Tales from the Advanced Diploma - Assertiveness & Communication Skills
Our Advanced Diploma students are required to keep a journal, throughout the year of the course, which they then draw upon to write their Self-Assessments. Here are some examples of some of their experiences and reflections.
e.g. 1) MODULE 1: Assertiveness and Communication Skills
This module was for me one of the most important modules, because communication of clear non-ambiguous thoughts and ideas to another individual is vital in order to get responses from others to the “actual” messages that I am articulating. Although I believed that I was an assertive person in my communications, I have discovered that I sometimes come across unintentionally as either ambiguous or as aggressive. I learned to start to become aware of my tone of voice and my body language, both of which must be congruent with my intentions when I speak. That is absolutely necessary to achieve assertiveness.
During the module when we practiced behaving and talking in different ways, I found it most difficult to imitate or understand a “passive aggressive” type of communicator That was a good lesson for me, to be able to become better at hearing and seeing when someone is being passive aggressive. I learned that assertiveness is about respecting oneself as well as respecting others also. A useful technique we learned was to make a core statement and simply keep repeating it like a broken record. Another key ingredient to becoming more assertive in communication is to become a better listener. This is a lesson that I will continue to work on. I do listen, but still tend to sometimes “complete the other person’s sentence”. I mistakenly thought I was showing interest by interjecting here and there and being an “active” listener. To the contrary, I now see that this can be disruptive to another person’s thought processes (like an unintentional “pattern interrupt” in NLP terms), and I am learning to recognize when I do this, so that I can stop myself.
A few more good lessons in this module were about learning how to give and receive both positive and negative criticism and also how to deal with anger effectively. Within my family, as a mother and spouse, I have to deal with these on a regular basis. Giving and receiving negative criticism is uncomfortable for most people and is therefore often avoided. The downside of avoiding “constructive” negative criticism is that it cheats people in your relationships or work from having important information that may be vital to making positive changes.
Learning how to handle and diffuse anger is a useful skill to have when dealing both with personal relationships and with upset/ angry or oversensitive clients. This must be done usually in a very subtle manner that is non-confrontational. First, I would acknowledge that I can see the other person is very angry, then subtly “mirror” them, and gradually pace them to a slower, calmer breathing rate, until they manage to calm down a little. From there I can try to understand, by listening first to what is going on, and then respond respectfully and assertively as appropriate.
e.g. 2) MODULE ONE - Assertiveness & Communication Skills
By boosting my own self-esteem, confidence and assertiveness skills, I can pass on these skills to my clients. Demonstrating from experience how attainable these skills are makes them so much more powerful. I learnt to recognise the clearly defined differences between non-assertive and assertive behaviour.
Through role play during our training weekend we experienced the different characteristics of the main types of communication behaviour, being able to recognise each type and how best to work with each type. This also includes taking note of a person’s body language and tone of voice.
The essence of assertive training is to deal with day to day situations with regards the way people behave towards you and help others to recognise the different patterns. Thereby enabling them to improve the way they handle different situations of communication.
We experienced this through role play; I do not like being ‘seen’, so this was difficult at first. However, I gained confidence and realised if you give it a go you surprise yourself as to what you can do. Also everyone else was nervous, so you realise it is not just you it is the same for everyone.
There are several techniques, the broken record where you keep repeating a core statement, this consists of exactly what you wish to achieve.
By encouraging a client to use affirmations, resistance and negative thought fades and positivity grows. My responses to the homework questions on Page 30 in the Manual:
If something I am trying to do does not work out it brings up memories of being told I am useless or stupid from childhood.
When I am working on anything to do with my hypnotherapy.
To become independent and free to make my own decisions.
My future is a thriving hypnotherapy practice, making a positive difference for others.
I have found that looking to the past just holds you back, it can’t be changed, the way you look at it can be, however. You can choose to look forward and work towards positive goals.
Every day I look out the back windows of the house and state how grateful I am to be living where I am. I look at the flowers in the garden and say how beautiful they are. Whenever an opportunity arises to be grateful during the day I always take the opportunity to acknowledge it. Using affirmations is very powerful to achieving your goals and building positivity in yourself.
Fogging was very interesting and I certainly wish I had known about this technique on many occasions!
I needed some lights fixed in the garden; the electrician came out and said he would be back later. I asked how much it would cost and he replied BD15 or 20, normally I would have left it and dealt with it when the job was done. This time however I said I wanted to fix the price and felt that there was not much involved in the job so BD 15 was a fair price for the job. He agreed, I felt good with the outcome and I feel more confident to deal with other similar situations.
During our training weekend Phil and Leila demonstrated an anger situation, this was difficult for me as I have been on the receiving end of this type of behaviour firstly as a child from my parents and then my husband. I became emotionally upset, but with Leila’s guidance and support was able to deal with role playing anger. I learnt from this that the way I had dealt with anger in my life was by ‘zoning’ out. It was a shock to me as I had not realised just how damaging the behaviour had been to me and how I had ‘disappeared’ as a person. With the help of the Diploma course and now the Advanced I am turning the corner to find me and making my life positive and living in the moment.