Client metaphor stop smoking

Client metaphor stop smoking

Change the metaphor, Stop the habit

Metaphor Therapy and Smoking

Metaphor Therapy uses a natural ability that we all posses: the ability become aware of how we represent our past. The basis of metaphor therapy is that if you can change the metaphor of how you represent the past in your mind, change the mental picture you have of it, then you can change how that experience affects you emotionally. The following excerpt from a stop-smoking session demonstrates how with metaphor  therapy the change can be simple and fast, happening almost instantly.

SESSION TRANSCRIPT
THERAPIST/CLIENTCOMMENTS
Is there anything that would stop you stopping smoking?Standard Question: Probing for unconscious beliefs

I wouldn't feel complete without it.

Belief
And what would not smoking feel like?
Freedom.DESIRED OUTCOME
And not having freedom is like what?Try for a metaphor
Like the habit has got me.Symbol 'the habit'
And what else about that habit that has got you?Developing
Like it... there are hands.
And hands...Developing
It has got me by the shoulders.
And the habit has hands and it has got you by the shoulders.... and what else?Developing
It's like a shadow lurking behind me.
It's like a shadow lurking behind you....Developing
With big claws in my shoulders.
And that habit has hands and it's got you by the shoulders with big claws and it's like a shadow lurking behind you...Restatement
And what is the purpose of that shadow behind you?Probing for the protective benefit
A companion in the hard times.Belief: secondary benefit
And what would you like to happen to that shadow.....?Suggesting change
Send it away.
And can you send it away?Testing Capability
It's gone.Spontaneous deletion
Gone?
Shrivelled up and disappeared.Cleared residuals as well.
And it has gone completely?Checking
Yes.
And how does that make you feel?Testing for change
Free. Different. Something has changed.DESIRED OUTCOME ACHIEVED!

This dialog shows that change can happen spontaneously the moment the client becomes aware of the metaphor their mind uses to represent their problem. A few questions were used to develop the metaphor, and those led to the awareness of a 'shadow lurking behind me'. It is speculated that this awareness led immediately to an feeling of unpleasantness and threat and the client spontaneously decided not to have the unpleasantness and so it was sent away.

Once the client became aware that it was possible to 'send it away', and therefore briefly imagined sending it away, that was enough of a metaphorical transformation to allow it to 'shrivel up and disappear'.

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