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From an anger management perspective, an episode of anger can be viewed as consisting of three phases: escalation, explosion, and postexplosion. Together, they make up the aggression cycle. In this process, the escalation phase is characterized by cues that indicate anger is building. As stated in session 2, these cues can be physical, behavioral, emotional, or cognitive (thoughts). As you may recall, cues are warning signs, or responses, to anger-provoking events. Events, on the other hand, are situations that occur every day that may lead to escalations of anger if effective anger management strategies are not used. Red-flag events are types of situations that are unique to you and that you are especially sensitive to because of past events. These events can involve internal processes (e.g., thinking about situations that were anger provoking in the past) or external processes (e.g., experiencing real-life, anger-provoking situations in the here and now).

If the escalation phase is allowed to continue, the explosion phase will follow. The explosion phase is marked by an uncontrollable discharge of anger displayed as verbal or physical aggression. This discharge, in turn, leads to negative consequences; it is synonymous with the number 10 on the anger meter.

The final stage of the aggression cycle is the postexplosion phase. It is characterized by negative consequences resulting from the verbal or physical aggression displayed during the explosion phase. These consequences may include going to jail, making restitution, being terminated from a job or discharged from a drug treatment or social service program, losing family and loved ones, or feelings of guilt, shame, and regret.


  • The purpose of the anger management group includes which of the following:
    1. Learn to manage anger
    2. Stop violence or threat of violence
    3. Develop self-control over thoughts and actions
    4. All of the above
  • Reporting abuse of a dependent adult supersedes confidentiality laws involving clients and health care professionals:
    1. True
    2. False
  • People often confuse anger with aggression. Aggression is that is intended to cause harm to another person or damage property.
    1. Behavior
    2. Activities
    3. Thoughts
    4. None of the above

CE Hours: 3
Instructor: SAMHSA

Course Description:

This intermediate level 3 CE is for mental health clinicians who conduct or are interested in conducting group therapy for anger management. This CE describes a 12-week cognitive behavioral anger management group treatment that mental health professionals can use and implement with their own clients. Each of the 12 90-minute weekly sessions is described in detail with specific instructions for group leaders, tables and figures that illustrate the key conceptual components of the treatment, and homework assignments for the group participants. An accompanying Participant Workbook is included and should be used in conjunction with the CE manual to enable the participants to better learn, practice, and integrate the treatment strategies presented in the group sessions.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion, participants will be able to:

  • Discuss the conceptual framework for understanding anger.
  • Describe anger control plans used for controlling anger.
  • Explain cognitive restructuring using the A-B-C-D model and thought stopping.
  • Discuss assertiveness training and the conflict resolution model.
  • Discuss how past learning can influence present behavior.
Section 1
Section 2
Final Quiz