THE THERAPEUTIC VISUAL METAPHOR TOOL
METAFORA® is a psychological tool to enhance psychotherapy and mental health counselling.
METAFORA® is a set of visual metaphor cards.
METAFORA® is a 5-step solution oriented therapeutic method.
METAFORA® is a creative way to help describe our inner world through images.
METAFORA® is a therapeutic activity to identify resources and to develop an action plan focused on positive change.
The use of verbal metaphors was always part of my therapeutic work. During clinical sessions, I was able to clearly observe how using more understandable mental imagery helped clients make sense of their own difficulties and emotions. Communicating through metaphors allowed the patient to make sense of the situation and engage with their problems through different perspectives. I found it an efficient device to generate action plans and to facilitate the rapport-building process as well as the conceptualization and communication of abstract emotional states.
As I was also interested in visual art, I started to use visual aids and integrated photos, drawings, and illustrations into my work. I shortly observed how efficiently communication through pictures helps move therapy forward in “stuck” scenarios and while facilitating the expression of emotions that are otherwise difficult to verbalize.
Based on these clinical observation and present theoretical knowledge, METAFORA® was created as a tool blending visual metaphors with a structured solution-focused method. As such, METAFORA® was inspired by different theoretical approaches, such as cognitive-behavioural approaches – including acceptance and commitment therapy, systemic therapy as well as solution-focused brief therapy.
METAFORA® IS A THERAPEUTIC ACTIVITY BASED ON A SOLUTION-FOCUSED METHOD AND A SET OF ILLUSTRATION CARDS.
METAFORA® has been developed as a psychological tool to enhance the psychotherapy or mental health counselling process. This is achieved by clarifying the client’s problems as well as the solution process through visual metaphor illustration cards. The METAFORA® tool utilizes the novel SABRA Method to provide a structured 5-step solution-oriented therapeutic activity. The METAFORA® cards provide visual aids using images based on different psychological themes. The METAFORA® tool aims to enhance mental representation, to evoke emotional responses, and to generate expanded consideration of problem-solving thinking while integrating visual metaphors into therapy and counselling. The use of METAFORA® in professional practice can empower clients to commit themselves to new ways of elaborating issues in their life and their emotions.
METAFORA® was initially designed for psychologists and psychotherapists but can be used by all mental health professionals.
The tool and the method are not limited to a theoretical approach or a specific target population. METAFORA® can be used in cognitive-behavioural therapy, systemic or psychodynamic therapy, art therapy, integrative approaches as well as in other interventions conducted by mental health care professionals.
The purpose of the METAFORA® tool is to facilitate communication and the expression of thoughts and emotions in the context of therapeutic or counselling work.
The metaphorical illustrations facilitate the expression of the client’s emotions and cognitions. They are a device for accessing issues that are sometimes difficult for the client to address (such as trauma), or concepts that they are not clearly aware of (such as attachment issues). The cards allow access to the client’s internal world to bring out thoughts and emotions that are otherwise difficult to verbalize during sessions.
The SABRA method is a problem-solving process, where the client evolves from their problem to their goals. Through the 5 steps, the client will identify their barriers and personal resources, while transforming them into concrete actions for positive change. This allows the therapist to move forward in the therapy as well as to unblock certain situations that create a “stuck” scenario.
At the end of the 5 steps, the cards selected by the client will be arranged in front of them, creating a visual bridge between the current situation and the desired goal. This final arrangement allows the patient to visualize their own path, which promotes stronger commitment to the process of change.
Thus, with METAFORA®, the client will tell their story through images, which allows the therapist to better identify the person’s difficulties and resources as well as to guide them towards sustainable change.
The METAFORA® tool includes 30 illustration cards and a short version of the user manual with access to an online user section that provides:
Two online training videos, illustrating applications in clinical and counselling cases.
Our detailed user manual, downloadable for offline access.
Worksheets facilitating the interview and administration of the cards.
METAFORA® has been part of a preliminary research study and presented at the International Congress on Emotional Intelligence at the Notre Dame University in Fremantle, Australia in July 2019. METAFORA® and our pilot study was presented as a novel mental health and clinical application and allowed for unique networking at the local, national, and international level with professionals and scientists in the field of psychology.
The preliminary pilot study suggests efficacy, and, therefore, a larger international research study is on the way. To broaden our studies, we are always happy to collaborate with other scientists and clinicians. If you are interested, please don’t hesitate to contact us.