Language of Therapy

Starting therapy can be an intimidating process for people. Part of my job is to normalize this process for the client; to earn their trust in order to be a collaborative part of their healing and to create a space for them that becomes theirs to share their story. Very often, the language we use as therapists can be a contributory factor and can soften the process. Here are some of my top examples:

  • “Sounds like we need to spend a bit of time unpacking this one.”
  • “When we tease that out, separate it from its parts, it may not seem so scary.”
  • “Sounds like you are at a point when you need to roll up your sleeves and dig in.”
  • “Sometimes emotions can overload our circuits; its okay to recognize that you’ve become flooded.”
  • “Perhaps it is time that you steer the ship in a bit of a different direction.”
  • “It’s okay to take some space from this situation/person.”

I also use the words “lean into” or “land” quite a bit, such as “Where does this land for you?” or “How are you leaning into this one?” as ways to ease clients into self-reflection. Very often, the phrases bring along with them a visual that also heightens the capacity for change; to recognize that there is a possible choice in the matter. I have come to notice that language matters; not only in the therapy office but in our healthy relationships as well. Bringing in these types of phrases to our loved ones can be a supportive gesture; leaving them feel supported, cared for and held.

Photo credit: http://Photo by Diomari Madulara on Unsplash

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