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Advising: "I think you should ­­­"

"4. Advising
Telling the other persons how to solve his or her problem.
  • What I think you should do is...
  • Let me suggest...
  • It would be best for you if...
  • If i were you I'd.,,,
  • The best solution is..."

"When it comes to giving advice, never do so unless you've first received a request in writing, signed by a lawyer." - Marshall Rosenberg

“Empathy is a respectful understanding of what others are experiencing. Instead of offering empathy, we often have a strong urge to give advice or reassurance and to explain our own position or feeling. Empathy, however, calls upon us to empty our mind and listen to others with our whole being." Marshall Rosenberg

”Often, instead of offering empathy, we have a strong urge to give advice or reassurance and to explain our own position or feeling.” Marshall Rosenberg

"Giving advice. It shows insensitivity and makes the person potentially feel stupid, as though there is a simple answer that you know after only a few minutes of listening that they didn’t think of. Most issues are more complex than that. Try instead to help them explore possibilities so they can pick one for themselves"
 7 Communication Blockers (Grohol) 

 This usually involves giving a solution to a problem. For example, if a sentence starts by "If I were you, I would . . ." or "You could try . . .," then it is some kind of advice. The funny thing about advice is that most people never follow it. In addition, it is possible that, if the helper's advice is followed and it does not work out, then the peer support giver may be blamed. Essentially, the peer support giver should always try to get the person to generate their own solutions. If the person solves the problem, there will be a greater sense of personal power. In the end the peer support giver should do everything possible to increase the person's self-esteem."

Empathy Blocker: "Advising/giving options
 Why don't you try doing this, or that? I think you should just ignore that so-and-so."
Empathy Blocker: "The expectation
 You should have known better. Get over it. Don't let it get to you."

“I had a really bad day at work.”
Advising / Fixing
  • “Maybe you should get up earlier.”
  • “Maybe you should think about another line of work.”
  • “Maybe you should…”

What Empathy Isn't - Marshall Rosenberg Compassionate Communication
Empathy, give the full attention to someone. Give full presence. 

YouTube Video

  • Intellectual understanding - get this at university -i.e. theories and ideas. This blocks connecting to the felt experience of the person in the moment. 
  • I understand how your feel - but they really don't understand. instead demonstrate understanding. 
  • Sympathy - Feeling sad for someone. we are talking about ourselves. 
  • Fixing - (stimulates loneliness) 
  • Giving Advice - (stimulates loneliness) 


Compassionate Listening
An example of empathic listening example using a cartoon animation characters



Practice #1
  • Share a story of when you have experienced this block.

Practice #2
  • With another person practice telling 
  • Response with block
  • Respond with
  Practice #3


Family Peer Support Buddy Program2005,  BC Partners for Mental Heath and Addictions, Page 14
"Risks of Advice-Giving
The funny thing about advice is that people usually do not follow it. They seemingly ask, or beg, for advice, but in fact they are really asking themselves the question “what shall I do?” By offering simplistic advice, the helper may fail to appreciate the complexity of the other person’s feelings and needs, or of the defenses that are pulling them in opposing directions."