April 14, 2006


Below is a quick tool for communicating in a clean, respectful way: the feedback wheel. This tool has been around in various forms for many years. The form I use is adapted from Pia Mellody and Terrence Real.

Note: I add one step to their feedback wheel: Open with a gift.

Prior to using the feedback wheel, be sure to ask your partner if now is a good time to talk. This insures that your partner is in a good space for listening which increases the odds of a more positive experience.

The steps are:
· Open with a gift: Start with a compliment or something that shows you care.

1. Describe the behavior: State just the facts not your interpretation of them. For example, don’t say, “When you were angry”. Instead state, “When you slammed your fist on the table”. If I can’t see or hear it on a video camera, then don’t say it.

2. State what you make up about this: Explain what meaning you gave it or how you interpreted the behavior. Do not say things like: “What that showed me is”, or “What that made me think was..” etc.

3. State your feeling: Simply state feeling words: joy/pain, anger/fear, lust/love, shame/guilt. Don’t say what you think, state only what you feel.

4. State your request: State exactly what you want. Be concrete and clear so your partner knows how to give it to you. Don’t just complain without giving your partner a chance to fix it.

This is how it would sound if I wanted to talk to my husband about being on the computer every night...

First I would ask him if now was a good time to talk. After he said yes I would then move into the feedback wheel and say…

· Open with a gift: “Honey, I love you very much and I enjoy spending time with you at night so…”

1. Describe the behavior: “When you stay on the computer from 8:00-11:00 every night”

2. State what you make up about this: “What I make up about that is you don’t want to spend time with me.”

3. State your feeling: About that I feel sad, hurt and disappointed
a. Note: only state feeling words nothing else. Don’t say what you think.

4. State your request: What I would like is for us to agree to not use the computer after 8:00pm. Or… I would like for us to have an hour every night to check in and hang out with each other with no interruptions and no computer 3 nights a week.

This is a quick, easy way to state all the necessary information without going into a barrage of words. Before you use this however, take a moment to get clear about what you want from your partner (i.e. no computer after 8:00, more one on one time etc.). Also, when you are speaking, always speak from the “I” (i.e. I would like, I feel sad, I…). After you are done, try to make a plan with your partner on any changes you both agree to make.

Challenge: Choose an issue that is bothering you and figure out what you would like (come up with a specific request, not just a complaint). Ask your partner if you can talk to him/her and then sit down and use the feedback wheel. At the end, if your partner grants your request, say thank you.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The comments to this entry are closed.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference COMMUNICATION TOOL FOR COUPLES:

Connect with Lisa

Icon Email

Icon Twitter

Icon Facebook

Icon Linkedin

Icon YouTube

Icon Blog Feed

Subscribe to Straight Talk 4 Women

Enter your email address to receive
updates every time I post

Powered by FeedBlitz

Listen to Podcasts

Purchase Products

Attend an Event

Training for Therapists