Cognitive Relaxation Coping Skills

Placement on the Continuum of Evidence Promising Download icon Download PDF
Target Population: 
Adolescents, Adults
Anger, Behavioral Problems
Target Audience 

The Cognitive Relaxation Coping Skills program is intended for adolescents and young adults with behavior problems and anger issues.


This program encourages adolescents and young adults to recognize anger triggers, and it provides skills, such as relaxation techniques and cognitive awareness processes, which may help to alleviate aggravating situations.


Adolescents and young adults who participated in the Cognitive Relaxation Coping Skills intervention were more likely than members of a comparison group to experience a reduction in anger expression. Results of several studies indicated improvements in general anger, anger expression, anger suppression, and anger specific to multiple situations. Each of these effects persists for at least 15 months after completing the program. One study also indicated positive effects on mental health and deviant behavior among young adolescents; although, such outcomes were not evident among older program participants.


This program is offered as an eight or nine session course for 9 to 14 participants. In the early sessions, the participants create a list of anger provoking situations that they have encountered. Next, they focus on changing the way they think about these situations and their subsequent reactions. The final sessions discuss situations considered in the first sessions and introduce skills which may help participants view these situations from different perspectives. Relaxation techniques such as breathing cued relaxation and relaxation without tension are used in this process. Participants are also given homework to encourage self monitoring and to apply the skills learned to particular situations.

Previous Use 

This program was implemented during the 1990s with groups of adolescents and young adults in Colorado.


A Master’s Degree is or a Bachelor’s Degree and 10 years of experience as a school psychologist are required for implementation of this program.


Considerations while implementing this program are timing to implement the program and retention of participants.

The Clearinghouse can help address these considerations. Please call 1-877-382-9185, or email


If you are interested in implementing Cognitive Relaxation Coping Skills, the Clearinghouse is interested in helping you!  Please call 1-877-382-9185, or email


This program consists of eight or nine sessions, forty-five minutes to an hour each.


No information on costs for this program was located.

Evaluation Plan 

To move Cognitive Relaxation Coping Skills program to the Effective category on the Clearinghouse Continuum of Evidence, at least one external evaluation must be conducted that demonstrates sustained, positive outcomes. This study must be conducted independent of the program developer.

The Clearinghouse can help you develop an evaluation plan to ensure the program components are meeting your goals. Please call 1-877-382-9185, or email


Contact the Clearinghouse with any questions regarding this program. Phone: 1-877-382-9185 or by email:

You may also contact Jerry Deffenbacher at 1-970-491-6871, by email, or visit


*Resources and associated costs reflect those identified at the time of fact sheet publication.