April 19, 2024

Therapeutic Metaphors Revisited

Creative Connections & Client Communications

Therapeutic Metaphors Revisited

Please refresh your reading of “Therapeutic Metaphors” presented (see Archives below) July 30, 2001.

Coming up with a metaphor that helps your client understand the consultation discussion theme is very important. A metaphor also allows the substance and significance of the consultation to be remembered easily after the consultation is finished.

I find such an approach is most helpful when the horoscope contains two apparently disparate personality orientations. One parental channel of support or coercion perhaps pushed the young girl into advanced degrees in accounting when her entire being is caught up with spiritual studies and the teaching of them! [Actual case just last week] –How do we define the two realms, say, and how do we work toward merging them so that one realm helps the other? [This is only practical, otherwise one’s resources are split, and neither realm gets full development.]

A male client has a senior position in the software industry. His cybernetic proclivity is cleanly suggested: Uranus-Pluto-Mercury conjunction in Virgo, Mercury ruling the Midheaven and the Ascendant! –His conversational tone and vocabulary (phone consultation) are eminently arid; truthful (the benefit of psychotherapy) but dully dry.

Then, lo and behold!, his Moon receives an opposition from Neptune; Neptune also squares his Sun and his Venus! –HOW is this going to fit in with the Virgo clutch?

Growing up with all this, with problematic family life to beat the band, it isn’t going to fit. The cybernetic scholarship will dominate.

An interesting corroboration of this dichotomization is that the party-crashing Neptune is ruler of this gentleman’s 7th House .. and at 40, he still lives alone, and it makes no apparent indentation upon his development.

–I insisted on finding out about the Neptune realm, and then out it came: the man is a skilled painter. “My artist friends think I’m really good; I should put my stuff into galleries!”

–Now, within the consultation discussion, one must sum this up. Here was the role for the therapeutic metaphor: I portrayed to this man –who became more and more interesting by the minute!, the more and more the artistic realm revealed itself—that the cybernetic side was a potted plant, growing, well organized by the pot, silently doing its thing. I then portrayed the artistic realm, filled with a different vocabulary, different values, warmth, expressivity, as a bowl of water. –It was easy to see how much the plant needed the water; how the water would benefit from appreciation by the plant.

This is how the conversation then went on, finding the reasons for early separation of these realms and ways now to bring them together finally, one enriching and supporting the other.

Interestingly, I used the same metaphor for another client later that same day.

This lady had a rigid data-analyst construct (Mars-Saturn quindecile Pluto-Uranus in Virgo, Pluto ruling the Midheaven). And right along with it was the active imagination, reverie, fantastical picture of Neptune=Mercury-Venus/Moon-Jupiter. –Two realms indeed.

For this lady, the mind ruled everything, so the emotional world, the idealized romanticized world had nowhere to go! This defeat of the emotional side was linked to some drastic formative problems with the father in the early home. Repression had brought it all forward. Her marriage was repeating the pattern.

The Plant needs the water; the water is a good thing; it’s waiting to be used. How best could we use it now?

Maybe your next client will show a tremendous Grand Trine complex, without the Sun or Moon, suggesting two realms indeed. Define those two realms in as few words as possible. Then, reduce the two profiles to a image that allows a therapeutic joining metaphor.

The point is to bring homogeneity to the system. What was broken apart earlier in life really should be back together again. The holism of Self is a desired state.

You can create a rhythmic or rhyming mnemonics for the points of adjustment you and your have agreed to. This is a metaphor, but it serves the same purpose.

A female client the other day, when I asked about the changes she must have been thinking about in relation to her job, immediately corroborated that she was indeed making plans to make major changes in her job; they were feasible, and they would be accomplished without too much trouble.

She knew as well, that she was not happy with her live-in mate. She had been cleaning house that afternoon and she saw it symbolically as getting rid of the situation. She was ambivalent about it, however.
And third, she knew she had to regain her past form, lose a good bit of weight –which would symbolize this bright lady’s resolve to be cut a new image, attract a different set of life experiences, break the routine, etc.

All of this was coinciding with major makeover Arcs and transits.

I came up with a ditty, with catchy rhythm, something like: “Fix the Job; clean the House (symbolically); Lose the Weight!”

By repeating these word sets several time, I think I got them to stick in her mind, in her resolve. –I hope so. She really would enjoy a new start with her life, and that’s what the horoscope promises.

–Please consciously work to be creative in your thinking. You can do it. This website section is filled with ideas to help you enrich your communication style.