PSY 4 E 03: THERAPEUTIC
INTERVENTION STRATEGIES - II
UNIT–I: Behaviouristic Perspective
TOPIC: ASSERTIVE BEHAVIOUR
ASSERTIVE BEHAVIOUR THERAPY
Ref: Robert E. Alberti
Assertive Behaviour Therapy (also known as Assertiveness
Training, Assertion Training, or Social Skills Training) is a procedure
which trains the client in socially appropriate behaviours for self-
expression of feelings, attitudes, wishes, opinions, and rights.
Included in the procedure are: Skills training, in which specific verbal
and nonverbal behaviours are taught, practiced, and integrated into the
client’s behavioural repertoire. Anxiety reduction, which may be
achieved directly (for example, through desensitization or other
counter-conditioning procedures), or indirectly, as a by-product of
Cognitive restructuring, in which values, beliefs, cognitions,
and/or attitudes that limit the client’s self-expression may be changed
by insight, exhortation, or behavioural achievements.
Skills training techniques include modeling, behaviour
rehearsal, systematic feedback and coaching, homework assignments,
games and exercises, journals, and systematic assessment. Treatment
of choice is often in a therapy or training group in order to provide an
adequate social environment, except for highly anxious and inhibited
clients. The emphasis is usually on rehearsal and coaching of
behavioural skills required in interpersonal situations. In simulated
situations, the client is called upon to express positive or negative
feeling toward another person, or to stand up for his/her rights. In
addition, clients are urged to extend their new skills into life situations
outside of therapy/training, and to report their progress.
Anxiety reduction techniques include the traditional
desensitization procedures, as well as desensitization resulting from
skill building and successful approaches to the actual feared situation.
Cognitive restructuring procedures include didactic presentations
regarding individual human rights, social conditioning, values
clarification, decision making. Barriers to individual expression —
that is, society, culture, age, sex, socio-economic status, family — are
examined and challenged against the standard of individual rights.
It should be noted that a variety of “games,” “techniques,”
and “manipulation procedures” have, unfortunately, evolved in the
wake of the popular interest in Assertive Behaviour Training/Therapy.
Responsible practitioners avoid any procedure which does not both
enhance the client and respect the rights of others.
From its beginnings as a therapeutic procedure for
pathologically inhibited individuals, Assertive Behaviour Therapy has
found application far beyond its considerable value as a clinical tool.
In therapy, the procedure is useful with clients who suffer
from moderate to severe social inhibition due to anxiety, skill deficits,