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The Importance of Assertiveness

Assertiveness is an essential social skill. It is imperative for an interpersonal relationship of the individual. Assertiveness is the ability of an individual to stand for their rights. Assertiveness is between passivity and aggression, improving the individual’s quality of life. The individual with good assertiveness expresses their options clearly with a calm attitude. The individual with better assertiveness usually uses three magic words: Please, thank you, and sorry.

Ways of Behaving:

  1. Aggressively- This is the way of behaviour by the expression of tantrums and anger. This kind of behaviour may violate the rights of other’s

  2. Assertively- Behaving in a manner of standing for own rights without violating another’s rights. The individual with assertive behaviour usually expresses their point of view directly.

  3. Passively- It is the behaviour of requesting other’s all the time. Failure of expression of feelings, thoughts, or options. An individual with this type of behaviour usually fails to stand for their rights

Types of Assertiveness:

  1. Refusal Assertiveness- Here, the individual declines without violating other’s rights. For example Situation: The manager asks you to work even after your working hour. Response: Sorry, sir! I am not able to work

  2. Commendatory Assertiveness- Here, the individual directly gives positive and negative opinions. For example, In a group counselling setting, you have assigned 5 minutes for each member to express their views. The single person is talking for more than 10 minutes without allowing others. How will you respond assertively? Response: Sorry for the interruption! You had expressed your opinion. Let others speak, and you will be given another opportunity later

  3. Request Assertiveness- Individuals with this type of assertiveness request assertively rather than declining. For example, Situation: Imagine your mentor asks you to come to class at 5 pm. Response: Sorry mam! Can we have the class at 6 pm?

Assertiveness Training:

Assertiveness training can change negative, harmful behaviours like anger, shyness, jealousy, passive aggression, anxiety, etc.

Steps before assertiveness training- Conditioned Reflex Therapy

  • Expression of feeling talk

  • Expression of facial talk

  • Practising in expressing a contradictory opinion

  • Practice in the use of I statements

  • Practice in agreeing in complementary opinions

  • Practice in improvising and acting spontaneously

Tools for measuring assertiveness:

  • Rathus Assertiveness Scale

  • Conflict Resolution Inventory

  • Assertive scale foe Adolescence

  • Assertion Inventory

  • Assertiveness Self- Report Inventory

  • Assertiveness Self- Statement Inventory

Methods in Assertiveness training:

  1. Behaviour Rehearsal- It is a therapeutic technique in which the behaviour, responses, and social skills are taught and practised to follow reality. It is a technique whereas helpful for improving social skills and interaction with others. Behaviour rehearsal in assertiveness training is nothing but the therapist teaches the response to the particular problem and asks to use it for the client’s specific situation. For Example: For the alcoholic individual Situation: If your friend is asking to join for a drink. Response: No! I stopped drinking. This response will be taught by the therapist and gives rehearsal for this response. The therapist also asks the client to use only this response to the particular situation

  2. Role-play- In the role-play technique, both the client and therapist actively participate in problematic behaviour. For instance, if the client has a problem in expressing the thoughts to her parent. The client plays her role, and the therapist plays her parent’s role and asks her to express her feelings. Later they exchange their position and plays. In the role-play method, the client was asked to describe their way of behaviour.

  3. Positive Feedback- Feedback is an essential method of encouraging the client to change the behaviour. The positive change in action can be sustained only with positive feedback

  4. Prompting- It provides assistance and cues to encourage using the specific skill from behind. There are various types of initiating such as verbal, Gestural, Modelling, physical, visual and positional prompting

  5. Minimal effective response- This is the method of assertiveness. The individual is encouraged to give an answer for stopping or starting a particular behaviour or activity. For example Situation: Someone is honing the bike continuously in a signal. Response: please! Stop filing.

Significance of Assertiveness:

  • Assertiveness improves interpersonal relationship

  • Assertiveness is helpful in the expression of feelings to claim rights without hurting others

  • It helps in better communication

  • Reduces stress and anxiety

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