“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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Dr Marianna Bolognesi

Marianna Bolognesi

Affiliation: University of Amsterdam

Marianna is a EU Marie Curie awarded postdoc researcher at the UvA. Her research focuses on the differences between visual and verbal metaphors, and taps into the type of knowledge that comes into play when we understand a visual as opposed to a verbal metaphor. To achieve this, she uses quantitative analyses and computational modelling techniques, combined with psychological data. Her current postdoctoral project is called COGVIM (Cognitive Grounding of Visual Metaphor, https://cogvim.org/).

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Dr Zsofia Demjen

Zsofia Demjen

Affiliation: University College London

Zsófia Demjén is Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at the UCL Centre for Applied Linguistics, University College London. Her research interests include health communication, metaphor, and the intersections of language, mind and health(care). She is author of Sylvia Plath and the Language of Affective States: Written Discourse and the Experience of Depression (2015, Bloomsbury), co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of Metaphor and Language (2017) and her work has appeared in the Journal of Pragmatics, Applied Linguistics, Communication & Medicine, Medical Humanities, and Discourse Studies among others.

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