The Coconstruction of Congruency: Investigating the Conceptual Metaphors of Carl Rogers and Gloria

By Wickman, Scott A.; Campbell, Cynthia | Counselor Education and Supervision, September 2003 | Go to article overview

The Coconstruction of Congruency: Investigating the Conceptual Metaphors of Carl Rogers and Gloria


Wickman, Scott A., Campbell, Cynthia, Counselor Education and Supervision


The counseling session between Carl Rogers and Gloria, which was documented in the training film Three Approaches to Psychotherapy (E. L. Shostrom, 1965), is one of the most widely used teaching tools in the field of counselor education. G. Lakoff and M. Johnson's (1980, 1999) framework for investigating conceptual metaphor provided a useful method for understanding how meaning negotiation took place within the session as well as how Rogers and Gloria arrived at a meaningful therapeutic outcome by coconstructing a Utopia metaphor that reframed perfect as whole in a way that was congruent with Gloria's metaphoric structures for self and knowing.

**********

In 1964, a 30-year-old recently divorced European American woman named Gloria consented to be filmed as she received counseling by founders of three contrasting approaches to psychotherapy. One of those approaches, Carl Rogers's client-centered counseling, later became foundational for many counselor education programs. Rogers's session with Gloria in the training film Three Approaches to Psychotherapy (Shostrom, 1965) is among the most written-about sessions in the history of counseling and continues to be used as an instructional model in many helping professions (Farber, Brink, & Raskin, 1996; Glauser & Bozarth, 2001).

Conceptual Metaphor and Counseling

During the session with Rogers, Gloria struggled with conflicting ideas about self and knowing. As suggested by Gloria's language (e.g., "haywire," "devil"), her existing frameworks for self-understanding and decision making were no longer congruent with her new circumstance of being a recently divorced single mother. Likewise, Rogers's language back to Gloria incorporated metaphors such as "no-man's-land" and "subterfuges" to express his understanding of her dilemma.

The seeming importance of metaphor in this session is consistent with Lakoff and Johnson's (1980, 1999) theory of conceptual metaphor. In general, conceptual metaphor theory posits that people make sense of abstract concepts and events through concrete experiences. For example, it is common to understand life in terms of a journey. Therefore, people get "stuck at a crossroad" and "don't know which way to turn," but sometimes "find their way" to "get back on track." These metaphors for understanding have a bodily basis; that is, the metaphors reflect what people have experienced with their bodies or know vicariously about other bodies in the world (Johnson, 1987). Thus, at an unconscious level, people make sense of abstract concepts and experiences metaphorically. The specific metaphors that structure individuals' understanding are reflected in the patterns of recurring words, phrases, and literal concepts that emerge in their language. Consequently, the words people use represent much more than random verbal selections; they are, instead, a "surface realization" (Lakoff, 1993, p. 203) of people's underlying frameworks for understanding the concepts and experiences being described.

Lakoff and Johnson (1980, 1999) noted that within Western culture, there is a litany of pervasive metaphors that people use to make sense of their lives. That is, people's automatic, nonconscious perceptions of the events and circumstances they experience are delineated by personal life experiences and metaphors to which they have been exposed within their culture. For example, Lakoff and Johnson suggested that knowing is understood as either seeing (e.g., "I see what you mean"), hearing (e.g., "that sounds right to me"), or feeling (e.g., "I have a gut-level feeling that...."). Similarly, perceiving the psychological self as a container of thoughts, emotions, ideas, and so forth is a common conceptual metaphor (Lakoff&Johnson, 1980, 1999). People unconsciously construct their concept of self in terms of the normal properties of a container, such as being a three-dimensional object with the capacity to hold certain contents but with limits on how much or the kind of content. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Coconstruction of Congruency: Investigating the Conceptual Metaphors of Carl Rogers and Gloria
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.