Feel like a doormat? Assertiveness training may hold the key

Published 24 August 2009

stop_handDo you find it hard to say no? Is it is sometimes hard for you to ask for what you want? If you’ve ever felt you would like to be more assertive, but haven’t known how to go about it, help is at hand.

Psychologists at the University of New England are offering free assertiveness training to the public as part of their new clinical psychology program.

Dr. John Malouff, the coordinator of UNE’s clinical psychology program, said the training was appropriate for teens and adults who wanted to become more assertive.

“Being assertive is very hard for some people. This can be the result of anxiety or low confidence, but even people with good social skills can sometimes have difficulty saying no, expressing their emotions or asking for what they want.

“A lack of assertiveness can lead people into unwanted sexual encounters, mishaps with drugs or alcohol, and being taken advantage of at work or at home.

“It can also make it hard to you to advance in your career — by asking for a raise, for instance.”

Dr. Malouff said that assertive communications were polite and effective while diminishing none of the people involved.

He said the assertiveness training the university was offering would involve talking about the techniques of assertive communication and practising them in hypothetical situations and real life.

While assertiveness was not a “secret formula” for always getting your way, it greatly increases your chances of success, Dr. Malouff said.

“When you ask for what you want you don’t always get it, but boy does it improve the odds.”

To participate in UNE’s assertiveness training, phone (02) 6773 2545 and leave a message including your name, contact details, and the fact you are interested in assertiveness training.