Sticks and Stones...

Updated: Oct 14

"Sticks and stone may break my bones

but words will never harm me"

Do you remember reciting "sticks and stones..." when battling being hurt by cruel words on the playground? I do.

The truth is words can and do harm people, which is why in therapeutic work, the first challenge in bringing about change can be to define thoughts or limiting beliefs by assessing the meaning people are making about the challenging situations they encounter. I do this by asking questions of "semantic precision".

For example, if a client tells me a situation they are facing is awful and should be different we spend time exploring what that means.

Often it is our sweeping generalisations and imprecise use of our words that add heat to our feelings. Making things much worse than they are.

Next time you feel the punch of pressure or stress try examining your thoughts and beliefs about the situation in terms of the language that you use... is it really awful? Can you tolerate it? Ultimately you will find that being more accurate in the language you use to describe your reality takes some essential heat out of that pressure that you're feeling.

9 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

"There are no "shoulds" in the universe .... only a hell of a lot of "it would be betters!" - Dr Albert Ellis 1978, wise words from one of the world's most eminent psychologists.

I agree with the idea that some goals are more important than others. A goal of performance excellence, for example, may be less important than a goal of survival. As human beings, we actually don't g

Managing our way through the vast challenges of progress towards our goals can be chaotic and overwhelm us. This sense of disorder creates confusion where progress is hard to see. To keep on track, cr