Purpose – This paper is a shared endeavour between client (Caroline) and therapist (Anne) which aims to examine the use of poetry in the construction of meaning in Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy (CBP). Design/methodology/approach – The paper is a narrative account of the early stages of therapy and the role poetry played in developing an effective therapeutic relationship and in shaping the CBP formulation, which guides treatment. The text is illustrated with examples of poetry and song lyrics that have been used to construct meaning in the therapy and the authors' own reflections on this process. The paper begins with a brief outline of the theoretical principles of CBP and then moves on to discuss the use of metaphor as part of the therapy and its role in the development of a productive therapeutic relationship. Findings – The paper provides a reflective narrative from the perspective of client and therapist and invites the reader to consider making links between the science of evidence based practice and the artistry necessary and inherent to the practice of CBP. Originality/value – The interacting cognitive subsystems model (Teasdale and Barnard, 1993) from cognitive science is introduced as a theoretical rationale to provide an account of the efficacy and effectiveness of poetry in this context. This is the first time an evidence based theory from cognitive science has been used as the basis for an account of the utility of poetry in constructing meaning in CBP.
Mental Health Review Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 16, 2011
Keywords: Poetry; Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy; Meaning; Metaphors; Interacting cognitive subsystems