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The mighty metaphor: a collection of therapists’ favourite metaphors and analogies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 December 2016

Steve Killick
Affiliation:
University of South Wales, George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling, The Atrium, Cardiff, UK
Vicki Curry*
Affiliation:
Whittington Health NHS Trust, Islington CAMHS, Northern Health Centre, London, UK Anna Freud Centre, London, UK
Pamela Myles
Affiliation:
Charlie Waller Institute, School of Psychology and CLS, University of Reading, UK
*
*Author for correspondence: Ms. V. Curry, Whittington Health NHS Trust, Islington CAMHS, 3rd Floor Northern Health Centre, 580 Holloway Road, London N7 6LB, UK (email: v.curry@nhs.net)

Abstract

Metaphor is a central tool of the therapist of many therapeutic modalities, and they are a particular feature of CBT. Metaphors can be essential tools in the therapeutic process; providing the therapist with a means of communicating potentially complex psychological concepts and theory to clients, and also being part of the process of change. This paper presents a series of metaphors that some of the most experienced and innovative practitioners in the world of CBT have found to be helpful. Each practitioner describes how to utilize the metaphor skilfully and effectively: providing some tips for facilitating both the presentation of metaphors to, and eliciting of metaphors from the client; and demonstrating how the use of metaphor can facilitate therapeutic change. Overall, the small selection of metaphors presented here demonstrate the great versatility of metaphor to address all kinds of issues in therapy, with a range of client groups and presenting difficulties; and how the shared exploration and collaboration of both client- and therapist-generated metaphors can be an important addition to the therapist's toolbox.

Type
Practice article
Copyright
Copyright © British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies 2016 

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References

Recommended follow-up reading

Blenkiron, P (2010). Stories and Analogies in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. London: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
Stott, R, Mansell, W, Salkovskis, P, Lavender, A, Cartwright-Hatton, S (2010). Oxford Guide to Metaphors in CBT: Building Cognitive Bridges. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

References

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