Week 5: Assertiveness
Past week review (no longer than 10 - 15 minutes). Last week's lesson on self-medicating with food presented one of the most important concepts of this course. After having had a week to think about it, what thoughts, insights or experiences have you had about this concept that you'd like to share with the group? Discuss. Now, before we go on to the lesson, does anyone have any other insights or interesting experiences that they think would be valuable to share with the group? What about any questions?
Wait for any response/discussion. (Be sure not to let this run too long or get too far off topic.)
Then, play the lesson. (Next Slide ) After Audio Check-In: What did you think of the lesson you just heard? Anyone have any thoughts they'd like to share? Questions? "Ah Ha Moments"?
Give people a bit of time to flush out initial reactions before moving on to the next discussion point. If there are no responses, simply move forward. Discussion Point 1: It is a fact that assertiveness issues are at the basis of many problems experienced by overweight people. Can you think of some situations where assertiveness issues can lead one to overeat or to make poor choices relating to food?
If responses are slow, you can mention some examples like being talked into eating when you're not hungry or ordering something you don't really want. Also, you can mention assertiveness issues that lead to frustration or anxiety which then leads to overeating. Now, think back to a situation where, looking back, you see that you were either aggressive or completely not assertive. How could you have been assertive and had a much better outcome? Anyone have a personal situation that we can use as an example? If no one responds, ask for a hypothetical situation to work on (an example would be: you go to a family dinner, Mom has made your favorite calorie-laden dessert especially for you. You don't want to hurt Mom's feelings, but you also don't want to eat the dessert. How would you have handled this in the past? How about now? Discussion Point 2: Today’s lesson focused a lot on personal boundaries. How do you feel when you have to set boundaries by saying “no?”
This question and the next are good ones to use to call on people who have not spoken very much in the previous meetings. Wait for the discussion to slow and then ask: How comfortable are you asking for what you want and how do you usually go about doing it? Wait for the discussion to slow and then move on to next Discussion Topic.
Discussion Point 3: It’s important we all understand how to use the 5 Steps of Being Assertive so we can begin to communicate our needs in a healthier way.
We will use the rest of our meeting to work through an example or two of how the 5 step process could play out.
Let’s first identify a problem…who would like to offer a problem for our example? Let group talk and decide on a problem. OK, great, the problem is...
Restate the problem
Now, we need to start the 5 step process on this problem.
Step 1: Identify what you want changed…What could this person want to change about the problem? Wait for responses. If people can’t connect and offer feedback on this problem, go back and select a new problem. Step 2: Express how you feel about it…How could this person express how they feel?
Wait for responses. Step 3: Specify what you would like to see changed…How could this person express what they want changed in this situation?
Wait for responses. Step 4: Spell out the consequences if there is no change…What could the consequences be in this situation? Keep in mind, sometimes this step can be uncomfortable, but spelling out the consequences is an important step to setting healthy boundaries.
Wait for responses. Step 5: Contract what each party will do, including rewards and results…What is the final contract that could be made between the people in this problem?
Wait for responses before moving on. If time is still available, ask for another example to work through. If not, move on to Wrap Up. Wrap-Up: People often have a false understanding of what it means to be assertive. Many people confuse their aggression with being assertive. And, those who are non-assertive often feel that any effort to assert themselves is a form of aggression.
But, as you heard in today’s lesson, aggressive behavior attacks the other person, while non-aggressive behavior ignores the problem and hopes that it will go away. What assertiveness actually does is attack the problem directly.
Understanding what true assertiveness means and becoming assertive is a key component of setting boundaries to meet your needs directly – rather than meeting them indirectly with food. Keep this in mind as you go through your week. Hope you have a good one.
And, before we close, please keep in mind that you should be recording both your weight and total inches lost in the Patient Portal every week. Don’t skip this activity! It’s important! It’s part of your commitment to doing everything that you need to do to get the results you want.
Also, don’t forget to review the entries in your Urge Journal before next week’s meeting.