Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Helping our patients to be bilingual in both the logical and emotional language

In my early years in Australia, I had to be the “family interpreter” for my parents.

I realized that translating from Vietnamese to English, and then English to Vietnamese, things can get quite distorted although mostly unintentional.

So not recommended if accuracy is what you are after.

When thinking about our minds, we are bilingual in a sense. We all speak the “thought/logical language”, and the “feeling language”. It’s really difficult because we may not be proficient in both languages, and when switching from one language to the other, information can get quite distorted.

So from “thought/thinking” to “feeling”, and then “feeling” to “thought/thinking” again, information in our minds can get quite distorted if we don’t have great “fluency” around both.

In counseling, we aim to help our patients to be more proficient in both languages, so that their translation or perspective of the world can be more reliable and effective.

Our mind can start with a thought or a response to an external stimulus. It then can “translate” it into a feeling, then thoughts, then feelings, then thoughts, and then feelings. At the end of it, the story can become something very different to the first thought, which may or may not be helpful. 

Have you ever experienced that yourself?

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