Re: therapeutic metaphors

A. J. Zolten (
31 Oct 94 12:01:38 CST6CDT

And now for something of a substantive response.

My clinical experience has been widely varied as I've worked with
clients from children to the aged, and frrom those with identified
problems that are more or less typical to some special issues related
to advocacy of the mentally/physically handicapped (I am the
consulting psychologist for Arkansas Easter Seals). For me, metaphors
for thinking about intervention are as individualized as the client.

I have been the "good son" to an obese woman who suffered from panic
attacks, sseeing her need for validation from a male as well as the
need for her to develop care taking skills for herself and the rest
of the family.

There are times when I have become "father confessor" as clients
report that they can only reveal their issues to me.

The therapuetic process itself is seen as an unfolding process; I
distinctly recall a supervisor admonishing me not to deal with the
content issue of a client's relationship, stating that "those cards
will play themselves out".

However, the most important metaphor for therapy that I relate to is
the scientist metaphor that Kelly (1955) wrote about when he
attempted to characterize human construction. He believed that people
attempted to predict their world(s) through building models of their
experience; those models thaat accurately predicted "reality" were
elaborated, and those that did not were revised. I view therapy the
same way, the client comes to me to try to make sense out of
"reality" and develop a way to predict it. If they had been
successful in the endeavor, they would not be in therapy, and my job
is like that of a scientific consultant, in discussing and uncovering
the experiements and results of their life.

I hope that this is helpful in your pursuit; if yyouu've not been
exposed to _The Psychology of Personal Constructs_ by George Kelly
I recommend thaat you read the first few chapters of his 2 volume book

A.J. Zolten, Ph.D.
University of Central Arkansas