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Describing the experience of aphasia rehabilitation through metaphor

Ferguson, Alison and Worall, Linda and Davidson, Bronwyn and Hersh, Deborah and Howe, Tami and Sherratt, Sue
Describing the experience of aphasia rehabilitation through metaphor . Aphasiology, 24(6-8), June, 2010, pages 685-696.


Background: Previous research into metaphoric expression has suggested that metaphor offers a window into intra-individual conceptions as well as into socio-cultural understandings of illness and recovery. This study explored how people with aphasia, their family members, and their speech-language pathologists described their experiences of rehabilitation through the linguistic resource of metaphor.

Aims: This study aimed to compare the perspectives of five people with aphasia, five of their family members, and their eight treating speech-language pathologists by analysing the way they used the linguistic resource of metaphor to describe their experience of aphasia therapy.

Methods & Procedures: Interviews with five people with aphasia, five of their family members, and their eight speech-language pathologists were recorded, transcribed, and coded for metaphoric expressions and concepts.

Outcomes & Results: Quantitatively across all participants, the metaphorical concepts of JOURNEY, BATTLE, and PRODUCT were the most frequently used metaphoric concepts expressed by the participants. Qualitatively within sets of participants, differences in the patterns of use of metaphoric concepts indicated important contrasts in the way they viewed their experiences.

Conclusions: The frequent use of JOURNEY metaphor accorded with previous research into recovery, while the identification of BATTLE and PRODUCT metaphor was suggested to point to critical sites reflecting social disempowerment. Attention to the use of metaphoric expression may offer clinicians a window into how others involved in the collaborative therapy process are constructing their experience.

EPrint Type:Journal (Paginated)
ID Code:1832
Conference:Clinical Aphasiology Conference: Clinical Aphasiology Conference (2009 : 39th : Keystone, CO : May 26-30, 2009)
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
Alternative Locations:,
DOI or Unique Handle:10.1080/02687030903438508
Additional Information:Access to the full text is subject to the publisher's access restrictions.