Realising The Metaphorist

more information Apr 03, 2019

What happens when the lores and language of your experience are noncomposite with all known locally generated knowledge? You realise the metaphorist. Or at least that's what we did. Your story will no doubt tell a different tale. To book a discovery session, click here.

The job title metaphorist came in a dream. In answer to the queries, "What do you want us to call ourselves?" and "What do you want us to name the business?" a dream version of Melanie replied, "I am a metaphorist!" So we ran with it... after lengthy research into the etymology and conceptual framework of the term(s), that is.

Then finally, on Saturday, the 16 of March 2019 we registered the business name 'MetaphOracle' - the third incarnation of our work to date. See more about previous incarnations here.

What's In A Name?

Combining the forms meta惻phor and oracle, was only part of the story.  As a therapist, it was also a reference to therapaea. Which makes it sound like coming by this knowledge is a smooth and obvious process but that is definitely not the case. At every turn, we follow vague clues, do a lot of reading, and wait in allowing spaces for scraps of information. Then we take that data and find ways to interpret mediated reality into our language. Not a straightforward task.

Metaphors and oracles are simple enough, as long as you're willing to plumb the depths and feel into the messages that inhere there. But oftentimes there is no word for what we're doing. That's when the search gets interesting. Instead of following the etymology or cross-cultural synonym for a word, we'll be instructed to look something up on the Internet. A series of letters or a phrase completely unfamiliar (without knowing why). That's how we came across the word therapaea.

Anyway, so here's what we came up with when we gathered together this information into a patchwork explanation: The first people to use the word "therapist" were the Greek "therapaea" who sat with clients and acted as scribes recording their dreams... which immediately made us think of shaman and the way they have a subject recount their journeying so the symbols or messages can be interpreted. Interpretation too is part of what we do. Especially offering interpretations that do not make you (anyone or anything) right, wrong or incomplete. ...By bearing witness to the client's story, often a fragmented, chaotic and/or disturbing experience, therapy can be regarded as a metaphoric mode of paying attention.

None of which adds up to what a metaphorist does but the explanation was similar enough to what we do, and referenced the kind of phrases that eventually inspired both our job title - metaphorist - and our business name - MetaphOracle. Plus it gives us a few discussion points.



Here is an excerpt from Interplay on being a therapist:

"The first people to use the word "therapist" were the Greek "therapaea" who sat with the people who went to the Healing Chambers at Epidauros and quite simply acted as scribes who recorded the dreams of the visitors. The act of telling the story of the dream, and having it heard and recorded, was the centre of the healing.

As a 20th Century therapist myself, I think a good interpretation is above all a witness or audience to the story of the patient or client. Because the presence and the utterance of the therapist holds and contains a previously fragmented, chaotic and/or disturbing experience, it becomes more possible for the client to behold their own story and to reflect upon and think about it." -- Mary Good, Interplay Newsletter vol. 3 March 1995

An entry on therapaea from

Therapaea: Used in reference to the ancient Greek notion of therapy as an attendance to the gods or divine forces that were regarded as likely causes of distress or ill fortune because a person had neglected one or another of them. Psychologically this form of therapy can be regarded as a metaphoric mode of paying attention to the unconscious or non-egoic aspects of self and psyche. -- Mytho-Logos of Concurrent Being Many in the One Web Glossary 2005

And a dictionary definition of metaphor:

Metaphor (n.) "figure of speech by which a characteristic of one object is assigned to another, different but resembling it or analogous to it; comparison by transference of a descriptive word or phrase," from meta "over, across" + pherein "to carry, bear," from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children."


IPTN Newsletter from the International Playback Theatre and Therapy Network

Website Glossary from Mytho-Logos of Concurrent Being Many in The One



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