You walk into a treatment room for your follow-up visit, and you wait. Your mind contemplates a range of possible outcomes. Most not appealing. The doctor walks in with an expression that brings to mind the way you felt when you spilt milk. Then he says, "We ran the tests and they show that you're........"
YOU ARE ......... (or YOU HAVE....)
Your identity just changed. In that moment, you went from being one thing to being another. (Or from having health, peace of mind, possibility, to having something much more ominous.)
Just because of a word or two.
We who employ hypnosis say lots of words. They are our tools of trade.
Anything that begins with "You are" (or You Have) is instructing unconscious mind about the person's core identity or core condition.
Even something said in a normal tone of voice, in a seemingly casual conversation, in the light of day, reaches the unconscious.
Especially if that is spoken by someone who is a respected authority.
I'm thinking that anyone who would come to me for hypnosis is conferring upon me the status of a most trusted healer. Similar to that of a surgeon. They are willing to relinquish control to me.
Let's imagine that the same exact words are said "You have..." (You are...) as you notice ideopathic motor signaling. You lower your voice and speak as she exhales. Just add the emphasis: YOU! Have.....
You'd advise me against it, ethically, unless I'm about to describe something appealing or beneficial.
Those who come to us for help are in a state of dysregulation. Because of that, their neurological vigilence is amped up. They are scanning for, and prioritizing anything that may be unsafe. When language points to problems and vulnerabilities, the threat network in their brain will seize that and work 24/7 to keep them safe from that.
So someone says, I'm depressed. I explain that depression is really exhaustion that happened because of chronic worry. Exhaustion and worry seem much smaller and less pathological than depression. (Actually, I spend lots of time tossing in science to make my claim stick.)
The impact of diagnoses on self concept and stickiness of pathology is why I'm loathe to participate in diagnoses. Even when presenting a Superbill, in most cases, I provide the ICD-10 code without the associated descriptor.
As guides into deeper states of transformation, it seems to me that we must prioritize the strategic use of words when it comes to even the lightest conversation about diagnoses. Or avoid them all together.