Publication details [#7995]

Publication type
Article in book  
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Geneva, Switzerland


This paper shows how metaphor, memory and affects form one synergistic system. It assumes: 1) metaphor is a cognitive process, not mere figurative speech (Lakoff and Johnson); 2) metaphor plays a salient role in categorizing emotional memory; 3) memory is both categorical and retranscriptive (Edelman). By allowing us to find the familiar in the unfamiliar, metaphor provides our earliest, most fundamental means of structuring experience, a schema for bringing feelings and other bodily sensations within the agency of the self. In health the metaphoric process helps recontextualize experience. In trauma, experiences are not recontextualized, foreclosing and freezing the metaphoric correspondence between past and present. Without the play of similarity and difference between the past and current experience, metaphor fails to generate new meanings. This foreclosure helps explain psychoanalytic transference and other forms of "repetition compulsion". (Arnold Modell)