The Metaphors Be With You TOOL

This tool enables creative team players to establish and to manage changes of their individual identities - in order to work with one another


Tool Purpose

  • places people in an imaginary space in which anything is possible
  • is an optimistic tool and should be facilitated as such
  • helps people to predict future views of themselves
  • helps people to identify an alternative persona or multiple personae for themselves within imagined landscapes or perspectives

NB. This tool could be further developed within the workshop scenario to involve

  • dressing up
  • role play
  • make up
  • performance

Tool Context

The tool can exist on both the macro and the micro level:

  • i.e. the tool can be used as the metaphor for a whole event i.e.the metaphor helps participants develop a multiple reading of the possibilities of the event (at Pines Calyx we wrote a letter which contained metaphors such as 'seeding' and 'growing' These continued to be used by the participants in the workshop), or
  • the tool can be a focus for a part of the event, such as the one described below:

Tool Process

Facilitating the micro tool:

  • Each collaborator is asked to 'name' him/herself using a metaphor that is relevant to the working context
  • To help people who may find this tool difficult, the name could consist of a noun and adjective that combine to create the desired semantic effect.
    • E.g. energetic ant / playful puppy
  • This takes place in the context of a 'super-metaphor' for the whole context
    • (e.g. team) "if you were in a band, what role would you play?" there may only be a noun to describe the role. I am the singer (because..) / I am the bassist (because...)

Facilitating the macro tool:
Set the event or happening in a metaphoric context to allow for multiple readings of the possibilities or outcomes. For example, the metaphor for this event is growth. All developing metaphrs used within the event will build upon the idea of growth: planting, seeding, pruning, etc.


(Willams, Lockheart et al)
This tool came from a workshop How to tell stories that heal given by Pat Williams and attended by Julia Lockheart in 2005. This workshop explained the beneficial effect of stories in the healing process. The development of defining metaphors to help people place themselves into a different and more positive context has been found to be extremely helpful in a therapy context. Pat defined the phrase, "metaphors be with you!".


  • We used this tool at Pines Calyx with the Positioning Tool.
  • This helped the team to define their roles within the newly developing team.

Since the workshop in 2005 this tool has successfully been used in a teaching context by Julia Lockheart with design students at Goldsmiths, University of London.

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