Assertion is a style of communication that is intended to allow for effective and respectful expression of feelings and thoughts. Assertion is also used to assist a person in standing up for their legitimate rights without violating the rights of others. Assertion training is a skills-based training that incorporates both verbal and non-verbal communication training. This style is a preferred alternative to other forms of communication such as passive, aggressive, and passive-aggressive styles.

A passive style typically involves: the absence of direct communication, subordination of needs to others, excessive listening, difficulty in making requests, difficulty in setting limits or saying “no”, hesitation, and lack of confidence in body language. An aggressive style involves direct communication but at the expense of others. Aggressive behaviours may involve: sarcasm, put-downs of others, attacking language, abruptness, and body language that conveys intimidation to others. As the name suggests, the passive-aggressive style combines both elements. In this style, aggression is often expressed in a disguised form so that the person can avoid taking responsibility for his/her anger.

At Chrysalis, our therapists can provide assertion training to help you communicate more effectively, and set limits if needed, in various situations.

Suggested readings:

Your Perfect Right: A Guide to Assertive Living. (1995). By R. Alberti and M. Emmons. San Luis Obispo, CA: Impact Publishers.

Asserting Yourself: A Practical Guide for Positive Change. (1991). By S. Bower and G. Bower. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing.

Men and Anger: Understanding and Managing Your Anger. (1999). By M. Cullen and R. Freeman-Longo. Holyoke, MA: NEARI Press.

Messages: The Communication Skills Book. (2009). By M. McKay, M. Davis and P. Fanning. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

The Anger Control Workbook: Simple, Innovative Techniques for Managing Anger and Developing Healthier Ways of Relating. (2000). By M. McKay and P. Rogers. Oakland , CA: New Harbinger Publications.

The Assertiveness Workbook: How to Express Your Ideas and Stand Up for Yourself at Work and in Relationships. (2000). By R. Paterson. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

Letting Go of Anger: The 10 Most Common Anger Styles and What To Do About Them. (1995). By R. Potter-Efron and P. Potter-Efron. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.

When I Say No, I Feel Guilty. (1975). By M. J. Smith. New York, NY: Bantam Books.



Chrysalis Psychological
and Counselling Services



Ph: 905-752-6789
Fax: 905-752-1705



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