Counseling and therapy is often associated with ‘talking.’ It has in some circles come to be known as ‘the talking cure.’

The ‘talking cure’ is a term originated in the late 1800’s. It was discovered, in a clinical setting, that a person talking out their traumatic experience, in a supportive environment, can if not cure the hurt, significantly diminish the symptoms. It’s not entirely the talking that does it. Listening is also a critical element. Anybody can go talk to a tree or a wall, and not have the same kind of healing effects when talking to a person, who listens, and hears, and understands.

The talking cure is about being heard and understood, accepted, and respected. In the words of one of counseling psychology’s standout figures, Carl Rogers, the talking cure requires ‘unconditional positive regard’ on the part of the listener. And yet, to be heard, one must speak. Speaking is not the same as writing, or typing. One can gain some benefit from expressing their narrative in written form. Journaling, as it is called, can help organize one’s thinking, making it more coherent, and understandable, to oneself. Speaking is more visceral, and more potent. It requires using one’s voice. There is the physical aspect of our voice; and, there is a psychological aspect to it as well. When we speak, we are expressing ourselves, conveying our views, our perspective on things, our values, priorities, interests, feelings, moods, wishes and dreams as well as fears and apprehensions; we are sharing who we are with whomever we are speaking with, and who is presumably listening. That is a healing experience. To speak, to use one’s voice, to articulate experience is empowering. It gives one command over the experience.

“The effectiveness of the talking cure lies in the human brain’s capacity for empathy. Mirror neurons in the brain, also called the premotor cortex and the somatosensory cortex, respond to the feelings and behaviors of others. When a person sees someone smiling, it triggers a response in the observer’s own smile-controlling neurons. The same goes for observing someone in pain. If a person sees a friend or even a stranger stub a toe, that person will likely feel sympathy pain in his or her own toe, controlled by the mirror neurons.

The talking cure works because of these mirror neuron reactions in the human brain. It is often the case that people suffering from psychological disorders, such as depression, are not aware of the root causes behind their feelings. Talking to an objective, empathetic, and psychologically knowledgeable third party can trigger neurological connections that may not have otherwise been experienced. These new connections may be in the form of experiencing empathy for the self or learning new coping mechanisms.

The talking cure also helps patients understand their thoughts, feelings, and behavior. The compulsive nature of thoughts and behaviors in people with depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders can be very overwhelming. Talking to a therapist who is not stuck in compulsive patterns can be an incredibly refreshing and healing experience, showing patients that things can be seen with a different perspective than the ones that automatically flood their minds.” (https://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-talking-cure.htm).

the talking cure

You are invited to contact Open Mind Counseling to arrange for your own personal, private, confidential telecounseling session. Telecounseling is an excellent platform in which to engage the talking cure. It is anonymous and relying only on the spoken word without the interference of visual cues. Take command of your experience through the practical application of the talking cure.

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“Has the world ever been changed by anything save the thought and its magic vehicle the Word?” –  Thomas Mann


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