Sara Jalbert, Psy.D., is a 2023 graduate of the Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Theodore Ellenhorn, PhD, ABPP, Committee Chair
  • Barbara Belcher-Timme, PsyD, Committee Member
  • Lisa Akel, PsyD, Committee Member


metaphor, intersubjectivity, psychodynamic, psychoanalytic, cognitive, interpersonal neurobiology, derivative communication

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Psychotherapists experience encounters in psychotherapy that present the opportunity for metaphor and imagery to be utilized as methods of intervention that enhance attunement in the therapeutic dyad. Working within imagery, tropes, and metaphor may facilitate experiential processing and integration of information. Metaphor has been used across cultures for many years to describe abstract concepts and to apply deeper meaning to the confines of logical thought. This paper discusses the literature on metaphor as an object of shared language, enhancing the space which minds share in the therapeutic dyad, and posits that metaphor has the ability to enhance intrapsychic levels of processing toward creating neurobiological and cognitive change. I will conduct a comparative analysis of the literature proposed here, resulting in a synthesis of various theories (including cognitive, interpersonal neurobiology, and psychoanalytic) on the use of metaphor and its connection to the intersubjective space. There is a focus on psychoanalytic, psychodynamic, and neurocognitive theories as they apply to metaphor, imagery, and intersubjectivity.


Sara Jalbert

ORCID Scholar ID# 0009-0006-6182-657X