CONNECTION QUARTER: The Importance of Assertive Communication

CONNECTION QUARTER: The Importance of Assertive Communication



The Importance of Assertive Communication

Humans are social creatures, and the connections we make in our interpersonal relationships play an important role.

Unfortunately, a large proportion of human struggle and suffering is a result of communication difficulties and problems in our interpersonal relationships. In fact, unhelpful communication styles are a frequent target to work on in psychotherapy.

Communication can be verbal and non-verbal. Non-verbal communication difficulties tend to be complex and difficult to access directly because they are a lot more subjective, although always possible to be identified, analysed, and from there, changed. However, verbal communication is more accessible, tangible, and easier to modify. Clearly, in human communication both verbal and non-verbal communications happen fluidly and thus the complexities associated to human communication.

But, what if we could learn to modify our communication style? What would be essential to learn? Can effective verbal communication be learnt? Where to start and how to do it?

Most psychotherapy approaches concentrate on communication, one way on another, and can promote gaining awareness around own patterns of communication to then create change and hopefully, relieve tension, anxiety, sadness, stress, or whatever the struggle may be.

Assertive communication is one of the tools to learn in order to modify our communication style and have a more effective flow of ideas, messages, and thoughts. When we communicate assertively we express our point of view in a clear and direct way while respecting others and their opinions. Using assertive communication can promote healthy relationships with family, friends, and others; manage anger issues; minimise conflict; express ideas and opinions clearly; and boost self-esteem.

However, to achieve assertive communication some training must be done in order to understand its principles and practice these until they are applied naturally. For full training and practice, it is wise to seek professional help; however, these are some tips to begin being more assertive in your communication:

  • Identify your needs and feelings before you start communicating.
  • Check the timing of your communication by using your judgement.
  • Quickly check the content of what you are going to say before you say it and be sure to adjust it to the context (i.e. place, situation).
  • Make eye contact to engage the other person and demonstrate honesty.
  • Regulate you voice tone to a moderate, acceptable one that does not intimidate but is clear.
  • Use your non-verbal communication in accordance with your message and its intention (e.g. make you body posture and facial gestures match your message).
  • Use “I” statements. They show that you own what you are going to say, and prevent placing blame or judgement on the other person.

If you would like to learn more or start applying these principles to your own communication to live a healthier life, contact Vida Psychology!

For further info on assertive communication, check out these links:

By Dr Katerina Chin-A-Loy
MPsych (Clinical), PhD
Psychologist at Vida Psychology

If you would like to learn more about Katerina click here, and if you would like to book an appointment to see her at Vida click here.

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