Major at Williams: Art
I have written three workbooks for helping and healing professionals that teach Clean Language, a systematic questioning method for helping people’s conscious and subconscious minds share their wisdom, encouraging self-awareness, healing, and growth.
A form of metaphor therapy or metaphor coaching, Clean Language focuses on guiding clients to access the internalized metaphors they have created to encode their process for managing the world, in both successful and maladaptive ways.
The fourth book, meant for all curious readers, is the story of one of my clients’ 12 sessions with me, accompanied by my comments as we explored her metaphors and Clean Language activities to try out after each chapter.
An excerpt from "Hope in a Corner of my Heart":
Discovering what you don’t know you know can change everything.
What if you were to find out that you can have a calm sea to surround your heart and gently lull it with lapping waves when it gets agitated? What if there was a fountain in your gut that sprays the Water of Life, connecting you always with the energy of Source? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a switch just behind your right ear that you could flip to keep the knowing of your head, heart, and gut flowing, so that all three would contribute to your decision- making?
Hidden below your conscious awareness are metaphors like these, metaphors that influence how you experience the world and handle what life brings. Your feelings, your thoughts, your actions, your responses to what happens each day are influenced by these metaphors. And you created them. Unconsciously, when you encountered something challenging in the past, you selected a metaphor that captured what the experience was like. Based on the logic of how these symbols function (how waves lap, fountains spray, and switches turn things on and off), you filed away some lessons as to how to respond the next time you face some similar situation.
It doesn’t matter if you are aware of your internal metaphors or not. They silently direct what you do. They determine the patterns your mind/body system follows.
And this can be a good thing. If you chose an appropriate metaphor based on an accurate reading of the situation and came up with a successful strategy to handle it, the metaphor would support you well. A calming sea or a handy switch could be just the ticket.
But sometimes the metaphors you chose to guide your reactions and choices were based on a misunderstanding or incomplete information. Perhaps you were young, and what seemed like a good solution for coping has turned out not to be so good after all. For example, you may have had to “hide inside a suit of armor” at one time in your life. But your circumstances are different now, and you no longer do. Yet here you are, subconsciously closing yourself off from the people around you. It may be time to update your metaphor by taking off the armor.
You may not know about your internal metaphors, but… you can get to know them. And once you do, you can change them if they need to be changed. You can create new metaphors to refashion the mistaken ones and further strengthen or improve the helpful ones. These new metaphors will become the ones that guide you going forward. They will be the ones influencing your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
If you change your metaphors, you can transform your self.