Changing your language

When caring for a person with poor insight, the language you use can influence their behaviour. Here are some examples of the language to use and to avoid.

Why is language important?
Why is language important?
Words have power, and negative words place the blame on the person being cared for. They convey a lack of understanding that can have a negative impact on the person’s thoughts or actions. Using negative language may cause the person you care for to become defensive and reject your best efforts to help them.
Words to avoid
Words to avoid
Words to avoid:
• S/He refuses
• S/He denies
• S/He doesn’t
• S/He won’t
• Why do you feel like this?
• You should
Words that work
Words that work
Words and questions can communicate acceptance and understanding. They can separate the symptoms of the illness from the person, and remove blame.
Words that work:
• S/He cannot acknowledge
• S/He is unaware
• S/He is unable to admit
• How do you feel?
• What is wrong?