Lesson 2 of 7 - learn to communicate effectively

 Your Personal
Assertion Profile

What's your style?

By Peter K. Gerlach, MSW
Member NSRC Experts Council


    The Web address of this article is https://sfhelp.org/cx/skills/assert_profile.htm

    Updated  01-03-2015

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      This article assumes you're familiar with...

  • the intro to this Web site and the premises underlying it

  • effective assertion and empathic listening skills

  • a sample Bill of Personal Rights

  • how to give effective feedback and respectful meta-comments
     to a partner;

  • communication awareness bubbles and R(espect)-messages;


      Print this profile, and take ~ 20" of undistracted time to reflect on the questions with an open mind. Option - print this out and write your answers for future review.

       The aim here is to raise your awareness, not to compete or blame yourself or another person. Repeat the profile with as many people as you wish, and then decide if you want to do something with your results. First, decide who's guiding your inner family (personality) - your true Self or other well-meaning subselves (a "false self"). If the latter is true, your results here may be distorted.

      For perspective, think of someone you feel is usually an effective asserter in calm and stressful situations. Then think of another person you feel is not very effective at asserting her or his needs and opinions. As you fill this profile out, keep one or two people in mind with whom you'd like to assert more effectively.

      My Assertion Profile

1)  I define "being assertive" as…


2)  I believe assertion is effective when…


3)  For me, the difference between assertion and aggression is…


4)  Several people I respect as consistently effective asserters are (names):


5)  The main messages I got from my childhood caregivers about asserting my needs and opinions were…



6)  On an assertion scale of 1 (very ineffective) to 10 (very effective), I’d honestly rate myself a ___ in non-conflictual situations; and a ___ in conflictual situations.

7)  Someone I have significant trouble asserting with is (name/s)





8)  Think of an important relationship with an adult or child, and assess both of you...

  • Recently, I experience me in our relationship as usually being…

    _  Somewhat submissive  / _ Very submissive (lose / lose)

    _  Respectfully assertive (win / win)

    _  Somewhat aggressive  / _ Very aggressive (win / lose)

  • I've been experiencing this person as usually being...

    _  Somewhat submissive  / _ Very submissive (lose / lose)

    _  Respectfully assertive (win / win)

    _  Somewhat aggressive  / _ Very aggressive (win / lose)

 9)  When my E(motion) level is “above my ears,” the R(espect) message s/he probably gets from me is: "Your needs now are…

_ less important   _ just as important    _ more important   than mine.

 When this person's E-level is “above their ears,” the R-message I usually get is "Your needs now are…

_ less important   _ just as important    _ more important   than mine."

When I'm assertive with this person, s/he...


and I…


12)  Key topics or needs that I often have trouble asserting to this person are…




13)  If I was more assertive with this person on these key needs, our relationship would…


14)  I'd be more assertive with this person if…



15)  If s/he was more assertive with me (on what issues?), our relationship would…



16)  An adult or a child that I’d like to assert more effectively with is (name)


  • A topic or problem I'd like to be more assertive about with them is:


  • When I've brought up this problem with this person, what are several typical reactions ("resistances") they give me? Examples: changing the subject / avoidance / defensiveness / generalizing  / monologing  / intellectualizing  / indifference / lecturing  /  withdrawing  / shutting down / etc.

  • How have I normally responded to these resistances?

  • An assertive "I" message I could use to be more effective here is…

 "When you... (specific recordable behavior)

"I... (specific effect on you)... 

"(optional) "...and I need you to... (do something specific)

+ + +

    Thoughts / Learnings



      Is there someone you want to discuss this profile with, and/or ask them to fill it out and discuss it?

  Learn something about yourself with this 1-question anonymous poll.

      Pause, breathe, and reflect - why did you read this profile? Did you get what you needed? If not, what do you need? Who's answering these questions - your true Self, or ''someone else''?

Next - review this assertion practice, or continue work on Lesson 2. Option - if there are people who's behavior irritates or frustrates you, see these examples of effective assertive responses.

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