Assertiveness is an essential skill in adult communication. The ability to choose and make appropriately direct and tactful statements or requests vs. less desirable forms of communication (aggressive, passive, and passive-aggressive) can be learned and developed with awareness and practice. Assertiveness is typically considered the ideal way to express ourselves, though so many of us have difficulty doing so. When we practice handling interactions assertively, we can make our lives more manageable and rewarding, for both ourselves and those close to us.
Why is assertiveness in communication difficult for so many people? For starters, it is not something that is formally taught in grade school, and we often pick up or learn less desirable ways of handling certain situations from those we observed (who also received no formal training). In addition, a combination of fears and lack of experience has much to do with inhibiting this appropriate and mature way of dealing with the world. To be sure, no one is perfect, and we all occasionally flub our interactions with others, especially when tired or stressed. However, a persistent struggle in one or many social contexts can indicate a need for more attention to developing assertiveness skills. In therapy for assertiveness training, the therapist can serve as a coach, helping the individual to examine the particular situations in which problems are experienced, and to find (and practice) better ways of responding to such situations. The reasons for the person’s difficulty in communicating assertively are also identified, so that these blocks can be recognized and overcome.
Cognitive Therapy Associates (CTA) is a network of experienced therapists (licensed clinical psychologists and social workers) across Manhattan, Westchester and L.I. We strive to match you with the right therapist to help you learn how to be more assertive and communicate more effectively. To inquire about an appointment, please call us at (212) 258-2577.
Keywords: assertiveness, assertiveness training, assertiveness skills, assertiveness technique.