Phrases such as: ‘Can you really not understand that?’ / ‘What you are saying makes no sense.’ are often used. On the whole, criticism is a phenomenon that people encounter very early on in their lives, since the first people from whom we hear painful words of criticism are our parents. Parents and most people expressing criticism usually have good intentions – they wish to point out mistakes and flaws so that we can avoid them. Unfortunately, criticism is often unconstructive, painful and unpleasant. The person receiving criticism tends to withdraw from contact and withhold information or give incorrect information in order to protect themselves against recurring acts of criticism. Criticism constitutes one of the most powerful barriers to communication.