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A Practical Approach to Emotion Intelligence

by Ralph D. Sinn

Pub Date: May 26th, 2009
ISBN: 978-1440123672
Publisher: iUniverse

A doctor pitches potatoes as a tool for anger management.

Psychotherapist Sinn of Edmonton, Alberta, explores “the tragedy of the destructive mindset and the victory of the constructive mindset,” by teaching “emotion intelligence.” Anger is a “secondary emotion”—an energized state in the body—and in his book, Sinn presents a basic model using that staple of the kitchen, the common potato, as a symbol for anger. “Stress has to do with being in the presence of change…whereas anger is the sense that something is unacceptable and therefore something has to change. The energy of anger is a motivational energy in you to bring about change.” When a person is angry, in effect, he’s saying, I have a potato, and it’s hot. The first half of the text covers the destructive mind-set approach—expressing, repressing and suppressing. Suppressing (keeping a lid on anger), although inherently negative, often leads to success in the workplace, where declaring one’s true feelings is impolitic. As resentments build throughout a lifetime, potatoes accumulate in one’s sack. The lower one’s self-esteem, the heavier the sack, which also may be weighted by alcohol, smoking, drugs, gambling, food, excessive exercise, overwork, compulsive shopping and relationship/sex addictions. Through homework assignments, the book encourages readers to internally and externally separate a person and his anger from the problem. “Put your potatoes on the desktop” is a euphemism for a constructive method of anger management, aka “confess.” The first phase is admitting anger and taking ownership; the second phase is appropriately disclosing anger to others, followed by active forgiveness to achieve full release. Whether chips, fries or mashies, everyone has potatoes; the art is in learning how to deal. Using Sinn’s approach, we can slice, dice, chop and mince our troublesome taters. Confusing graphics in the text may have readers seeing red, but the potato pictures are cute. To further explore the destructive versus constructive mind-set, the author has created a soccer-based board game called FC Strategy®, available for purchase online.

Anger is made manageable in this practical self-help book.