A Review by Angela Kubica
“The Assertiveness Workbook” written by Randy J. Paterson is a very informative and engaging workbook. Part one of the book focuses on the reader discovering which style of personality they have out of passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive and assertive. There are a number of activities offered to the reader to help with discovering your own personality style. The section of the book also asks the reader to identify particular aspects in their life with which they struggle to use assertiveness; such as, at work or in a social setting. The workbook also provides different coping strategies for managing the stress response; such as, “diaphramic breathing.”
The workbook focuses a lot on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and many of the activities provided are inspired by this theoretical model. For example, there is an activity in which a three column chart is used to differentiate between automatic thoughts and the truth. The first column is used to describe the situation, the second column for the automatic thought and the third column is used for the truth. I feel that this activity can be extremely useful in helping individuals become more assertive because the chart uses cognitive reframing and shows the reader how to view a situation differently from their usual (passive, aggressive or passive aggressive) perception.
Part two of the book focuses strictly on changing your personality style to be more assertive. If you believe that you have already been demonstrating an assertive way of communicating than part two can still be useful in enhancing your assertiveness skills. The activities provided in section two are both helpful and realistic. The workbook asks the reader to show small improvements in assertiveness in reasonable time slots. The reader is also able to move at their own pace. For example, the book lists ways in which posture, eye contact, movements and gestures, physical distance, voice tone and fluency are be portrayed by the passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive and assertive style. The activity asks the reader to choose one of the categories and practice being assertive with this category for a week.
Overall, this workbook is a great read. The book does not contain a lot of jargon and it can be appropriate for a number of readers interested in working on assertiveness. There are several activities and informative sections that allow readers to explore and gain insight on their personality style. There are also a number of activities that specifically target working on assertiveness and how to become an assertive individual.