Making Hostile Words Harmless: A Guide to the Power of Positive Speaking For Helping Professionals and Their Clients / Edition 1

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Infused with wisdom and a strong dose of humor, Making Hostile Words Harmless offers therapists and their clients a unique collection of effective exercises and bully-busting responses guaranteed to diffuse difficult exchanges. Filled with helpful tools, the book uses the martial art of Aikido, or the 'way of harmony' to teach the 'verbal arts' of confirming, inquiring, understanding, and evoking.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470281949
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/2/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 186
  • Sales rank: 1,562,452
  • Product dimensions: 6.22 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Kate Cohen-Posey is Director of Psychiatric & Psychological Services in Lakeland, Florida. She is the author of Empowering Dialogues Within: A Workbook for Helping Professionals and Their Clients, Brief Therapy Client Handouts (both published by Wiley) and How to Handle Bullies, Teasers, and Other Meanies. A dynamic presenter, she has a passion for helping laypeople and professionals discover grace in life's grueling moments.

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Table of Contents

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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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 4, 2012

    A Survival Guide for Dealing with Grumpy People

    A friend told me I had to get this book. We both have wonderful but ornery husbands. I had tried letting things slide, praying, and asserting myself and nothing would calm him down. But this style of communication is amazing. Now I'm using it when my kids cop and attitude and some of my "challenging" in-laws. When I say things like, "It's good that you're blaming me because it helps one of us feel better," there's just no place for the argument to go and my husband (or who ever) backs off. I would have never thought these verbal tricks could make me feel so good.

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  • Posted May 4, 2011

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - THE BIBLE FOR dealing with negativity!

    AHHA!!! Making Hostile words harmless is BRILLIANT!!! I never expected to see results so quickly! The minute I exercised the power of verbal arts - the results were instant!!! The most hilarious part is the negative person doesn't even know what happened.It is a win/win for both opponents. I have learned first hand how I can gently say a few words and turn the entire conversation back over to the negative person and I swear I could see them shaking their head as if they have no idea what just hit them! So EMPOWERING!!! The result - both of us are better because of my reading this book! This book is a must read for difficult communicators in your life. This book shall sit right beside my bible on my nightstand..I will read this many times...I have my life back.. THANK YOU Ms. Cohen-Posey!

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