Skilled thoughtful communication is the foundation for satisfying relationships. We teach effective, assertive communication skills along with conflict resolution and negotiation to individuals, couples and families.
LEARNING TO COMMUNICATE ASSERTIVELY
In Dr. Paul Standal’s work with individuals and couples, he really focuses on the very important ability to communicate in an assertive manner.
The ability to live and communicate in a healthy, assertive manner is perhaps the most effective skill that fosters both self-esteem and relationship success. Dr. Standal helps couples in relationship to understand the difference between passive, assertive, and aggressive communication styles. He teaches verbal and non-verbal skills that differentiate between the three communication styles.
Assertive communication requires both listening skills and understanding what each partner’s rights and responsibilities are in any situation, especially where there is conflict or negotiation is necessary. Assertive communication is the foundation of healthy boundaries. Learning to establish boundaries that help couples overcoming feelings of being dominated or controlled or coerced or the need to dominate control or coerce is key to learning healthy assertive communication. Simply, it is the ability to communicate out of one’s healthy self-interest while recognizing and honoring both your own and the other’s legitimate rights and responsibilities in any situation.
Assertiveness requires one to be able to establish and maintain one’s legitimate sense of self, specifically regarding their personal, psychological and emotional space. They are able to say “no” to unreasonable demands or violations of their personal space in an open, frank and direct manner.
Both passive and aggressive communicators use maladaptive styles that differ from assertiveness.
Passive communication is a form in which one’s needs and boundaries are overridden. They often communicate in a weak and hesitant manner, failing to say what they really mean or need. This type of communicator does not feel they have a voice or a right to their own emotional space. They are often described as being “co-dependent,” not allowing their own needs to be addressed and being a “doormat.” This leads to a real destruction of the person’s feelings of self-esteem.
Aggressive communication style is on the other side of the spectrum where the communicator sees every communication as a possible threat to their self-worth. They perceive every interaction as a possible violation of their sense of self, responding through negative emotional bias through anger or other protest behaviors, like flippancy or sarcastic style.
Summary: Non-Assertive, Assertive, and Aggressive Communication
Statement of wants
Honest statement of feelings
Hedging, failure to come to point
Descriptive, subjective words
Direct statements, which say what you mean
Imperious, superior words
Failure to say what you really mean. “I mean”, “you know”
Actions instead of words, hoping someone will guess what you want