Punk, it’s all in the interpretation!

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Billy complained that he didn’t like the word “punk.” He said this one word triggered him to feel anxious and he didn’t understand why.

Billy was seeing me for matters related to his emotional wellbeing when the punk issue popped up. He stated that an older relative would get in his face and shout at him that he was a punk. Billy said he didn’t really know what punk meant, other than it sounded humiliating. I asked Billy to go back in his memory and find the first time he heard the word punk. It all began when he was nine years old and a peer at school called him a punk. Billy said he felt humiliated and belittled, even though, he admitted, he was a bully back then.

I took Billy through an NLP exercise to address the image of the first time he heard the word. Following that we did three rounds of tapping (FasterEFT) to address the associated core hurt of humiliation.

The last thing I did to help Billy was redefine the word using cognitive restructuring. We started with the street interpretation of the word punk, then went to the dictionary. When Billy read the dictionary definition he burst out laughing. According to Webster’s Dictionary, a punk is a young, inexperienced person.

Billy reported that the next time his relative calls him a punk, he’s going to admit that he is indeed a punk, because he is only 16 and inexperienced, and he has his whole life ahead of him. To solidify all that we had done, I introduced Billy to the FeelGooodApp, particulalry the FeelGoood raps. Billy stated that they were not only helpful, but enjoyable as well.

I use this method to defuse and take the power out of trigger words, particularly racial slurs that push individuals to experience the fight or flight response. People tend to give power to words that, when reframed, really have no oomph behind them. It’s all in the interpretation.

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