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The Power of Language

Therapy in Alexandria, VA

Words have power. The power to hurt or to heal. We all have heard this at one time or another. But words have other kinds of power as well. The power to make us feel to pressure, to feel calm, to feel hopeful and to feel helpless. Words fall into two “camps”: the camp of the Oppressor and camp of Ambassador.

The camp of the Oppressor is harsh, demanding and impatient. It leaves no room for alternatives. He puts you into a thinking, feeling and doing straightjacket. Words such as must always, never, should, have to and a string of others leave little to no room for possibilities or alternatives. When I notice my clients using these words, I gently bring their attention and awareness to this and to choose other alternative words or terms. Most are not aware of their Oppressor Word Pool which feeds their inner dialogue and so stress, pressure, irritability, anxiety, despondency and discouragement can set in.

The camp of the Ambassador is kind, gentle and tolerant. It leaves room for other possibilities and does not chain you to one course of action. Words/terms such as possibly, often, sometimes, would like to, plan to and open to, leads one to “negotiate” a course of action and/or apply mental flexibility which leaves room for change and adjustment. When we choose words from this Word Pool it also promotes shifts in thinking and, subsequently, in feelings and in one's mood state.

Take notice of what words you are using. Which camp do you spend most or all of your time? MAYBE it's time to change camps.

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