No matter what your therapeutic orientation a good metaphor can be therapeutically very powerful. A good metaphor allows the client to put some distance on their problem but also capturing not only the essence of the problem but the solution as well.
The Ben-Porath paper discussed in the previous post has a nice example:
Therapist: Do you think marriage is always fun or raising children easy?
Client: No, of course not. I realise it can be difficult, especially when you are raising children.
Therapist: Okay, so suppose you are a mountain climber and you have to climb, one of the tallest most difficult mountains yet. When you look in your closet would you choose the hiking boots or the stilettos? (This client had a particularly large collection of shoes that she had spoken of previously)
Client: The hiking boots, of course.
Therapist: Exactly, because wearing the stilettos, you would never get over the mountain. In fact, you would probably break your ankle one-fourth of the way up.
Client: So you think I have been selecting stilettos?
Therapist: You certainly haven’t been selecting hiking boots.
I like the conciseness of a therapeutic metaphor. Making your own collection of metaphors is a good way to develop as a therapist. If you have a favourite therapeutic metaphor feel free to post it in the comments below.