Assertive Patience in Acceptance and… | Counseling | Therapy

Assertive Patience in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Assertive Patience in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy image

Assertive Patience in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in Philadelphia: The pandemic has given reason for society at large to stay within the confines of their environment on a consistent basis. With the time spent quarantined, we are becoming much more aware of how we spend our time. Minor petty annoyances that would be washed away like water off of our backs are now unfortunately clogging our proverbial drains. Things that were once easy to ignore are now increasing, nagging irritants. Remaining intentional with our communication is a skill.

Assertive Patience takes that a step further, and is a skill that is incredibly useful.

Things that are testing our patience in ways that we have never seen. Assertive patience is the idea that we are able to continuously choose patience and kindness regardless of external circumstance or our internal negative dialogue.

Assertive patience connects to the principles of Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) as you are increasing your psychological flexibility and resilience to negative stimuli. With Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) principles AND assertive patience we are learning how to move away from unwanted experiences while allowing ourselves to interact with what’s more in line with our deeper desired outcomes.

A core tendency of the successful application of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is differentiation between five senses experiencing and mental experiencing. Examples through the dialogue below will demonstrate how to apply assertive patience and the Acceptance Commitment Therapy principle of psychological flexibility by choosing how we react to these scenarios.

Our tendencies before isolation and quarantine led us all into our natural communication styles (passive, aggressive or passive-aggressive). We now are faced with different systems while responding to the same negative stimuli. While we may realize that after the fact it wasn’t worth the aggravation. In the moment, to save yourself the regret. Utilize assertive patience, healthy communication and psychological flexibility.

Assertive communication in this context is the belief of protecting your thoughts, ideas and territories while also respecting other’s thoughts, feelings and rights. Assertive communication is a skill and it is not an inherent personality type. Patience is the ability to remain calm while dealing with a difficult or annoying situation, task or person.

Assertive statements begin with the words…

I think

I feel

I want

I need

As in, “I feel [emotion] when [event] happens.”

Patience begins with acceptance.

However sometimes we are not able to understand why we are able to be patient in some situations and not others especially when remaining patient for a longer period of time may have saved us from heartache.

Assertive patience is born from the idea of assertive communication. Assertive patience is the idea of being aware of your choices and continuously choosing patience. When faced with gripes and pains, mild or major.

We are in control of how we choose to respond to others, and it is important to make a conscious choice for the betterment of our relationships with our loved ones for the choices in how we decide to relate to ourselves.

Examples of Assertive Patience: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in Philadelphia:

Ex (Situation) - I know you’re trying but this is affecting me.

Ex: A married couple living in Philadelphia with a new baby in a small house. A common situation that plays out is the disposal of the dirty diapers. The couple must wait until the morning to take the trash out. However one of the partners continuously leaves a dirty diaper in the trash without removing air from the bag. After one partner comments on the importance of tying the bag properly. The partner attempts but does not know how to properly prepare the trash for disposal.

Examples of Aggressive response: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in Philadelphia:

· Why don’t you know how to do this? Do you want the house to stink?!

Passive Aggressive Response

· Are you not smart enough to realize what you’re doing?

Assertive Patience Response: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in Philadelphia:

· “Thanks for diligence in helping to keep our space clean. I want you to know I truly appreciate that.”

[Building up of what they did right, trusting your partner and committing to your patience to get towards the desires result]

Ex: A Philadelphia musician is practicing with a Settlement Music school teacher and is not able to perform the material during the lessons as easily as they were when practicing alone. The student begins to look dejected and mutters out “I just can’t get it!” The Settlement Music teacher can choose many responses.

Aggressive Response: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in Philadelphia:

· Why can't you get this?

Passive Aggressive Response

· Well maybe if you just slow down and listen to what I’m saying it might work out better for you.

Assertive Patience Response

· Keep trying: I want you to know that you’re almost there.


· You spent all week working at this, and have clearly put a lot of time into practicing. Great job on remaining dedicated.

Assertive patience differs from supportive communication in this way. With assertive patience you’re protecting your own thoughts, ideas, and territories while respecting others thoughts ideas and territories. Supportive communication can simply be accomplished through providing genuine helping words or by thinking “what would I like to hear if I were in this situation?”

Assertive patience emphasizes the conscious choice to be patient, not only to others but to yourself. Expressing patience gives you more options to see and feel the positivity in situations.

Communication is often viewed in an external lense (ex. you and other person). Assertive patience asks for you to delve further into your unique individual perspective. With an understanding that you are making a choice for how you will interact and what you hope to get out of this interaction. (ex. you, your thoughts and feelings, and respecting another person’s thoughts and feelings). Supportive communication may be done without verbalizing your desires directly, only what you hope the other person is able to achieve.

Choosing assertive patience is the magical middle that indicates you’re willing to respect yourself and others. This lends to mutual collaboration, respectful interactions and even respectful disagreements. Acknowledging assertive patience is acknowledging your own power in how you want to coexist with others.

Assertive patience opens up the door for a respectful way of problem solving and by habitually practicing assertive patience you are making the choice to further empower yourself while training the ACT principle of psychological flexibility.

If you’re finding yourself quicker to anger, quicker to lash out or quicker to shut down, practice assertive patience in your interactions. Uniting assertiveness and patience is about the core concept of choosing discernment and control of your thoughts, beliefs, actions and behaviors.

If you would like more information on how to choose assertive patience or are interested in the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy please schedule a consultation and I would be happy to explore this concept further.

If you’re looking for a therapist that is trained in assertive patience and communication techniques as well as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy please contact me directly at 267-428-2614. I work with clients living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We also have offices in Ocean City New Jersey, Mechanicsville, Virginia, and Santa Fe New Mexico and work virtually with clients living in Georgia and Florida. To schedule with a therapist at The Center for Growth call 215-922-5683 x 100.

InPerson Therapy & Virtual Counseling: Child, Teens, Adults, Couples, Family Therapy and Support Groups. Anxiety, OCD, Panic Attack Therapy, Depression Therapy, FND Therapy, Grief Therapy, Neurodiversity Counseling, Sex Therapy, Trauma Therapy: Therapy in Providence RI, Philadelphia PA, Ocean City NJ, Santa Fe NM, Mechanicsville VA