Broadly speaking, feedback is information that serves to correct the functioning of a system, whether that system is a business, an airplane, an organism, or a psychotherapy case. For people, unlike inanimate objects, the process of feedback tends to come with lots of negative feelings, and this is because many of us implicitly think of or experience feedback as an interaction based on dominance or coercion. Consequently, a very common solution to the prospect of feedback is some level of avoidance.

Gareth Holman, PhD

This presentation is about another way of thinking about feedback, one that is very well suited to psychotherapy: Feedback can be an open, appetitive, and collaborative interaction that serves shared values and goals. In fact, the opportunity to offer honest, valid feedback that the rest of the social world has shied away from (or delivered too harshly) is a golden therapeutic opportunity. We'll consider and practice some of the skills involved in delivering feedback in this way: perspective-taking; asking for permission; linking to shared goals/values; communicating flexibility; specificity; and balancing courage and compassion.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the session, participants will be able to:

  • Apply functional analytic principles to discriminate coercive and non-coercive feedback interactions.
  • Describe the elements that tend to be involved in non-coercive feedback interactions.
  • Present a 'feedback opening statement' that incorporates the elements of non-coercive feedback to address a situation in your personal/professional life


Gareth Holman, PhD, is a psychologist in private practice in Seattle WA and an expert trainer and consultant in Functional Analytic Psychotherapy, a contextual behavioral psychology approach to interpersonal relationships. His practice encompasses evidence-based psychotherapy for debilitating clinical issues, coaching on communication skills for professionals, and everything in between. He is author of the forthcoming book, Functional Analytic Psychotherapy Made Simple (New Harbinger Press).

Licensing and Continuing Education Requirements

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The Evidence-Based Practice Institute is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists. The Evidence-Based Practice Institute maintains responsibility for the program and its content.  The Evidence-Based Practice Institute allocates 1 CE credit for this course following APA guidelines. After you successfully complete the course, fill out an evaluation form, and pass an exam, your CE certificate will be emailed to you.

Licensing and continuing education requirements vary by state. Please contact your state's regulatory authority to verify that this course meets your licensing and/or continuing education requirements.



Past Reviews

It was helpful. I think feedback is something we all struggle with personally and professionally and anyone can have an hour to look to improve this. - Carolyn Goldman

This course provided me with a structure for giving feedback to others in a manner that is compassionate and is most likely to be perceived as helpful and validating by the receiver. The personal feedback template is a real gem in helping me be mindful of my priorities and maintain my motivation and commitment to working toward them. - Abby Braun

You MUST see this outstanding talk!! Gareth added a perspective to my work as a DBT therapist that I had not considered....AND offered ideas that stimulated profound thinking. - Cheryl Kempinsky, Ph.D., Los Angeles