Posts Tagged ‘Metaphor’

By Terry Argast, PhD Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes, 28 seconds

Rick was a 17- year- old boy who had stuttered since he started to speak. He and his mother came to Arizona from Massachusetts to see Erickson, who said, “I took one look at the mother, and Rick and I recognized the ethnic group.” He got a history. The parents were both from a certain community in Lebanon. They came to the United States and married and became citizens. Erickson explained, “Now, in that culture, man is a lot higher than God, and woman is a low lower than low. Now, a man’s children live with him, and as long as they live with him, he is an absolute dictator. And girls are a nuisance. You try to get them married and off your hands because girls and women are fit for only two things–hard work and breeding. And the first child of the marriage should be a boy. If it isn’t a boy the man says, ‘I divorce you,’ three times, and even if his bride brought a million dollars in dowry, her husband confiscates it…Because the first child should be a boy.”

In this case, Rick was the third child with two older sisters. Erickson continued, “Rick was broad-shouldered and sturdy, about 5’10” and his father was 6′ and slender. So Rick was an insult also, not only because he was the third child, but because he didn’t resemble his father.” → Read more

By Steve Andreas Estimated Running Time: 6 minutes, 21 seconds 

When children paint the sun, they often draw a circle with rays coming out. You’ve all seen that; you probably did it yourself when you were young. A year or so later, a child might paint the sun partly behind clouds. Several years later, they might paint rays coming out from the clouds, but the sun is not visible — what a friend of mine calls a “God sunset.” Even subtler is to paint only the scattered reflection of sunlight on water. An accomplished artist doesn’t paint the sun at all but suggests where the sun is by painting a tree with a little more light on one side than the other, and a subtle shadow to indicate the sun’s location. I think that’s a good metaphor for implication: indicating something without ever explicitly stating it. One of my favorite quotes is: “The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.” (Ralph W. Sockman) Knowledge and wonder are stated; the ocean of ignorance is implied.

On the first page of the first volume of Conversations with Milton H. Erickson, (in which the word “implication” appears about every third page) Jay Haley says, “I have a whole week, so I suspect I can learn all about psychotherapy in that time. I wouldn’t expect that anywhere else but here.” Erickson laughs and says, “Well, we can have our dreams.” That’s a polite way of implying, “You are wildly optimistic!” → Read more

orca

Feb 12

Orca Strait

By Michael F. Hoyt, PhD Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes, 48 seconds

My wife, Jennifer, is not a big traveler, but she has always wanted to go to Alaska to see the wildlife. So in the summer of 2015, we signed up with National Geographic/Lindblad and went for two wonderful weeks. Jennifer is a hospice nurse, and what makes the story interesting is that for many years if you asked her how someday, she would like to die, her answer was that she would like to be eaten by orcas—those magnificent creatures sometimes called “killer whales,” even though they are actually oceanic dolphins. She had recurring but not frightening dreams of a big orca devouring her—she had talked about it several times. And here I was, signing up to be in a two-person kayak in Alaskan waters teeming with orcas with someone who wants to be eaten alive! → Read more

By Joel Samuels, MD Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes, 26 seconds 

Stone carving transformed my life of chronic pain, depression, and drug dependency into a life of renewed vitality with the ability to work, dance, and feel whole again.

After 25 years of working as an emergency room physician, I underwent several back surgeries, which resulted in many hours of physical therapy and treatments with never-ending pain and limited mobility; my life was reduced to bed rest and hot baths. So, I pursued several treatment options, including tapping into my creativity as a way of healing chronic pain. → Read more

By Marta Campillo, MA

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 29 seconds

A concerned father brought his 7- year-old daughter to psychotherapy because she had recently started to have tantrums, was very unhappy and moody, and answered badly when spoken to. She was not sleeping well and she refused to go to school. During the first play therapy session, she told me that before she had always liked school where she sang, laughed, and enjoyed playing with her friends. Now she felt sad and scared. She said, “My father would not love me anymore.” She feared she would no longer be her father’s “princess.” Her brother was born last month and now she felt her family was not the same. → Read more

By Eric Greenleaf Ph.D. & Angela Wu MFT

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes, 22 seconds.

Chapter One

Dear Dr. Greenleaf,

This is Angela from your class at MRI. I have a situation at home and I wanted to write to you because I sense you may be able to help me deal with it by using a story for the solution.

This morning my 3 ½-year-old son walked quietly into my room with his favorite stuffed pink pig and comforting purple blanket. Instead of his normal singing, shouting, and jumping in my bed, he looked tired and sad and crawled under my blanket to cuddle with me. I asked him, “Did you have a good night’s sleep?” He was solemn and I saw the thousand-mile distant stare in his big brown eyes. He had that stare when he was in a trance. → Read more

By Carme Timoneda-Gallart, PhD Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 47 seconds. 

Tommy, eight years old, performed poorly at school, though a psychologist deemed him gifted. Using metaphor, the educator helps Tommy find his own resources to control impulsive behavior:

“Well, Tommy, now I’m going to ask you some questions, Ok?”. Tommy nodded, moving a little on his chair. “Tommy, which number is double 15?” Tommy said automatically, without thinking, “20”. I said: “Tommy, sometimes, our brain receives a lot of lightning and it is so overwhelmed that it has to warn us. But how? Because it is our body’s boss, sometimes it can cause headaches, make us answer a question without thinking.” Tommy said: “Yes, my teacher is always complaining! ‘Tommy you always answer without thinking. You must think and then answer’” He looked nervous. → Read more

by Hideo Tsugawa Estimated reading time: 7 minutes, 34 seconds.

Editor’s Note: The following is a summary and English translation of an award-winning article published in Japan: Tsuawa. (2000). Play as therapeutic metaphors: Ericksonian play therapy. The Japanese Journal of Brief Psychotherapy, 9, 18-38.

 “Why are children born? They might be born to play. They might be born to romp,” these words are found in Ryojinhisho, an old Japanese songbook. Throughout history and across varying cultures, childhood and play have been closely associated. During play, children naturally strive to develop solutions to problems. Play facilitates the expression of emotion and the focusing of attention. Even more importantly, play is a metaphorical device producing rich experiences that add to the life and skill of children. → Read more

Sep 18

The Boxer

By Dan Short, Ph.D. Dallas, TX Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 30 seconds. 

The 21-year-old client did not want to be in therapy. Charged with assault on his girlfriend, he had been ordered to counseling as a condition of probation. The intake, conducted by another therapist, noted, “Client is reluctant to focus on violence-related issues.” The client, muscular and sullen, entered the first session in silence and sat slouched in his chair with a cap concealing most of his face. He had described himself as “a boxer” and had explained that counseling should not interfere with his “career,” which consisted solely of daily sparring at a local gym.

After preliminaries, I began giving the client an explanation of the negative effects of emotional stress. I told him how “industrial psychologists are paid high wages to ensure workers have their lives in order at home.” The role of sports psychologists was also described in detail with some impressive statistics about successful results. The client was then offered psychological training in order to benefit his boxing career. He responded with increased enthusiasm toward treatment. → Read more

A Shift for Victim to Empowerment by Tim Baumgartner, Ph.D. Houston, TX

A 24-year old client who had been in therapy almost continually since her mid-teens presented a long history of sexual abuse and incest. Five years previously, she had been hospitalized for major depression and suicidal concerns.

At that time she reported abusive treatment by her psychiatrist. Complaints involved isolation when she refused medication, verbal insults, and suggestions of memories that she did not have. She reported that the psychiatrist subsequently lost his license. → Read more