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Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia- Fear of long words

Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia- Fear of long words

It has been said that of all human communication only 7% rely on the words that we use. However small that figure might sound, the use of words is a very important part of our daily interaction with each other. The English language can be a particularly cruel mistress in that we have words that sound the same and even in some instances spelled the same which have completely different meanings to each other. The learning of reading comprehension, spelling, grammar and literature all rely on our ability to understand and adapt words.

For the majority of people the use and understanding of words is a perfectly natural and uninteresting phenomenon, however there are some people who have developed a pathological and irrational fear of words, long words particularly. They are said to be suffering from Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia. In a cruel twist of fate, the condition has an exceptionally long word to describe it.

The causes of this condition can often be traced back to childhood, during a sufferer’s formative education. Mispronunciation can often be a trigger for this condition, which makes the sufferer unwilling to “have a go” with other big or long words. This could stem from a fear of ridicule or of failure.

When working with these clients is it essential to keep the therapist’s use of long words to a minimum and gradually expose the client to them. Also, some form of regressive hypnotherapy could also assist the client in overcoming this issue.

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