It happened again the other day. I was in a therapy session with my client and they dropped it. The F-bomb. Their eyes got wide. The room got quiet. And then the question came. “Is it okay for me to say that in here?” I can see the fear on their faces. Sometimes it’s fear of being judged by me or someone they imagine me to be. Sometimes it’s fear of being found out, especially if someone else is paying for their sessions. But most of the time its the face of fear that they were open, honest and raw for that one moment in time. And I witnessed it.
I’m here tell you why you should say, “F***!” more often in your therapy sessions. It’s not that word in particular actually. Truth be told any word, profane or not, could do the trick. This is really about you speaking your truth with abandon. Most of us in life are taught that certain thoughts, feelings or needs are off limits. “Good girls don’t do that.” “Be a man, suck it up.” “Don’t talk about that – you’ll make people uncomfortable.” It’s time to question if these rules of conduct serve you all the time and to explore if they may be sabotaging your personal growth.
“Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.” Mark Twain
Let’s be clear, if you run into me while I’m with my children you certainly won’t find me cursing like a sailor. Why? Because boundaries are important. I’m not suggesting that you drop all sense of tact, modesty or awareness with everyone in your life. But I am going to suggest that you consider being radically honest with the healers in your life, especially your therapist. When the pain is really f***ing bad, say so! Let me tell you why.
First, one of the primary benefits of being open and saying things out right is that it builds trust. If you’ve scheduled that first counseling session then I’m willing to bet there is a part of you (no matter how small) that is ready to move forward. Lean into that and trust your gut. Withholding information from your counselor doesn’t serve the process and can render your effort and their skills totally ineffective. Let’s build trust – that’s first.
Second, you can empower yourself with words that describe your personal story and the pain you feel. When we seek counseling we are often coming in because something in our life hurts. Maybe it’s depression or anxiety. Maybe you are carrying the pain of trauma. Could it be that you’re in transition between parts of your life: relationships, jobs, motherhood, etc.? This pain is no joke. I take very seriously that my clients are entrusting me to be with them in the pain, in the thick of it. But for counseling to really work, you have to be honest. Empower yourself by using your words.
Finally, speaking candidly creates clarity about why you are here and intensity of your experience. It’s important for you and your therapist to be doubtless on why you are seeking help: what hurts, for how long, when, where, with who and why. When you’ve laid all this information out on the table we can begin to set goals and tasks for our time together. Let’s get clear and then let’s get started.
If you are thinking of leaving your faith, we can talk about that. If you are thinking of leaving your husband, I’m listening. If you are ready to leave your awful f****ing depression behind, I’m ready to witness your journey and help guide your path back to wellness. There is no need to watch your language if it means expressing the enormity of your emotion. Likewise, no topic is off-limits if addressing it means you having relief and clarity. You are searching for health and trying to find the means to get there. If some loose language accompanies your travels then I’ll not shame you for it.