Metaphor is an essential component of the art of psychotherapy and its use is more apparent in some branches than others. The noted psychiatrist and clinical hypnotherapist Milton Erickson is considered a master of the art of metaphor and was known for his ‘teaching tales’ which often imparted important messages by indirect means. There is a strong use of metaphor within the cognitive behavioral family of therapies. Beck describes a number of uses of metaphor in his 1979 Cognitive Therapy of Depression. The use of metaphor is perhaps described most succinctly in Oxford Guide to Metaphors in CBTin which the authors argue “The business of cognitive therapy is to transform meanings. What better way to achieve this than through a metaphor?” (Stott, Mansell, Salkovskis, Lavender, & Cartwright-Hatton, 2010).
Beck, A. T., Rush, A. J., Shaw, B. F., & Emery, G. (1979). Cognitive therapy of depression. New York: Guilford Press.
Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980a). Conceptual metaphor in everyday language. The Journal of Philosophy, 77(8), 453–486.
Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980b). The metaphorical structure of the human conceptual system. Cognitive Science, 4(2), 195–208.
Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980c). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Stott, R., Mansell, W., Salkovskis, P., Lavender, A., & Cartwright-Hatton, S. (2010). Oxford guide to metaphors in CBT: Building cognitive bridges. New York: Oxford University Press.
- ACT in a nutshell metaphor thehappinesstrap.com archive.org
- ACT tug-of-war metaphor script thirdwavepsychotherapy.net archive.org
- Explaining the rationale for trauma-focused work: why it’s good to talk – David Trickey annafreud.org archive.org
- Mastering the metaphor – Colleen Ehrnstrom contextualscience.org archive.org
- The use of metaphor in therapy – Jonathan Lloyd innerselves.net archive.org
- Stott, R., Mansell, W., Salkovskis, P., Lavender, A., & Cartwright-Hatton, S. (2010). Oxford guide to metaphors in CBT: Building cognitive bridges. Oxford University Press.
- Witzum, E., Van Der Hart, O., Friedman, B. (1988). The use of metaphors in psychotherapy. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy onnovdhart.nl archive.org