Doctorate in Clinical Psychology: Main Research Portfolio
: 1) Is indiscriminate friendliness a symptom of disordered attachment in institutionalised children? A review of the literature; 2) An evaluation of a group for caregivers; 3)An experimental investigation into young people’s ability to use metaphors within therapy.

  • Vaneeta Sadhnani

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy)


Background: Metaphors are commonly used within clinical settings to
communicate concepts to young people. Whilst theories of how metaphors
work have been proposed, alongside ideas to implement metaphors
effectively, there has been little research as to whether metaphors impact
upon memory and understanding, in comparison to basic language. Aims:
The current study aims to assess whether metaphorical explanations
leads to improved memory and understanding for psychological concepts.
Method: 25 participants took part in the study (10 boys and 15 girls).
Individuals who were on the waiting list for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
(CBT) were given the opportunity to watch a video which explained the
main concepts of CBT. Half of the participants watched a video with
metaphorical explanations (Metaphor group); the other half watched a
video using basic language (Psychoeducation group). The participants
answered questions immediately after the video and then four weeks later,
on psychopathology, memory and understanding measures. Results: Ttests were carried out to determine any differences between the two
groups. There were no significant differences on all variables tested
(memory, understanding, intention to change) immediately or after four
weeks. Correlational data, looking at the link between age and
understanding/memory between the two groups found that older
individuals were more likely to understand and remember the content of
the Psychoeducation video. Whilst this correlation did not differ
significantly from the Metaphors group, there were no such trends for
individuals exposed to a metaphorical understanding. Conclusions:
Metaphors do not appear to enhance memory and understanding of young
people, in comparison to basic language. However, it seems they are
equally understood by younger and older children, therefore making them
an accessible way of communicating complicated concepts. Definitive
conclusions cannot be made due to the small sample size, so there is a
call for further research in this area.
Date of Award10 Sept 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorPaul Salkovskis (Supervisor), Claire Lomax (Supervisor) & Ailsa Russell (Supervisor)

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