I am seeking a word, or term, to refer to the people I serve, that is shorter than the current term, ‘the people I serve.’ I am seeking to find language to describe the people I serve, that is concise, and and feels accurate.
It was considered best practice to refer to the people I serve as patients, in the last incarnation of professional clinical practice, but, even then, the word ‘patient’ left an unbalanced, ‘power over’ flavour in my mouth. I feel that in my current clinical practice, I am reaching for a term that feels more equal; something that honours the wisdom and sovereignty of the people I serve. I am seeking a word that honours the collaborative process, with equity; I am not more powerful, or important, than the people I serve. We are equal peers in the process, more like colleagues, than patients.
I have tried the word clients, but it feels dissonant somehow. I have used the word ‘peeps’ to describe the people I serve, with more comfort, though it is not as easily understood a term, by as many people as would be ideal. I am seeking a term that can be general, inclusive, and still clear.
I am open to creating a word or term, so long as the word can be easily understood, and feels respectful in all of the aforementioned ways.
I welcome the ideas and wisdom of the people I serve in developing appropriate terminology to honour the profound nature of the collaborative, therapeutic relationship we engage in the process of the profound healing work we nourish together.
Please feel free to share your thoughts, feedback, and ideas with me, either in the comments below, or an email: firstname.lastname@example.org