Languaging – The Linguistics of Psychotherapy: How Language Works Psycho-therapeutically




The Linguistics of Psychotherapy:

How Language Works Psycho-Therapeutically

  1. Michael Hall, Ph.D.  spiral, 275 pages, $25

Description:  This spiral book is an exploration into the art and science of therapeutic languaging found in four psychotherapies using the formulations of General-Semantics. It represents the bulk of the dissertation that Dr. Hall wrote.

  • How does language work in the human psyche so that it can hurt or heal?
  • How should we understand the work of “therapy” in which “talk” somehow, in some way seems to make things better?

The four different psychotherapies explored here include:

  1. NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming)
  2. REBT (Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy)
  3. RT/CT (Reality Therapy/Control theory) and
  4. LT (Logo-therapy)

In this book, L. Michael Hall looks at those therapeutic approaches through the glasses of General-Semantics.  From that exploration, Hall constructed a model that he designated “Therapy as Language” (TAL).  This work uses a qualitative research methodology to examine the linguistic behavior used in therapy to bring about change and a transformation of emotion and personality.  This languaging behavior includes using all of the linguistic and non-linguistic symbolic systems.


This study led to the remodeling of the Meta-Model and the expansion of the Meta-Model.  From this exploration there were two new developments:

  1. The Structural Languaging Model, an extension of the Meta-Model.  This later became much of the content in The Secrets of Magic (1998), now titled, Communication Magic.
  2. The Content Languaging Model that presented a list of “ideas that heal.”


Additionally, the book includes two chapters about consequences from these phenomenological and constructivistic domains.  Languaging and Consciousness(chapter 12) looks at how language critically determines, forms and in-forms, and creates various kinds of “consciousnesses.” This is an extension of the Whorf-Sapir-Korzybskian hypothesis of language.  The “Mind” to Re-language (chapter 13) offers a conceptual and phenomenological model of “Mind” itself in terms of its components and processes.  Readers may also be interested in chapter 7, Qualitative Research Methodology.

Style and Audience: This is an advanced work recommended primarily for therapists and linguists.