The Assertiveness Guide for Women, by Julie de Azevedo Hanks, Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, ISBN: 978-1-62625-337-7, 2016, 216 pages, $16.95.
It’s not a surprise to many clinicians that many women struggle with being assertive. In a world that teaches and often perpetuates mixed messages about what is appropriate feminine behavior, this book asserts that women in fact can be assertive in their lives and still remain feminine. In her new book, Dr. Julie de Azevedo Hanks shows readers that a woman can fulfill her need to make meaningful connections while simultaneously communicating what she needs, wants, and desires.
Readers are taught how to understand their own attachment style and how it may be impeding their ability to assert themselves in their lives. This particular book is different from others on assertiveness in part because not only is it written by a woman for women, but also because it takes a more systems approach in focusing on both the individual and the individual’s communication with others. The reader is given practical examples throughout the book, with both professional and personal anecdotes from the author.
The book is clearly laid out for readers in a logical progression—from defining assertiveness, the connection with attachment, and the importance of recognizing factors that influence one’s assertive nature to self-awareness, self-expression, and self-expansion. Throughout the book, the reader is introduced to a balanced mix of research, theory, and practical application of the concepts described. In addition, the latter chapters provide examples of self-awareness activities, case examples, communication techniques, and reflection questions to ponder as one masters the material. Overall, the reader is given an outline of how one can learn and know when to be assertive in ways that they might have otherwise ignored in the past.
Based on both clinical wisdom from working with women and from her own experiences, Dr. de Azevedo Hanks invites women to embark on a journey to create a stronger sense of clarity, confidence, connection, and compassion by increasing their assertiveness in the areas of their lives that matter most. This book is useful to any woman who desires to increase her assertiveness and is a good tool for clinicians to use when addressing issues of connection, gender, attachment, and assertiveness. This wonderful guide is highly recommended for anyone who wants to be more assertive.
Reviewed by Beth Russell, Ph.D., LCSW, Clinical Associate Professor of Social Work, The College at Brockport.