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Category Archives: communication

Words were originally magic – are they becoming black magic?

Words can be black magic

Words can be black magic

Why Trump needs to read De Shazer.

Words were originally magic is the title of the acclaimed book on solution focused brief therapy written by Steve de Shazer.

A solution focused approach believes, that the solutions to most problems can often be found in the words we use. This may at first take appear naive.

In essence, to develop a more positive life we each need to closely examine the words we use in daily life. We need a new story or narrative. Words offer the magic that is needed.

This belief system maintains that our problems persist because we keep on using the same old solutions. Solutions that never worked in the past to solve our issues. Put even more simply, we usually try to solve our problems by putting the same wrong key in the front door and then wonder why it doesn’t open.

By using different ‘words’ or ‘change’ talk about the future, by visioning or thinking about it differently – we are on the way to changing a situation. This is where the magic of words comes into play.

The words we use or do not use are central to  future outcomes.

This mode of thinking is also central to the belief of many seminal thinkers and the founders of existential psychology e.g., Husserl, Morleau Ponte, Heidegger and Foucault, the list goes on.

Essentially, we create our future reality and eventual fate, good or bad through the narrative we use.

What if the narrative we use is wholly negative? A narrative filled with threats and driven by megalomania and narcissism. This then suggests that words may also have the potential to become ‘black’ magic. In such cases we need to use a great deal of awareness and cognition to examine what is about to leave the lips.   The President of the United States, Donald Trump is spewing very frightening words directed at North Korea. The words are becoming darker. In this blackening of words, there is an even bleaker construction taking place. A construction that threatens much of humanity. Words have the potential to become reality.

Now, more than ever, it is time words were thought about with just pause and contemplation.

All humanity holds its breath.

De Shazer, Steve (1994) Words were originally magic, Norton, London.

Written by Dr Chrissie Tizzard – Consultant Chartered Psychologist and Chartered Scientist


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