Words to avoid
Avoid emotive words, words that we can feel – words such as STING, NEEDLE, PAIN, VOMIT and ITCH.
When we use these emotionally charged words they may fire of an emotional response that we didn’t intend. The words act as negative suggestions which may worsen the problem.
Avoid words that seek to reduce the emotive words such as “just a little”.
When we hear “just a little sting” we hear STING first and we still have the emotive response and “just a little” doesn’t help.
Avoid negative words such as DON’T
For example, “don’t worry”. Before we can process the DON’T we have already heard WORRY and the negating word won’t help. It would be better to “stay calm”.
Avoid saying – “don’t think about the pain” instead think about when we did … (something really enjoyable or overcoming a challenge).
Avoid words that accept failure such as TRY and HOPE.
“Try your best to deal with the pain” implies that if you can’t deal with the pain then that’s OK. You tried your best, you can try, try and try again – it doesn’t really matter if you can’t though.
Perhaps instead, you could say something like “You know you can deal with discomfort – we’ve learnt some great techniques, and those medications are very effective, so I know YOU CAN feel more comfort”.
Avoid sarcasm and mockery
– making fun of someone experiencing distress or discomfort may make them feel worse and less likely to talk to you about what they are going through
Summary – Words to Avoid
Strong words – PAIN, STING, NEEDLE, ITCH, VOMIT
Minimising words – “just a little STING….”
Negative Words – “Don’t worry”
Failing words – Try and Hope