Today I want to talk about KEY WORDS.
You might be familiar with key words from raising children, as they are sometimes used
in that situation. For example, I know a mom who uses a warning system where she never has to get up from her seat to discipline her children (at least at first). All she does is use key words, like… She’ll say, “That’s one…” Or, “That’s two…” But when she gets to “That’s three…”
Well, then she does have to get out of her seat because then her children know that’s when
there will be discipline for what they failed to stop during the verbal warnings (key words).
I know a couple that uses key words, too. He is a real joker. And he tends to pick on his wife.
Which she doesn’t mind…Usually. Except around other people. So if he is teasing her too much and she is starting to get embarrassed, they have worked out that all she has to say is, “That’s enough,” and he’ll stop. “That’s enough” are the key words they have worked out between them.
Do you see what I’m getting at?
Key words can be very useful in other situations as well.
For example, there is a conductor in the local school, and he uses key words with his “orchestra”
(made up of students).
At the end of a piece of music, he might say, “That was excellent!” Excellent means that they don’t have to practice the piece that week.
He might say, “That was very good!” Very good means that although the piece was
performed well, it could still use some practice.
Or he might say, “That was fine.” Fine means there will definitely be practice on the horizon for that piece!
You see? KEY WORDS.
They can even be used with bipolar disorder.
One woman I know who has bipolar disorder, uses KEY WORDS with her psychiatrist and
his nurse. When she feels as if she is experiencing symptoms of bipolar mania, she calls her psychiatrist and uses the keyword “escalate.” That way, she doesn’t have to go into a long
explanation about what is going on with her – her psychiatrist (or his nurse, if the psychiatrist
is occupied) knows what she is talking about. Because in a previous session they have together
defined what the keyword “escalate” means to her.
When she feels as if she might be experiencing the symptoms of a bipolar depression, she uses
the keyword “de-escalate” in the same manner. Then her psychiatrist knows automatically what
she is talking about and what to do for her. They still talk about what is happening, so that
her psychiatrist knows how severe it is and whether she needs hospitalization or not, but the KEY WORD is at least a beginning and saves time.
What is so good about the KEY WORD concept is that it goes so much further than just “I need help.”
If you or your loved one first sits down with your psychiatrist and defines your key words, the
psychiatrist will automatically know what you’re talking about when you use them on the phone
with them, instead of simply saying, “I need help.”
Well, I have to go!