Creative Connections & Client Communications

More Discussion: Therapeutic Metaphors

I'd like to add onto the important theme -see earlier posting under "Notebook, Archives: August 2001"-of therapeutic metaphors. In Hamburg, Germany just recently, I saw 22 clients in four days and I realized again how often such metaphors were used in the consultation. And then again with my first client this morning. Metaphors say so much, succinctly and memorably.

Several of my clients were mired into routines in their life. The oscilloscope picture of their life activity had become a straight line. They were bored. They were beginning to underachieve. In their early 40s, they were bridging not into "second adolescence" but into old age!

One client in particular expressed very dramatically the definite tendency in all the others who were "in the rut" to explain away their stagnation by a hopefulness for opportunity (i.e., waiting for a miracle). One man was simply overwhelmed with his self-protecting doctrine. He had quote after quote to reinforce his position (like the Benjamin Disraeli statement about how vitally important it is in life to be prepared for opportunity); getting ready for the opportunity was more important than the opportunity itself!

Protecting the philosophy on a day to day basis often substitutes for getting with it, making things happen, trying for job improvement, bettering relationship status, learning more about a subject in order to gain a promotion. -I recognize this problem as a Taurus problem normally, especially the Moon in Taurus: the reigning need is to keep things as they are since change represents insecurity, even though it would be only transient insecurity to a new level.

Therapeutically, in the life overview, I saw time and time again where enormously reliable angular development energies were not manifested in life reality. There was no explanation except that it wasn't the right opportunity, or "I don't know. Nothing came along." … That right opportunity was in the hands of the gods! "It will come for sure, and I've got to be ready." -The astrologer is sitting there looking at SA Saturn=MC, SA Mercury=Asc and tr Uranus conjunct the 7th cusp, all in the same month, and nothing is happening.

I found myself using one of three therapeutic metaphors in these cases, each saying basically the same thing, adapting them to the situations unique to each.

"You haven't been looking for a new job; you desperately want it, you want a new way for yourself -how else are you going to rise to 'number one' status (Moon in Aries) - but you have not begun to look at all?! You're waiting for the opportunity to drop into your lap." [An important review of the foregoing dialogue.]

"Right. I think it will. And you know, Bill Gates said, '…….'"

"Fine. Now let me submit something to you: [speaking very slowly] Sir Isaac Newton … had to enter the garden … in order for the apple to fall!"

Allow silence here. This image can not be thrown away. Say it again if you have to. The point is made. Then, after some discussion: "Alright. If you start looking now for the type of new job we have discussed, the one you really want, I can tell you that the apple will probably fall in the second or third week of November, and then…."

You can follow this up with a more dramatic metaphor. Or substitute this one: "Let me share something with you. It might seem off the track, but it really is right on target. You see what I'm doing here? I'm hitting the wall strongly with my fist. [Do so. Just once.] And actually … the wall is hitting me back.

"This is Newton's Second Law: for every motion there is an equal and opposite motion. In other words, the wall is hitting me back as much as I am hitting the wall.

"Let's look at this this way: as much as you give into your environment … the environment can give back to you. Do nothing. Get nothing in return."

And still another way to present this idea: "You know what 'Spring Housecleaning' is all about, don't you? Of course. Well, when you open the windows, not only does old stuff, old air go out … but new air -fresh stuff-comes in! We have a time here to open the windows … we really, really do. Let me show you."

These metaphors are clear, concise, and memorable. They fit beautifully into the importance of the final 5 or 10 minutes of the consultation. They are what the client will take away as important counsel. They will trigger recall of all else that was discussed.

Think about how this kind of talk can bring punch to your meaningful dialogue with your client. Make notes of thoughts and quotes you get about this type of speaking, and soon you will have a bag full of resourceful turns of phrase and power images with which to make your points with your clients.

Next Update: October 31, 2001


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