Metaphor as a window on talk about trauma and post traumatic growth

Adriana Costa, Gerard Steen


People who have suffered traumatic experiences struggle to speak out loud about those events and the resulting pain. At the same time, talking about the trauma and its consequences is a precondition for recovery. This paper adopts Conceptual Metaphor Theory (LAKOFF; JOHNSON, 1980) to investigate how and when trauma sufferers use metaphor as a helpful means to talk and reason about their life stories. It analyzes a set of 7 interviews with traumatized people to study Posttraumatic Growth (PTG), a positive change in people who have struggled with challenging situations in life. The verbal data were analyzed with a cognitive-linguistic approach to metaphor, focusing on a selection of central metaphors for emotions of trauma and life. The patterns that emerged from this analysis were used to construct a model that reveals how survivors use the same conceptual metaphors in two different ways to talk about the different moments of the trauma itself and the subsequent process of recovery.



Interviews; Metaphor; Posttraumatic growth; Recovery; Trauma.

Texto completo:



CALHOUN, Lawrence; TEDESCHI, Richard. Handbook of posttraumatic growth: Research and practice. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2006.

CAMERON, Lynne. Metaphor and reconciliation: The discourse dynamics of empathy in post-conflict conversations. New York: Routledge, 2011.

HERMANN, Judith. Trauma and recovery: The aftermath of violence: from domestic abuse to political terror. New York: Basic Books, 1997.

KÖVECSES. Zoltán. Metaphor and emotion: Language, Culture, and Body in Human Feeling. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

LAKOFF. George; JOHNSON. Mark. Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980.

PSALM 103:11. In Holy Bible: New International Version: standard rainbow study Bible, every verse color-coded. Cincinnati: Standard Pub, 2012.

TAY, Dennis. Metaphor and psychotherapy: A Descriptive and Prescriptive Analysis. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2013.

TEDESCHI, Richard; CALHOUN, Lawrence. Helping bereaved parents: A clinician’s guide. New York: Brunner-Routledge, 2004.

TEDESCHI, Richard; CALHOUN, Lawrence. Trauma and transformation: Growing in the aftermath of suffering. Thousand Oaks: Sage, 1995.

WERTHEIMER, Alison. A special scar: The experiences of people bereaved by suicide. London: Tavistock/Routledge, 1991.


  • Não há apontamentos.


Revista Scripta e-ISSN: 2358-3428 (OJS)


Endereço: Av. Dom José Gaspar, 500 - Prédio 20 - sala 109 

Coração Eucarístico - Belo Horizonte/MG - CEP: 30535901 

Telefone geral: (31) 3319-4369



Licença Creative Commons

Este obra está licenciado com uma Licença Creative Commons Atribuição-NãoComercial-SemDerivações 4.0 Internacional.


Nossos indexadores, bancos de dados e repositórios: