Metaphor and Hypnotherapy
This weekend I was teaching Ericksonian Hypnotherapy, one of my favourite topics. One of the main reasons for this is that it incorporates metaphor into the therapeutic dynamic. Metaphor is perhaps the most basic way we learn and communicate. Indeed, it could be argued that our entire existence is metaphoric as we experience life through our own narrative.
Stories show us at our most creative. From a therapists perspective this creativity is what holds the therapeutic relationship together. It also helps differentiate the therapeutic relationship from a friendly chat.
Metaphors are a bridge for the client. The bridge spans from the client’s present state to that of his or her desired state. Sometimes, a person needs to take several steps to reach their goal. Metaphors, both deep and surface structured metaphors can help map out the steps needed to reach the therapeutic goal. Metaphor can also make these steps more palatable. Stories tend to take us out of ourselves and transport us to a far more receptive state of mind. Isn’t that what hypnotherapy is meant to do. Indeed, I would argue that any therapist who engages with metaphor uses hypnosis whether they know it or not.