In writing about his work in the ER recently, the Nurse said this of the people he cares for:

“…most of the people I see are sick but often they are diseased with frustration, hopelessness, despair, anger, sadness and loneliness. These diseases are epidemic. It is a poverty that we call all of this depression.”

Because our collective reality is created through the language we use, it is poverty indeed not to call experience by a meaningful name. Like the Nurse, I see many people who suffer from “depression” in my therapy office. It often takes weeks to get past that word, which renders it clinical (and therefore, they hope, understandable) and into the the words that can really speak to the experience.

In the therapy process, we call this “unpacking.” I like this idea. I imagine my clients bring suitcase into my office, one with some artificial label on it. Often, therapy becomes the simple process of naming what is inside.

 

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