The Passive Person: is afraid to speak up, speaks softly, isolates self from groups, values self less than others, agrees with others even though that is not their personal belief. The Aggressive Person: interrupts others, talks over others, intimidates, makes demands, is not considerate of others opinions only their own opinion, values self more than others, speaks loudly.
The Assertive Person: speaks openly, values self equal to others, keeps to the point, tries not to hurt others, is considerate of others viewpoint. Helen Nieves is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Attention Deficit Consultant Specialist. Last updated: 16 Apr 2015Views expressed are those solely of the writer and have not been reviewed.
Psychoeducation is a therapeutic focus in which clients learn practical and positive emotional and behavioral skills to improve life adjustment, management of emotions and self-awareness. With the psychoeduational approach, clients learn valuable life skills of how to manage their behavior, emotions, relationships and generally improve their mental health through learning practical life skills strategies. Coping skills improve significantly in clients that learn skills based on effective and well established psychological theory and practice, such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.The learning is always augmented by carious Cognitive Behavior Therapy worksheets and DBT worksheets and handouts.
What are Examples of Some Major Influences in the Field of Psychology That Have Contributed to Psychoeducation? Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), as well as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) are two examples of well established effective modalities that offer a variety of cognitive, behavioral and emotional regulation skills to help clients manage anger. This is a common notion in people who are not aware of the effectiveness and psychological foundation of life skills training. Although the area of life skills training might have been more recognized and publicized in the areas of work with emotionally and developmentally disabled children and adults, including those with substance abuse, in reality life skills are important for every one of us. The three books in my Tips and Tools for the Therapeutic Toolbox Series offer Psychologists, Social Workers, Mental Health Aides, Psychotherapists, Substance Abuse Counselors, Guidance Counselors, College Counselors, Group Therapists and Workplace Wellness Trainers valuable psychoeducational material for interactive and experiential skill building on various life topics.
The Therapeutic Companion is a self-published client, self help manual which was originally intended to accompany my Toolbox series.
The following are samples of my own psychoeducational handouts and worksheets, some of which are taken from the Tips and Tools series. The following is my adapted from a blog post on the American Counseling Association web site on the importance of psychoeducation.
In my clinical psychology graduate program with its psychoanalytic orientation back in the 70‘s, I was taught that therapy largely was focused on uncovering how your past was still present in everyday life.
Teaching life skills is not telling clients what to do – it is teaching them strategies that they have never learned in school or in life. I use the term “self-help assignments” instead of homework, since homework might have negative connotations after years of schooling. For example, one of my favorite counseling handouts is one that compares the three type of communication, Assertive, Non-Assertive and Aggressive, and the reasons, characteristics and payoffs of each. As you can see, counselors have a unique opportunity to help their clients not only with their support, empathetic listening and guidance, but actually serving as a life skills educator, empowering clients to help themselves! Visit me on Facebook at my new Tips and Tools Facebook Page where we can share resources with one another! For the public I offer personal development plans, stress management techniques, positive thinking strategies, practical life skill strategies, and more.
For counselors I offer psycho education strategies, counseling skills, social media for mental health professionals, making counseling groups innovative, and more. Assertiveness is a style of communication and is the most effective type of the four types of communication. As stated by Mills (2012) “it is often characterized by sarcasm or “joking,” but it often has a kernel of truth embedded in it that can sting or cause you to question the real meaning of the comments.


A psychoeducational approach appreciates the importance of education in changing unhealthy or negative emotional and behavioral patterns. Stress management activities, counseling group activities to promote team building and interpersonal skills, as well as conflict resolution exercises are just a few examples of the vast array of life skills topics that are used in individual counseling and in psycho-educational group therapy. Positive Psychology also provides strategies for wellness and is action oriented in it’s approach. The psychoeducational approach can be incorporated traditional talking therapy, and can be used selectively when a particular skill needs some attention. We all want a better quality of life and the ability to accomplish our goals and achieve life success both personally as well as professionally. Ideal for work for both inpatient and outpatient populations, these books published by Mental Health CE provider and publisher, PESI, offer a variety of psychoeducational handouts, worksheets, interactive group activities, visualizations, and mini-lessons designed to inform and practice skills. These are all free mental health handouts and counseling worksheets that you can use with your therapy clients. The mindset at the time was that only by shedding light on deep seated issues can a person move past what had made them stuck, with increased insight and understanding. The role of the therapist is not just to listen, support and offer feedback and suggestions – it is also to teach! This proactive approach empowers clients with tools for life, and helps them experience change constructively. Self-help assignments help clients be more proactive and responsible for their own growth and wellness. To reinforce the learning, I have worksheets that clients do between sessions to turn aggressive or non-assertive examples into assertive examples. The following is an example of an activity that you can do in your therapy sessions and is also great for groups, One simple exercise offers a convincing example of the importance of flexible thinking and being willing to see things from other points of view.
Help your clients learn tips and tools to develop stress management techniques, positive thinking and help them develop an individualized personal development plan.
Clients go to therapy wanting to change, but often they have no inherent knowledge of how to change. It is passive, because the person’s opinion, wants, or needs are not shared directly-they are hidden. In psychotherapy, tools such as therapy handouts, worksheets, individual and group therapy activities and visualizations serve to help clients develop skills to overcome common human problems encountered in daily life.
These topics and many more are addressed in individual counseling, mental health clinics, in-patient and out-patient settings, as well as school and college counseling centers and workplace wellness programs. Using the analogy of a well equipped household tool box, psychoeducational life skills training offers us tips and tools for effectively managing our lives mentally, emotionally, interpersonally and behaviorally in the world where we seek to actualize our potential.
They are comprised of communication skills handouts, Cognitive Behavior Therapy worksheets and handouts, ideas for therapy group exercises, and stress management activities and worksheets. I only learned about Cognitive Behavior Therapy after graduate school, and was amazed at how just changing one’s self talk one can really change lives and happiness quotient. Beyond talking is “doing” and you can offer clients vital opportunities to experience and try out new behaviors, thoughts and skills.
Replacing aggressive “you” statements with assertive “I” statements will give your clients a chance to practice what they have learned.
In a group situation, about half have their left thumb on top and half the right, regardless of right or left-handedness. Whether it is for individual or group therapy activities, you can get ideas in the links on this web site to offer skills to your clients to last a lifetime. It’s up to the therapist to build a well-stocked toolkit of life skills and psychoeducational strategies.


All of us use each of the four styles of communication, and as a result some of our interactions can be unsatisfying and frustrating. In psychotherapy, psychotherapeutic techniques use educational skill building in developing the therapeutic relationship in individual and group therapy. Therapy group activities  that are psycho-educational are much more effective than group processing groups without the skill building component. They are relying on the therapist to impart their knowledge based on their own psychological and mental health training to identify areas of need and provide the tools and foundation so that in essence the client can fill their own life skills toolbox.
Rather, using learning tools such as handouts, worksheets, role playing, visualization, experiential activities and mini-lessons, counselors can be in a unique position to offer the “how tos” of making changes.
Experiential exercises might be able to break through even the most strongly erected unhealthy habits and defenses.
I suggest they keep the handouts in a prominent place so they can refer to them regularly to learn new skills. This style of communication is giving control of your life to others even if you do not want to.
Assertiveness is difficult to learn but it allows us to relate to others, to be relaxed around others, to keep our self-respect, to acknowledge the right of others. It gives clients the tools needed to make changes in their lives, feel empowered, and learn tips to effectively manage an individualized personal development plan. Insight into thinking patterns alone does not change things, especially if habits are deeply ingrained. For example, I have a life skills manual that I have made up of many of my best handouts and worksheets, and clients find that the between session “homework” offers them a chance to practice and reinforce the concepts learned in therapy. The therapy handouts and worksheets, and at times a “prop” that helps them stay “on target.” One “prop” is an elastic band that I ask some of my clients to keep on their wrists, and snap it gently each time that find themselves thinking or behaving in a negative manner. This represents our perceptions— we think people see things the same way and by this “hands on” exercise we realize this is not true!
There are a lot of emotions that go with passivity such as fear of being rejected, resentment, frustration, and helplessness.
Aggressive style of communication can develop in a number of ways: one may have an aggressive parent, one may have low self esteem that causes them to become threatened, one may obtain what they want through aggression, and one may fail to see the consequences of aggression.
Examples of passive-aggressive style are undermining coworkers by saying something bad to the boss or doing a chore badly in order for someone else to take over. Sometimes, “knowing better” does not mean that we can actually “do better.” If so, we would all be exercising regularly and trim and fit!
Now shift your fingers in the opposite way (make sure all fingers are clasped differently, not just the thumbs).
Using a psychoeducational approach, I offer many free Cognitive Behavior Therapy worksheets and handouts, as well as various suggestions for interactive group therapy activities.
For many clients, some no matter how much they identify their irrational thoughts and know how they can replace them with more rational ones, they remain stuck.
It can remind you also to be open minded when you listen to others, rather than expect for them to see things your way. Most people find this to make an even greater impact, as only about half of people fold their arms like you!



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