This young lad had obviously been told he had ‘behaviour issues’ but the way he shouted at me was as if this in some way gave him permission to be aggressive, it wasn’t really his fault after all, it was the fault of the behaviour issue. He had been labelled and was fulfilling the outcome.
This got me thinking, I was labelled a poor speller at school. In adult life I have always thought of myself as a poor speller, even though I know my spelling is ok, but the belief is imbedded deep my subconscious so any time I do make a mistake the belief is reinforced.
Many people are labelled, the psychology today website cites a case where teachers were told they had children who were graded ‘high achievers’ (bloomers). In fact the children were randomly selected but a year later testing indicated these children were 10-15 IQ points higher than their peers. The conclusion being that teachers fostered intellectual development in these children which became a self fulfilling prophesy.
We use labels to order what we see around us. But simple labels such as describing children as ‘bright’ or ‘special needs’ ignores other qualities a child might have such as their individual personality. People are not labels but labels we give people tend to warp our perceptions of them and lead to prejudice which can be at a conscious or subconscious level. If we accept labels given to us, particularly in childhood, we risk becoming that label.
Acepting a label can be harmful, loss of motivation, anxiety, low self esteem and truly believing that what you are labelled can’t be changed. Getting someone to realise they have the ability to change their beliefs and thus change their future is a major step. This is where hypnotherapy can really make a difference. Getting someone to go back to a time when they were first ‘labelled’, perhaps in childhood, and getting them to analyse their feelings and talk to their ‘inner child’, provide comfort to themselves, realise the label is not helpful and replace it with a positive belief that helps the client make a real change in their life.