Assertive Skills Training

  • Is a skill that can be learned, not a personality trait.
  • Clearly represents what one is thinking and feeling.
  • No apology for expressing emotions and thoughts.
  • Refuses to be manipulated by false guilt when communicating.
  • Never sacrifices others’ rights to get their own way.
Seven Rights of the Assertive Person:
  • The right to be human and take full responsibility for your decisions and action
  • The right to be wrong
  • The right to tell others what you are thinking and feeling
  • The right to change your mind
  • The right to stand in judgement of your thoughts and actions
  • The right to express yourself without intimidation or guilt
  • The right not to accept responsibility for others
First, understand the Basic Interpersonal Styles:

(1) Aggressive style:
  • Opinions, feelings and wants are honestly stated but at the expense of someone else’s feelings.
  • The message - “I’m superior and right and you’re inferior and wrong.”
  • They are given what they want in order to get rid of them.
  • They make enemies.
  • If they cannot be avoided, others will be dishonest with them in order to avoid confrontation.
(2) Passive style:
  • Opinions, feelings and wants are withheld/expressed indirectly and only in part.
  • The message is “I am weakened inferior and you’re powerful and right.”
  • Minimizes responsibility for making decisions and the risk of taking a personal stand on an issue.
Senses of impotence, lowered self-esteem, have to live with the decisions of others.

(3) Assertive style:
  • Clearly state your opinion, how you feel and what you want without violating the rights of others.
  • The message ‘you and I have differences, but we are equally entitled to express ourselves to one another’.
  • Active participation in making important decisions, getting what you want without alienating others
Assertiveness is an antidote to fear, shyness, passivity and anger

Script for Change
  • Look at your rights
  • What you want what you need, your feelings about the situation.
  • Let go of blame, the desire to hurt to indulge in self-pity.
  • Define your goal and keep it in mind when you negotiate for change
  • Arrange a time and place to discuss your problems that is convenient for you and for and for you and for the other person
  • Define the problem - be specific. State the facts as you see them. Share your opinions and beliefs.
  • Describe your feelings so that the other person has a better understanding of how important an issue is to you. You become less of an adversary.
  • Your feelings once expressed help you to get what you want. Use ‘I’ messages that express your feelings.
  • Express your request in one or two easy to understand sentences.
  • Be specific and firm. Instead of expecting others to read your mind and magically meet your needs
  • Reinforce the other person to give you what you want - describe positive consequences.
  • Develop your Self-Image by self-awareness, self-esteem and self-confidence
Powerful messages about you come from Parents, Peers and Self-talk
  • “Children should be seen and not heard”
  • “You can do it”
  • “Don’t you ever think before you do something”
  • “Just do your best – that is always good enough for us”
  • “Wait until your father gets home”
  • “We love you”
  • “How could you do something like this after all we have done for you?”
  • “We do not expect you to be perfect”
  • “You are a bad boy/girl”
  • “Whatever you decide we will support you!”
Scenarios for Practise
  1. You are in the middle of a queue, having waited for more than an hour. A young couple come along and casually walks into the queue right in front of you.
  2. You have just brought a new CD player. It didn’t work, so you took it back. The replacement warranty ends after first week. When you take that back, the shop manageress says she won’t replace the player, but will send it off to be repaired.
  3. A child you are looking after for the afternoon demands some sweets, but you had been asked not to give him away.

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