“The Nuances of Metaphor Theory for Constructivist Psychotherapy” by Dennis Tay

AbstractConstructivist Psychology journal cover

Constructivist psychotherapy and contemporary metaphor theory, as part of the neighboring fields of psychology and linguistics, share fundamental assumptions rooted in constructivist philosophy. There has been much cross-disciplinary discussion of how our inclination toward metaphors translates into an important meaning-making resource in therapy and other domains of professional practice, such as education. Nevertheless, more reciprocal effort is needed to (a) show practitioners the relevance of nuanced aspects of metaphor theory and linguistic analysis that may evade their attention, and (b) sensitize linguists toward practice-driven factors in their analyses. This article attempts the first of these tasks by identifying and exemplifying four such aspects: (a) source domains at different experiential levels, (b) variable source-target relationships in discourse, (c) metaphorical processes at higher levels of analysis, and (d) discursive and communicative grounding of metaphor. I suggest how they might provide pertinent insights and future directions for interpreting, analyzing, and working with metaphors in psychotherapy.

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