Healthy Communication

Good communication requires being able to express your needs and wants as well as being able to understand the other person’s perspective.

Guidelines for Listening

  • Be an active listener -attend verbally and non-verbally
  • Listen to understand, rather than to respond
  • Provide empathy
  • Ask questions when you do not understand
  • Concentrate on what the person is saying
  • Use “I” statements when responding and communicating

Barriers to Listening

  • Advice-Giving
  • Moralizing or Judging
  • Interrupting
  • Psychologizing or Psychoanalyzing.
  • Taking Over.
  • Going Off on Tangents.
  • Scapegoating
  • Competition
  • Blaming
  • Mr. or Ms. Perfect
  • Defensiveness

How to say no/or ask for what you need

  • Use “I” statements instead of “You” -> Non offensive (see below for example)
  • State how YOU feel about it (hurt, angry, etc.).
  • Briefly state the specific event/situation & how it affects you.
  • Say no respectfully or ask for what you need.
  • State how this will also help the other person or the relationship.
  • Make eye contact, stay calm.
  • Be open to the other person’s perspective.
  • Negotiate IF appropriate.

How to be Assertive

Practice using this formula:

“I feel________”(taking responsibility for one’s feelings)

“when you_____”(stating the behavior that it is a problems)

“because_____”(what it is about the behavior or its consequences that one  objects to)

“I would appreciate it if you______”(offering a preferable solution)



Short Video Assertive Communication and Boundary Setting with Lindsey Gerard, LLMSW