Anger Management: A Cognitive Behavioral Approach > Chapter 8 - Assertiveness Training And The Conflict Resolution Model

ASSERTIVENESS TRAINING AND THE CONFLICT RESOLUTION MODEL
Alternatives for Expressing Anger

Session 7 & 8

Outline of Sessions 7 & 8

  • Instructions to Group Leaders
  • Check-In Procedure
  • Suggested Remarks
  • – Assertiveness Training
    – Conflict Resolution Model
  • Homework Assignment

Instructions to Group Leaders

Sessions 7 and 8 are combined because it takes more than one session to adequately address assertiveness, aggression, passivity, and the Conflict Resolution Model. Assertiveness is such a fundamental skill in interpersonal interactions and anger management that the group will spend 2 weeks developing and practicing this concept. These two 90-minute sessions will present an introduction to assertiveness training. The majority of this week’s session will be spent reviewing the definitions of assertiveness, aggression, and passivity and presenting the Conflict Resolution Model.

The Conflict Resolution Model is an assertive device for resolving conflicts with others. It consists of a series of problemsolving steps that, when followed closely, minimize the potential for anger escalation. Next week’s session, in contrast, will focus on group members roleplaying real-life situations using the Conflict Resolution Model. It is important to emphasize that assertive, aggressive, and passive responses are learned behaviors and not innate, unchangeable traits. The goal of these two sessions is to teach members how to use the Conflict Resolution Model to develop assertive responses rather than aggressive or passive responses.

Check-In Procedure

Ask group members to report the highest level of anger they reached on the anger meter during the past week. Make sure they reserve 10 for situations where they lost control of their anger and experienced negative consequences. Ask them to describe the anger-provoking event that led to their highest level of anger. Help them identify the cues that occurred in response to the anger-provoking event, and help them classify these cues into the four cue categories. Ask members to report on the ongoing development of their anger control plans.

Suggested Remarks

(Use the following blocked or put this in your own words.)

Assertiveness Training


Sessions 7 and 8 provide an introduction to assertiveness training and the Conflict Resolution Model. Assertiveness involves a set of behaviors and skills that require time and practice to learn and master. In this group, we focus on one important aspect of assertiveness training, that is, conflict resolution. The Conflict Resolution Model can be particularly effective for helping individuals manage their anger.

Many interpersonal conflicts occur when you feel that your rights have been violated. Before entering anger management treatment, you may have tended to respond with aggressive behavior when you believed that another person showed you disrespect or violated your rights. In today’s session, we will discuss several ways to resolve interpersonal conflicts without resorting to aggression.

As we discussed in session 1, aggression is behavior that is intended to cause harm or injury to another person or damage property. This behavior can include verbal abuse, threats, or violent acts. Often, when another person has violated your rights, your first reaction is to fight back or retaliate. The basic message of aggression is that my feelings, thoughts, and beliefs are important and that your feelings, thoughts, and beliefs are unimportant and inconsequential.

One alternative to using aggressive behavior is to act passively or in a nonassertive manner. Acting in a passive or nonassertive way is undesirable because you allow your rights to be violated. You may resent the person who violated your rights, and you may also be angry with yourself for not standing up for your rights. In addition, it is likely that you will become even more angry the next time you encounter this person. The basic message of passivity is that your feelings, thoughts, and beliefs are important, but my feelings, thoughts, and beliefs are unimportant and inconsequential. Acting in a passive or nonassertive way may help you avoid the negative consequences associated with aggression, but it may also ultimately lead to negative personal consequences, such as diminished self-esteem, and prevent you from having your needs satisfied.

From an anger management perspective, the best way to deal with a person who has violated your rights is to act assertively. Acting assertively involves standing up for your rights in a way that is respectful of other people. The basic message of assertiveness is that my feelings, thoughts, and beliefs are important, and that your feelings, thoughts, and beliefs are equally important. By acting assertively, you can express your feelings, thoughts, and beliefs to the person who violated your rights without suffering the negative consequences associated with aggression or the devaluation of your feelings, which is associated with passivity or nonassertion.

It is important to emphasize that assertive, aggressive, and passive responses are learned behaviors; they are not innate, unchangeable traits. Using the Conflict Resolution Model, you can learn to develop assertive responses that allow you to manage interpersonal conflicts in a more effective way.

In summary, aggression involves expressing feelings, thoughts, and beliefs in a harmful and disrespectful way. Passivity or nonassertiveness involves failing to express feelings, thoughts, and beliefs or expressing them in an apologetic manner that others can easily disregard. Assertiveness involves standing up for your rights and expressing feelings, thoughts, and beliefs in direct, honest, and appropriate ways that do not violate the rights of others or show disrespect.

It is helpful to think of real-life situations to help you understand what is meant by assertiveness. Suppose you have been attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting several times a week with a friend. Suppose you have been driving your friend to these meetings for several weeks. In the last few days, however, he has not been ready when you have come to pick him up. His tardiness has resulted in both of you being late for meetings. Because you value being on time, this is something that bothers you a great deal. Consider the different ways you might act in this situation. You can behave in an aggressive manner by yelling at your friend for being late and refusing to pick him up in the future. The disadvantage of this response is that he may no longer want to continue the friendship. Another response would be to act passively, or in a nonassertive fashion, by ignoring the problem and not expressing how you feel. The disadvantage of this response is that the problem will most likely continue and that this will inevitably lead to feelings of resentment toward your friend. Again, from an anger management perspective, the best way to deal with this problem is to act assertively by expressing your feelings, thoughts, and beliefs in a direct and honest manner, while respecting the rights of your friend.

Conflict Resolution Model

One method of acting assertively is to use the Conflict Resolution Model, which involves five steps that can easily be memorized. The first step involves identifying the problem that is causing the conflict. It is important to be specific when identifying the problem. In this example, the problem causing the conflict is that your friend is late. The second step involves identifying the feelings associated with the conflict. In this example, you may feel annoyance, frustration, or taken for granted. The third step involves identifying the specific impact of the problem that is causing the conflict. In this example, the impact or outcome is that you are late for the meeting. The fourth step involves deciding whether to resolve the conflict or let it go. This may best be phrased by the questions, “Is the conflict important enough to bring up? If I do not try to resolve this issue, will it lead to feelings of anger and resentment?” If you decide that the conflict is important enough, then the fifth step is necessary. The fifth step is to address and resolve the conflict. This involves checking out the schedule of the other person. The schedule is important because you might bring up the conflict when the other person does not have the time to address it or when he or she may be preoccupied with another issue. Once you have agreed on a time with the person, you can describe the conflict, your feelings, and the impact of the conflict and ask for a resolution.

[Question #24. The steps involved in Conflict Resolution Model are:]

For example, the interaction may sound like this:

Joe :
Hey, Frank, sorry I’m late.
Frank :
Hi, Joe. Can I talk to you about that?
Joe :
Sure. Is something wrong?
Frank :
Joe, I’ve noticed you’ve been late for the last few days when I’ve come to pick you up. Today, I realized that I was starting to feel frustrated and a bit taken for granted. When you are late, we are both late for the meeting, which makes me uncomfortable. I like to be on time. I’m wondering if you can make an effort to be on time in the future.
Joe :

Frank, I didn’t realize how bothered you were about that. I apologize for being late, and I will be on time in the future. I’m glad you brought this problem up to me.

 

 

Of course, this is an idealized version of an outcome that may be achieved with the Conflict Resolution Model. Joe could have responded unfavorably, or defensively, by accusing Frank of making a big deal out of nothing. Joe may have minimized and discounted Frank’s feelings, leaving the conflict unresolved.

The Conflict Resolution Model is useful even when conflicts are not resolved. Many times, you will feel better about trying to resolve a conflict in an assertive manner rather than acting passively or aggressively. Specifically, you may feel that you have done all that you could do to resolve the conflict. In this example, if Frank decided not to give Joe a ride in the future, or if Frank decided to end his friendship with Joe, he could do so knowing that he first tried to resolve the conflict in an assertive manner.

Exhibit 7. The Conflict Resolution Model
  1. Identify the problem that is causing the conflict
  2. Identify the feelings that are associated with the conflict
  3. Identify the impact of the problem that is causing the conflict
  4. Decide whether to resolve the conflict
  5. Work for resolution of the conflict
  6. How would you like the problem to be resolved?
    Is a compromise needed?

Have the group members practice using the Conflict Resolution Model by roleplaying. Be careful not to push group members into a roleplay situation if they are not comfortable about it or ready. Exercise your clinical judgment.

The following are some topics for roleplays:

  • Dealing with a rude or unhelpful salesclerk
  • Dealing with a physician who will not take the time to explain how a medication works
  • Dealing with a supervisor who does not listen to you
  • Dealing with a counselor who repeatedly cancels your therapy/counseling sessions
  • Dealing with a friend who does not respect your privacy.

 

Homework Assignment

Have group members refer to the participant workbook. Ask them to monitor and record their highest level of anger on the anger meter during the coming week. Ask them to identify the event that made them angry, the cues that were associated with the anger-provoking event, and the strategies they used to manage their anger in response to the event. Ask them to review the definitions of assertiveness, aggression, and passivity. Instruct them to practice using the Conflict Resolution Model, preferably once a day during the coming week. Remind them to continue to develop their anger control plans.

 
Anger Management: A Cognitive Behavioral Approach > Chapter 8 - Assertiveness Training And The Conflict Resolution Model
Page Last Modified On: April 18, 2015, 11:59 AM