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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An exploration of the use of metaphor in effective counselling Lee, Simon Yiu-Chuen


The purpose of this study is to explore the use of metaphor in effective counselling. A single case study approach was adopted for the research. The material of a family in therapy by Virginia Satir as therapist was transcribed verbatim from the audio tapes. The metaphors of both the therapist and the client were identified from the transcript. They were then classified according to their types and the processes involved. Next the patterns of metaphoric usage were examined. The movement in counselling was measured using a special scale. Points of significant movement in the client were identified. The correspondence of the uses of the metaphors and the client's progress was studied. Forty-five instances of the use of metaphors by the therapist were reported. But metaphors were used by the client only five times. The most significant metaphors used by the therapist all occurred at points where there were a lot of progress in the counselling. The overall analysis demonstrated the usefulness of the concepts of metaphors used for this research. It also illustrated the fact that metaphors can be the direct vehicle of insights that contribute towards effective counselling. Insights from the metaphors were not dependent on the ability of the client to reciprocate in metaphoric expression. Some implications for the practice of counselling using metaphors were suggested and some recommendations for future research were offered.

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