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What’s in a text? . . .

Counselling — admin @ 10:52 am

Communication, when apart, has become very immediate these days with twitters, texts, blogs and emails. The immediacy of this form of communication allows people the freedom to say whatever they want, however they want, without mulling it over and without having to face the other’s reaction in person.  It gets it ‘off the chest’ so to speak and on to the screen of the recipient….It can be so easy to press ‘send’ and can induce a great sense of relief in doing so. However it might be wise to pause before you send . . .

For the recipient it can be hard to know what the tone of a text is at times and so the sender of the text is open to misinterpretation. The mood of the recipient can also influence the way a text is understood. How many times have you received an ambivalent text and read too much into it, only to discover that’s not really what the person meant?. Or better still sent a ‘do you love me?’ text, only to receive a reply a day later due to busy networks ( if only you had known this at the time it wouldn’t have spiralled into a major row with your partner!). When sending a text it may be worth asking yourself what it is you expect to hear back, if there is a need in you that you are hoping the other will fulfil in their response. What happens then, when you don’t get the response you had hoped for?

As we reread old stored texts (that we were keeping as evidence!) they can resurrect old feelings of resentment, anger and hurt. Here in counselling connections, we can see the parallels in therapy where past hurts revisited can bring up old feelings which are difficult to deal with, which is why we bury them in the first place. These feelings, while difficult to face, keep us trapped in past hurts and hold us back in relationships and in life in general. To move on and be free of the past it is necessary to allow those feelings to come up, to be dealt with. Anger and frustration left unexpressed can become low mood and depression when turned in on the self (Jacobs, 1998). Psychotherapy offers you a safe place to deal with these emotions at your own pace, where you won’t be overwhelmed. We have heard so many people say they are afraid to cry in case they won’t be able to stop. The reality is you will.

Therapy isn’t as immediate as pressing ‘delete’ on your phone or laptop but over time it will help you to sort out the folders in your mind so that what you keep stored away in your ‘saved messages’ are only those positive ones that make your life better. It doesn’t mean that we forget, rather that thinking about these experiences doesn’t hurt so much anymore.


Jacobs, M. (1998). The Presenting Past. Open University Press. London.

MMG, Counselling Connections.

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