Time Out


A time-out or cool-down is a tool to use to prevent you from doing or saying abusive things that you know you’ll regret later.

“I would reach a point where no matter what I learned in the groups or what the court order said, I just didn’t care. I was going to do something and nothing could stop me. A cool-down is like preventative medicine. Before you ever get to that place where you don’t care anymore, you leave. The situation won’t change because you left it for a while, but how you deal with it may change totally.”



  1. Talk to your partner about cool-down right away. Let her know that sometimes when you’re together it may be necessary for you to take a time-out or cool-down in order to relax.
  2. Take a time-out or cool-down every time you think your anger is starting to climb by recognising your physical and emotional cues and leave the situation (place or person).
  3. Do not swear, raise your voice, threaten or use any intimidating behaviour.
  4. Leave for up to an hour – no more.
  5. Go somewhere and try to relax and think positively about yourself. Remind yourself of what your goals are in the program. It may help to walk, jog or do deep breathing to get some tension out. Do not drive, drink alcohol or take drugs.
  6. Come back on the hour. This gives you sufficient time to cool off. You are in control of you. Let your partner know you are back. This will also help to build trust with your partner.
  7. Talk about the issue if possible. If not, that’s okay there are some issues that need to be sorted out with a counsellor. The issue does not go away just because you have handled the situation in a non-violent way.


  • Do not use the time out/cool down tool in an abusive way or as a means of escape.
  • The goal of the time out/cool down is to prevent violence – not improve communication
  • Make positive self talk statements to yourself when doing the time out/cool down. Avoid negative self-talk which only escalates anger.

LifeCare 1994