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University Publishing Online Cambridge University Press Cambridge Books Online The Cambridge Handbook of Metaphor and Thought Putting it in context

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22 - Putting it in context pp. 397-411

By Linda M. McMullen

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T he C amb rid g e Hand b o o k o f Me t ap ho r and T ho ug ht Edited by Raymond W. Jr. Gibbs University of California, Santa Cruz Enlarge Image C amb rid g e Hand b o o ks in Psycho lo g y Pub lishe r: Cambridge University Press Print Pub licat io n Ye ar: 2008 O nline Pub licat io n D at e : June 2012 O nline ISB N : 9780511816802 Hard b ack ISB N : 9780521841061 Pap e rb ack ISB N : 9780521600866 C hap t e r D O I:

Sub je ct s: Psychology, Cognition, Psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics

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Much Is Mad e o f Me t ap ho r, and Lit t le Has B e e n Le arne d Such might be a pithy evaluation of what are, for the most part, two parallel literatures on the use of metaphor in psychotherapy. On the one hand, there is a conceptual or theory- based, practice- oriented literature directed at therapists and that is primarily focussed on articulating presumed functions of metaphor in psychotherapy and on ways for therapists to make deliberate use of metaphor. This literature is often filled with directives for therapists as to how to employ metaphors, with case examples illustrating the use of metaphors, with examples of problem- targeted metaphors that are embedded in narratives, and with bold claims as to the effectiveness of metaphors in promoting client change. In this literature, there is an assumption that the functions of metaphor are isomorphic with the goals of psychotherapy; hence, the appropriate and strategic use of metaphor is claimed to advance the aims of therapy. Much is made of metaphor. On the other hand, there is an empirical literature that is typically focussed on either the client's use of metaphor or the joint use by client and therapist. Some of this literature is based on quantitative analyses, and some on qualitative analyses. As with the conceptual or theory- based, practice- oriented literature, the focus is on explicating how the use of metaphor in psychotherapy is related to outcome or to important aspects of the process of therapy.

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