Name it to tame it with a little show don't tell!

Yamini Joshi
3 min readJul 22, 2021


Photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash

Dr. Dan Siegel coined the phrase “Name it to tame it,” which emphasizes the power of labeling emotions to reduce tension and anxiety. He extensively discusses mindfulness, and I recommend exploring the resources I’ve listed at the end for more information. Intuitively, we embody certain aspects of this concept, aiding in our understanding and standardization of psychological terms as psychologists.

During my studies in health psychology, I recognized the importance of familiarizing myself with the terminology. While I may not use it extensively, especially with clients, it enables effective communication with medical staff and other healthcare professionals. This enhances the implementation process, leading to improved overall outcomes for patients.

While I studied health psychology it felt crucial to be familiar with the terminology. Even if I wouldn’t use it much, especially not with my clients, at least I could communicate with the medical staff and other healthcare professionals. This would help the eventual implementation process, improving overall outcomes for the patients.

However, a part of me held a disdain for rigid categorization. It felt confining to place people within predefined labels. We are multifaceted beings, and assigning names or categories seemed to impose unnecessary limitations on individuals.

In Music Therapy (another subject that is close to my heart), we delve beyond a person’s medical diagnosis to explore their unique personality. While a diagnosis may play a role, it is just a small part that can evolve over time. This holds true for individuals who have experienced a stroke or traumatic brain injury, leading to difficulties in communication or mobility. However, change is possible! Neuroplasticity and our body’s remarkable capacity to adapt and transform are intricate topics that deserve further discussion at a later point.

Despite my initial skepticism, I can recognize the value in giving something a name rather than leaving it undefined. There are aspects of life that we comprehend but struggle to articulate or strive towards. Happiness, for instance, has long eluded us, with each individual harboring their own personal definition. Truth be told, we likely still maintain our unique interpretations. However, the process of attempting to define happiness has taught us invaluable lessons along the way.

I’d like to introduce another frequently quoted phrase in storytelling, often credited to Russian playwright Anton Chekov. Incorporating this storytelling element is crucial, as it allows us to truly embody it. “Show, don’t tell” emphasizes the importance of allowing individuals to experience something through actions and emotions, rather than relying solely on verbal explanation.

Photo by Brigitta Schneiter on Unsplash

We grasp concepts more effectively when we visualize them rather than relying solely on verbal definitions. As a psychology student attending counseling classes, I gained invaluable insights from observing therapy sessions in action. Witnessing therapists practice the S-O-L-E-R technique (Sitting Squarely with an Open Posture, Leaning forward to show interest, Eye Contact, and maintaining a Relaxed body language) reinforced what I had learned from textbooks. Countless examples from different professions emphasize the profound impact of witnessing something firsthand, as opposed to merely being told about it.

Although I have only scratched the surface of “name it to tame it” and “show, don’t tell,” there is a wealth of knowledge to explore in understanding their origins and how they intricately connect to the world of learning and exploration. In the realm of Music Therapy, discussions about different assessment tools are ongoing. Engaging with music therapists from diverse regions brings valuable insights. This exchange allows us to compare experiences and minimize the inherent subjectivity that arises when discussing intangible aspects of life.



Yamini Joshi

I talk about things that excite me. Health,wellbeing and lifestyle are a personal favourite. Psychologist and therapist by education, writer by profession.