RETHINK Curriculum

About This Program

Target Population: Adults having difficulty managing anger; program has also been used with young children with language skills through teenagers

Program Overview

The book, Creative Anger: Putting that Powerful Emotion to Good Use and the RETHINK workbooks provide seven skills to help each person learn to manage their anger and use this powerful emotion to build good, loving, and productive relationships. The program follows this premise: “Anger, hardwired into our brains for protection, is the more misunderstood emotion. It contains a paradox. Anger out of control destroys, yet anger, when understood and controlled, is a constructive force and can be used for creativity, change, and growth.”

Program Goals

The goals of the RETHINK Curriculum are:

  • Help the participant:
    • Learn to recognize when he/she is angry
    • Learn the seven RETHINK skills to manage anger
    • Learn how to reframe thinking toward a constructive end
    • Learn how to put each of these skills into practice

Essential Components

The essential components of the RETHINK Curriculum are:

  • Group intervention with 8-10 participants per group
  • Seven cognitive/behavioral skills to manage anger and help a person change the way they think in order to change the way they feel:
    • Recognize your anger and what triggers it
    • Empathize with the other person and put yourself in the other person’s shoes
    • Think about the situation and your anger and try to reframe the situation in a less angry way. Humor can help.
    • Hear what the other person is communicating with words and nonverbal action.
    • I - use I statements to express yourself. Integrate respect with your response.
    • Notice how your body reacts to your angry feelings and notice how you can calm yourself.
    • Keep your attention on the present moment

Program Delivery

Adult Services

RETHINK Curriculum directly provides services to adults (regardless of whether they are parents or caregivers) and addresses the following:

  • Managing anger

Recommended Intensity:

Weekly 1-2 hour sessions

Recommended Duration:

10 weeks, though it can be 8 weeks if the sessions are longer

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community Agency
  • Hospital
  • Residential Care Facility
  • School


RETHINK Curriculum includes a homework component:

Participants are encouraged to practice skills they learn through the RETHINK Curriculum at home between sessions.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

Room that can hold at least 8 people, cassette/cd player (optional), and overhead projector and/or screen for Power Point presentation (optional- slides are included in the Manual).

Education and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

There is no minimum education requirement to be trained in the RETHINK Curriculum though social workers, psychologists, and professionals working in schools, at recreation centers, and with various populations have been trained in the past.

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to implement this program , and there is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training is obtained:

Formatted based on organizational need.

Number of days/hours:

Formatted based on organizational need.

Additional Resources:

There currently are additional qualified resources for training:

Paula Mintzies, Email:

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

This program has been reviewed and it was determined that this program lacks the type of published, peer-reviewed research that meets the CEBC criteria for a scientific rating of 1 – 5. Therefore, the program has been given the classification of "NR - Not able to be Rated." It was reviewed because it was identified by the topic expert as a program being used in the field, or it is being marketed and/or used in California with children receiving services from child welfare or related systems and their parents/caregivers. Some programs that are not rated may have published, peer-reviewed research that does not meet the above stated criteria or may have eligible studies that have not yet been published in the peer-reviewed literature. For more information on the "NR - Not able to be Rated" classification, please see the Scientific Rating Scale.

Fetsch, R. J., Schultz, C. J., & Wahler, J. J. (1999). A preliminary evaluation of the Colorado RETHINK parenting and anger management program. Child Abuse & Neglect, 23(4), 353-360.

Type of Study: One group pretest-posttest design
Number of Participants: 75


  • Age — Under 21 years-Over 70 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 96% Caucasian and 4% Other
  • Gender — 77% Female and 23% Male
  • Status — Participants were parents and their children recruited from medical and therapeutic centers in Colorado.

Location/Institution: Colorado State University

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
The study evaluated the effectiveness of the RETHINK Parenting and Anger Management preventive educational workshop program in reducing parent anger and child maltreatment. Parents completed the RETHINK Curriculum over a period of 6 weeks. Measures used were the RETHINK Curriculum program materials. Results indicated that participants’ group mean anger control levels increased and decreases occurred in family conflict levels, overall anger, violence, verbal aggression, and physical aggression. In addition, participants reported increased knowledge levels, improved attitudes, improved behaviors, and decreased unrealistic expectations of their children. The major study limitation was the lack of a no-treatment control or comparison group.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Fetsch, R. J., Yang, R. K., & Pettit, M. J. (2008) The RETHINK parenting and anger management program: A follow-up validation study. Family Relations, 57, 543-552.

Type of Study: One group pretest-posttest design
Number of Participants: 168


  • Age — 18 years and above
  • Race/Ethnicity — 79% Caucasian, 5% Hispanic, 10% African American, and 16% Other
  • Gender — 27 Males, 141 Females
  • Status — Participants were adults with anger control problems at risk for child maltreatment who were referred by social services providers and clinics.

Location/Institution: Colorado State University

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
The study examined the effectiveness of the RETHINK Parenting and Anger Management preventive educational workshop program in reducing parent anger and child maltreatment at 3-month follow-up. Measures evaluated between post-test and 3 month follow-up included the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI), Conflict Tactics Scale-Form R (CTS), and the Bloom’s Family Conflict subscale. Results indicated that parents who completed RETHINK workshops and program evaluation surveys made statistically significant improvements from posttest to follow-up in the development of anger management skills. Major study limitations include lack of a control or comparison group and lack of randomization.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 2.5 months.

Additional References

No reference materials are currently available for RETHINK Curriculum.

Contact Information

Suzanne Stutman, MSW, MA, BCD
Phone: (202) 364-0402

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: June 2015

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: October 2018

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: May 2011