While we are accustomed to using our five senses to explore the world outside ourselves, it's not as clear what senses we marshall to scan interior landscapes.
I use the term "sense-metaphor" to identify a metaphor engaged and functioning as an instrument of perception. Like sight, sound, touch, taste and smell, metaphor can be deployed as an active, sensory agent, and this is what metaphor-mirroring does. It uses metaphor to "sense" feelings.
Metaphor can access direct, unfiltered, pre-verbal perception of emotion-states. In the moment of matching a sense-metaphor to a feeling in order to identify it, our introspection becomes present-moment, sensory experience of that feeling.
As an instrument of emotion-description, metaphor is powerful and empathically compelling. The qualities of metaphor as an introspective tool make empathy "intrinsic" to the activity of metaphorically processing affect.
As we listen, a speaker's metaphor resonates within us to the degree that the metaphor has matched its target. This resonance is partly rational, but mostly sensory. When you describe your feelings metaphorically, I "get" what you're saying in a way that is intuitive and gut-level, "felt" as opposed to understood cognitively.
The skillfully deployed sense-metaphor lets us feel that an emerging, metaphoric match is right, that it has captured the pre-verbal, emotional sensation we are exploring. An emotion-matching metaphor, upon discovery in the mind of its poet, embodies the emotional sensation that he or she is attempting to identify and verbalize.
As it emerges, the sense-metaphor "match" produces a profound quality of recognition. The metaphoric image is the intuitive reflection of the emotion-state we put under its lens. Metaphoric Affect Processing allows the transcription of that mind-state in the form of a poem, or "metaphor mirror".
Metaphor-mirroring produces language easily recorded in written, invitingly poetic format that accurately and implicitly externalizes - and is capable of reproducing in the poet, scribe and other listeners - the feelings being explored.