Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

MA in Clinical Psychology



First Advisor

Elissa J Brown

Second Advisor

Allison J Jaeger

Third Advisor

William Chaplin


Analogies are an important tool for supporting learning across many domains. In the context of psychotherapeutic interventions, analogies are often used in psychoeducation and are anecdotally known to be used by clinicians in sessions with patients. However, limited research has examined the use of analogies in clinical training materials, the frequency of analogy use by clinicians, clinicians’ knowledge of analogies, and the effects of analogy use on the therapeutic process. The aim of Study 1 was to investigate the presence of analogies in clinical literature. Results revealed that analogies are commonly included in treatment manuals and textbooks and that the analogies included tend to be simple and make use of real-life base concepts. The aim of Study 2 was to examine clinicians’ perceptions of analogies and how they report using them in practice. Sixty-one psychotherapeutic clinicians read a set of three analogies and completed survey questions about their familiarity with and use of the provided analogies as well as questions about their use of analogies in therapy more generally. Overall, clinicians reported frequent analogy use, with more experienced clinicians reporting the highest frequency. Clinicians with a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy orientation and clinicians still completing their doctoral training identified a significantly higher number of alignments within the analogies. Results from this set of studies highlights the idea that analogies are commonly used in psychotherapeutic contexts. Future research should continue to examine analogy use in psychotherapy and more specifically examine differences in analogy use as a function of client demographics and the relations between analogy use and therapy outcomes.