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In the last section, we discussed rationalizations that perpetuate anger. Four rationalizations you may have encountered are My past is too painful, Forgiveness is too good, Why should I try when no one else does, and Anger is a familiar habit.
In this section, we will discuss Cognitive Behavior Therapy Assertiveness Training through Role-Playing. I use five steps in my Assertiveness Training. See how they compare with the model you use. I also enlist the help of another therapist whenever possible.
The five steps are select an incident, role-play with another group member, have the client visualize the situation once more, have the client role-play the situation twice with the other group member, and encourage the client. As I describe the steps involved in Assertiveness Training, apply them to your last role-play or an upcoming one.
Nick, age 36, had a very demanding boss. Nick stated, "My boss is such a jerk. If I ask for help on a project, he tells me I’m incapable. And he never lets me finish a project. He’ll approach me while I’m in the middle of something and tell me to do something else. Then I’ll be working on the second thing and he’ll yell at me for not finishing the initial project. I just want to tell him off! But, he’s my boss. I’m probably better off getting mad outside of work." Nick had been openly aggressive towards his friends and, more recently, people he didn’t even know. Would you agree that Nick was an ideal candidate for assertiveness training?
CBT Assertiveness Training through Role-Playing - 5 Steps
♦ Step #1 - Select an Incident
First, Nick described the incident and the personality traits of Mr. Thomas. Nick stated, "I was assigned to a marketing campaign for which I needed to write a financial proposal. Shortly after beginning, Mr. Thomas requested me to begin an audit of company spending over the last six months!" As Nick described it, the incident consisted of Nick being reprimanded by a pushy and overbearing Mr. Thomas.
♦ Step #2 - Primary Role-Play
♦ Step #3 - Visualize the Situation
♦ Step #4 - Secondary Role-Play
The second time through, Nick and the other group member switched roles. During this role-play, I directed Nick by giving him cues and suggestions. These cues included words or actions that Nick used to be more assertive. For example, Nick stated, "I am overworked." I asked Nick to specify his generalization of overworked by listing the specifics of the first task assigned that were not completed. After this role-play was over, I asked both Nick and the other group member to share what they experienced in both roles. Also, Nick was given feedback from the group.
♦ Step #5 - Encourage the Client
In this section, we discussed CBT Assertiveness Training through Role-Playing. There are five steps in Assertiveness Training. They are: select an incident, role-play with another group member, have the client visualize the situation once more, have the client role-play the situation twice with the other group member, and encourage the client.
In the next section, we will discuss the need for clients to make behavioral changes that support accountability. Four behavioral change concepts to consider are setting goals, making amends, choosing positive communication, and being authentic.
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