One metaphor to rule them all
The Unifying Spiral is precisely what it sounds like. It is the powerful all-embracing visual metaphor that unites all Metaphorical Therapy’s Keystone Principles. The centre of the spiral is safe. The outside dangerous. Risk in the centre is low. Risk on the outside is high. In between the centre and the periphery are many levels of boundaries. Boundaries are low in the centre and grow higher as you progress the further from the safety of the centre. The purpose of your boundaries is to separate you and your problems from those of your neighbours. They also protect you from the danger of a needy neighbour dumping their problems on you. A lot of emotional gold is invested in relationships located in the middle of your Spiral. Relatively little emotion is invested in higher risk relationships sensibly located on the on the riskier perimeter. The position of an individual on your spiral is obviously commensurate with the degree of trust you are prepared to place in them. Those in whom you trust are granted access to the centre of your spiral. Less known and possibly less trustworthy individuals are best kept a healthy emotional distance out on the fringes of your emotional life where they do not pose a threat. Your Spiral even reminds you constantly of good old “stranger danger” by reflecting an element of time. Granting relative strangers direct immediate entry to the centre of your spiral is immature and downright dangerous. Everyone has to earn their way in by demonstrating that they are trustworthy. And that takes time. The shortest reasonable time that one should allow to pass before considering allowing a person in a new relationship to begin to approach the centre of one’s Spiral is around eighteen months. The shorter the time the greater the risk!
Behold! It moves!
The Universal Spiral is a dynamic metaphor. It infers movement. And this is intended. It can be perceived as both flat and in three dimensions like a spring. Imagine the Spiral as always spinning, morphing and changing according to your circumstances. This is exactly as it should be because this is precisely what happens in real-life and in in the real world. The implied flow of the Spiral accommodates this dynamic ever-changing process. As people around you change, so you change to accommodate them. The Spiral empowers you to constantly audit relationships and to adjust the position of individuals on your metaphorical spiral accordingly. As we have said, you can visualise the Unifying Spiral is a three-dimensional spinning vortex. Seen thus; it becomes a powerful tool to imagine, understand, organise and evaluate your feelings and your thinking. When appropriately employed the Spiral will reflect changes in your relationships and help you orientate yourself appropriately to minimise emotional risk and danger. It will guide you in coping with difficult, damaging and dangerous people. Remember those people may be a part of your family. Metaphorical Therapy and the Universal Spiral will help you understand that blood is not always thicker than water. Relatives do not get a free pass to the centre of safe centre Spiral where you are most vulnerable. It has been said that family is an hereditary disease. While this may seem cynical the sad fact is that it often embodies a grain of unfortunate and unhappy truth. By using the Spiral, you can be forewarned. And as the venerable saying goes: forewarned is forearmed.
A management tool for life
Once you are adept at using the Spiral you will find yourself returning to it time and time again because, in a word; it makes life easier. Issues are easier to understand and articulate and that makes them much easier to manage. The Spiral will also make it easier for you to identify and evict dangerous potentially hurtful people from the centre of your emotional life and, what is more, to understand and support those who are grieving by being able to visualise where they are on their personal journey from the trauma of loss to the emotional resolution that comes with time and figurative distance gained onboard the metaphorical rollercoaster ride of grief.
The central organising principle of the Metaphorical Therapy System
It provides a unifying visual language – a kind of metaphorical shorthand. The Spiral is revisited and referred to throughout all five of Metaphorical Therapy’s Keystone modules and it relates to your keystone principles of self-preservation, boundaries, self-worth and processing emotions in a unique and specific way. Furthermore, it is easy to remember and it has proven itself over time to be an immeasurably practical and pragmatic therapeutic tool. Think of your Spiral as a combination of both the chart and the compass that help you navigate away from the dark waters of mental illness and towards calm that comes with psychological resilience, robustness, health and wellbeing.
The Unifying Spiral will make you a better friend, mentor, parent and life partner
In short: The Unifying Spiral will help you visualise, intuitively understand and interrogate the dynamics and potential consequences of almost any given situation or set of circumstances. In time, you will find that its use becomes intuitive. Thinking in terms of the Spiral will become second nature. Your personal Spiral will make you more empathetic; not only to others but more importantly to yourself. It will help you better understand the process of grief and loss. It will clearly illustrate that grief is a journey that we must all undertake at some time. A journey that, while sometimes harrowing, ends in peace, acceptance and the ability to finally let go, not of the memories but of the pain that so often accompanies them. Your Spiral is there to help you understand and deal with the loss of precious emotional gold that you may have invested in a given relationship over time. Understanding The Unifying Spiral will make you a better friend, mentor, parent and life partner.
Understanding and managing emotions is a challenge of the ages
Capturing and expressing human emotion is no easy task. If it was we would all be Shakepeares, Homers, Tolstoys, Eminems, Euripideses and Spielbergs. Emotions are extraordinarily difficult to capture and even harder to adequately articulate to those around us who might give a shit. To coin a great if somewhat confronting Australian phrase: Our feelings are frequently as slippery as eels in a bucket of snot. Understanding and managing emotions is a challenge of the ages.
The wages of supressing of emotion form the cornerstone of literally libraries-full of classical and popular drama. The feuding houses of Capulet and Montague try to stifle the love of Romeo and Juliet. The tragic Miss Havisham in Dickens’ Great Expectations is trapped forever by her inability to get over being jilted at the altar on her wedding day. Then there is the line unwilling of heroes stretching from Achilles to the grief-stricken Penthesilea and poor Rambo; souls taunted, hurt and humiliated to the point of reactive violence of legendary proportions.
We love and embrace these stories because they express a universal human truth. We identify with these characters because we see an element of our own humanity reflected in their pain. We know what it is to feel as these beleaguered protagonists do. We know how just hard it is to express exactly what we feel. That’s why we have such an overwhelming propensity to ally ourselves so strongly with these frequently somewhat tortured souls. We feel a sense of relief and vindication when they finally cry, “Enough!” We enjoy nothing more than to grab another hopper of popcorn as we settle back to enjoy the ensuing righteous shit-storm that will rebalance our universe. The protagonist locked in an inner struggle with their feelings is a universal construct. Down the ages the psychological implications have remained the same: Repression and suppression, being the unconscious and conscious denial of our emotions, is a path that leads straight a river of tears if you’re lucky and to a gunfight at the O.K. Corral if we’re not.
If we are cut we bleed. If we are hurt we cry. If we suffer loss we grieve
Without understanding, expressing and processing emotion we cannot expect to sustain psychological health and wellbeing. It will therefore come as no surprise that the challenge of processing emotion is thoroughly addressed by the fourth of Metaphorical Therapy’s five fundamental keystone modules. The ability to deal with and work through emotional upset and loss is explained in a logical easily understood sequence. Our tried and tested metaphors of the food processor and the rollercoaster ride of grief give graphic intuitively comprehended examples how this turbulent and distressing (and above all perfectly natural journey) to emotional resolution, can be undertaken, endured and brought to healthy closure in the form of acceptance.
If we are cut we bleed. If we are hurt we cry. If we suffer loss we grieve. Metaphorical Therapy welds concrete simple and memorable visual metaphors to the often complex, confusing and confounding challenge of managing our emotions. The use of these metaphors breaks our emotional issues down to bite-sized, easily digested portions. The simple four-step method is clearly laid out in simple effortlessly accessed visual metaphors: 1 Picture the problem. 2 Label the problem. 3 Express the problem. 4 Catch or field an emotional problem on behalf of someone we care about. When the solution to processing emotional upset is explained in pictures we gain far more than just understanding; we achieve an emotional shift that provides respite and relief from anxiety. Why? Because we intuit that we are not truly alone and that somebody somewhere cares. Many have suffered before us and many will suffer after. In the words of REM and legions of other songwriters and artists down the ages: Everybody hurts.
Express don’t suppress
So; take up the catch cry of the Processing Emotion module: Express don’t suppress. You will discover the key to addressing a host of complications and illnesses lies in in a paradox: The simple but at the same time often incredibly complicated-seeming act of getting things off your chest. It is said that a problem shared is a problem halved. The ability to identify who is most likely to be a good listener and a safe, supportive, caring and trustworthy catcher of your emotional issues can be positively life-changing – every bit as life-changing as the wounds and scars of betrayal, loss and isolation that come from being let down by those who we have trusted with our deepest most private emotions. In short: Metaphorical Therapy’s Processing Emotion Keystone Module will help you plug in and switch on your own powerful personal emotional processor. It is an essential ingredient in your recipe for psychological health.
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Metaphorical Therapy is an innovative new way to deliver essential psychological education, support psychological wellness, and prevent mental illness.
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