Create a Role Model

It may be useful to provide parents with a role model for communicating in metaphors. This can be done in several ways. First, you can coach parents in the PRO-Approach for storytelling, as I described in this chapter.

Second, it can be useful to have parents sit in on the metaphor therapy you are providing for their child, if this is appropriate. Sometimes it might not be appropriate if the child has confided things he or she does not wish to express in front ofparents, or has a sense of autonomy about working through the situation without a parental figure looking over his or her shoulder. When a parent is included, I find it helps if you carefully describe to them, step by step, what led you to creating the metaphor, how you developed the story, and why you presented it in the way that you did. You cannot expect that by sitting in on just one session a parent will understand the processes you have developed over years of study, training, and practice.

Third, review and revise the stories a parent is using. Spend some time with the parents, asking them about the stories they have used. Listen to the tape they have recorded, or have them tell the story to you in the way they did to their child. Explore whether their tales still meet the outcome goals, or whether those goals—and the stories—need to be adjusted as the child progresses. Examine the resources being offered. Are they still relevant? Is there more that might be helpful? What do you know from your own clinical experience and the literature that might be useful to add to their stories?

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