Are You Using Therapy Words Incorrectly?

It’s essential to communicate about mental health with friends and family to receive the support one needs. However, there is a potential trap when describing mental health; the misuse of therapy words. For example, using psychological terms incorrectly makes it difficult for family members or friends to understand what the speaker is trying to say. Here are some tips to help Canadian veterans communicate effectively with loved ones about their mental health without misusing therapy words.

“You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means”

Before using therapy words to describe what is being experienced with others, take the time to learn what the word means. Use reputable sources to guide your learning.

Be Clear

Using words that are clear and concise will help reduce the likelihood of misunderstanding. Appropriate description and simplifying emotional experiences can communicate clarity and avoid misinterpretations.

Don’t Oversimplify

Using terms like “good” and “bad,” or “right” and “wrong” to describe emotions can be misleading. Instead, using descriptive terms can help paint a fuller picture of your thoughts and moods. Avoid “black and white” phrasing as it can lead to oversimplification or even confusion.

Use Words That Fit Your Experience

Using language that sounds complicated or misrepresenting your experience can lead to your loved ones becoming lost or confused. Choose words that accurately reflect the way you feel or what is being experienced. Avoid using words that do feel authentic to the emotions or experiences the speaker is having.

Be Careful Not to Label Friends or Family

It’s essential to remember that therapy words are labels for concepts, and using them to describe people runs the risk of labelling others unfairly. Labels like “narcissist,” and “toxic” for example, can be punitive and unnecessary when attempting to communicate about how one is feeling. Remember, that language can reflect reality, so choose wisely the words you use.

Be Open To Explanation

Do not assume that your friends or family members know what your mental health terminology means—avoid overestimation. Recognize that therapy words have specific meanings that they may not fully understand, and that additional explanations or clarifications may be necessary for clearer communication.

In summary, effective communication is key in helping friends and family understand mental health experiences, and therapy words can help achieve this. However, misuses of these terms can cause confusion or can be alienating or punitive. By using clear, descriptive terms or phrases that accurately reflect the emotions being experienced, avoiding dichotomous language, and staying away from labelling others, Canadian veterans and their loved ones can have helpful communication, understanding and jointly share the journey to wellness.