Publication details [#3608]

Combs, Gene and Jill Freedman. 1990. Symbol, Story, and Ceremony: Using Metaphor in Individual and Family Therapy. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. 279 pp.
Publication type
Book – monograph
Publication language


The book provides an overview of using metaphors through symbols, stories and ceremonies (rituals) in therapy. It is based on ideas and principles suggested by Bateson and Erickson. At times the book suggests that just about everything is a metaphor (Bateson's viewpoint), as opposite to a chair being just a chair - the only merit of this observation is that we assign meanings to objects and experiences in our lives and thus to a lesser or greater extent they are colored by our perception. The book also emphasizes Erickson's utilization principle, namely that the therapist should attempt to use client's metaphors to help the client solve the problem. The authors then guide you through methods and techniques of selecting appropriate symbols, constructing metaphoric stories and ceremonies. There are other books that go in greater depth on creatic metaphoric stories and which for that purpose may be more useful than this one. (Amazon Book Description)