HomeLEAPS: Miriam College Faculty Research Journalvol. 26 no. 1 (2006)

Metaphors of Family Relationships

Caroline S. De Leon

Discipline: Family and Relationships



This study explored the potential value of using metaphor as a teaching tool directed at enhancing reflective thinking and insightful understanding of family relationships. It also aimed at demonstrating metaphorical analysis as a creative qualitative approach in family research. The visual metaphors and journal entries of 112 female college students enrolled in a course in family psychology were qualitatively examined. The dominant themes revolved around the family as a cradle of nurturance, the family as a functional machine, the family as the center of control, and metaphor as a mirror of selves. Though analysis of the affective content of the visual metaphors and journal entries revealed negative emotional undertones, feelings toward family relationships were generally positive. Future directions point to the wide application of metaphorical analysis across disciplines, as well as in research.