Macquarie University
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'Tensile Metaphor' and the conversational model: a language-based approach to the treatment of complex trauma

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posted on 2022-03-28, 13:11 authored by Andrew Gerard Groome
By placing language at the centre of the therapeutic process, Hobson and Meares distinguished their Conversational Model (CM) of psychotherapy from models rooted in the traditions of either psychoanalysis or the behavioural and cognitive sciences. Unlike clinicians trained in these traditions, the CM clinician is oriented not towards the content of the therapeutic conversation, but rather towards its form. It is in the patient's choice of words, their prosodic qualities and syntactic structure - measurable linguistic phenomena - that the CM clinician finds the subjective indices of self. My aim in this thesis is to first explore the theoretical, philosophical, and scientific foundations for the centrality of language and metaphor in the theory and practice of the CM, and then to look specifically at the role of creative or 'tensile' metaphors in facilitating the development of self. I argue, based on the science, that as analogical relatedness, the 'picturing' of the patient's feeling states, nurtures the integration of right brain-based systems responsible for emotional self-regulation and the ability to tolerate ambiguity, it ipso facto develops in the patient the capacity and imagination for creative metaphoric comprehension and production, a capacity greatly diminished by early traumatic experiences. This increased capacity for creating and grasping metaphoric meaning, I argue, extends and enriches the patient's subjective life and thus deepens the intersubjective experience of analogical fit between patient and therapist.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- The precursory therapist -- The conversational approach -- The return of self to the therapeutic conversation -- Inner speech and the self -- Intersubjectivity and the emergence of self -- Metaphoric comprehension and righ brain deficits -- The dualistic structure of metaphor -- The role of metaphor in the therapeutic conversation -- Conclusion.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 59-62

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Linguistics

Department, Centre or School

Department of Linguistics

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

David Butt


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1 online resource (2, 62 pages)

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