Publication details [#920]

Southall, David. 2013. The patient’s use of metaphor within a palliative care setting: Theory, function and efficacy. A narrative literature review. Journal of Palliative Medicine 27 (4) : 304–313. 10 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Thomson Reuters


In the field of palliative care the way patients express themselves is seen as crucial. With the purpose of identifying and analyzing the figure of metaphor in the patients’ expressions, the paper reviews the literature of this figure of speech and posts questions regarding metaphor’s therapeutic usefulness and the ways in which patients speak of their condition. This investigation provides the theoretical foundations for the patient’s metaphoric utterances and delineates the variety and diversity of metaphors used by patients, categorizing them into broad groupings which encompass metaphors of war, journeying, personhood, the natural world and existential concepts. As a result, this investigation has shown that metaphoric communication allows sensitive subjects to be dealt with and provides benefits for patients, as it has been proved that engaging with patients at the metaphoric level enables them to create new ways of viewing their situation opening up the possibilities of new coping strategies.