What are some of the subtle ways you work toward growth fostering relationships with your use of language? It’s another place where “little things” aren’t little! These are three things I hear a lot that I hope to see shift. A few others: partner’s’ (possessive form) feels more inclusive for people who love more than one person; ‘not getting or keeping erections when you want’ instead of “erectile dysfunction;” and ‘co-determine healthy goals’ feels better than “diagnose.” Also preferring language that doesn’t assume monogamy as the default, so instead of ‘non-monogamy’ I like the feeling of just specifying open/poly/etc.
Yes, it takes longer to speak this way, but it’s honestly not that difficult to re-train ourselves! I was trained to say words like *cringe* “patient” and all sorts of unintentionally disastrous little verbal habits. Now it weirds me out when I hear people claiming ownership with “my clients,” but it honestly took me a hot minute (maybe a couple months and I’ll still slip occasionally!) to cut that one out. Well worth the practice on so many levels.
If we’re acquainted you’re probably aware of my deep love (obsession) of the work of #JeanBakerMiller (🙏 Gena Minnix for the introduction!) and #CedarBarstow (🙏 @luminarycounselingpllc for deepening the obsession) to do with the ethics around power. Dr. Jean Baker Miller basically realized that a bunch of straight, male, affluent, white people got together to define what “problems” or ‘disorders’ are in psychology, and so people who were just not... straight white dudes, were getting pathologized for normal responses to the world. She studied what makes therapy work and came up with an idea of #growthfosteringrelationships and I can’t recommend her article, “Telling the Truth About Power” enough. To learn more just search ‘Relational Cultural Theory.’ Cedar Barstow is also brilliant to read, especially if you’re a clinician or student hoping to embody a person-first philosophy and think about ethics in richly systemic ways. 🙌
We create our reality with language. Let’s work together to make it one that’s fair and kind and inclusive. 💞😘