Stress management and assertiveness

Pedagogical objectives

1. Fundamental knowledge in the various theoretical fields of the discipline, in their epistemological currents and in their methodological approaches.
2. Skills to refer a matter or a question to one or more theoretical currents.

Provide students with tools for approaching stress management and assertiveness in a consultation with a patient. Discover these tools and participate in simulations of real-life professional situations (role-play of a patient-psychologist interaction).
Mobilize knowledge and skills (acquired during this course, as well as in other courses approaching the two main issues) as part of a work on case studies, in order to complete the theoretical framework with a practice-centered approach.


Applied disciplinary knowledge

Methodological know-how (introduction) : integration of experimental and clinical observation methods, of interview methodologies, of survey and questionnaire scale development methodologies, introduction to psychological testing, to psychometric and docimological methodologies and to group dynamics techniques.

Sensitising to different aspects of the professional practice of psychology

Transferable skills

Autonomy in learning
Organise oneself, manage time and priorities, plan ahead, self-evaluate.
Understand assessment approaches and evaluate one’s actions.
Increase one’s autonomy in the learning process; prepare oneself for lifelong learning.
Demonstrate abstraction ability.
Have an introduction to projet management.
Demonstrate iniative.

Demonstrate information-seeking skills, analytical and synthesis skills

Research, analyze and use information from different sources and media (paper and electronic) in relation with the current academic training, process the information in order to produce a synthetic document, and disseminate it through digital media (texts, tables, slideshows, videos, bibliographies ...).
Carry out a study: identify and develop a research question in a predefined context, build and develop an argument, interpret data and results, write an abstract, suggest areas of further exploration.
Engage in self reflection, display critical thinking, debate, develop a counterargument or defend one’s ideas.

Master at least one foreign language (English).

Generic pre-professional skills

Develop one’s ability to use knowledge and skills through exercises simulating real-life professional situations.

Acquire knowledge on stress management and assertiveness, as well as on the tools psychologists use in order to approach these issues, in a consultation.
Develop the skills one needs in order to provide counselling on stress related issues or on problems related to non-assertive behaviour, by participating to role play and exercises, as well as case analysis, in a framework which stimulates dialogue and interaction.


Intermediary-advanced level in English

Pedagogical tools

-Powerpoint presentations of theoretical aspects
-In-class exercises
-Case study -Role play

Course outline

  1. Introduction : stress management and assertiveness as ways of improving the patient’s well-being.
  2. Different stress models. Causes, moderator variables, and stress response.
  3. Coping strategies (problem-focused and emotion-focused, adaptive and maladaptive, active and passive coping).
  4. Stress management tools and techniques acting on three dimensions : emotions, thoughts, and behaviours.
  5. Assertiveness basics.
  6. Assertive and non-assertive behaviour : causes and consequences.
  7. Assertiveness as a therapeutic tool (in the treatment of anxiety, depression, problems related to lack of self-esteem and self-confidence or for approaching relational problems).
  8. Assisting the patient in various situations requiring assertiveness (making or refusing requests, expressing feelings and affection, expressing criticism or formulating assertive responses to criticism, etc.)


Alberti, R.E., Emmons, M.L. (1990). A manual for assertiveness trainers. San Louis Obispo: Impact
Kottler, J.A., Chen, D.D. (2011). Stress Management and Prevention: Applications to Daily Life. New York: Routledge
Nejad, L., Volny, K. (2008). Treating stress and anxiety: A practitioner’s guide to evidence-based approaches. Bethel: Crown House Publishing

Credit hour


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Number of hours for lectures