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closed feedback award

Posted Mar 07 2010 11:48am

A closed feedback award isn't as fun as some of our other awards, like the Perfection Deflection Award. Maybe we won't have it as an actual award, but I do want you guys to have some ways to identify when you're stuck in a closed feedback loop.

So maybe what we'll do is say it out loud when we notice that someone's stuck. And, identifying closed feedback loops is not about judgement, failure or anything else you little perfectionists are going to suddenly imagine it's about... so don't even go there. It's simply about being conscious about what you are doing, what you are thinking, why you are thinking it, and about then being able to make decisions about how useful/not useful the thought process is. So there- I had to add that little disclaimer or your eyes would glaze over and you'd get all panic-stricken about this...

A powerful (and painful) example of a closed feedback loop was provided to us by Ann, who's closed feedback loop managed to mutate a logistical fact into "proof" that she's unwanted by therapists and a bad person.

This feedback loop reared it's ugly head in Ann's statement, which was something like, "why doesn't any therapist want to see me for more than a year?" But from what you tell us, Ann, you have been involved in therapy through your university's counseling center, which is structured for relatively short term therapy (which is typical of university counseling programs). The structure of a university counseling center has absolutely nothing to do with you (or any other student)- it's designed according to the school's schedule and the way staffing/internships/supervisors are employed.

Logically, how could the university's schedule be "proof" that Ann is bad and that no therapist wants to see her for more than a year?? In fact, how could the university's schedule have anything to do with Ann at all? It can't. It doesn't.

But that's how closed feedback loops work- they take information, facts, that have either nothing to do with us, or certainly nothing bad about us, and make us think that the facts are indeed about us personally and that they for sure mean bad things.

Thanks, Ann, for a painful and clear example of how these rotten closed feedback loops work. Closed feedback loops are always painful. They're also damaging, self-perpetuating and isolating... all reasons for us to identify them and work to open them up.

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