The reason they work so well with children is because
- they don't have ready access to the vast vocabulary of feelings
- they do have an amazing imagination
- they don't want to get it wrong
- they don't want to have to explain 'why'
- it works with the subconscious mind which is often where the core belief is located
- it taps into story telling so allows the child to disconnect with the emotional element of the feeling and step away from it into a safer place out of the body
“Stories get to the parts that other words don’t reach. They speak to you at an unconscious level. They enable you to convey information indirectly, to pace some’s current reality and then lead them on to a new one. To move away from problems to different outcomes. To open up new possibilities” Romilla Ready and Kate Burton
“Metaphors are not simply poetic or rhetorical embellishments, but powerful devices for shaping perception and experience.” Nick Owen
“Metaphors illuminate some aspects of an experience while leaving others aspects in the shadows.” James Lawley and Penny Tompkins
What typifies a metaphor is the word ‘like’. We look for patterns in our life. So this experience is like what other experience? When we encounter new things we search our memory for something similar that we do know about that will enable us to make sense of the new experience. Our brain naturally looks for patterns and it enables us to form links and learn new skills as we transfer them from one situation to another. Our unconscious mind by creating a metaphor creates new meanings and solves problems by distracting us from the content and engaging us in process.
I find children like to use animal, bird or insect metaphors but these type of question keep it open for them to be free to choose their own. If they aren't sure, ask, "what animal are you when you.........."
Let’s play with metaphors. Here are some situations your child may sometimes encounter.
Answering a question in class is like what?
Putting your hand up in the lesson is like what?
Finding out that there's a test is like what?
Being late for school is like what?
Getting an answer wrong is like what?
Your best friend being off school is like what?.
Not being invited to a party or sleepover is like what?
Being told off by the teacher is like what?
Now think up some of your own.