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Cancer in other words? The role of metaphor in emotion disclosure in cancer patients.

Lanceley, A; Macleod, CJ; (2013) Cancer in other words? The role of metaphor in emotion disclosure in cancer patients. British Journal of Psychotherapy , 29 (2) pp. 182-201. 10.1111/bjp.12023. Green open access

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Abstract

It is well recognised that individuals facing a cancer diagnosis can find it difficult to express emotions or feelings evoked by their illness and that this may impact on recovery or adjustment. However there has been little empirical work to date which examines the relationship between cancer patients’ use of language and the revelation of their emotions. This paper draws on data from an interpretive discourse analytic study investigating the process and content of sixty nurse-patient conversations during day-to-day care in hospital. The overall picture of emotion disclosure which emerges from this research is one of extraordinary intensity. A key finding was the powerful and pervasive use of metaphor by patients when expressing their emotions. A detailed analysis of three (typical) conversations is presented here to illustrate this powerful use of metaphor. Some potential explanations for metaphor use are explored and consideration is given to the implications for nurses and other health care professionals in their interactions with cancer patients. In particular how understanding of metaphor use could productively inform approaches to communicating with cancer patients.

Type: Article
Title: Cancer in other words? The role of metaphor in emotion disclosure in cancer patients.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/bjp.12023
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjp.12023
Language: English
Additional information: © 2013 The Authors British Journal of Psychotherapy. © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and BPF. Full text made available to UCL Discovery by kind permission of Wiley.
Keywords: Nurse-patient communication, Oncology, Emotion, Metaphor, Textual analysis
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health > Womens Cancer
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1306267
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