Cycle Of Abuse Worksheet

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

Worksheet updated on June 6th, 2023

Cycle Of Abuse Worksheet

The theory of the cycle of abuse was developed in 1979 by Lenore E. Walker. Walker identified 4 stages that occur in an abusive relationship: Tension Building, Incident, Reconciliation, and Calm. Defining these four stages has been instrumental in learning about abusive relationship patterns and how they affect both the abused and the abuser.

Coming to terms with the reality of an abusive situation can be tough for a person, but it is important to know the warning signs of abuse. Understanding what the cycle of abuse looks like can help a person identify and make a plan to leave an abusive situation and prevent harm from coming to themselves or others.

About This Worksheet

This is the Cycle Of Abuse worksheet. This worksheet describes what behaviors an abuser may exhibit in each of the 4 stages of an abuse cycle. The worksheet also provides contact information for public resources that can help a person in crisis or someone who is trying to leave an abusive or domestic violence situation.

This worksheet is intended to be used with adults who are struggling with abuse in a relationship or domestic violence. It should be used in individual sessions and can be used as a tool for safety planning.


Review the introduction and the stages of the Cycle of Abuse with the client. Answer the client’s questions and help them identify any warning signs of abuse they may see in their relationship. Encourage the client to take notes as needed.

You may also review the hotline information provided and help them make a plan for how to take care of themselves in their situation. Provide the client with a copy of this worksheet at your discretion for reference, and encourage the client to create an action plan if they feel threatened or are in danger.

Download Cycle Of Abuse Worksheet

Link To This Worksheet

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