Kassinove & Tafrate (2002) developed the anger episode model after conducting research that observed individuals responding to anger in real-life situations. The model has five main components, each interlinked with the next (click on the image below).


Defining the Components of the Anger Episode Model

  1. Triggers are external or internal events, words, thoughts or experiences that elicit an anger response.
  2. Appraisals are the way in which a trigger is interpreted. A simple teasing statement, meant in jest, for example, may be interpreted by one person as a light-hearted way of building a bond, another may interpret the same remark as an attack on their character. When an individual appraises a negative event as unexpected, preventable and intentional – anger is the likely result.
  3. Experiences refers to the client’s internal awareness of anger.
  4. Expressive patterns relate to the way in which an individual’s private, internal experience of anger is conveyed – common patterns include outward expression, anger-in or indirect anger expression.
    1. Outward expression includes instances of direct verbal expression (“You’re a jerk”), overt motor behaviours (pushing, shoving) or other forms of aggression (violence, torture).
    2. Anger-in occurs when a client consciously chooses not to express their anger. In these instances suppressed anger may eventually dissipate or alternatively the anger may be expressed at another time.
    3. Indirect anger expressions are instances of passive aggression or covert sabotage. Passive resistance to work demands, not carrying one’s weight in a team, intentionally ignoring requests, purposely failing to act in a timely manner and engaging in gossip can all be expressions of anger and as such should not be ignored by the counsellor.
  5. Outcomes are the results generated through the expression of anger. If the result is positive (it provides attention, compliance or admiration of others) the behaviour is likely to reappear in the future. If, on the other hand, the results are not positive (or are ignored) it weakens the likelihood of that behaviour occurring again in the future.