Repeat After Me: Repetition is your friend. Repetition is your friend.

How many times have you heard yourself say the same thing to a client or group?

"You're not alone."

"It's normal to feel that way."

"You don't deserve this."

Or maybe similar language to a struggling friend:

"That's not a fair expectation."

"They’re the problem; not you."
"You are making different choices than your mom did."

You are doing your best to be empathetic and build trust but nothing seems to matter. Their eyes glaze over. They looked shocked, tired or defeated. You leave the conversation feeling frustrated and like you have wasted your time. What’s going on here?

Think ____.

One trick is to having something sink in is to repeat it. Dr Susan B. Roberts, a Tufts University nutritionist and co-author of the book “Feeding Your Child for Lifelong Health,” advises putting a food on the table at least 15 times to see if a child will accept it. But guess what? Kids aren't the only the ones who need to see, and hear repetition, before something new sinks in. Folks in crisis and trauma survivors also need to hear an idea, thought or recommendation repeated. Now, I don't mean repetition in a monotone over and over because that’s not only boring, it feels insulting. But repeating the idea at different times in the conversation.

So instead of saying:

"You're not alone."

"It's normal to feel that way."

"You don't deserve this.

Try one of those statements. Maybe this ——>

“It’s normal to feel this way.”


Multiple suggestions, long lists and even empathetic statements are not only overwhelming but easy to forget or put aside. Repeated exposure to a single idea, phrase or new belief, however, makes it “sticky”. And when something sticks, everyone wins. You are remembered for how you made that person feel and the person in front of you is more likely to make a change or consider a different perspective.

Make your sentences stick! Repeat one thing often.