8 Keys to Eliminating Passive-Aggressiveness

Presented by Andrea Brandt, PhD on 05-01-2015 at 9 a.m. Pacific

We tend to use the term passive-aggressive quite liberally to describe behavior we find annoying in others. “Oh, he is so passive-aggressive!” Passive-aggressiveness is, in fact, a pattern of expressing negative feelings indirectly rather than openly addressing them. It is a coping mechanism people use when they perceive themselves to be powerless or when they fear that using their power will lead to a bad outcome, such as anger, conflict, or separation.

Surprisingly, though passive-aggressiveness is designed to avoid provoking anger in others, the opposite occurs. Behaviors ranging from the meekly non-assertive to the outright hostile surreptitiously give hidden anger a voice, inciting those on the receiving end to react with frustration, anger, and resentment. With repeated occurrences, relationships erode and often are ultimately destroyed.

As damaging as this pattern is, behaving passive-aggressively doesn’t make a person bad, nor does the anger that lies beneath this behavior. Rarely is passive-aggressiveness a conscious or deliberate choice, but rather it is a complex mechanism that derives from childhood experiences, causing great suffering to those in its grip. We need to have as much empathy for the perpetrators as for the confused and angry partners who are injured (romantic partner, friend, co-worker, boss, employee, parent, adult child, or sibling—any substantial relationship), until the perpetrators understand their problematic behavior and bring an end to its reign over their lives. Awareness of how the behavior is in play is half the battle in making a better choice.

In this web conference, we will explore passive-aggression in detail and look at its sources. I’ll introduce eight keys to helping those with passive-aggressive tendencies find new ways to relate to their anger and to express their needs and feelings more directly. I will also offer reliable strategies for the partners who inadvertently find themselves caught up in a passive-aggressive dance. These methods will help both types of clients to disengage from the cycle and to start taking effective steps to eliminate passive-aggressiveness from their lives.

This web conference is intermediate instructional level and designed to help clinicians:

  1. Describe what passive-aggressiveness is, how it is formed, and how the ingrained personality pattern is different from the isolated passive-aggressive behaviors we all sometimes exhibit;
  2. Discover common but often misdiagnosed symptoms of a passive-aggressive personality type;
  3. Explain the eight keys that make up a holistic approach to transforming the pattern and creating a life of effective assertiveness and greater authenticity and joy;
  4. Discuss strategies to “disable the enabler,” helping people who are the partners in the passive-aggressive dance to stop exacerbating the condition and to replace accommodation with a healthy expression of negative feelings.

If you have any questions or concerns about this web conference, or would like more information, please contact us here.

How the Web Conference Works

Attendees who register for this event will log in to the web conference center by using a computer and calling in to the teleconference line. Attendees will be able to ask live audio questions via phone and/or submit text chat questions via computer. Live streaming video and/or document sharing will also be available to participants. Alternatively, attendees may dial in to the teleconference line only, though attendees dialing in by phone only will be unable to ask questions.

Before the scheduled event, all registered attendees will be sent a reminder email with specific instructions on how to log in to the web conference center, as well as links to optional handout materials if applicable.

This event will include lecture and question-and-answer periods. A recording of the web conference will be available to members in GoodTherapy.org's Continuing Education Archives within two weeks. After the live event, a written transcript of the event will be available in the Member's Area. Members of GoodTherapy.org can receive continuing education credits for attending this event by logging in to the GoodTherapy.org Member's Area.

403.5CE hours and counting!

All are available to GoodTherapy.org members at no additional cost.

Continuing Education (CE) Information

Two CE credits will be provided by GoodTherapy.org for attending this web conference in its entirety.

GoodTherapy.org is also an Approved Education Provider by NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals (provider #135463). Of the eight counselor skill groups ascribed to by NAADAC, this course is classified within counseling services.

GoodTherapy.org is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEPTM) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements.

GoodTherapy.org, provider #1352, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. ASWB Approval Period: March 30, 2016 through March 30, 2019. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval. Social workers participating in this course will receive two clinical continuing education clock hours.

GoodTherapy.org is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for this program and its content and is solely responsible for all aspects of the program.

GoodTherapy.org, SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0395.

Registration Information

This web conference is available at no cost to GoodTherapy.org members.

This event has already taken place. An audio recording for this event may be available in the Member's Area.

Event Reviews from Members

"The information was detailed and helps to identify characteristics of people with passive aggressive behavior." - Elaine Zachrel, LCPC

Meet the Presenter

Andrea Brandt, PhD

Andrea Brandt, PhD

Dr. Andrea Brandt, PhD, MFT is an author, speaker, and psychotherapist with more than 30 years experience. Her clinical expertise includes treating relationships, women's issues, anxiety, aggression, anger, aging, workplace issues, and work-life balance. Dr. Brandt has treated people from a variety of backgrounds coping with extreme scenarios and rough patches by emphasizing the mind-body-heart connection as key to achieving mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Through her work promoting emotional healing with mindfulness, Dr. Brandt directed her attention to the study of anger and passive-aggressiveness, and her books 8 Keys to Eliminating Passive-Aggressiveness and Mindful Anger: A Pathway to Emotional Freedom explore strategies for overcoming the debilitating behavior.

Dr. Brandt is an experienced practitioner of somatic psychology, and she has employed numerous other methodologies, interventions, orientations, and treatment plans. Whether in a clinical or workshop setting, Dr. Brandt guides people toward heightened awareness and intuition and reveals positive paths to emotional health. She teaches others how to empower and reinvent themselves and helps bring understanding, enthusiasm, and happiness to their lives.

Dr. Brandt has been interviewed by Parenting Magazine, Larry King Live, The Love Connection, The Los Angeles Times, eHow.com, and The Huffington Post, among others. She completed her master’s degree in clinical psychology at Goddard University and her PhD in philosophy with an emphasis in psychology at Pacific Western University. She lives in Santa Monica, California with her husband. For more information on Dr. Brandt and her practice, visit www.abrandtherapy.com.

Continuing Education Provider Approvals

  • ace
    GoodTherapy.org is Approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for this program and its content. APA approval applies to all events listed after May 2011.
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    GoodTherapy.org has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6380. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. GoodTherapy.org is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
  • Logo
    This course has been approved by GoodTherapy.org, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for educational credits. NAADAC Provider #135463. GoodTherapy.org is responsible for all aspects of their programming.
  • ace
    GoodTherapy.org, provider #1352, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 03/30/2016 – 03/30/2019. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this course will receive 2 clinical continuing education clock hours.
  • GoodTherapy.org, SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0395.