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"Revising my poem changes how I feel"

Working with two-way reflections of emotion

We can look at metaphor-based dialogue in two ways: as "metaphoric affect processing", and as "metaphoric affect processing".


Metaphoric affect processing:  Co-creating a reflection of one's feeling-state, in the moment, with regard to a specific difficulty


  • In this first phase of the metaphor-based interview, we use metaphor as the instrument with which we process present-moment emotion.  We use metaphor to explore and poetically transcribe the sensory qualities of how we are feeling.  The metaphoric affect identification facilitated by this sort of intuitive introspection is pre-verbal, and automatically provides words for the verbalization of the affect state. 


Metaphoric affect processing: the feeling-state in the moment reflects the revised text


  • In the final phase of the metaphor-based interview, we are no longer engaging directly with the originally mirrored emotion-state itself.  Instead, we are working with and modifying the metaphor mirror, its metaphoric reflection.  We identify an instance of language in our original poem that is particularly dissonant with what could be a sense of our own, unique wellbeing in the moment.  By returning to Step I of the process, we frame and focus our introspection on a proposition of potential wellbeing despite the presence of the difficulty we initially framed.  We then use the SMQ and sensory-metaphoric introspection to find metaphoric matches for this new and improved state of mind.  By using sense-metaphor to revise our original metaphor mirror (the metaphoric reflection of the emotion-state at the outset of the mirroring), we are able to effect and simultaneously experience a direct, visceral change to the affect-state itself.