Coke (Cola) Bottle Exercise


Context: This exercise is useful to explore anger, conflict, violence and the role of beliefs.

Take a bottle of cola out of your bag, shake it. Ask the client to open the bottle. They are very likely to decline. Ask them why? They will say that they don’t want Cola all over the place. Tell them that the Cola is like our anger and conflict. It’s like the problem with violence. When we quickly take the lid off, it creates a mess that someone else has to clean up. Discuss who the people are who clean up the mess violence creates.

This introduction is critical because it highlights that anyone using abuse and violence is capable and competent to change; that the use of any violence (taking the lid off and letting it rip) is always a choice.

Extension questions:

  • Ask them to hold the bottle and reflect on how it symbolises their emotions. Talk about a few examples that fit the metaphor.
  • Discuss how anger is a secondary emotion (the fizz at the top) while the other primary emotions are the black mass beneath. Talk about what their primary emotions are and how the metaphor of a black mass enables us to understand that feelings are often difficult to identify. Value the importance of the black mass of feelings within the individual.
  • Sometimes the most dangerous bottles are those that show no foam/fizz, but other people live in fear of them exploding. It strips the other people of their confidence and ability to predict.
  • Discuss how they can respond to this in their actions.
  • Discuss the concept of Timeout Part 1: Put the Cola bottle on the ground and discuss the concept of time out where you let it have some space to settle. A lot of men fully understand this concept. Emphasise the problem of combining timeout with alcohol, as in it being similar to putting Mentos in a Cola bottle. Mentos increase the explosive reaction by 16 times.
  • Now discuss the challenge of doing Timeout Part 2: Pick up the Cola bottle and highlight that, when it has settled, you need to come back and slowly take the lid off to share it with someone who is important to you. As is encouraged in many Cola advertisements. This is also a very big challenge for many men to do. It is likely to be when you feel your vulnerability the most.
  • Discuss how their beliefs about the other person influence their behaviour. Identify as many beliefs as possible that they have about women. Reality check them and challenge them as required.
  • Put the bottle back on the floor and highlight that their children are like little Cola bottles, but they have very weak lids. Discuss the challenge of how they can help their children to learn self-control and keep their lid on. This involves them making many mistakes…

Link the discussion to the value gained through the person accessing local behaviour change services.

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Coke (Cola) Bottle Exercise14-Feb-2018

Context: This exercise is useful to explore anger, conflict, violence and the role of beliefs. ..

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