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LINGUIST List 22.4085

Wed Oct 19 2011

Diss: Applied Ling/Disc Analysis: Tay: 'Metaphor in Psychotherapy: ...'

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        1.     Dennis Tay , Metaphor in Psychotherapy: Description and applications

Message 1: Metaphor in Psychotherapy: Description and applications
Date: 17-Oct-2011
From: Dennis Tay <dennis.taygmail.com>
Subject: Metaphor in Psychotherapy: Description and applications
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Institution: University of Otago
Program: Linguistics Section
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2011

Author: Dennis Tay

Dissertation Title: Metaphor in Psychotherapy: Description and applications

Dissertation URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10523/1901

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
                            Discourse Analysis

Dissertation Director:
Masataka Yamaguchi
Jennifer Jordan
John R Taylor

Dissertation Abstract:

The relationship between metaphor, language, and thought, as hypothesised
by cognitive linguists, requires detailed investigation of actual metaphor
use in different situations and contexts. Researchers have examined
metaphors in contexts as diverse as economics, politics, art, science, and
advertising, both for the inherent interest in how metaphors function
therein, and to interrogate cognitivist claims about the nature of
metaphor. There has recently been an interest in furthering this
descriptive imperative by considering the prescriptive aspects, or
applicability, of metaphor. The main question is how advancements in
metaphor theory can contribute to the judicious use of metaphors in the
performance of language constituted 'real world' activities.

This thesis undertakes a discourse analysis of metaphors in the verbally
enacted mental health resource of psychotherapy. My primary linguistic
objective is to show how metaphors used in psychotherapy are shaped by its
nature, and inform aspects of metaphor theory in significant ways. On the
other hand, although many therapists profess an interest in metaphors,
therapeutic research has been perceptibly indifferent towards relevant
advancements in metaphor theory in the language sciences. The secondary
therapeutic objective of this thesis is therefore to show how a discourse
analytic approach to psychotherapeutic metaphors can potentially enhance
their clinical use and management.

Aspects of metaphor theory to be discussed are 1) the ideational resources
of metaphor, which concerns whether therapeutic metaphors are ultimately
constructed out of embodied, cultural, or individual-specific knowledge; 2)
the rhetorical development of extended metaphors, which describes how
source-target associations are elaborated in strategic and patterned ways
in therapeutic talk; 3) the variability and variation of metaphor, which
refer to how therapists and patients flexibly switch between different
sources and targets, or innovate from conventional conceptual metaphors;
and 4) the co-text of metaphors, which poses the question of how metaphors
interact with co-textual elements (e.g. discourse markers) in their mutual
constitution of psychotherapeutic talk. Therapeutic implications stemming
from the above analyses include 1) how embodied, cultural, and
individual-specific knowledge can be harnessed in complementary fashion for
therapeutic purposes, 2) how rhetorical strategies can help therapists
guide their patients towards more useful elaborations of their own
metaphoric conceptualisations, 3) how variability of metaphor use can be
associated with certain discourse objectives in psychotherapeutic
interaction, 4) how varying instantiations of conceptual metaphors used to
talk about psychotherapy contributes a channel of feedback to therapeutic
theorisation, and 5) how the naturalistic distribution of discourse markers
in extended metaphors implies more effective ways of communicating them to
patients. I conclude the thesis by offering a synthesised summary of the
discussion, highlighting emergent themes about the nature of metaphor in
psychotherapy, and suggesting future directions both for metaphor research
and psychotherapeutic practice.

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