Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

How psychotherapists use metaphor to describe their role
by Cravens, Martha, Ph.D., Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, 2009, 131; 3349503
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation is a qualitative study of how psychotherapists use metaphor to describe and envision their role. The 12 coresearchers ranged in age from 32 to 68, had between 5 and 26 years of experience, and are Stewards of In-Depth Communication who have graduated from the Unearthing the Moment training sponsored by the International Institute for Humanistic Studies (I.I.H.S.) in Petaluma, California, USA. This existential-humanistic training excels in teaching self-awareness, authenticity, working in the moment, and being aware of one’s therapeutic stance with the client, or pou sto , providing skills critical to this study. Data were collected in open-ended interviews and analyzed using the qualitative research method of intuitive inquiry. Themes that were explored through the interview were what metaphors the coresearchers use to describe their role, the metaphoric meaning (entailments) of those metaphors, and how the therapists used those metaphors to work with themselves. The primary result was that the metaphoric process that therapists use is directly tied to how they create their stance with the client and how they define themselves. Different therapists use the metaphor process with varying levels of complexity. Secondary findings were that these particular existential-humanistic psychotherapists rely on personal experiences, often from childhood, to inform their pou sto; access nature imagery to ground themselves; use humor and transparency to connect with clients; and often use their awareness of their body to increase their self-awareness. The findings of this research suggest that using the metaphoric process with oneself is a significant and valuable process, a valuable method as a self-examination tool for a therapist in training and also as a deepening process with personal and professional importance to an experienced practitioner.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lewis, Charlotte
Commitee: Heery, Myrtle, Tong, Benjamin
School: Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
Department: Residential Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 70/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Clinical psychology
Keywords: Bugental, James, International Institute for Humanistic Studies, Metaphor, Psychotherapists
Publication Number: 3349503
ISBN: 978-1-109-05269-5
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