Spoiler alert: I curse. Often. In a very sailor-esque manner.
There are not many days that go by that I don’t drop several F bombs in session. Sometimes, there are other swear words mixed in there, but the “F ” word is by far my favorite. I use it all the time with clients.
Some people have criticized me for this. They have called me unprofessional and unsubscribed from my email list. They have told me that I am rude and have no business using that kind of language.
And I get it. I really do. Fuck is a word that is decisive. It’s polarizing. It does not leave room for neutrality or ambiguity.
That is precisely why I love it. It cuts through. It clarifies. It speaks to the level of passion I have for what I do. For the level of commitment I bring to helping my clients transcend their wounds. For the ferocity with which I have sought my own healing.
I listen to my clients tell me their life stories in a no holds barred, bring it on way. I have borne witness to unspeakable atrocities. Beautiful adult men and women have sat in my office and revealed how, as children, they were raped by a step father.
Or how their mother stood by silently as their father used them as a punching bag.
Or how they had to worry if their parent was really dead from an overdose this time, or they had just passed out again and wold come to at some undetermined point in the future.
Somehow, Golly Gee does not seem fitting.
You know what does? Telling them emphatically, as they describe with great shame the ways they used to cope in this dynamic, ” In that situation you did whatever the fuck you had to do to survive.”
It also gives my clients a language and frame for their own experiences. Usually, it’s not only the original trauma that is so damaging; it’s our inability to express how we feel about the trauma that is equally as stunting. There is something incredibly liberating to clients when they can ( energetically) say to a parent or someone who should have protected them and instead hurt them ” FUCK YOU!” It gives them words for the depth of their rage and disgust. It allows them to push back against the powerlessness and helplessness they have felt for so long with strength and power, conviction and fierceness. It gives them an unequivocal voice.
Childhood trauma is not pretty and neither does our language need to be when addressing it. Childhood trauma takes no prisoners. It divides and turns a person in on themselves. It promotes self loathing and self hatred and the myriad ways that all manifests in a person’s life. Why would we talk about it with kid gloves? Why would we presence it with flowery, watery language designed to make ourselves feel better about what happened?
When we can give it the weight and gravity that it deserves, then we start to heal. And part of how we do that is we (can) use language to support it.
You by no means have to curse to be a client of mine. Nor do you, as a reader of this, have to agree with or like that I do. And I’m gonna keep right on cursing up a storm to give my clients permission to speak about their trauma with full depth of expression that they deserve and did not have.