Communication Principles

General information and tips around better communication

Did you know?

Pain affects how we communicate

  • Distract & make it hard to focus (e.g., listen to others)
  • Bring up negative feelings (e.g., anger) you misdirect at others
  • Make you too tired to interact & communicate with others
  • Disrupt routine (e.g., work, hobbies) & make you feel you have little to share
  • Make you keep silent to avoid “burdening” others

How we communicate also impacts pain

  • Not appropriately expressing our thoughts & emotions contributes to:
    • Stress (e.g., tension)
    • Negative emotions (e.g., anxiety, resentment)
    • Being misunderstood
    • Not getting our needs met
    • Estrangement from loved ones
    • Confrontation and hurt feelings
    • Worsening of pain


In this module, you will learn about:

  1. Communication beliefs- and how these beliefs impact social interactions
  2. Different types of communication styles
  3. How to be more assertive in communication 

Communication beliefs

  • Most people have trouble with communication at some time in their lives
  • Knowing your challenges can help you to decide where to take action
  • What are some common challenges?
  • Our thoughts and beliefs about communication affect how we communicate
  • It can help to identify your own beliefs about communication

Download and complete the worksheet to learn more about your communication beliefs (.pdf) 

Communication styles

There are 4 main communication styles


  • Assertive Communication is the most effective

Download and use the Assertiveness Script to help you communicate with assertiveness

Key concepts:

  • Passive communication means not expressing honest feelings, thoughts, needs, and beliefs. Sometimes people will express thoughts and feelings in an apologetic way so that others easily ignore them.

  • Aggressive communication means you stand up for your needs rights and express your thoughts, feelings and beliefs, however it is done in a way which is at the expense of and violates the rights of the other person. People often feel upset by an encounter with a person communicating aggressively. Superiority is maintained by putting others down.

  • Passive-aggressive communication is a way of expressing our feelings, thoughts, needs, and beliefs indirectly. This style means where someone is really being aggressive, but it is in an indirect way.

  • Aim to use an Assertive Communication style. Use the worksheet to help you draft a plan!


76 Grenville St. Toronto, ON M5S 1B2 Canada

TAPMI Hub Clinic

Phone: 416-323-6269 Office Fax: 416-323-2666 Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday – Friday


Dr. Tania Di Renna, Medical Director Sandra Robinson, Administrative Director