It’s time to talk it out.
The likes of Jonah Hill — who was accused of misusing psychology vocab to “control” his ex this weekend — have faced criticism for the overuse of “therapy speak,” or “psychobabble,” as a tool of manipulation rather than an expression of emotional vulnerability.
“Therapy speak,” or the use of psychology jargon without understanding its meaning, has gained traction online — with more than 16 billion views on the TikTok tag — amid calls for more people to seek counseling in recent years.
Commonly misused buzzwords such as “gaslighting,” “narcissism” and “trauma” — terms learned in a counselor’s office or, more likely, on a TikTok feed — were intended to be helpful tools for decoding emotions and behaviors, but have been used as weapons instead.
” ‘Therapy speak’ becomes dangerous when we utilize it for not just needs, but also desires that come out of insecurity,” Ajax Ammons, a New York City content creator and mental health advocate, told The Post.
On Saturday, pro surfer Sarah Brady posted screenshots on Instagram of her alleged texts with Hill, 39.
The creator of “Stutz,” a documentary about Hill’s own therapist, allegedly demanded Brady take down photos of herself in bikinis and not talk to other men, claiming those are his relationship “boundaries.” Brady, on the other hand, said this was a “misuse” of the word.
“The weaponizing of therapy talk is crazy because you’re learning terminology you used in therapy to get someone to stop doing what they love,” popular creator Tefi Pessoa said in a viral TikTok clip Sunday in reaction to Hill’s supposed “boundaries.”
The Post has reached out to Brady and Hill for comment.
The discourse over the highly disputed allegations coincides with a larger push for men, who are less likely to seek mental health treatment, to go to therapy, as single women refuse bachelors who haven’t attended a session.
“There’s often a fantasy that someone who has been in therapy is self-aware, reflective, considerate, responsible. It’s an ideal that isn’t always the reality,” psychotherapist and author Charlotte Fox Weber told Dazed last week. “People who have had decades of therapy can still behave badly.”
Therapy, once a glowing green flag on a match’s Hinge profile, could now turn a revolting red.
TikTokers are anguished that men could use counseling to “learn to misuse and weaponize therapy language.”
If someone is “using these terms to justify emotionally abusive behavior or harm done to another person under the guise of ‘boundaries,’ ” then it can be manipulative, Lauren Larkin, a West Village licensed mental health counselor, told The Post in an email.
“If the intention behind overusing therapy terms is to gain power and control over another person, that’s manipulation,” she added.
“Therapy speak” has also been criticized for making people more “selfish” and “less empathetic” towards each other: Friendships terminated on a dime because it “no longer serves” one person, or a cold break-up due to an unexplained “crossed boundary.”
“Psychobabble” carries empty authority and a tone of academic elitism that makes it seem near impossible to dispute due to its “formal” nature positioning the user “as an authority around the subject,” said Ammons, 27.
But ultimately, therapy is not the culprit — it’s how the terms are wielded that determines if “we can create pain and impact others negatively,” said Larkin.
“Therapy is a great tool,” Ammons added, “But all tools can be abused.”
𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝘀, 𝗖𝗼𝗽𝘆𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘆: nypost.com
𝗙𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗗𝗠𝗖𝗔,
𝗣𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝘂𝘀 𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗶𝗹 𝗮𝘁 firstname.lastname@example.org