Module Two: Essential Communication Principle – Separation

In this module, you will learn:

  1. What the separation technique is
  2. How it can help you in dealing with difficult behaviour and how you treat people 
  3. How to help people to see themselves positively, even if their behaviour has been poor

Let’s use the separation technique now to help you and the people you will be communicating with too:

  1. To the side of your first diagram draw your emoji again and label it “me”. 
  2. And now draw an arrow facing left to represent a space. 
  3. And draw the circle now and label it “what I do.”
    1. So now what you will have is an emoji and arrow showing space and separation from the circle of what I do.

By separating out, and creating a space between who you are and what you do, you create a space and an opportunity to grow and improve.

And if you communicate this separation to others, you can free them up from potentially negative or restrictive views that they may have about themselves. Just like the headteacher did for Stephen.

  1. At this point, write on your diagram at the bottom in capital letters this phrase-


  • Do you do this? 
  • Have you done this in the past when you have been criticised or given feedback?
  • Don’t worry, a huge amount of people do.

Using this separation technique of separating you from what you do, will help you when receiving feedback or criticism, as you can now see that it is the behaviour or results that can be improved, not you as a whole person. You may be thinking,

“Are you saying I am not responsible for my own behaviour?”

Not at all. The following slides provide an explanation for why this is not the case:


Using this separation technique actually allows you to take greater responsibility for your behaviours and actions.
Because you are not limited and tied to how you feel about yourself.
If you feel that you are only what you do, then if you do things wrong repeatedly, you may become discouraged and want to quit.
But if you separate out who you are from what you do, you can clearly focus on what you could do to improve your activities- behaviours, skills, results, as they are nothing to do with you personally.
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Here is a great phrase and an example scenario of using the separation technique at work. Use this phrase,

“I like the person, it’s the behaviour I don’t like.”

Make sure you write this on your diagram.

Upon completion of this module’s material above, select the “mark complete” or “next module” button below to record your progress to proceed to the next module. This will save your place and your work on the course thus far and will enable you to complete the assessment at the end of the course.