Westminster Therapies

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Work Articles : Assertiveness training


I believe that assertiveness has to be taught and trained as it is not an easy art to master, however we all can manage to communicate our feelings without hurting others once we understand our general and specific responsibilities. We are largely, but not exclusively, responsible for the way we feel and act, by the views we take on events in our lives. (W.Dryden, 1995)
Did you know which the two principles of human interaction are?
  • We get the behaviour we tolerate.
  • If we want someone´s behaviour to change, we need to change our first.
What are the rules of assertion?
If somebody does something good to you, you should do something good to them. If someone does something bad to you and they don´t realize they are behaving badly, turn the other cheek, forgive them by letting go of unhealthy anger, tolerate their fallibility and thoughtlessness and reason with them on two separate occasions. If someone does something bad to you and reasoning with them two times has not helped, do something equally annoying, frustrating or discomforting to them but without unhealthy emotions and behaviours. If the situation doesn´t change even though we do apply the rules above then we have these options:
  • Tolerance without resentment
  • Protest through action or become intolerant until it changes
  • Separation or divorce i.e. get away from the problem
  • Tolerance with resentment
I agree that these textbook rules can sound a bit too rigid or far too unrealistic for humans to act upon them. Nevertheless, I believe that we do have choices in times of challenge even if it doesn´t look that way at times. Looking for these very personal choices with you is the biggest passion of mine.

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