Practice example of a model developed to support carers in understanding and dealing with challenging behaviours. The Caregiver appraisal model is a prospective model of caregiver stress which has been developed by Northumberland County Behaviour Support Service. The model was developed from work with seven family caregivers over 12 months and provides a framework for managing their distress based on their appraisals of the situations confronting them. It is a cognitive behavioural model. The article describes how the model was developed, how it works and points of practice.