29 Jan Terrence Real’s Feedback Wheel

Posted at 3:40 pm in Couples Therapy by jlbworks

Couples usually come for therapy wanting help with their communication. Often fights escalate when partners lose their focus on exactly what it is they are fighting about. Terrence Real, in his book The New Rules of Marriage, suggests using what he calls The Feedback Wheel to help with miscommunication and escalation.
 
Here are the steps in The Feedback Wheel process:
 

  • Ask your partner if s/he is willing to listen. This is a crucial step, as it elicits your partner’s agreement to be involved in a discussion.
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  • Remember that your motivation is that you love him/her. It’s also important to first be grounded, internally, in your care for your partner and your relationship before launching into your issue.

 
Begin The Feedback Wheel by sticking to the following steps:
 

  • What I saw/heard about a particular event:
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  • What I made up about the event:
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  • How I feel about the event:
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  • What I would like to have happen in the future:
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  • Let go of the outcome.

 
Sticking to these guidelines is more difficult than it might seem. Usually it takes some coaching and practice in therapy to follow these steps correctly. Letting go of the outcome is crucial because it reminds us that we cannot control our partners. My goal is to limit my communication to strictly what I saw and heard and to acknowledge that I have (often negatively) interpreted my partner’s actions in a certain way. Finally I can talk about how I would like to see things go in the future.