Publication details [#10614]

Tay, Dennis. 2010. Revisiting metaphor types as discourse strategies: The case of psychotherapeutic discourse. 19 pp. URL


A question not often asked in metaphor research is the extent to which different methodologies, aimed at investigating different aspects of metaphor, can be brought together productively. One recent exception is Wee (Language in Society 34: 219–238, 2005a), which recasts models of metaphor processing as production strategies facilitating discourse objectives characteristic of particular discourse genres. This article complements and refines Wee's analysis by examining instances of psychotherapeutic discourse. I argue that the demanding nature and interpersonal dynamics of psychotherapeutic talk define discourse objectives that cannot be straightforwardly aligned with particular metaphor strategies. Instead, discourse objectives are shifting and pragmatically modulated in ways that are reflected in more intricate patterns of metaphor deployment. By analyzing the co-occurrence of discourse markers and other linguistic features with these metaphors, I also suggest how the prevailing emphasis on signaling metaphoricity in discourse per se can be fruitfully expanded to include the analysis of these co-occurring features, or “contextualization cues,” within the entire discourse context. I conclude by discussing the implications of my findings for researching metaphor, discourse analysis, and psychotherapeutic practice. (Dennis Tay)