Dr. Matthew Paldy

Reverie and Metaphor in Psychotherapy

The names that we have for feelings, for example ‘fear’, ‘loneliness’, ‘despair’, ‘joy’ and so on are generic labels for categories of feeling and often, in themselves, convey very little of the speaker's unique, individual experience in that moment. When a patient tells me that she felt despairing over the weekend, I may ask what her despair felt like. Or if she is a patient who has difficulty knowing what she feels or even where she feels it, I might ask: ‘How did you know you were feeling despairing?’ or ‘Where in your body did you feel the despair?’ In the analyst's and the analysand's efforts to enquire into or to describe what despair or loneliness or joyfulness feel like, they necessarily find themselves engaged in the use of metaphor.
-- from Ogden, T. (1997). Reverie and metaphor: Some thoughts on how I work as a psychoanalyst. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 78, 719–732.