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Making Hostile Words Harmless. A Guide to the Power of Positive Speaking For Helping Professionals and Their Clients

  • ID: 2325443
  • Book
  • May 2008
  • Region: Global
  • 208 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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"Making Hostile Words Harmless contains skills that change lives. Everyone who reads this book will wish they had read it years and years ago. Highly recommended."
—Stephen R. Lankton, MSW, DAHB, DCSW, Editor, American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis

"Ancient wisdom and sound therapeutic practice meet current challenges for making the hostile harmless. In this book, Kate Cohen–Posey provides a pragmatic therapeutic posture illustrated by heaps of helpful one–line examples with potential benefits for clients and therapists alike."
—George W. Burns, Clinical PsychologistDirector, Milton H. Erickson Institute of Western Australia

"Kate Cohen–Posey has written a delightful book to help clients create reframes, positive responses, and alternative perspectives to the negative comments of others. If people read this book, who knows, maybe civility with a touch of humor will break out."
—William J. Matthews, PhD, Editor, Current Thinking and Research in Brief Therapy

A groundbreaking new guide introducing a creative and positive approach for dealing with difficult people

Making Hostile Words Harmless creatively offers therapists and their clients a unique collection of effective exercises and bully–busting responses guaranteed to defuse difficult exchanges.

Based on the martial art of Aikido— the "way of harmony"—as a model to teach the verbal arts of confirming, inquiring, understanding, and evoking, this unique book:

  • Helps professionals and their clients learn empowering skills that will enable them to deal with negative verbiage and hurtful words

  • Presents an?easy–to–remember acronym, ′AAAH,′ for neutralizing negativity: Acting–as–if, Asking questions, Active listening, and Hypnotic and?humorous responses

  • Offers sample dialogues, case vignettes, and other?tools for using this approach

Infused with wisdom and a strong dose of humor, Making Hostile Words Harmless presents a unique combination of ancient philosophy and current psychology that offers antidotes to venomous communication with the goal of ending word warfare.

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Chapter 1. Difficult People and the Art of Aikidō.

The Martial Arts—East Does Not Meet West.

Verbal Arts; Instinctual Reactions.

Turning The Spotlight.

Response vs. Reaction.

Chapter 2. Acting As If—The Art Of Confirming.

The Art of Agreement.

Speak It As You Want It.

Counting on Compliments.

Drama Is Worth a Thousand Words.

Reverse Resistance with Psychology.

Exercise; All Purpose Confirmations.

Chapter 3. Asking Questions—The Art Of Inquiry.


Pseudo Questions.

Asking Questions to Avoid Assumptions.

Asking Hidden Questions to Promote Contemplation.

The Spotlight Effect.

Asking Questions to Prevent Prying.

Asking Questions to Evoke Inquiry.

Asking Questions that Give People a False Choice.

Asking Questions that Predict Success.

Exercise; All Purpose Questions.

Chapter 4. Active Listening—The Art Of Understanding.

How Listening Became “Active;”.

Obedient Listening.

The Amazing Mirror Mind.

Therapeutic Triangles—Reflect Harsh Words Away from Targets.

Narrating Behavior and Diction.

Naming the Game.

Filial Therapy Narrations.

Refinement of Active Listening.

Active Listening Add–ons.

Active Listening for Empowerment..


The Advantages of Active Listening.

Chapter 5. Hypnosis & Humor—The Art Of Evoking.

Modern Hypnotherapy.

Hypnotic Basics in the Verbal Arts.

Advanced Hypnotic Patterns.


The Comedy Connection.

Chapter 6. Taking a Stand by Opposing.

The I–Position.

Taking a Stand Effortlessly.

Disagreeing Effortlessly.

Handling a Backlash.

Buber Takes a Stand.

Chapter 7. Teaching Positive Speaking To Clients.

Positive Speaking Training Steps.

Aikidō Cross Training.

Positive Speaking for Inter–Personal Issues.

Interference from Inner Bullies.

The Limits of Positive Speaking.

The Goals of Positive Speaking.

Maintaining Balance with “High Wire Families”.

Chapter 8. Workshops on Positive Speaking.

Possible Titles.

Program Description.

Learning Objectives.


Scripted Program Outline.


Feedback Form.


Quiz Answers.

Appendix I. Verbal Arts Terms.

Appendix II. All Purpose, One–Liners.

Appendix III. Psychotherapy Approaches Referenced in this Text.



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Kate Cohen–Posey
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