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Research Article  |   May 1996
Metaphor and Meaning in a Clinical Interview
Author Affiliations
  • Trudy Mallinson, MS, OTR/L, NZROT, is Research Specialist in Behavioral Sciences, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Illinois at Chicago, M/C 811, 1919 West Taylor Street, Chicago, Illinois 60612
  • Gary Kielhofner, DrPH, OTR, FAOTA, is Professor and Head, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
  • Cheryl Mattingly, PhD, is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, and Adjunct Foreign Professor, Kavolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
Article Information
Mental Health / Research
Research Article   |   May 1996
Metaphor and Meaning in a Clinical Interview
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May 1996, Vol. 50, 338-346. doi:10.5014/ajot.50.5.338
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May 1996, Vol. 50, 338-346. doi:10.5014/ajot.50.5.338
Abstract

This study examined the narrative features of 20 life histories gathered from psychiatric patients with the Occupational Performance History Interview. The aim was to identify how narrative features were present in the patient interview responses and to illustrate how such narrative features can be located. We found that the patients organized their interview responses with deep metaphors that served to “emplot, ” or give meaning to, the life story. This article illustrates how patients used the deep metaphors to both circumscribe and frame possible solutions to the problems in their lives. Deep metaphors are consistent, recurring images of a life story that give coherence to, and aid in, the interpretation of the events of that life. Moreover, we explored how metaphors can be located in patient life histories and their implications for occupational therapy.