Learn how to be Caring, Understanding, Diplomatic, and InfluencialTom G. Stevens PhD
Psychologist/Professor Emeritus, California State University, Long Beach
Send Feedback/Questions to: Tom.Stevens@csulb.edu
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Be More Competent and Confident With Anyone!
Tom G. Stevens PhD(1)
Assertion Training helps you learn how to think and act more assertively. It's made a major difference in the lives of many people. People have become less afraid of speaking up, friendlier and more outgoing, more confident and competent handling difficult interpersonal situations, more successful in their careers, and generally happier. By thinking more assertively and learning key assertion skills you can improve your interpersonal competence and be more confident in almost any type of interpersonal situation with almost anyone.
Assertive thinking and behavior is contrasted to nonassertive and aggressive thinking and behavior. All of these behavior types are usually situation specific. Situation specific means that you may be assertive in some situations, nonassertive in others, and aggressive in yet others. For example, you might be assertive talking with friends, aggressive with people who hurt you, and nonassertive in conflict situations or with authorities.
Nonassertive Thinking and Behavior
Often nonassertiveness comes from being in an unfamiliar situation or in a situation where you have previously experienced negative outcomes. You may have been punished or criticized. To become assertive it is important to learn the right skills and have adequate motivation to use those skills in that situation. If either element is missing, you will likely be too nonassertive or too aggressive.
Passive methods of control. While habitually nonassertive people are often giving in and allowing others to control them, they are not without means of controlling others as well. Passive methods of control (which are often not conscious) include feeling depressed or unmotivated and being a "wet blanket;" refusing to cooperate; talking behind someone's back; spreading rumors; using "sneaky," passive aggression; making fun of someone; not communicating; and withdrawing. These passive approaches undermine the motivation, work, progress, or happiness of the more dominating person. Often the more dominant person feels as if they are carrying around dead weight. The nonassertive person may help cause the aggressive person to feel guilty, sympathy, or confusion. These feelings may lead to concessions and increased control by the more nonassertive person. In turn these concessions reward the passive, nonassertive behavior.
The outcomes of nonassertiveness. The rewards for nonassertiveness include (1) being taken care of: having your needs taken care of by someone else, (2) being a "nice guy" that others like because they always get their way, (3) getting others' sympathy and support, (4) avoidance of unpleasantness: avoiding anxiety or responsibilities temporarily, or not having to face fears.
The costs of being too nonassertive include loss of control and freedom (rarely getting one's way), distance and destruction of relationships (due to conflicts never being resolved and resentments increasing), and low self-esteem (for not standing up for what you believe is right and giving yourself repeated messages that you are too weak to cope). The best alternative to nonassertiveness is to become more assertive.
Background factors. Background factors that can increase nonassertiveness include low self-esteem or self-confidence (at least in the situation at hand), general beliefs that support self-deprivation or sacrificing one's own happiness for others, lack of autonomy and internal control, too much dependency on others, lack of social-interpersonal skills, bad experiences related to conflict, and lack of experience dealing with other people or conflict. Most are very sensitive to criticism; although some may accept blame readily.
Often nonassertive people have come from families and/or other environments where nonassertiveness, passivity, and submissive is often modeled and/or rewarded by at least one family member. In an autocratic family, some children may become rebellious and aggressive while others become passive, submissive, and nonassertive. These two alternative behavior types require less skill; so children can use nonassertiveness or aggressiveness to respond to an aggressive, dominating parent (or a nonassertive one). In a family where everyone is somewhat nonassertive and indirect in communication, all children may adopt that style. It is no wonder that many such children find it shocking to be around people who are aggressive and dominating, and are at a loss with how to deal with aggressive, dominating behavior. Another possibility with two nonassertive parents is that a power vacuum may develop, and one or more children may become aggressive and dominating (a "spoiled brat").Go to index
Aggressive Thinking and Behavior
Aggressive thinking focuses too much on pleasing oneself at the expense of others. Aggressive thinking often ignores the impact of one's behavior on others. It is an "I win, you lose" position. Aggressive behavior includes many forms of domination and direct manipulation. Aggression usually aims at getting control of situations or getting ones goals met no matter what the consequences are to others.
Aggressive methods of control. Aggression/domination varies from more subtle aggression and manipulation such as dishonest, charming, "con-man" behavior at one extreme to violent, abusive domination at the other extreme. There are many variations of manipulation and aggression between these two extremes. One key aspect of aggressive manipulation is dishonesty. Dishonesty is used to control others for one's own benefit. The dishonesty usually hides one's true motives. [Passive manipulation used in nonassertive manipulation is very similar in its use of dishonesty.] For example, it is manipulative and dishonest to tell a person that you want them to do something for their own benefit, when at least part of your motivation is to do it for your benefit.
Judging, criticizing, out-talking, out-reasoning, out-lasting, or being louder or more threatening can all be used to dominate. Using money, status, physical attributes, attractiveness, or other resources to get control can become aggressive. In these last two instances, key factors are the honesty of the person with power and the degree to which the person in power is using the power to honestly help the other person or not. However, even good intentions can lead to aggressive domination (as the various religious persecutions in history will testify).
Being aggressive (or domineering) generally involves having a belief system that puts the aggressor's values and needs far above others. Aggressiveness doesn't consider the other wishes or discounts their communications. For a excellent analysis of all types of passive and aggressive manipulation read Dr. Eric Berne's, Games People Play. It is a classic. Following are three common types of aggressive manipulation.
Bully-type control. Bully-type control uses some form of mental, physical, monetary, or other type of power to force or manipulate. This is the most blatant, unsophisticated type of direct domination.
Con-type control. Con-type control uses deception, lying, charm, and other verbal skills to persuade others to do what they want. Con-type people may be "super-salespeople." The main difference between "con" behavior and good, persuasive, assertive communication is that con behavior uses lies and doesn't plan to keep one's word. Habitually assertive people are strictly honest and always intend to keep their word. [Sociopath or, psychopath are terms often used for extreme forms of this behavior and indicate that a person will do almost anything to get what they want with little observable guilt.]
Judgmental control. Dominant/aggressive behavior may constantly take the role of a parent with an adult. Habitually dominant/aggressive people rely on rules or a "holier than thou" or a "know it all" approach that may keep their partners feeling guilty, unsure of themselves, and off-balance. The judgmental person takes the position that they are morally and/or intellectually right, or have God or some other power of right on their side. They may act as though their partners are morally wrong, stupid, or some in some other way not as good, intelligent, considerate, assertive, loving, etc. as they should be. Judgmental manipulation uses these labels and inferences to belittle others and get control. What makes judgmental manipulation dishonest is that they may be claiming to do the right thing, yet the hidden motivation is to be in control and get their way..
The outcomes of aggressive (or domineering) behavior. The rewards for being aggressive include: (1) control--getting what you want most of the time from people who allow it, and (2) validation-validating your own beliefs by getting others to overtly agree with you.[Often aggressive people don't know that others secretly disagree, but are afraid to say so.]
The disadvantages of being aggressive are that aggression typically increases other's feelings of fear, resentment, distance, and distrust. Others often feel lower self-esteem due to being dominated and become passive and withdraw or eventually fight back. In the end the dominated person may reject the dominator for the very "strength" that attracted them to their partner in the first place. Habitually dominant people often lose self-esteem in the area of close relationships and often feel very misunderstood, lonely, and/or unloved by anyone. They may fear that people only stay with them because they take care of their partner--not because they are loved. That fear is often true. The best alternative is to become more assertive.
Background factors. Often aggressiveness comes from feeling a great deal of confidence in one's own knowledge, goals, decision, or mind-set. Often the aggressive person may honestly believe that he/she is "right" and the others are "wrong." Often the aggressive person thinks that if others don't like what they do, then they will fight for what they want. They may interpret more passive responses as the other not really caring (when in fact they do, but fear confronting them). Usually the aggressive/dominating person either doesn't know how to be assertive or thinks that aggressive/dominating means are more effective, easier, more acceptable, or preferable to other approaches. Often aggressive people have come from families and/or other environments where aggression and domination were modeled and/or rewarded. People who are more aggressive and dominating may be independent, ambitious, unable to accept blame well (always projecting it upon others), suspicious of others, and very "righteous" about following their rules (but not about following others' rules), Many aggressive people put on a show of confidence and may be confident in many situations. They may fight back and attack when they feel criticized or put down. But deep down they may have low self-esteem and fear that the criticisms are right in some frightful way. Their greatest fears may be of failure, lack of respect and being loved, and ultimate rejection.
Many aggressive people lack trust and/or intimacy skills. Rejection increases their own feelings of loneliness and inadequacy in the area of intimacy, and makes them feel hurt, suspicious, and angry toward others. Understanding their previous hurt and feelings of isolation, being trustworthy, and demonstrating intimacy can often be very helpful in relating to aggressive people.
From one extreme to the other. Often someone who generally is too nonassertive will become too aggressive at times. This may happen because time-after-time you they felt small amounts of resentment when someone dominated or hurts them and the didn't respond assertively. Finally, they have "the last straw," blow their stack, and behave aggressively. If you have this problem, the best solution is to learn to think and act more assertively in the previous situations, though you may also need to learn more about anger management (see below).
Sometimes a person who has been too nonassertive for years becomes determined to change and then becomes generally too aggressive instead of assertive. The reason they become so aggressive may go back to their childhood. In the same setting (usually their family) where they learned to be too nonassertive, they may have learned the scripts of both the nonassertive and aggressive roles. When they wanted to make a change, all they knew to do was flip from the nonassertive/submissive role to the aggressive/dominant role. They never learned the script for the assertive role. If this has happened to you, you need assertion training. Go to index
Assertive Thinking and Behavior
Assertive methods of control. The assertive approach attempts to tap into one's unconditional love and respect for self and others and treat the other person in an understanding and kind way, yet be able to be as direct, firm, persuasive, and persistent to accomplish the win-win solutions. Honest, persuasive abilities and diplomacy are key sets of skills that assertive thinking needs to be maximally effective. Assertive behavior is generally understanding, open, direct, honest, caring, calm, focused, persistent, kind, and firm. An assertive person makes every attempt to de-escalate conflicts, but can escalate the level of response to manipulation if necessary, The escalation generally uses more honest, understanding, caring, persistent, and diplomatic means than the manipulator. The goal is still to de-escalate and still find win-win solutions. Sight of that end goal is never lost. The sections below will define assertive skills for many different interpersonal situations.
The outcomes of assertive behavior. Assertive behavior improves communication, solves problems better, and brings people closer than any other approach. Treating people assertively will, in the long run, maximize your chances for productive and happy relationships with co-workers, friends, family, lovers, or almost anyone. Assertiveness works best because most people like being genuinely understood and respected, they like having adequate freedom and control, and they like win-win solutions. Assertiveness works best because it motivates people to genuinely want to be cooperative and responsible--not just feel obligated to do so. When there is obligation, resentment and rebelliousness are often close behind.
Assertiveness not only works best when your partner also treats you assertively, it also is the most effective response to nonassertive, aggressive, or almost any type of manipulative response. Remember that the assertive response is extremely flexible and skilled. What you think, say, or do in response to nonassertiveness, assertiveness, or aggressiveness may be very different, but your response will still follow these general principles of assertiveness outlined above.
The main disadvantages of assertiveness are: (1) Assertiveness is often a longer, more complex response (which may mildly frustrate people accustomed to authoritarian directives or no communication at all). (2) Assertiveness requires more training and skill whereas nonassertive and aggressive responses are usually more primitive, simplistic responses (even though both nonassertive and aggressive people may take a very long route to say very little that is useful). (3) Assertiveness means facing difficult, emotion-laden situations more directly and searching for the most upsetting underlying cause. This can be an uncomfortable prospect for habitually nonassertive or aggressive people who usually avoid facing the root causes of their problems. However, achieving deeper insight is a key to finding immediate and lasting solutions to problems--a hallmark of the assertive approach.
Some people believe that assertive means of influence are not as effective as aggressive, dominating, or manipulative means. Space concerns preclude a full discussion of this issue. However, it is very clear that assertiveness is much more effective--especially in the long run. People who know that their partners genuinely care for them and will treat them understandingly, honestly, and kindly are much more likely to cooperate, care back, give back, and stay in the relationship longer. These outcomes of assertiveness are especially true of close relationships such as family, romantic, friendship, and business relationships. I have seen this outcome in hundreds of relationships and research produces the same conclusion. Our scales on the Stevens Relationship Questionnaire (now part of SHAQ-see below) found correlations of more than .70 between our scales of assertive conflict resolution and assertive intimacy skills and a standard scale of relationship satisfaction (the Locke-Wallace scale). Don't be fooled; assertiveness works better overall! Go to index
Many problems in relationships are due to people's own nonassertive or aggressive beliefs and behavior. For each of the following relationship types and each "side" of the relationship, visualize and analyze a relationship where you have been in that role or position.
Dynamics of Aggressive-Nonassertive (Win-Lose) Relationships
Thus, it is ironic how some of the qualities that most attracted a person to in their partner became the very qualities that caused the biggest problems. For example, a female may have been initially attracted to her partner and married him because he was so strong, masculine, decisive, and confident. He may have initially been attracted to her because she was so emotionally responsive, playful, nice, and needed him so much.
The more dominant, aggressive partner (more often the male) may be used to planning, making decisions, and being able to use persuasive or manipulative communication to get what he wants. He is used to focusing on his goals and overcoming the objections of others. He may feel very confident that he can take good care of himself as well as someone else. He may be attracted to someone who sees him as confident, strong, decisive, and successful. He may be afraid to be with someone he considers his equal, because he is afraid he might lose control and freedom, and he may fear that she may be too independent and leave him if she doesn't want to do things his way. Someone who needs him is much less likely to disagree and is safer, because she is less likely to leave him.
The more submissive, nonassertive partner (more often the female) may try very hard to be accepted by others and please them. She may be used to listening to others and doing what they say. She may not be confident in her own goals, decisions, and skills. She may not be used to being assertive and persistently pursuing what she wants. She may be afraid of conflict, while he may not. She may lack the confidence to be on her own and feel very dependent on him.
The result is that he becomes dominant and possibly aggressive in the relationship and she becomes submissive and nonassertive. Over the years her self-esteem usually diminishes. She may become depressed because she does not feel free and happy to be who she wants. She may resent her partner and feel the love slip away due to that resentment. Yet she may feel so dependent upon him and so afraid of being alone that she doesn't leave him until she feels miserable for a long time. The best way to improve matters is to develop her interests, herself, and her assertiveness. She needs to learn how to take care of herself and not be dependent upon her husband for her needs or happiness. She needs to learn how to assertively tell him how she feels.
He may also feel his love slip away. Overall, he may be the more satisfied of the two, because he has more control. On the other hand, the person he loved has mysteriously become unhappy, depressed, and resentful of him. She is no longer the fun person he dated who loves him so much, and in whose eyes he is a prince. She may have little interest in fun or sex. She may have become boring to him because she is so easy to control and because she has not developed her interests, herself, and her self-esteem. She may have become sloppy or care less for her appearance as well. His best way out is to learn to listen to her, give her more love, positive attention, and control. He needs to encourage her interests, self-development, confidence, independence, and standing up to him. He needs to serve as her advisor (and "attorney") about how to be assertive with him. He needs to listen to her about how to tell of his inner feelings and hot to use assertive (not dominating, aggressive) means of communication with her.
It could be that these dynamics appear in just one area of a relationship. Or, it may be that the man is dominant in one area and the woman in another. Yet the dynamics may still make both unhappy in that relationship area.
Sadly, two people have seen much of their love slip away over time and now feel a lot of resentment. In the end the submissive, nonassertive person often rejects the dominator for the very qualities that seemed so attractive initially, and/or the dominating person rejects the submissive one for being so uninteresting and nonassertive.
Dynamics of Aggressive-Aggressive (High Conflict) Relationships
To remedy this situation both partners must learn to become more assertive. They must both learn to listen, give up control, and give many love gifts to each other (see below). They must learn to change suspiciousness and negatively interpreting each others motives into realizing that most of their fighting is due to wanting the other's love so much and to being so afraid of being rejected by their partner. Learn how to understand how loving (and not trusting) can lead to fighting for many aggressive people. Say to yourself, "I will not question that my partner really loves me. Even though I don't know it for sure, I will try to believe he/she loves me and act as if he/she does." Then, don't interpret your partner's hurtful actions (being inconsiderate, being aggressive, etc.) as a sign he/she doesn't love you. Instead, realize that these aggressive acts are part of your partners's habit structure (just like yours are!). Realize that the underlying motive is most likely that your partner feels hurt by you! Your action had such a dramatic effect on your partner because he/she wants your love and respect so much.
If your partner's action is a simple inconsideration, it may just be that he/she is habitually inconsiderate; not that he/she is doing it to hurt you. (Are you the same way?) If your partner is being aggressive and apparently trying to hurt you, it is probably because he/she felt so hurt about something you did, and are trying to get even. (Do you do the same thing?) Your partner probably felt you don't care about her/him, and that hurts so much because he/she wants your love so much. (If it were a stranger who did the same thing, your partner wouldn't care so much because he/she doesn't care how the stranger feels about them.) Notice that one way to understand your partner better is to look inside and see what your own thoughts and feelings are. Odds are that because you two are so alike, your partner at his/her deepest levels feels and thinks much the way you do!
Aggressive, dominating people usually focus on their partner's problems and focus on changing their partner's behavior. That leads to endless fighting and conflict, and no one will change. Try a different strategy. Try focusing on changing only yourself. Start trying to accept the truth that you can't control your partner (dominating people hate to believe this). Instead, focus on making your thoughts and behavior understanding, loving, and assertive (as defined below). Also, have frequent fun/romantic times together (with ground rules of avoiding contentious issues during those fun times). Have other special times for discussing problems. It is extremely important to begin sharing your inner, vulnerable and tender fears, hopes, and feelings of love with each other.
Dynamics of Nonassertive-Nonassertive (Passive-Passive) Relationships
In some of these relationships, hurts and resentments build until one person erupts aggressively. An aggressive conflict might ensue that never gets resolved. Then the couple feels even more hurt and resentment. If the underlying issues that led to the hurts aren't resolved, they can eventually destroy the relationship. Either the couple will separate, or they will lead separate lives under the same roof. Assertiveness is the best option. Both partners need to know how to take care of themselves better and learn how to talk more openly about their feelings and wants. They need to make assertive requests when they want something, and actively listen and strongly urge their partner to say what he/she wants. They may need to learn how to actively give more love gifts to each other and/or have more fun together. Many people who are habitually nonassertive also need to quit avoiding their own problems. They may also need to work on building positive thinking and self-esteem. Go to index
Dynamics of Assertive-Assertive (Win-Win) Relationships
The assumption in independent, assertive-assertive relationships is, "We can be happy alone and we will be together only when we both want to be together." Many more dependent relationships start with the assumption, "We can never be apart unless there is a good reason that is acceptable to my partner." Often the second assumption leads to conflicts when one partner wants to do something away from their partner (such as visit friends or relatives or pursue individual interests). The underlying problem is that basic assumption. If both assume the first, then there is never a question of a right to pursue one's outside interests unless they are explicitly taboo (such as having an affair).
Assertive Communication. Some qualities of assertive-assertive communication include:
Finally, it is important that you balance three factors: (1) changing internal factors like internal control, self-esteem, and developing your higher self; (2) external social skills like empathetic listening, responding to criticism, the assertive request, conversational skills, and intimacy skills; and (3) actually practicing these skills in gradually more challenging situations. Generally it is a good idea to understand something well in your head before you try practicing it.
Step 1: Assess Your Assertiveness and Underlying Factors
Step 2: Set Assertiveness Goals
Note that all of these goals are process goals. They are thoughts or actions that you can control. You can also set outcome goals such as "getting promoted," "having a happy relationship," and "being liked and respected by others." However, you don't have immediate control of these outcomes, and focusing on them will greatly increase your anxiety level. They depend more upon others' reactions to you and upon their personalities, etc. It is best to focus on process goals and make them your primary goals. Then you can be happy that you are being the kind of person you really want to be. No matter what the outcome, you can be happy about that.
I suggest that you set outcome goals only as secondary goals, and also use progress toward them as feedback for making adjustments in your process goals. (For a more complete discussion about goal-setting and its effect on anxiety and motivation, go to http://www.csulb.edu/~tstevens/h85agoal.htm.
It is also important that you set more immediate specific goals and objectives on weekly basis. Such goals may include attending a meeting, speaking up in a certain group, speaking to a certain person assertively, or initiating more conversations. Use them as part of a more general time management or self-management system such as the O-PATSM system (http://www.csulb.edu/~tstevens/patsm96.htm).
Assertiveness grows one step at a time, one day at a time, one week at a time.
Step 3: Learn To Think Assertively and Feel More Confident
Assertive thinking and self-esteem--increase confidence and reduce underlying social anxiety. No matter how many assertive interpersonal skills you have, you will not use them if you feel too much anxiety or anger. You will not use them if you are still thinking nonassertively or aggressively. The root of self-esteem and self-confidence is in your choice of values, goals, and expectations and in your basic beliefs. To understand basic causes of nonassertive (and often aggressive) thinking and behavior, read the following chapters from my book, You Can Choose To Be Happy:
Overcome fears of rejection, loneliness, or specific social anxieties. To focus on overcoming fears of rejection and loneliness, understanding how to find the "right" person for you, and learn more about how to meet people you really want to be with, read:
Get control of anxiety and depression that keeps you from being assertive. People who are habitually nonassertive frequently are also people who feel a higher than average amount of anxiety (stress) and/or depression (tiredness, lack of motivation, sadness). To get some help try these links:
Go to index
Step 4: Develop Assertive Communication and Conflict Resolution Skills
To focus on developing general communication skills, state your opinions more directly and diplomatically, resolve conflicts successfully, and develop intimacy read:
Step 5: Making Assertiveness a Lifestyle: Replacing Old Habits With Assertiveness
Old beliefs inhibiting assertiveness. All your current nonassertive or aggressive beliefs are still there. These parts of yourself will never completely go away. Think of the next stage of your development as a battle between the old, dysfunctional nonassertive or aggressive parts of yourself and the assertive part of yourself. Your assertive part values your own and others happiness and seeks win-win solutions through assertive means. The nonassertive parts will tell you to always put others first and worry about what they think. The aggressive parts will tell you to not care about what others think or how they feel. You can see that someone who is primarily nonassertive needs to focus more on not worrying about what others think and more on what they themselves think and want. The aggressive person has the opposite task.
Don't be frustrated by the fact that these old, dysfunctional parts will always be in you and speaking to you. The hardest part is in the beginning when their strength is highest relative to your assertive part. The way you strengthen the assertive part is to choose to think and act assertively. Then as these thoughts and behaviors are successful and reinforced internally and externally, your assertive thinking and habits will be strengthened.
Old habits inhibiting assertiveness. We all have millions of automatic habits that fill up our time. You have habit routines for dressing, eating, driving, studying, greeting people, etc. If someone says, "Hello," you automatically reply. Similarly, if someone calls you "selfish," you may tend to feel guilty and habitually start thinking about what you may have done wrong. You need to change that habit and literally reprogram yourself so that you respond more assertively. For example, you could learn to respond to a "selfish" comment by asking yourself what is going on in the other person's head that might cause them to call you selfish. Are they trying to get you to do something they want and using that as a way to get you to feel guilty and give in?
To reprogram your thoughts and habits, use one of the following techniques:
It is important to understand the other person, but it is even more important to evaluate your own thinking and behavior by the assertive criteria you are learning. Don't beat yourself up if you don't do well. Instead replay the whole situation in your mind and role-play the assertive thoughts and behaviors you could have used. This technique actually reprograms your thinking and habits so that the next time you are in a similar situation, your new assertive response will be more likely to pop out automatically (or with minimal thought about it). You have reprogrammed your thinking and behavior.
Gradually overcoming fears as you become more assertive. The most powerful tool in your program to becoming more assertive is to take one step at a time. When you begin your program, it is a good idea to write down your eventual goals and your most feared situations. For example one 20-year-old student who came in for counseling couldn't look at me or speak more than a few words at a time. He had never had a friend or a date. For him, asking someone for a date was a major goal that elicited terror. Even speaking to a woman was extremely anxiety producing. His first steps were to learn conversational skills and ways of mentally coping with rejection. He also used some systematic desensitization (see above). Initial steps included things like making a casual comment about something in class to a woman whom he was not attracted to, asking her major, telling about himself, etc. After he became more confident talking with women he wasn't interested in, he began to talk to some he was. Finally, he asked one out for coffee. She said, "no." So did some others, but he learned to cope with rejection and kept trying and improving.
Within three years he was not only comfortable and assertive with women and dating regularly, he had joined a fraternity and been elected president! This is something that was almost unimaginable when he first came to my office. He transformed himself by spending hours every week working on himself and his interpersonal relationships. He persisted even when he was rejected or made mistakes. Your goals may not be so far from where you are starting, but the process is the same. For examples about how to actually write step-by-step mini-goals for speaking in front of a group, meeting and dating, speaking up to others, etc. go to the reference on systematic desensitization http://www.csulb.edu/~tstevens/ Desensit.htm. I wish you luck and happiness in your program. I would love for you to email me and let me know how you are doing. firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Dr. Stevens is a psychologist at California State University, Long Beach and author of the book, You Can Choose To Be Happy: "Rise Above" Anxiety, Anger, and Depression. You may visit his websites for many free self-help materials at http://www.csulb.edu/~tstevens or for self-assessment and help-links at http://www.csulb.edu/~tstevens/success . © Tom G. Stevens PhD, 2001.
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