Assertiveness Training & Communication Skills
This course can be taken independently & as a CPD (Continuing Professional Development) module. It is open to therapists & counsellors & other professionals with an appropriate background.
The objective of this course is to facilitate participants in learning and applying the principles and related techniques of assertiveness training in order to improve communication skills and to increase confidence and self-esteem. Topics covered include:
Different types of communication behaviours:
Giving & receiving feedback & criticism
Making requests & expressing a point of view
Managing anger and conflict
Saying ‘No’ and standing your ground
Increasing self-confidence & self-esteem
Our courses for women and mixed groups promote the art of communication and interpersonal skills. Assertiveness can be practised even under stress, indeed, in any situation. Becoming more assertive helps us to express ourselves honestly without seeking for approval, to make our own decisions, and to evaluate our behaviour in the light of other people’s feedback, including criticism, without being destroyed by it or resorting to defensive denial.
Assertive communicators are confident and make effective negotiators, able to stand their ground whilst seeking to achieve win-win outcomes.
One of the reasons why we so often feel as if we are in conflict, as if the only options are winning or losing, is because we are used to thinking in terms of just two alternatives, often a pair of opposites. This is known as thinking in binary mode; winners and losers, top-dog and under-dog, powerful and powerless, haves and have-nots. Most people have not been taught to think in terms of an alternative – being clear and honest, having high self-esteem, and accepting the same rights for others – a win-win situation, where compromises can be made, but not at the expense of the autonomy of any one individual. Most people tend to use one, or a combination, of three main behaviour types:
1. Aggressive Behaviour – Direct Aggression: Might is Right
Aggressive behaviour tends to fall into two types: direct and indirect. Direct aggression is manifested as the ‘fight’ response to situations, especially if they are stressful or challenging. People who habitually resort to aggression tend to react with verbal or even physical violence; violating the rights of others through using an angry, abusive or threatening tone of voice, making threats, and blaming other people for any problems that arise. Aggressive behaviour is often out of all proportion to the situation, using more force than is necessary, and tends to produce defensive resentment in other people. Although using aggression may achieve the objective of winning, it does so at the cost of the relationship with the other people involved in the communication. Bullies are not often popular! This person wants to be in control and openly does whatever it takes to do so. This is the classic ‘Mr/Ms Angry’
2. Aggressive Behaviour – Indirect Aggression: Underhand
Although it might not seem like it, indirect and manipulative behaviour is also a form of aggression as people using this approach do want to get their own way and ultimately, to win. People who are indirect and manipulative still want to be in control, but not to let others know that this is the case. Indirect behaviour involves pretending and making excuses in order to get what you want, or to avoid taking responsibility. It is basically dishonest and time-wasting because requests and wishes are expressed through roundabout or devious actions, words and behaviour, which can sometimes backfire! People who are indirect expect others to guess their feelings and opinions and they avoid straightforward, clear communication. When indirect or manipulative people express their anger, they tend to use sarcasm and irritation, often in non-verbal ways e.g. facial expressions and body language. Indirect behaviour tends to produce an uncomfortable tension in other people, leaving them with feelings of guilt and that they are being blamed. The indirect or manipulative person doesn’t like to commit themselves because they don’t want to take responsibility – they always have a let-out clause because they never actually commit themselves honestly!
Because of social conditioning that discourages them from expressing themselves openly, women can be prone to using manipulative behaviour to get what they want. The classic image is that of women as ideal secret agents, wielding the ‘power behind the throne’.
3. Passive Behaviour – Just Walk All Over Me:
‘Doormat, Wimp or Martyr’
Passive behaviour is at the opposite end of the spectrum from direct aggression. It involves ‘flight’ rather than fight, or the alternative: the ‘freeze’ response. Passive people tend to deny their own rights, give in or stay silent, thus allowing, or even forcing, other people to make their decisions for them. Passive people ignore or suppress their own feelings, sacrifice their own interests, keep their opinions private to themselves, and allow themselves to be bullied, persuaded or manipulated into doing what they don’t want to. They try to avoid conflict at all costs and will go along with other people’s wishes, even if these are not in accordance with what they want themselves.
If the aggressive person is the bully, the passive person is the classic victim. Sometimes this can be a very powerful role to adopt; other people have to do all the work to try to find out what’s wrong. Other people can become very frustrated with the passive person as they can appear to be stubbornly refusing to take responsibility or engage in conflict – or conflict resolution.
Assertiveness & Communication Skills will enable you to:
increase your self-esteem and confidence
make your own decisions
stand your ground
ask for what you want
deal with giving and receiving criticism….and compliments!
manage your own and other people’s anger
express your feelings
speak in public
Our courses teach the verbal and body language of assertiveness through practical techniques, role play and case studies in a supportive and enjoyable environment.
The Trainer: Dr Leila Edwards
Before coming to the Gulf region, initially as an Executive Director of Saraya Institutes and then as Director of Student Affairs at the Royal University for Women, Leila was a Dean at the University of Bath, one of the leading research universities in the UK. She has taught Women’s Studies, Creativity, Innovation and Change, Social Sciences, and Management at a variety of universities, colleges and institutes and is a highly experienced coach and trainer in assertiveness, communication and interpersonal skills, personal and career development. Leila was a founding member of the UK Confidence & Assertiveness Trainers Forum, an Inspectorate Advisor on Assertiveness Training courses for the Inner London Education Authority, and is a qualified counsellor, consultant hypnotherapist and motivational coach with practices in Harley Street, London, and in the GCC states.