Name it to tame it with a little show don't tell!
Dr. Dan Siegel coined the phrase, name it to tame it ,when he was talking about labeling emotions to reduce stress and anxiety. He has spoken in great detail about mindfulness, which I recommend you read more about from the resources I have provided at the end. We’ve intuitively embodied aspects of this phrase. As a psychologist, it has taught me to understand terms and have a common definition for them. A universal understanding that reduces subjectivity and confusion when we speak about something or if it's researched globally. While I studied health psychology, it seemed so important to know about medical terminology. I wouldn't be using much of it, especially not with my clients, but at least I could speak to the healthcare professionals and have a common language that was understood by all. This would help the eventual implementation process, improving overall outcomes for the patients.
Despite this, a part of me also seemed to despise clear categorization. It felt limiting to put people in a box. There is so much to us and naming it just felt like I would limit the individuals in some manner.
In Music Therapy, we often go deeper into an individual's personality, not just looking at their medical diagnosis. The diagnosis is a minor component that can change. This is true for those who have a stroke or a traumatic brain injury where they cannot communicate or walk without help. But things change sometimes! Neuroplasticity and our bodies' ability to change and adapt is much more complex, but we should probably come back to it at a later time.
Despite this scepticism, I can see the benefit in naming something and not just letting it be. Something we understand but cannot explain or work towards...
For a very long time, we found happiness elusive. Each one of us had our own definition. To be honest, we still probably do, but we have learned so much from this task of trying to define what it is.
We have discovered new avenues, similarities to other concepts, and a need to research more. Research is always good. It doesn't always lead to clear implementable results, but it definitely leads us to have more knowledge about a topic. Isn't that what life is about? Search for knowledge, a search to understand the world and make sense of our realities.
I wanted to add another phrase that is so often quoted in storytelling. The internet attributes the use of this term to Russian playwright Anton Chekov. I think adding this element of storytelling is an important ingredient. One that I would truly want to embody. ‘Show, don't tell’ refers to letting the individual experience something through actions and feelings rather than through the
We do better when we picture something rather than someone just defining it to us. As a psychology student, during classes on counseling, I learned so much when I watched examples of sessions. A therapist merely taking a session. They did all the things the book spoke about S-O-L-E-R (Sitting Squarely with an Open Posture, Lean forward to show interest, Eye Contact and the last part was about Relaxed body language). We can quote countless other examples from various professions. The impact of seeing something is so much more profound than someone telling you what it is.
While I have merely touched the surface both in terms of “name it to tame it” and “show, don't tell” there is so much to learn that I am excited about exploring the origins of both and how they beautifully tie into the world of knowledge and discovery. In Music therapy, for example, there is a conversation around varying assessment tools. To compare notes with a music therapist in another part of the world has value. This will help us compare notes and reduce the subjectivity that so easily comes up when we discuss intangible aspects in life.