Fear behind ‘open’ words

There is something very similar between opening up to a complete stranger in a counselling room and writing texts which others can freely read. Someone might disagree and say that it is different because within counselling you are expected to talk about your fears and challenges, while you can easily write about topics which are not so close to your heart. But whatever you choose to write or speak about will be judged and your thoughts will be prone to someone else’s views and beliefs which might be different from your own and that can be challenging.

Another similarity lies in a question on how to use words in a coherent way so the other person (a counsellor or a reader) understands your thoughts and/or feelings better. Mostly we are taught not to think about our own feelings but rather try to ‘forget and carry on’, so sometimes we are unable to collect and gather our thoughts, which makes it more difficult to share what we want to share. Using words eloquently carries a lot of power and the fear of being seen as not smart enough, or not worthy of someone’s attention is one of many reasons why we decide not to share our thoughts and, even less, our emotions with others. That particular fear of being ignored, laughed at or rejected often affects our relationships and makes it harder to establish new ones.

It might seem odd that talking or writing about your worries would actually lessen negative arousal and help you act less fearful, but there is a growing body of work showing the power of words. Ironically, when we label our fears whatever they are, they are less likely to haunt us later on. It seems that if we verbalise our anxieties we could manage our behaviour better.

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Written by Maja Tomse (BA Psychology, Master of Counselling, MBACP and BPS)

Maya Tomse is accredited psychologist and counsellor with a 10-year experience of working with people in a variety of settings, from NHS and private psychiatric clinics, to community and charitable sectors. She has worked and trained in 4 different countries which has given her a wealth of insights, which she integrates into her practice.… Read more

Written by Maja Tomse (BA Psychology, Master of Counselling, MBACP and BPS)

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