One of the things about having a mother who was an English major, but being the second child, is that my mom doesn't remember my first word, but remembers my first metaphor (pointing at the half-moon and saying "apple")
In therapy, we spend a lot of time trying to put feelings, emotions, physical sensations into words. Sometimes it's impossible to accurately describe an experience to another person with mere language. That's why we have art, music, drama, dance.
One of the tools that we use a lot is metaphor. Metaphor is tricky, though, because it is very culturally-specific, like most of language. But in a person's search for words to describe their experiences, they will find the easiest time translating into metaphors which feel like home for them.
Sometimes, these metaphors are relatively-general, like "I feel like I'm just barely treading water."
But sometimes they're more specific to a culture or an expertise. Maybe you're trying to describe how you've been feeling nervous, and what feels most apt is, "It's like when the music changes and you know you're about to hit the spawn point." Or maybe you're feeling really proud of yourself for accomplishing a goal, and you describe it as "leveling up."
If your therapist has some idea of the context behind your metaphor, the conversation will feel more natural. Like many things in finding a therapist, this isn't often a deal-breaker, because you both can work to explain your metaphors and learn one another's language. But it can make it easier.
So, let this blog post be an assurance to my potential clients: I'm pretty good at metaphors around certain parts of nerd and tech culture. Here's a short, non-exhaustive list:
I am fluent in:
- Star Trek, Star Wars (inc. some extended universe/legends), Stargate, Marvel Cinematic Universe
- Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, Tamora Pierce, Madeline L'Engle, and many more
- Legend of Zelda, Lego Star Wars, general Final Fantasy tropes
- Memes, both modern and classic
I am conversant in:
- Software engineering metaphors, especially with some abstraction
- Some anime/manga. Tropes and series that were popular in the US definitely, specifics or more niche, less so.
- Classic video game series, like Metroid, Super Mario, Zelda, specific Final Fantasy
- Deeper fan culture, including cosplay, cons, fanfic, etc.