Assertiveness Training and Its Importance

Dr. Purushothaman
September 30, 2013

Being assertive is to stand for your rights or what you believe in. If you're shy or often find yourself under unwanted work or relationship pressure, then attending assertiveness training could be beneficial for you. Read on to know more about various assertiveness training methods and how they can help.

Before we talk about assertiveness training, it is important for us to know what assertive behaviour is. The term assertiveness is used to denote confident behaviour. Often confused with aggression, assertiveness is a middle point between passiveness and aggressiveness. If explained in terms of interpersonal skills, passive behaviour means focusing on needs and desires of others while ignoring your own. Aggressive behaviour is often forcing your desires on others, irrespective of what they might think or feel. Assertive behaviour means being able to express our own thoughts and simultaneously respecting rights and dignity of those around us.

What is assertiveness training?

Assertiveness training is a methodology that helps people to improve their assertive behaviour. This concept was introduced by Andrew Salter and popularized by Joseph Wolpe in 1958. Based on idea that people need to stand up for their own rights, they should be able to express their feelings and thoughts. Also considered a kind of behaviour therapy, main goals of assertiveness training are listed below:
1. To increase the awareness of personal rights,
2. To differentiate between non-assertiveness and assertiveness,
3. To differentiate between passiveâ€"aggressiveness and aggressiveness and
4. To teach both verbal and non-verbal assertiveness skills.

There are various techniques that may be taught during assertiveness training. These being:

1. Broken Record: This technique teaches a person to be persistent without getting angry, irritated or loud. The main idea is to keep mentioning what he wants from time to time. One disadvantage of this technique could be every time a request is made it may be met with refusal. Another disadvantage is if the requests are made too often they may lose their importance. Hence it is important to stick to your point without coming across too needy.

2. 'I' Statement: In this technique an individual is taught to express thought and feeling from his personal point of view. Most effective when said in a calm and pleasant tone, 'I' statements help to keep the focus on the problem rather than accusing or blaming someone else.

3. Fogging: A defensive coping technique that deals with accepting criticism. It teaches an individual not to deny or counter-attack any criticism of his own. Instead acknowledging the other person's point of view and recognising it might be true under certain circumstances.

Apart from above mentioned textbook techniques, other skills taught during assertiveness training include negative assertion and negative enquiry both of which are defensive techniques that can help one deal with put-downs from other people.

The main reason why one enrols in assertiveness training is to strengthen their work and personal relationships. To cope up with stress and other emotional issues generated by depression and social anxiety is another reason why assertiveness training is gaining popularity. Verbal and non-verbal skills taught during training help individuals to handle difficult family, friends and co-workers more easily thus reducing drama and stress.


Read Related Recent Articles