Exercise Finding Isomorphisms

The ability to 'chunk laterally' and create analogies is a fundamental skill for constructing therapeutic metaphors. Therapeutic metaphors involve establishing isomorphisms or parallels between the characters and events in the story and the listener's situation in order to help them find new perspectives and activate resources.

The following exercise can help you to develop and apply your lateral thinking abilities:

1. A tells B and C about a current problem or situation for which A would like some guidance, e.g., A would like to get in a new relationship, but is hesitant because of problems he or she has experienced from previous partnerships.

2. B and C listen for the significant elements in As situation or problem, e.g., "The focus on the past is preventing A from moving forward in his or her life."

3. B and C concur regarding the important contextual elements, characters, relationships and processes in As situation. B paraphrases these to A to check for accuracy.

4. B and C get together and construct a metaphor to deliver to A. B and C may use the following sources for inspiration:

Fantasy

Universal themes General Life experiences

Personal Life Experiences

Nature: Animals, Seasons, Plants, Geology, Geography etc. Folk Tales Science Fiction Sports e.g., "My grandfather taught me how to drive. He told me that I could drive quite safely looking only in the rear view mirror, providing the road ahead is exactly the same as the road behind."

5. Rotate until each player has been in the A role.

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