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Assertiveness Training Worksheets

Assertive behaviors are those that enable an individual to act in their own best interests, to stand up for themselves without undue anxiety, to express honest feelings comfortably, or to exercises their own rights without denying the rights of others (paraphrased from Alberti & Emmons, 1974). Deficits in assertiveness are associated with a range of problems including low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. Psychologists believe that assertiveness skills—the ability to speak and act assertively—can be taught and learned. Read more
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Therapy tool

Assertive Communication

Communicating and acting assertively is an interpersonal skill that helps people to maintain healthy relationships, resolve interpersonal conflict, an ...

Information Handout

Assertive Responses

Being able to communicate assertively is an essential skill for developing and maintaining healthy relationships and positive self-esteem. Individuals ...


Avoidance Hierarchy

Avoidance and safety-seeking behavior serves to maintain anxiety, and exposure to the fear stimuli/situation is an effective treatment for anxiety. Th ...


Behavioral Experiment

Behavioral experiments are planned experiential activities to test the validity of a belief. They are one of the most powerful techniques available to ...


Behavioral Experiment (Portrait Format)

Behavioral experiments allow individuals to test the validity of their beliefs and assumptions. They are a core experiential technique for therapeutic ...


Cognitive Behavioral Model Of Low Self-Esteem (Fennell, 1997)

Low self-esteem is characterized as a negative sense of the self and co-occurs with many other mental health problems. Although not formally represent ...

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Fair Fighting Rules For Resolving Conflict

Fair fighting is a collection of rules that individuals can use to manage conflict effectively, so that it is ‘fair’ and works towards a resolutio ...

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Self Critical Thought Challenging Record

Disputing thoughts is a critical skill in cognitive therapy. The Self-Critical Thought Challenging Record helps clients to identify and challenge thei ...


Self Critical Thought Monitoring Record

Self-monitoring of thoughts, feelings, and symptoms is an essential skill in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This Self-Critical Thought Monitorin ...


Self Criticism Self Monitoring Record

Self-monitoring of thoughts, feelings, and symptoms is an essential skill in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This Self-Criticism Self-Monitoring ...


Therapy Blueprint

Since the publication of this version of the therapy blueprint we have also developed a more sophisticated version: Therapy Blueprint (Universal) A th ...


Unhelpful Thinking Styles

Human thinking is subject to a number of characteristic biases. Cognitive restructuring is the process of helping individuals to overcome their biases ...

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What Do People Think About Themselves (CYP)?

People are not born with low self-esteem. Instead, we develop ideas about ourselves and our place in the world as a result of our life experiences. Pe ...





  • Alberti, R.E. and Emmons, M.L. (2017). Your Perfect Right: Assertiveness and Equality in Your Life and Relationships(10th ed.). Oakland, CA: Impact Publishers/New Harbinger Publications.
  • Gay, M. L., Hollandsworth, J. G., & Galassi, J. P. (1975). An assertiveness inventory for adults. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 22(4), 340-344.


Information Handouts

Self-Help Programmes

Improving your assertiveness

  • What is assertiveness? download
  • How to recognise assertive behaviour download
  • How to think more assertively download
  • How to behave more assertively download
  • Reducing physical tension download
  • How to say “no” assertively download
  • How to deal assertively with criticism download
  • How to deal with disappointment assertively download
  • How to give and receive compliments assertively download
  • Putting it all together download

Recommended Reading

  • Duckworth, M. P. (2009). Assertiveness skills and the management of related factors in O’Donohue, W. T., Fisher, J. E., & Hayes, S. C. (Eds.). (2004). Cognitive behavior therapy: Applying empirically supported techniques in your practice. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Heimberg, R. G., & Becker, R. E. (1981). Cognitive and behavioral models of assertive behavior: Review, analysis and integration. Clinical Psychology Review1(3), 353-373.
  • Speed, B. C., Goldstein, B. L., & Goldfried, M. R. (2018). Assertiveness training: A forgotten evidence‐based treatment. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice25(1), e12216.  archived copy

What Is Assertiveness?

Signs and Symptoms of Un-assertiveness

Assertiveness is a skill. Being assertive means being able to stand up for your own rights, or those of others, in a calm and positive way. People who struggle to be assertive might:

  • find it difficult to stand up for their rights or put across their point of view;
  • behave passively and comply with the wishes of others;
  • respond aggressively and fail to consider the views of others.

Psychological Models and Theory of Assertiveness

Heimberg and Becker (1981) review both behavioral and cognitive models of assertive behavior. They argue that a behavioral model of assertiveness is based on four major assumptions:

  • Non-assertive behavior is the result of a deficit in assertiveness skills.
  • Reinforcement of assertive behavior is an essential part of its development and maintenance.
  • Different types of assertive behavior are independent from one another and may need to be taught separately.
  • Assertive behavior is situation-specific.

Examining a cognitive model of assertiveness, Heimberg and Becker (1981) propose that

non-assertiveness may be the result of:

  • maladaptive cognitions such as self-statements;
  • irrational beliefs and negative self-evaluations;
  • expectations of unwanted results from assertive behavior;
  • differences in information processing and cognitive flexibility between assertive and non-assertive individuals.

Evidence-Based Psychological Approaches for Increasing Assertiveness

Speed, Goldstein, and Goldfried (2018) review research on assertiveness training and place it within a historical context. They describe how assertiveness training fell out of favor with moves toward a medical model approach to treating psychological difficulties. They review evidence for assertiveness training as a stand-alone intervention. They also review the role of assertiveness within Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) ‘interpersonal effectiveness’ modules, behavioral activation programs, and its fit within committed value-based actions as a part of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). They conclude:

“Early basic research suggests that assertiveness problems are common among externalizing disorders, such as depression and anxiety, as well as nonclinical problems such as self-esteem and relationship satisfaction, making assertiveness a construct that may play a central role in the maintenance of clinical problems. Importantly, a substantial body of early research supports the efficacy of assertiveness training in improving clinical symptoms, increasing self-esteem, relationship satisfaction, and assertiveness—both broadly and within specific contexts.”

Resources for Working with Assertiveness

Psychology Tools resources available for working therapeutically with assertiveness may include:


  • Alberti, R. E., & Emmons, M. L. (1974). Assert yourself—It’s your perfect right. San Luis Obispo. CA: Impact.
  • Heimberg, R. G., & Becker, R. E. (1981). Cognitive and behavioral models of assertive behavior: Review, analysis and integration. Clinical Psychology Review, 1(3), 353–373.
  • Speed, B. C., Goldstein, B. L., & Goldfried, M. R. (2018). Assertiveness training: A forgotten evidence‐based treatment. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 25(1), e12216.