Erik Bohlin, M.A., LMHC
New Hope Counseling Service
430 91st AVE NE, STE 8
Lake Stevens, WA 98258
Tips for using the Constructive Feedback Model:
- Start at the top and
share with the person their behavior by saying, “When you ____.” Fill in the
blank with an actual behavior. Do not put in a character issue, an identity
or something to nonspecific like, “when you are an idiot” or “when you act
abusively.” Behaviors are easier to change than character. A good example
would be, “When you hit me on the chest” or “when you said that I should quit
my job. . .” This is specific and helps build a bridge with the other person.
- Then state how you feel.
Put an emotion in the blank, like “sad,” “mad,” “upset,” “left out,” “scared,”
or some other emotion. “I feel that. . .” is an opinion, not a feeling. “I
feel that you are trying to make my life difficult,” is judging a person’s
motive and is an opinion. “I feel” and “when you” are interchangeable. You
can say, “I feel . . . when you. . .” or “When you. . ., I feel. . .”
- “Because. . .” is
option. It give the listener more information that may be necessary. For
instance, “when you brought me yellow roses, I felt sad,
because yellow means only friendship and red is for lovers.” It
clarifies. Without it might not make sense.
“When you raise your voice at me, I feel scared, because my dad always yelled
“When you spend money on items I think we don’t need, I feel nervous, because we
don’t have much money to spend.”
- Specify what you want.
Make is clear and simple. Use a because statement if necessary.
- Conclude with “what do
you think.” We are not asked this as much as we should. This includes the
other person and asks them for feedback. It is really disarming to use after
we have share how we feel.
- Practice makes perfect.
Using this will better your communication. You can stop anywhere along the
pyramid working your way down. I can say:
“I am feeling sad.”
“When you didn’t sit
and talk with me last night, I felt sad.”
“When you didn’t sit
and talk with me last night, I felt sad, because I hadn’t seen you all week.”
“When you didn’t sit and talk with me last night, I felt sad, because I hadn’t
seen you all week. I want to talk with you and share how my week was going,
because there are some exciting things. What do you think?