In Assertiveness, Communication, Psychotherapy

Have you ever wondered what is assertiveness training in psychology? The assertive definition is simply having confidence or communicating in a confident way. Most people think of assertive meaning aggressive but that’s not always the case. Assertiveness training teaches confidence, not aggression. 

 Assertiveness training is a form of therapy that has been used since the 1970s to help people learn how to better communicate their needs and wants so that they don’t feel taken advantage of or used. Assertiveness training can be very helpful to people who learned to be passive or passive aggressive due to the circumstances that they grew up in. 

Who Came Up with Assertiveness Training?

Assertiveness training was originally developed as an offshoot of the women’s movement of the 1970s and it was designed to help women learn to stand up for themselves in situations where typically they hadn’t in the past like in the workplace or in higher education settings. 

Today both women and men who are shy, or never learned how to appropriately and respectfully set boundaries and prioritize their own needs go through assertiveness training to learn better ways to communicate in all facets of their lives including personal relationships, work relationships, and educational relationships. 

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Assertive Behavior Vs Assertive Personality

There is a big difference between assertive behavior and an assertive personality however. Assertive behavior that is also respectful while still allowing a person to make their own needs and wants known is healthy. 

An assertive personality means that someone is prone to a communication style that can be overbearing or sometimes even bullying. Assertive behavior can be respectful of the needs and wants of others. 

Assertive communication that is done in a positive and respectful way is a healthy way for a person that has trouble standing up for themselves to communicate with others without allowing others to control or manipulate them. 

Assertiveness training focuses on making “I” statements and expressing your ideas and your feelings in a way that is confident but not aggressive. If you have struggled to believe that your needs matter or that your ideas have value you might find assertiveness training uncomfortable at first. That’s normal. The important thing is to keep going with the training. 

When the training is done you will be more confident and have the right skills to ask for what you want and to know that your feelings do matter. Being able to express your feelings in a healthy and constructive way will give you the confidence to start setting and achieving new goals that you might have thought were impossible. 

What Does Assertiveness Training Encourage?

Assertiveness training teaches more than just how to be assertive. Assertiveness training teaches people how to handle tense situations or awkward situations without being confrontational but also without giving up their personal autonomy. When people know that their needs matter and that they have the right to prioritize their own needs they can listen to others and communicate clearly and openly without being combative but also without letting themselves be manipulated. Assertiveness training encourages people to speak up for themselves and make their feelings known. Your feelings do matter and being able to express them in a constructive way can eliminate disappointment and feeling badly about yourself. 

How to Be Assertive Without Being Aggressive

Going through assertive communication training can teach you valuable communication skills and give you the confidence to approach any type of situation without anxiety or worry. Assertiveness training can help you navigate situations like:

  • Asking for a raise.
  • Dealing with an unpleasant or combative coworker.
  • Making phone calls that you used to put off because you were anxious about asking for things.
  • Dealing with an overbearing relative or parent.
  • Clarifying communication with a toxic friend.
  • Speaking in public.
  • Communicating with a spouse or partner.
  • Putting your own ideas forward in work meetings or in educational settings.
  • Interviewing for a job that you really want.
  • Negotiating scheduling conflicts.

And many other everyday situations that previously caused you stress or anxiety.

Many people think that assertiveness training means learning to be more aggressive but that’s not really what assertiveness training is all about. Assertiveness training gives you better communication tools and the confidence to make your point of view clear without being antagonistic. 

If you have always struggled to be heard or if you have traditionally let people have their way even when it meant that your needs weren’t met or that you were overlooked assertiveness training can change the way you communicate and change your life. 

Keep an Open Mind

Keep an open mind and try assertive communication training when you’re ready to start prioritizing your own needs and wants and when you’re ready to start taking an active role in achieving your goals and strengthening your relationships with the people around you.

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