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By Stephanie Holland, Clare Ward

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There are many emotive words in our vocabulary which prevent us from thinking assertively and thus being assertive. Albert Ellis, in Reason and Emotion in Psychotherapy, presents the notion of Rational Emotive Therapy encouraging an individual to challenge negative thoughts to improve their sense of well-being and effectiveness in life. We use words such as 'should', 'ought' and 'must' which are laced with feelings of guilt and duty. Replacing such words with 'could', 'want to' and 'can' is empowering and freeing.

By consistently challenging her thinking she was eventually able to confront her over-eating and gradually began to lose weight. Feeling good by accepting ourselves for who we are, 'warts and all', is central to assertive behaviour. Our right to express our feelings is something that we look at in more detail in the next chapter. Page 17 5 Owning Our Feelings Introduction We all have the right to express our feelings, whatever they may be. 'Owning' our feelings means taking responsibility both for acknowledging what we feel and for the way we act on it.

To put it simply, it is a form of behaviour therapy with an extremely powerful message, which needs to be handled with respect. There is a growing awareness amongst health professionals of the value of using counselling and psychotherapy techniques, both in a professional and a personal context. Assertiveness is directly linked with this area of personal growth and development. We believe that reading this book can never be a substitute for attending a course for yourself. Assertiveness training is, for the most part, experiential and we therefore strongly recommend that you experience it for yourself at first hand.

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