Whilst watching some the TV programes about weight loss, I’ve noticed something interesting about the way people talk about their problem.
Instead of referring to the way they feel or behave in the first person (using”I”) there is a tendency to use the pronoun “you”.
Ah, but that’s just a matter of speech, right, we all do that. True, but if we look at what is actually going on, think of the differnce between saying: “I overeat when someone is mean to me” and “you overeat when someone is mean to you”.
The first sentence is owned and accepted as what I actually feel, whereas with the second sentence the feelings are projected onto the person being spoken to with the implication that “everyone does this, don’t they?” The person may be doing this as a coping mechanism for their feelings. They may be just too painful to accept or experience directly, so it can seem easier to project them onto someone else. Unfortunately, this can set up a whole host of presuppositions expecting agreement from the listener such as “this is natural human behaviour that we all do, so I have no control over it” and it can’t be or is very difficult to change. So, as well as being a hypnotic suggestion to the listener, the overeater is asking the person listening to join them in their belief system. It’s worth listening out for these as a therapist, and not letting one of these slip past or YOu(or do I mean I?) might inadvertently be joining your(my) clients system of beliefs instead of leading them to a more useful set of beliefs to achieve their goals.
The use of pronouns I, me, self and you are used in different contexts when referring to our identity and by working with reference to them, we can create shifts in how we see and experience ourselves in the world.
For therapists, wishing to learn how to, it will be taught on an IEMT practitioner course later this year.