Effective Anger Management: Look out for the Hook! 

  • By Lindsay Tsang
  • 20 Oct, 2017

When Anger Comes Out of the Blue

Effective Anger Management: Look out for the Hook!
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 need.
“Identify the hook” is a helpful little tool to avoid getting the anger arousal state in the first place.

Here’s a summary of the tool:

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 out. 
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)

Putting it into practice:

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.

About the Author:

LINDSAY TSANG 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 others.

Need anger management help with Lindsay? Click HERE to make an appointment.

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