What is Assertive Communication?
Assertive Communication is a style of communication where a person is able to stand their ground and respectfully communicate their thoughts, boundaries, feelings, and needs to another person, all while also respecting the thoughts, boundaries, feelings, and needs of the other party.
It’s a helpful technique that instills a sense of self-esteem and a sufficient amount of self-importance in a person. For those who typically feel like they are being undermined or invalidated in conversations, assertive communication is a way for them to step up and respond to others confidently and honestly without a hint of aggression or condescension. Not only can they reinforce themselves and their ideas, but through assertive communication, they can foster more positive and fruitful conversations with others.
Those who take therapy for their communication problems may undergo assertiveness training, which will teach them the following:
- Establishing personal boundaries
- Being direct without being rude, condescending, or aggressive
- Using “I” statements and preserving their autonomy
- Find a sense of self-worth
- Management of emotions during challenging or stressful conversations
- Identify manipulative communication
- Learn to be comfortable with making requests
To help them apply their learnings, therapists use worksheets as exercises. There are many kinds of assertive communication worksheets, but for this guide, we will talk about the Rights of Assertiveness Assertive Communication Worksheet.
How to use the Rights of Assertiveness Assertive Communication Worksheet
The Rights of Assertiveness Assertive Communication Worksheet was originally developed by Dr. Jeremy Sutton for Positive Psychology. This sheet is simply a list of a person’s unspoken rights in a conversation, and they are there to remind the person of what they can assert whenever they are in stressful conversations. The list contains the following rights:
- The right to judge their own thoughts, emotions, and behavior
- The right to choose whether they are responsible solving another person’s problems
- The right to change their mind
- The right to say “I don’t know”
- The right to make mistakes
- The right to be independent of others’ approval
- The right to be illogical
- The right to say “I don’t understand”
- The right to say “I don’t care”
These are unspoken rights that a person has when communicating with others. The list is there to remind them, but they aren’t set in stone because the person using this worksheet can amend it as they see fit.
We adopted this list and designed a more convenient template for your practice.
We provided boxes in the list, where individuals can write about each part. These boxes prompt them to identify a conversation where they can exercise a particular right and explain how they would assert it, taking into account what they have learned in assertive communication training.
Additionally, there is an optional section where they can jot down any other rights they believe they possess, which are not mentioned in the list. They are required to describe the suitable circumstances for asserting those rights and outline the approach they would take.
Assertive Communication Worksheet Example
Now that you know what Assertive Communication is all about and what the Rights of Assertiveness Assertive Worksheet is, it’s time for you to check out our template! Again, we adapted the excellent original version made by Dr. Sutter and just added comment boxes so those taking assertive communication training can apply what they’ve learned through writing, and eventually in actual conversations.
Download the assertive communication training segment for your therapy program if you find it beneficial. It's available for free on our platform. You can print it and have your client complete it manually, or you can send them the Rights of Assertiveness Assertive Communication PDF template. If you choose the latter option, the client can fill out the worksheet by typing their answers in the provided fillable fields. Just remind them to return the completed copies to you if you sent them the PDF.
When is it best to use the Rights of Assertiveness Assertive Communication Worksheet?
If you, have surmised through your sessions with your client that they have communication issues, and their specific communication problem is that they don’t know how to assert themselves, then you should teach them assertive communication. Make sure to teach them what we’ve mentioned earlier, like empathy, using “I” statements, and detecting manipulative communication.
Once you have taught them everything they need to know about assertive communication, you’ll have to provide them with exercises so they can apply them while you’re there for support and guidance.
One way to do that is to converse with them and develop conversation topics and contexts to roleplay and see how they fare now that they understand assertive communication.
You can also check how they can apply their learnings is to issue worksheets such as the Rights of Assertiveness Assertive Communication Worksheet. This particular worksheet will serve as a writing exercise.
By writing down how they can uphold a right of assertiveness during a specific conversation, they’re essentially writing down a plan of action that they can follow if they ever get involved in such a conversation. Then, you can take their answers and roleplay to see how they would go about it in an actual conversation.
What are the benefits of using the Rights of Assertiveness Assertive Communication Worksheet?
It serves as a reminder to clients of actions they can take to assert themselves.
The Rights of Assertiveness Assertive Communication Worksheet’s primary function is to remind people about the following things:
- They can choose how they respond based on the negative impacts of other people
- They are not responsible for other people’s problems but can still show compassion and empathy
- That it is not unreasonable to change their minds
- That it is okay to say that they don’t know or understand something
- That it is okay to be genuinely not interested in something, especially another person’s biased views
If the client feels like they’re not sure what to say or how to go about certain conversations, especially uncomfortable ones, they can refer to this sheet for guidance.
It can be used to test clients if they can apply what they’ve learned.
Exercises and worksheets are good ways to check if your client actually digested everything you taught and if they can properly formulate ideas on responding to certain people in specific conversations. If they can, you can test how they can articulate themselves based on what they wrote through roleplaying. If not, try to provide suggestions as a way of support to help direct them to find better ways to formulate their assertive communication non-aggressive battle plans.
It can instill self-confidence in a client.
Assertive communication and assertive communication worksheets have a remarkable advantage: they equip clients with essential skills that can enhance their self-esteem, self-worth, and confidence. By developing self-assurance, individuals become less inclined to allow others to dominate conversations or disregard their ideas and emotions. This results in reduced vulnerability to having their thoughts and feelings invalidated or overlooked.