The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer, Abby Connolly.
The use of psychological terms to describe interactions with people in our everyday lives is becoming increasingly prevalent. Social media has introduced us to many phrases, such as attachment styles, love languages, triggers, trauma, and more.
If you’ve been online recently, you’ve probably heard all about the controversy surrounding actor Jonah Hill and his ex, Sarah Brady, who is a surfer.
Brady posted screenshots detailing Hill’s emotionally abusive behavior. In the screenshots, Hill demanded that she stop surfing with other men, posting pictures of herself wearing bikinis, and hanging around “unstable women” from her past.
He stated that these were his “boundaries,” but Brady claimed that he had misused the term in order to cater to his own agenda and control her life.
The weaponization of “therapy speak” is pretty common these days, as more and more people pick up psychology-related phrases from videos on social media. While it’s wonderful that mental health awareness is becoming more normalized, there are risks that come with therapy speak.
Therapy speak involves the use of words and phrases describing psychological or therapeutic concepts in day-to-day conversations. Sometimes, the language can get thrown around carelessly, with a lack of understanding of what it really means.
People may use therapy speak to avoid accountability or manipulate someone into doing what they want. This is when therapy speak becomes weaponized.
For instance, the concept of boundaries is often misused, as seen in Jonah Hill’s case. Boundaries refer to the rules you set for yourself regarding how other people treat you to protect your own well-being. They do not give you the ability to establish limits on other people’s lifestyles.