Thursday, January 11, 2018

Water as Metaphor

(This blog was originally posted on January 24, 2017)

Photo by Rick Hustead

I use a lot of different metaphors when I work with my hypnotherapy clients, but water imagery is probably my favorite. Let me tell you why.

As one of the four elements (earth, air and fire being the other three), water has great transformative power. Water gives and supports life as embryonic fluid and also comprises the fluid all life requires to survive. Of course, there is also a destructive aspect of this substance: Just three inches of fast-moving water can displace heavy objects such as boulders, cars, even slabs of earth. It can smooth pebbles or destroy crops/landscape/property. The devastating tsunamis in 2004 (Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami) and 2011 (Great Sendal Earthquake, Japan) took lives.

But water can also heal. It washes away dirt and detritus from a wound. It provides refreshment, it cleans and cleanses. The sound of raindrops tapping on tree leaves or a roof during a summer rainstorm, or that of a babbling brook or ocean waves moving in and out on a tide, can bring great relaxation and comfort. A body of still water can provide an opportunity for reflection (metaphoric and literal) or exercise, for swimming.

My favorite metaphors of water feature its restorative/transformative powers. When it is heated, the water droplets become vapor (air). When it is frozen, it becomes solid as the ground even though the slippery characteristic of ice makes its surface much more difficult (but not impossible) to stand on. And when water is in its original liquid form, it can take the shape of any container or environment in which it is held. That is what I love most about water as a metaphor: it speaks to the part of and in us all that is capable of adaptation, change and transformation depending on the situation in which we find ourselves.

Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy®, please visit
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