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 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 your TikTok feed — were initially meant to use as helpful tools for decoding emotions and behaviors, but has been used as a weapon 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 therapist, allegedly demanded Brady to 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 Webster told Dazed last week. “People who have had decades of therapy can still behave badly.”
Therapy, once a glowing green flag on match’s Hinge profile, could now turn a revolting red.
TikTokers anguished that men 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 Larken, 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 Larken.
“Therapy is a great tool,” Ammons added, “But all tools can be abused.”