Alternative Title

Relationship between clincians' theoretical orientations and their conceptualizations of patient-generated metaphors in psychotherapy

Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School for Social Work


Metaphor-Psychological aspects, Psychotherapy, Cognitive therapy, Interviewing in psychiatry, Narrative therapy, Qualitative interview, Psychoanalysis, Psychodynamic, Cognitive-behavioral, CBT, Figurative language, Patient-generated metaphor


The present qualitative study explored the relationships between psychotherapists’ theoretical orientations, phenomenological understandings of their own clinical practice, and the metaphoric language used by patients in psychotherapy. This study is based upon interviews with 12 Licensed Independent Clinical Social Workers who are presently practicing psychotherapy. This sample was selected using a quota method, whereby three distinct psychotherapy theoretical orientations were represented in the sample: psychodynamic, narrative, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

The findings suggest that psychotherapists actively consider the metaphors patients use in therapeutic dialogue, and that these clinicians regularly draw upon their theoretical knowledgebase in doing so. This study finds that patient-generated metaphors are frequently elaborated upon by the therapeutic dyad across sessions. However, the conceptualization and use of patients’ metaphors differs based on clinicians’ theoretical orientations.




iv,58 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 49-52)

Included in

Social Work Commons