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February 20, 2018

Earthquake: A Counseling Metaphor

By Dr. Richard Boyum

I sometimes use the metaphor of an earthquake with my clients. I use this metaphor when the resolution of a bad experience is taking longer than a client would like, or old feelings as part of a past event reoccur. These events often cause feelings of hopelessness or helplessness...and sometimes fear and frustration in my clients. When this type of event, with these feelings occur, I often say the following, "Bad experiences are like an earthquake, the initial event can be extremely traumatic. Sometimes when we think that the worst is over, that its all over, but like earthquakes, life events often have aftershocks. These aftershocks are as not bad as the incident itself, but because we have been so shaken by the initial event we often react with great sensitivity to the aftershock. Know that in time, like a real earthquake, the aftershocks will decrease in intensity and duration...and like a real earthquake you must take the necessary precautions to take care of yourself so as not to be hurt by the earthquake's unfinished business called aftershocks." As counselors, see if this technique/ metaphor may not help some of your clients.