Every therapist has certain things that they tend to say more often than not. We have these phrases because not only are the messages important, they can be easily forgotten. While each therapist has their own unique style and common phrases, I have listed my top 5 below. Anyone who has ever come to see me will probably recognize some of these. For those of you who haven't, this may give you some insight into how I work as a therapist.
1. "What are you doing for yourself as all of this is going on?"
SELF CARE! It is so easy to get caught up in our busy lives that we forget to live. Taking that time out for ourselves can not only help give us a clearer mind to move forward, it helps us enjoy the life we have created.
2. "This argument happened in person or over text?"
Communicating over technology has become so common that we can sometimes forget to talk in person. When things are more serious, it is important to talk in person. This in part is because most of what we say is not coming out of our mouths. It is common for someone to say to me, "And then she said....." with the most intense glare or passive aggressive tone; later to find out that the conversation was over text. We can assign emotion that we are feeling to words that are read if we cannot see the emotion the person is delivering. If this happens, you can end up in an argument that may potentially never have occurred. If you are unsure what someone's intention is, it is okay to ask for clarification before responding.
3. "Is this something you have told _____?"
Many times when people are in my office, they are in a calmer state talking about the conversations that have been difficult. It is easier to be calm after the situation happened than during the situation. With that being said, I can often hear what you were trying to say when you were in that difficult moment that maybe didn't get delivered the way you meant for that person to hear it. If you can tell the person you are talking about what you just said in my office, sometimes that can help you find a resolution in that relationship.
4. "What does that mean about you, as a person?"
Everyone talks to themselves in their head. We can get so accustomed to the way in which we address ourselves, that it can become hard to notice at times what we are actually saying. I ask this question because when I can hear that you aren't being nice to yourself, this particular phrase can help bring to light what you are saying in your head. With more awareness, it can be easier to catch what you are saying and work through it.
5. "Trust your gut."
So many people will say that they had "a bad feeling", or they "just knew that would happen" after something unfavorable happened. If someone makes you uncomfortable, society often teaches you not to be rude and to continue conversing nicely. You were born with intuition and instincts for a reason. Trusting them is part of what helps us survive. If someone is making you uncomfortable, listen to yourself. You aren't being rude for getting out of the situation. You are taking care of yourself.