Assertive Stance

Assertiveness got a somewhat bad rap in the 70s. What they were calling assertiveness in the workshops of that decade leaned heavily toward aggressiveness. The goal of true assertiveness is not to assert your will upon another – which is more the “I win, you lose” scenario (aggression). Emmons and Alberti do a wonderful job of explaining this important distinction in their book, Your Perfect Right. This is my go-to book when addressing the issue of assertiveness in therapy. They give many examples to help you look for the win/win solution and give clear language to help you speak and behave in a way that feels respectful not only to the other person but yourself. In Happiness 101, I talk a lot about choice and how every day in big and small ways, you can make choices that take you either closer or further away from Happiness. Of the four styles of conflict communication, assertiveness is the only option in which everyone wins. A collaborative, respectful approach is obviously the choice most conducive to Happiness. Join us on Monday, March 29th at 7pm for the free class Happiness 101 where I will go into more depth, giving you tools you can use right away to improve your relationships and, yes, be Happier.
Frank Clayton
Licensed Professional Counselor

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Happy loversI am a mental health therapist specializing in Happiness. Tonight I took the principles from the Happiness 101 class (Tuesdays 7pm) and discussed how they can be applied to life behind the bedroom door. If you missed the Happy Sex Class, here are a few notes of interest:

The relationship in the bedroom is often a reflection of the relationship outside the bedroom.
Communicate, communicate, communicate. Communication is key. If you want something (or something you do NOT want), find a way to talk about it. Use assertiveness (as opposed to aggressive, passive or passive aggressive)
If you are have trouble asking directly for what you want, you can stress the positive – say what you DO like.
If you experience guilt or shame in relation to sex, I suggest therapy.
Know yourself. Know what you like sexually and what you don’t.
Identify and honor your sexual boundaries
Do not compromise your values

Work to be happy with what you have (Myth of happiness “I’ll be happy WHEN”)
Use language that your partner finds appealing in initiating sex and when referring to sex or sexual organs.
Know your partner – what they like and what they don’t like. What are their boundaries?

Variety is the spice of a good sex life. There is a great deal of variety to be found if you are looking for it. Again, don’t do anything that is against your values.

There is a great article: Sex Secrets of Really Happy Couples

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or question here or E-mail me at frank@saltlakementalhealth.com

Frank Clayton
Licensed Professional Counselor

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