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Shelter workers learn how to manage anger through games

One of the greatest challenges for staff working at shelters is without doubt children who use methods that are harmful to themselves or others in order to cope with anger, aggression and having been hurt.

Emma vihakoolitus

April saw the latest in a series of national training events held in Pärnu which was designed for workers from shelters and led by the SEB Heategevusfond (SEB Charity Fund). The theme was ‘Game-based therapy techniques for use in anger management’, presented by Emma Moat, an expert in the field from England. The course showcased ways of helping children which allow them to become aware of what is going on in their minds and express their thoughts and emotions.

Anger is a normal and natural reaction. It is only a problem if it is not allowed to be expressed in a healthy way – and without being expressed it can build up inside a person. Sometimes it is easier for shelter children to show anger in place of another, real emotion through physical or verbal aggression. That is why it is important for children to recognise and understand these feelings and to teach them to express them in a healthy and non-aggressive manner.

Emma vihakoolitus

Those attending the training event learned that it is possible to manage anger without hurting others, and even in a fun way – by moulding clay ‘anger monsters’, through role-play, by blowing bubbles and blowing up balloons, by making masks and by using other game-based methods of coping.

Anger is one of our most basic emotions, and children benefit enormously from being able to get it out of their systems. This is only unhealthy if they do so in a destructive way. Without anger there can be no kind-heartedness, love or happiness.

It is very important to foster the professional development of those working in shelters so that they are better informed of how to support the children in their care in times of need – to better understand and be able to help them. Staff from seven shelters in Pärnu, Tartu, Tallinn, Harju County and Ida-Viru County took part in the training.

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