Lately I’ve been reading a series of anger
management books. The latest: “Getting Control
of Your Anger: A Clinically Proven, Three-Step Plan for Getting to the Root of
the Problem and Resolving It” by Robert Allan, PHD.
His system for helping clients manage their
anger is quite simple. There’s three parts to the system. Step 1: Identify the
hook; Step 2: Identify the need; and Step 3: fill the need.
The underlying theme is the emotion anger is a
good thing. But, it’s faulty to believe that we must “let out steam”. Rather,
we can avoid aggressive behaviour if we find healthier ways to fulfill the
“Identify the hook” is a helpful little tool to
avoid getting the anger arousal state in the first place.
Visualize that you are a fish in the ocean.
There are hooks with bait all around you. If you bite, the hook will drag you
In the same way, throughout the day there are
many hooks lying around. These hooks have the potential to trigger your anger
if you bite. If you can start identifying what the hooks are, you can avoid
biting at all.
Dr. Robert Allan identifies two categories your
hooks will likely fall into. Injustice or Incompetence.
“He’s not taking any responsibility and saying
this all my fault.” (injustice)
“My mechanic didn’t do a proper job installing
my battery. What a fool!” (incompetence)
Take a notebook with you for a week. Every time
you get triggered for anger, write it down. Identify if it’s because of
injustice or incompetence. What are the patterns? The more you realize what
triggers you, the more you’ll be able to navigate around them when they appear.
Of course, this tool by itself isn’t fool-proof.
You’ll inevitably bite the hook from
time to time. That is natural! This is simply
a first step on the way to getting in control of your anger.
is passionate about helping become
get unstuck and live fully. Growing up,
he had a hard time expressing anger properly.
Now with a new set of tools under his belt, he not only helps himself but many
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