A Strategy For Responding to Criticism

Along with this week’s story about benefiting from feedback I thought it appropriate to include this gem from “The NLP Portable Practitioner Training” Section 4, Strategies.  It’s generally useful when dealing with feedback to have a really good strategy for discerning feedback from attack and for dealing with it effectively.

A Strategy for Responding to Criticism

(Developed by Steve Andreas)
Step 1: Install this strategy in a dissociated state. “See yourself out there in front of you. This
is the you who is about to learn a new way to respond to criticism.” Do whatever you
need to do to maintain the dissociation: see yourself far away, in black and white, behind
plexiglass, etc.

Step 2: Dissociate from the Criticism. “That you is about to be criticized. Watch and listen as
s/he gets criticized and instantly dissociates.” There are several ways for her/him to
dissociate. One is for him/her to actually see him/herself being criticized, or see the
critical words being printed out in a cartoon balloon, be surrounded by a plexiglass
shield, etc.

Step 3: Make a dissociated representation of the content of the criticism. “Watch her/him, as
s/he makes a movie of what the criticizer is saying. What does this person mean?” Does
s/he have enough information to make a clear and detailed representation?
•    If no – watch and listen as s/he gathers information.
•    If yes – proceed.

Step 4: Evaluate the Criticism. “Watch as s/he compares his/her own representation of the
event with the information she gathered in step 3.
•    Do the movies match or mismatch?
•    If they don’t – watch her back up to gather more information.
•    If yes, or when complete information has been gathered – proceed.

Step 5: Decide on a response (after s/he paces whatever part of their criticism s/he agrees with).
•    Apology, restitution.
•    “I’ll give it some serious thought.”
•    “I see things differently…”
•    “What I intended was…”, etc.

Step 6: Change behavior due to Criticism? Does s/he want to use the information s/he got
from this criticism to act differently in the future? If so, watch her/him:
•    select new behavior/response, and
•    future-pace this new response.

Step 7: Ecology check. “As you saw yourself go through this strategy, did you notice any
problems, or any way in which you want to modify the process?” “Ask the “you out
there” if she noticed any problems, or has any other concerns.” “Ask her if she
understands this method for responding to criticism well enough to automatically use it
any time in the future that you receive criticism.” Deal with any such concerns.

Step 8: Re-associate with the “you” that learned this strategy. “Thank this part of you for
being a special resource for you in this way, and then actually reach out with your arms
to slowly and gently bring this part back into you, so that the knowledge of this part
becomes fully a part of you, and available to you in the future.”

Note: You may also want to install this strategy in response to praise or flattery.

Additional References
Andreas, Connirae, and Andreas, Steve. Change Your Mind – and Keep the Change
Moab, UT. Real People Press, 1987. (Chapter 8, paperback)
Andreas, Connirae, and Andreas, Steve. Heart of the Mind. Moab, UT. Real People
Press, 1989. (Chapter 6, paperback)
Andreas, Steve. A Strategy for Responding to Criticism. Boulder, CO. NLP
Comprehensive, 1987. (DVD)

0 thoughts on “A Strategy For Responding to Criticism”

  1. Tom,
    It was good to meet you at IASH, and yes, I read religiously your informative and interesting articles. This one was especially good and I plan to try it on.
    Keep up your good work at making the world a better place to be.

  2. I have feedback for you, and it’s all fabulous! I just watched a clip of Oprah talking to Byron Katie, and Katie said something that was so wise: “Defense is the first act of war.” Were we defense-less where would the war go? What appears as an assault to our “rightness” can be the feedback we are looking for…if what you are doing isn’t working, do something else, anything else. Thank you!

  3. Pingback: » A Strategy For Responding to Criticism NLP Hypnosis: NLP hypnosis

  4. Referring to the quote given from Byron Katie: It is NEVER about simple ‘submission’ >>> turning the other cheek…. It is more accurately having NO expectations of the reasons for what was spoken or done, no automatic reason ready to be applied.

    I once ran a 12 week summer camp for Easter Seals….a very diverse population of campers, some considered to be ‘mentally deficient’, ‘retarded’, all those labels which are so often inaccrurate and lacking in understanding… My counselors once demanded of me “Why don’t they misbehave when you’re around?” My reply, which may or may not have been digested by some of them was simply ” I suggest you remain ‘defenseless’ in their presence. Stop expecting them to be like YOU. They are uniquely themselves and with totally different experiences of life. They function on a level that is unknown to you and are unable to be like you in their responses. They may simply be unaware of other options, or literally unable to digest those options as quickly as you have. It is NOT a fault. It is merely a fact of Reality that requires patience on your part to support their experience here as a camper.” That was 25 yrs. ago and I knew much of what I said and did was foreign to their thinking…So be it then and so be it now changed.

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