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Metaphor in Practice


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About the Author

Niklas Toerneke, MD, is a psychiatrist and has worked as a senior psychiatrist in the department of general psychiatry in his hometown Kalmar (in the southeast of Sweden) from 1991 until he started private practice 1998. He earned license as a psychotherapist in 1996 and was originally trained as a cognitive therapist. Since 1998 he has worked mainly with acceptance and commitment therapy, both in his own practice and as a teacher and clinical supervisor. His clinical experience ranges from psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia to common anxiety and mood disorders with high prevalence in the general population.


"This is a comprehensive and compelling read on how to make metaphors work in therapy. It is a light and interesting book that highlights the power and potential complexity of metaphor when harnessed appropriately by the therapist. It covers the scientific underpinnings of how metaphors work, and explains the best way to create a therapeutic context that will enable metaphors to do what they do best: create psychological flexibility in the way in which we relate to ourselves. The work is scholarly and timely, but it is also alive with interesting transcript segments and relevant clinical metaphors. The book is neither dumbed down nor hard to read. In fact, it was pleasurable and interesting, and takes the reader on a journey that will positively change the way therapists use metaphor in their clinical practice."
--Yvonne Barnes-Holmes, PhD, associate professor in behavior analysis at Ghent University
"This outstanding volume examines the use of metaphors in clinical practice. Although many experienced and skilled clinicians often use metaphors quite naturally, few therapists know why they use them and how they can maximize their benefits. This book systematically analyzes the theoretical foundations and optimal use of these powerful tools. Grounded in solid clinical science, metaphors provide therapists with a language to effectively communicate important clinical information that can have a powerful impact on the therapeutic process. I highly recommend this book."
--Stefan G. Hofmann, PhD, professor of psychology in the department of psychological and brain sciences at Boston University
"If you have been craving a sophisticated and thorough discourse on all things metaphor, Metaphor in Practice is the book you need. Niklas Toerneke provides a fresh, in-depth analysis of both the scientific role and practical application of metaphors in psychotherapy."
--Jill A. Stoddard, PhD, coauthor of The Big Book of ACT Metaphors
"I have learned so much from this valuable book. Niklas Toerneke demonstrates the beautiful synergy between therapeutic and linguistic analysis, and the outcome is both a practical guide and intellectual inspiration for practitioners, researchers, and everyone else interested in therapy and language."
--Dennis Tay, PhD, assistant professor in the department of English at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University
"In Metaphor in Practice, Niklas Toerneke takes you on a journey that is both intellectually stimulating and incredibly practical. In the first part of the book, he shows the reader how metaphor is central to all aspects of therapeutic work, and provides the reader with an analysis of metaphor that is based on his deep understanding of philosophy, theory, and science. Then, in the second part of the book, he provides a stunning breadth of ways to create metaphors to help clients understand how they are influenced by their environment, get a healthy perspective on their experience, and find a valued direction for their life. The reader will find the chapter on cocreating metaphor especially useful, as it shows you how to move beyond canned metaphors and work cooperatively within the client's unique history and worldview. Toerneke writes with clarity and beauty. I cannot recommend this book enough. It will be useful to anybody who seeks to use language to improve the human condition."
--Joseph Ciarrochi, PhD, coauthor Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life for Teens, and coeditor of Mindfulness, Acceptance, and Positive Psychology
"Metaphor in Practice is a book that is approachable and user-friendly. It provides excellent examples of metaphor usage that may be easily incorporated into readers' professional practice. It also provides a foundational understanding of metaphors that will allow readers to adaptively use metaphors for specific therapeutic purposes."
--The Professional Counselor

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