ways to control their anger, such as walking away from the situation. Lastly, they should come up ways of preventing anger outbursts, such as "controlling the tone of voice."
Once they have their list provide them with another sheet of paper and on top in big letters have them write “Angry Bingo”; encourage them to decorate their gameboard however they would like and provide them with crayons/markers; you should make your own matching angry bingo board as well (using your client’s examples), so you will be able to play with them. However, make sure to mix up the order in which you write the examples on your bingo board, otherwise, you and your client will always get bingo at the same time! Underneath the title have them create a row of 5 boxes and they should label the boxes accordingly: causes, symptoms, consequences, control & prevention. After this have them make 6 to 8 more rows of 5 directly under each category (depending on how many examples they came up with for each category) and put their previous examples in the corresponding columns to which they belong. Once their board is complete, have them cut up each individual example for each category that they previously listed
on the first piece of paper you gave them and place all the pieces of paper in a bowl. Once you have done this you are ready to play bingo! Play along with the client; you can take turns pulling examples out of the bowl and see who gets bingo first! The purpose is to have them reflect on the triggers of their anger, their symptoms, the consequences, ways of dealing with it and preventing it, while also having fun; this can be helpful in having them critically think about their anger and processing it. After playing a round or two of bingo ask them about their experience.
Individuals ages 6 and up who are struggling with anger and an ability to regulate their emotions.
Expected Results and Troubleshooting:
Clients will be able to identify and express their boundaries and what they feel happens when those boundaries are crossed. This may allow for a conversation about planning for frustration, thereby increasing tolerance and communication of needs. It also provides the client with opportunities to troubleshoot solutions to their frustrations and bring their own personality into their coping skills, as well as identify how their emotions are unique to them.
Since this is a game of chance and directed at children and teens who are experiencing frustration tolerance, the client has a chance of losing repeatedly and becoming upset. The therapist can prepare the client for this possibility, and use it as an opportunity to examine the interpersonal experience the client has when he/she reacts to losing angrily vs calmly.
Barish, K. (2004). What is therapeutic in child therapy? I. therapeutic engagement.Psychoanalytic Psychology, 21(3), 385-401. Retrieved from https://tcsedsystem.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.tcsedsystem.idm.oclc.org/docview/614400230?accountid=34120
Bellinson, J. (2000). Shut up and Move: The Uses of Board Games in Child Psychotherapy. Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy, 1(2), 23-41. doi:10.1080/15289168.2000.10486343
Originally posted on the Geek Therapy Wiki, hosted on the now-defunct Wikispaces platform, as part of Dr. Patrick O’Connor’s course Geek Culture in Therapy.