How many times in life have you said something and later thought “I conveyed the wrong message with my choice of words”? As therapists, we develop relationships with our clients and there is a significant amount of dialogue that occurs. Education, demonstrations, recommendations, questions…all of which rely on conveying and/or receiving a message. The language that we use plays an especially important role in motivating and providing support and encouragement to our clients.
A word that is often used in therapeutic situations is “chronic” and this is a word that we have rallied together to eliminate from our language choices at A Body In Motion. Chronicity implies that something is “long lasting and difficult to eradicate”. In essence, “chronic pain” implies a feeling of hopelessness and it has been shown to reduce motivation and perpetuate feelings of withdrawal and surrender. If pain is accepted as chronic, there is a diminished belief that things will ever improve.
What if we change our language and we use the term “persistent”? If we talk of “persistent pain” …yes, the pain is there, and yes it has been there for longer than we would like, but who is to say that it cannot get better? Persistence can be defined as having been present for a lengthy period of time, HOWEVER, persistence can also be defined as “continuing firmly in a course of action despite difficulty or opposition” which sounds very much like motivation and the ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel…the healing tunnel!
So, you see, language in healing is incredibly important! It’s all in how you say it!
Happy Monday everyone!
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