When we are assertive, we have the strength to resist negative or hurtful influences.We think for ourselves, ask for what we need, and speak up to protect our selves and others.

Assertiveness Training NYC

spiral2grow, a leading provider in assertiveness training, self esteem and self confidence and leadership solutions in New York City, that has professionals that include assertiveness therapists and assertiveness counselors, who are experts in building assertiveness and self-confidence. spiral2grow, located in midtown Manhattan at 260 Madison Avenue #8023, New York, NY 10016, offers assertiveness training and assertiveness counseling in a variety of formats: individual assertiveness training, assertiveness group training for assertiveness and self esteem groups.

It is in your personal or professional life, that being assertive can help you build and maintain self-confidence in all situations. However, assertiveness does not come naturally to most people as they have learned this skill through life experiences. Integrity, honesty, and respect are key elements that help sustain long-term healthy relationships. By being assertive, you are respectful of yourself as well as the person you are engaging with.

Being assertive is a core communication skill and means that you express yourself effectively and stand up for your point of view, while also respecting the rights and beliefs of others. Assertiveness training has many benefits including personal empowerment, being proactive (rather than being reactive), personal dignity and calmness especially when dealing with difficult people, and having the ability to resist aggressive, manipulative, and passive ploys of other people.

Assertiveness Training in NYC

Assertiveness is a constructive way of thinking and behaving that allows a person to stand up for his needs while respecting the rights of others. Assertive communication is appropriately direct, open and honest, and clarifies one’s needs to the other person without resorting to aggression or manipulation.

People who have mastered the skill of assertiveness are able to greatly reduce the level of interpersonal conflict in their lives, thereby reducing a major source of stress. When assertive people face problems, they focus on solutions rather than problems, thereby able to resolve conflict successfully. Ultimately, assertive attitudes and behaviors are at the core of living a healthy and productive life. Non-assertive people may be passive or aggressive. Passive individuals are not committed to their own rights and allow others to infringe on their rights rather than to stand up and speak out. On the other hand, aggressive persons are strongly defending their own rights but are also violating the rights of others. Additionally, aggressive individuals insist that their feelings and needs take precedence over other people’s. They also tend to blame others for problems instead of offering solutions.

So being assertive involves first of all choosing to communicate effectively– being active rather than passive – and then doing so in a manner that’s both respectful and honest. We have the right and responsibility to ask for what we need. It is important to note that what we are asserting is not our right to have what we are asking for, but rather our right to ask in the first place.

Exercising this right increases our self-esteem. Reciprocally, having high self-esteem makes us more likely to exercise our rights with assertive behavior. In other words, lack of assertiveness promotes low self esteem and social anxiety. While engaging in assertive behavior is rewarding and leads to positive self-esteem and a more fulfilling life. Low self-esteem and assertive behavior are incompatible. Whenever you see someone being assertive, rather than passive, aggressive, or both, you are witnessing an act of healthy self-esteem. Whenever you see someone verbally attacking others to get what they want, or being indirect about what they want, or silently enduring something they don’t want, you’re witnessing the result and perpetuation of injured self-esteem.

Because of this correlation between self-esteem and assertiveness, it’s tricky to teach assertiveness skills without addressing underlying self-esteem issues. But fortunately, the relationship between self-esteem and assertiveness tends to be reciprocal. In other words, while it is clear that having high self-esteem makes it easier to practice assertive communication, it also goes in the other direction. Acting assertively promotes healthy self-esteem. Assertiveness means being positive and confident about ourselves, our ideas, opinions and talents while and expressing these in the service of the universal value. When we are assertive, we have the strength to resist negative influences and to influence others in a positive manner. We ask for what we need while protect ourselves and others. When we practice assertiveness, we practice healthy self-esteem, citizenship, and courage.

In the long run, aggressive behavior results in a negative outcome while assertive behavior results in a positive result. This is true in most situations, but especially when anger takes place. It is critical to understand differentiate between aggressive behavior and assertive behavior. Assertive behavior involves respecting all parties involved while standing up for personal rights. It is an attitude and behavior that is expressed directly without violating another person’s rights. The purpose of assertive behavior is constructive and respectful communication with mutuality. It is ultimately designed to provide a win-win outcome (in spite of the differences). Aggressive behavior, on the other hand, violate of the rights of others, while its dominated by short term perspective and one-sided winning attitude.

The following are few elements that describe Assertive Vice Aggressive Style:

Assertive Style

  • Uses “I” statements that focuses on oneself feelings
  • Takes responsibility for one’s feelings and actions
  • Communicates clearly needs and wants
  • Defines the specific issue/problem and describe specifically what behaviors what changes are required
  • Avoids general extreme words such as “always” and “never”
  • Behaves calmly and respectfully
  • Utilizes active listening techniques

Aggressive Style

  • Uses “you” statements to blame or intimidate
  • Avoids responsibility for one’s feelings and actions
  • Uses put-downs, curses, name-calling, threats and aggressiveness
  • Focuses on talking rather than listening and understanding the other side
  • Engages in forceful actions and manipulation
  • Sets up “win-lose” situations instead of win-win

Psychological Boundary

Boundary is your first line of defense against stress. Developing solid boundaries is one of the main factors to healthy well-being. Personal boundary marks the limits of what is within your control and what is beyond your control. This is your psychological space that separates you and others. If you build healthy boundaries, you are clear about your values, opinions, and needs and also respect others. You also promote positive energy within you and within your environment. On the other hand, if you do not have a healthy boundary, you waste emotional energy on those things that are outside of your control and create your own misery and suffering.

Setting clear personal boundaries is crucial to guaranteeing relationships are mutually respectful, supportive, and caring. Self-esteem is manifested in your level of assertiveness and the way you establish your boundaries. As such, psychological boundary is a measure of self-esteem and defines the quality of your life.

spiral2grow psychotherapist in NYC that offers tools for building self-esteem and healthy boundary. Our psychotherapists and counselors in NYC specialize in boundary training that is key for building self esteem and confidence. We recognize the importance of setting healthy boundaries in any relationship and see it as a key element in having a happy and fulfilling life.

A healthy boundary is key to a successful relationship. Boundaries, in the physical world, separate one thing from another, like walls that separate the inside of a building from its outside. While psychological boundaries have no physical substance, they act very much like walls or dividers, that separate the mental private parts of people from the public parts.

Healthy individual boundaries have to do with self-determination, self-respect as well as respect to others. When these boundaries are intact, the individuals feel respected and safety is established. However, when they are broken, disrespect take place and wellbeing is at risk.

Mental health professionals stress that good boundaries are crucial to psychological health and well-being. A boundary is a limit that promotes integrity and healthy relationships. Personal boundaries or psychological boundaries are the “territory” in which individuals outline their psychological and mental control. Similar to a country that has borders, customs, and immigration; psychological boundaries define what is within your control versus what is not in your control, as well as the mechanism you enforce to establish your sovereignty (within your borders). It is a set of guidelines in which you allow “healthy” trade, goods, and visitors to get into your psychological domain and what you are not allowed to enter. One would expect that you would allow “visitors” to enter your territory if it is healthy and beneficial while preventing what could be dangerous or harmful.

In reality, the quality of our psychological well being, psychological strength and self esteem defines the quality of our boundaries and ultimately the quality of our relationships and life.Our personal boundary defines our identity and individuality and separate us from others. Our emotional boundary must be preserved because it is vital to our positive self identity and self-esteem. We must be able to differentiate our thoughts and feelings from those of others. These psychological borders in include physical, mental, psychological and spiritual boundaries, and involve beliefs, emotions, intuitions and self-esteem. It also includes guidelines, rules and limits that we establish for ourselves that we consider reasonable, safe and permissible ways for others to behave toward us, as well as how we conduct ourselves toward others, especially when they step outside those limits.

The Serenity prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr “…grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference…..” describes the ideal position in regards to personal boundary. Unfortunately, many people in actuality are performing the Serenity prayer backward, that is, trying to change the external things over which they had no control (mostly other people and life events), and taking no responsibility for their own internal process, over which they can have some level of control. Having some control or influence can be constructive and positive. However, trying to control something or somebody over one has no control is destructive and dysfunctional.

The Importance and Benefits of Healthy Boundaries

  • Clearly define ourselves and our individuality
  • Empower us to determine how we will be treated by others
  • Establish personal safety and promote personal nurturing
  • Create set or guidelines in which we conduct ourselves
  • Gain trust in ourselves to take care of our well being
  • Promote personal integrity and accountability
  • Build self esteem, confidence and leadership

The result of healthy boundaries is to preserve psychological durability and advance relationships, while having healthy sense of control and acceptance and overall well-being.

When you are in a relationship, you must allow individual identity and accomplish to develop and flourish. Healthy boundary promotes a balance of independence and interdependence; individuality and intimacy. Boundary in relationship to be constructive moves away from right and wrong, you and me etc.. Boundary’s highest form is form of maturity which is the unity and sum of everyone opinions (including all parts and differences). The other possibility respect and at times is “agree to disagree.”

Communication Skills

Poor communication skills, disagreements and misunderstandings can be a source of anger and distance, or a springboard to a stronger relationship and happier future. Communication is one of the most important areas of a relationship. Unhappy couples are often unable to communicate, and when communication breaks down, so does marriage and intimacy. Couples with high level of communication skills are more satisfied with their marriages and are more likely to solve their challenges in a better way.

Good communication is a fundamental part of a healthy relationship. When people are not communicating well, they stop relating well, and times of change or stress can really bring out disconnect. Without communication, there’s nothing to hold the relationship together and help it function smoothly. As long as you are communicating well, you can work through whatever problem you’re facing.

It is always better to address problems through communication then to bury them thinking that they will go away eventually – they won’t! Talk it out in a way that is supportive and loving whenever necessary. Learning to have effective communication in marriage is one of the most important aspects of marriage that a couple can work on.

Assertive communication is a type of communication style characterized by the belief that everyone has the right to express their own legitimate needs. You are allowed to say what you want, express feelings, stand up for your rights, and set appropriate limits.

In order to respond assertively try phrasing your request using what is called a DEESC script.

The DEESC script stands for Describe, Express, Empathize, Specify, and Consequences.

Practice the script for several situations that you just identified. Write the script out and practice it before you talk to the person.

Describe. Describe the behavior/situation as completely and objectively as possible. Just the facts! “The last time, my brother George came to visit, I cleaned the entire house all by myself.”

Express. Express your feelings and thoughts about the situation/behavior. Phrase your statements using “I”, and not “You”. Beginning sentences with “You” often puts people on the defensive, which means they won’t listen to you. “As a result, I felt exhausted and angry.”

Empathize. Verbally empathize with the other person. “I know you have been tired from working so much”.

Specify. Specify what behavior/outcome you would prefer to happen. “I would like the two of us to work on cleaning the house.”

Consequences. Specify the consequences (both positive and negative). “If we both work together, the house will be cleaned up faster and we can all enjoy his visit together.” Or “If we work together, I will be less tired and irritable.”

Conflict Resolution Training

A famous family therapist, Carl Whitaker, a well know family therapist said, “Conflict is the pathway to intimacy.” How could a conflict lead to intimacy?

We need to understand like Whitaker understood that conflict in relationship is unavoidable and bound take place. So rather than fight it, you should embrace it (because it won’t help). Also, even though conflict is not enjoyable and easy, when couple engaged with healthy communication and have conflict resolutions skills, they know that conflict is not something that needs to be avoided.

Last but not least, managing conflict successfully adds other deeper dimensions to the relationship such as greater trust, resiliency, intimacy, bonding and happiness. Remember, where there is conflict, a dialogue can be established. Where there is dialogue, there can be healing and prosperity.

Sometimes stress, personality differences or other precipitating factors can lead to conflict between individuals or within an entire group. Many conflicts would not spiral out of control if people learn and utilize effective conflict resolution techniques.

If you can change your view and attitude toward conflict and see its positive elements, you will be able to appreciate conflict as a gateway that invites more care and more compassion into your life, relationship as well as personal and spiritual growth. Having that in mind, you will be able to experience how working with difference, dissent, and discomfort is the normal path to deep intimacy.

Conflict Resolutions skills

There is no such thing as a conflict free relationship. Some people have the mistaken belief that a happy partnership or marriage should be no arguing, fighting, or conflict of any kind if they really loved each other. Of course, that is idea is false and a receipt for disaster. A common trait in successful relationship is not the absence of conflicts but knowing how to behave during conflicts. As such, a conflict resolution is an essential characteristic in any successful relationship and empower you to create win-win solutions to the difficulties you face.

Relationships turn sour when there are too many conflicts, arguments, quarrels and fights. That is why a learning constructive conflict resolution skills is so important. Finding solutions to problems and differences generates feelings of well-being and sustains loving relationships. With healthy conflict resolution, you can keep arguments and fights to a minimum while enhancing your relationships.

One of the biggest challenges and one of the most required treatment goals for couples participating in couples therapy and marriage counseling is conflict resolution. Couples expect their psychotherapist to teach them conflict resolution skills and tools and guide them to healthy and satisfying resolutions of the issues that have produced their disagreement and pressure as well as their power struggle. But more importantly, the psychotherapist needs to empower the couples with the necessary skills for conflict resolution to enable them to resolve their differences and conflicts by themselves, while engaging in a collaborative decision process, and also being able to bounce back after upsets or unsuccessful conflict resolution attempts.

spiral2grow provides couples therapy and marriage counseling and offers innovative and effective strategies for resolving the underlying issues of conflicts, problems and emotional distress. spiral2grow focuses on both a couple’s relationship conflicts as well as each individual’s symptoms and problems, and how they may contribute to discord in the relationship. We help partners identify the conflict issues within their relationship, and determine what changes are needed – in the relationship and in the behavior of each partner – for both individuals to be fulfilled in a strong, healthy and joyful relationship.

Strategy and Tools in Implementing Conflict Resolution

To successfully implement a successful conflict resolution strategy, we must examine the following:

Self-Awareness and Self-Management – Be aware of the working environment around us

Emotional Management – How to Manage Our Emotions Better

The intention behind every conflict -The cause and effect of the conflict. How did it happen? What were the consequences?

Conflicting Styles – Why are there conflicting styles and how to manage them and collaborate,

Conflict Resolution Methods –  Understand effective conflict resolution methods and best practices for managing conflicts

Conflicting Resources – Allocation of resources that trigger conflicts and how to manage them

Establishing Harmoney  – How to apply the principles leading to conflict resolution and establish a harmonious environment

Conflict Resolution Worksheet

The classic Win-Win Waltz Worksheet for conflict resolution


A’s Initial solution proposal:


B’s Initial solution proposal:



Note: Be sure to list all the concerns of both participants on one list, indicating that any concern of one of you immediately becomes a shared concern of both of you.

STEP 3: CREATE a WIN-WIN SOLUTION, responsive to all the concerns

* Start by identifying the most strongly felt concerns, building the plan initially around the most strongly felt concerns.
* Add enhancements until all the concerns are responded to.
* Suggest only what you yourself might be willing to do.
* Express appreciation of what the other offers
* Add additional concerns that each proposed solution may raise, and create solution options responsive to these concerns as well.
* Aim to build a solution set, a comprehensive solution

Potential win-win



Circle back one more time: have all the concerns been responded to in the plan of action? Add further details to the plan as needed.

In sum, WIN-WIN means that the plan of action has elements responsive to all of the concerns of both of you. While neither of you may have “gotten your way” with regard to you initial solution ideas, both of you will have succeeded in getting what you wanted!

De-escalation Techniques

As social creators we cannot avoid by engaging with other and face conflicting situations. Conflict is natural relationship dynamics and can serve as an opportunity to collaborate and improve life. Carl Whitaker, a well know family therapist said, “Conflict is the pathway to intimacy.” Yes, conflict in relationship is unavoidable and rather than fight it, you should embrace it.

As we all experience, conflicting situations are difficult to handle, especially when emotionality amplify and distort our thoughts and behaviors. At one point, when conflicts deteriorate into angry response, they are no longer effective. To get to a level of cooperation, individuals in relationship must adopt conflict resolution skills.

As conflict escalates, parties involved begin to lose their reason. In some cases, these conflicts spiral completely out of control and can end up of both sides suffer “heavy losses.” Given the destructive nature that escalation plays, it is important to develop tools and strategies to limit and reverse this process.

De-escalation involves changes within each party involved in the conflict. It is important to understand that if one person change, it change the whole interaction dynamics between the parties. Based on Louis Kriesberg, in his book Constructive Conflicts, conflict de-escalation refers to a decrease in the severity of the coercive means used and in the number of parties engaged in the struggle. He added that “a basic finding of this analysis is that transforming transitions come about when a new way of thinking about their conflict becomes dominant in each of the primary adversaries.” In other words, conflict deescalation can take place when one or both parties involved desired new relationship with the other side and there is a serious attempt to do things differently to break the negative escalation.

The shift from escalation to de-escalation is a process that reduces the tension and negative energy between the parties involved. That also means that at any given moment the parties involved can take steps to de-escalate the situation. Yet, it requires much awareness, skill and effort. If you have acquired the ability to approach the conflict differently, it can be invaluable to handle challenging situation and to maximize the chances of a positive outcome.

spiral2grow counseling practice in New York City, provides training in conflict resolution skills and de-escalation techniques for individuals, couples, families, and business organizations. Our trainers help building successful relationships and dynamics by providing the necessary conflict resolutions and de-escalation tools.

Key Concepts to Avoid Escalation

  • When a person is very angry, it is almost impossible to reason and logically communicate with that person.
  • Anger is contagious and the same applies to calmness or any other feelings that we are exposed to.
  • The main objective of conflict de-escalation is to avoid amplifying the negative energy and to reduce the level of anger so a discussion becomes possible or the parties involved agree to discuss the issue in the future when parties are in better emotional state.
  • De-escalation techniques must be practiced so that they can become “second nature.”
  • When exercising de-escalation, we must be assertive and appear centered and calm.

De-escalation Techniques:

  • Be Non-Judgmental and Emphatic – Don’t be judgmental and have an open mind. Empathy is the heart of relationship, since empathy requires compassion. And, without compassion, relationship dies.
  • Be Assertive – Act assertively and explain limits and rules in an authoritative, firm, but always respectful tone. Give choices where possible in which both alternatives are safe ones (e.g. Would you like to continue our discussion calmly or would you prefer to stop now and talk tomorrow when things can be more relaxed?)
  • Set Boundaries and Limits – Be respectful and clearly set boundaries and limits. If a person’s behavior is belligerent, defensive, or disruptive, give them clear, simple, and enforceable limits. Offer concise and respectful choices and consequences.
  • Be Calm with Positive Energy – The goal of de-escalation is to reduce level of negative energy, so try calmly bring the level of emotions anger down to a reasonable space.
  • Don’t Assume – Do not interpret feelings or thought – mindreading – simply ask. Ask question and suggest alternative behaviors where appropriate e.g. “Would you like to take a break and have a cold cup of water?
  • Communicate Constructively – When people are paid attention, they feel validated; they feel important. So, listen with empathy, try to understand where the person is coming from.
  • Focus on Feelings – Empathize with feelings but not with the behavior (e.g. “I understand that you have every right to feel angry, but it is not okay for you to treat myself/me or others this way.)
  • Avoid Defensiveness – Do not be defensive-even if the comments or insults are directed at you. Don’t take it personally, they are not about you. They are about the other person.
  • Find Truth – No one is wrong 100% and no one is right 100%. So, find truth some truth in what they are saying and communicate it back. Agreeing is a powerful tool in validating and reducing negative energy.
  • Respect Personal Space – Allow for a more physical space between you as compare to your normal distance. The space can serve as to contain the negative energy that is produced by the Anger and agitation.
  • Body Language – Pay attention to your body language. Appear calm, centered and self-assured even though you don’t feel it.
  • Facial Expression – Pay attention to your facial expression. Try to relax facial muscles and look confident. Do not smile as it might seen as mockery or anxiety.
  • Tone of Voice – Use a modulated, low monotonous tone of voice (our normal tendency is to have a high pitched, tight voice when scared). Do not get loud or try to yell over a screaming person. Speak calmly at an average volume.
  • Do not Touch – Even if some touching is generally culturally appropriate and usual in your setting. Very angry people may misinterpret physical contact as hostile or threatening.
  • Allow Silence and Time for Decisions – Even though most people do not feel comfortable during silence, sometimes allowing that moment of silence can be the best choice. When a person is upset, they may be confused or not be able to think clearly. Give them a few moments to think through what you’ve said.
  • Apologize and Do Better – When you are wrong, simply apologize. Apologizing is a good de-escalation skill. Also, we can also do better, you can always aspire to be more responsible, more respectful, more tolerant etc.
  • Avoid Overreacting – Remain calm and rational. While you can’t control the person’s behavior, how you respond to their behavior will have a direct effect on whether the situation escalates or defuses.

Assertiveness Training Group

The assertiveness training group is formed in recognition of the difficulty that many people have while standing up for themselves and what they want, while respecting the needs of others. The struggle to balance the right to express their opinions, needs, and desires, while maintaining healthy work, personal, and romantic relationships is not an easy task. Assertiveness training can provide the skills and tools to help you relate to others with less anxiety and resentment while retaining self-respect and power over your attitude and over your own life.

Group therapy is a powerful modality to acquire new skills and practice it while facilitating growth and change. Although might be uncomfortable at first, most clients report that the group experience was helpful far beyond their expectations. Individual clients in group receive understanding, support, and encouragement from others that facile similar situation and challenges and at the same time gain different perspectives and support in dealing with those issues. In this regards, spiral2grow, located in New York City (NYC), is excited to provide the opportunity to join a group in NYC that is designed to help individuals who feel they lack the skills to assert themselves in a variety of social and professional situations.

The following are few of the goals for assertiveness group training:

  • Acquire the skills basic to effective and responsible assertion
  • Learn both verbal and non-verbal assertiveness skills
  • Identify and express interpersonal rights in an assertive manner
  • Develop healthier behavior to engage and attract healthier relationships
  • Clarify and reduce emotional blocks which prevent individuals from acting assertively
  • Become more aware of personal passive/assertive/aggressive behaviors
  • Develop leadership skills and becomes more influential in your life
  • Enhance your emotional intelligence and emotional maturity
  • Practice assertive behaviors in a variety of situations
  • Improve conflict resolution skills

Assertiveness Training Workshop

Being proactive, responsible and assertive is one of the most universally recognized and desired quality that people have. As a social human being we always interact with others. This requires us to constantly receive feedback, provide feedback, and initiate interaction with others. As we attend to our needs, we also requires to respect other people needs and wants. In short, this demands the ability to be appropriately assertive.

Individual’s need to be able to be assertive is high, yet it requires an acquisition of these unique, healthy and important skill. As such, spiral2grow, located in New York City, established basic and advance assertiveness workshops. This assertiveness workshop is psycho-educational and experiential and is designed to help participants acquire the basic and advanced skills to become effectively assertive.


The Power of Two – by Susan Hitler

The Anger Habit – by Semmelroth, Carl & Smith, Donald

The High-Conflict Couple: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy Guide to Finding Peace, Intimacy, and Validation by Alan Fruzzertti

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Call: 917 - 692 - 3867
Email: info@spiral2grow.com

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Book a Consultation

For an appointment
Call: 917 - 692 - 3867
Email: info@spiral2grow.com

15-minute FREE
Request a FREE Phone

Request now

Subscribe to our Newsletter