Model Assertiveness

The counselor and client role play a situation in which the counselor plays a person refusing to get high; the client plays the person offering the marijuana. The counselor models passive, aggressive, passive–aggressive, and assertive responses. After each response, the counselor asks the client to identify the behavior and determine the success of that approach.

Practice Assertive Responses to Past Difficult Situations

The counselor asks the client to list difficult situations he or she has experienced and to role play assertive responses. If the client has trouble thinking of situations, the counselor suggests some easy ones (e.g., returning an item bought in a store, dismissing a pesky salesperson) and some difficult ones (e.g., asking a friend to repay a loan several months old, confronting a supervisor who took credit for an idea of the client’s).

Following is an example of the counselor demonstrating how to assert feelings about being accused of smoking:

C: You have said that you’ve been both passive and aggressive with your wife and son.

D: I get annoyed at first; then I get high and don’t talk to them.

C: Would you like to role play some methods that we reviewed earlier in the skill topic?

D: Sure, since what I’m doing now isn’t working!

C: Why don’t you be your wife, and I’ll try some responses we’ve talked about. Ready?

D: Yeah. Have you been smoking again? I can tell when you’re sneaking around!

C: I haven’t been smoking, and I don’t appreciate the way you’re confronting me.

The counselor gives the client Assertiveness Practice Exercises (form 9G) and asks the client to practice the exercises at home.

Terminate Treatment

If this is the final treatment session with this client, the counselor discusses termination issues (see pages 18 and 131).