Metaphor is a central tool of the therapist of many therapeutic modalities, and metaphors are a particular feature of CBT. The business of CBT is to transform meaning. What better way to achieve this than through a metaphor? The Wizard of Oz is replete with metaphors, my favourite being the ‘man behind the curtain’ as applied to our seemingly all powerful and significant thoughts.
Dorothy, the Scarecrow, The Tin Man and the Lion return to Oz with the broomstick of the wicked witch of Oz. He had previously promised that in return for the broomstick, he would grant them a ride home for Dorothy, a brain for the scarecrow, a heart for the Tin Man and courage for the Lion.
But the wizard tries to stall. He tells them to return the following day.
While they plead with the wizard not to send them away, Dorothy’s dog Toto notices some activity behind a nearby curtain. Toto pulls back the curtain to reveal that the wizard who Dorothy and the others thought he was. “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” the “Wizard yells in vain. He has been discovered and they see him for who he really is.The ‘wizard’ is so seemingly all powerful and significant now to the group as they see as a white haired, besuited, befuddled middle aged man.
What could happen if thoughts are regarded as coming from someone like this little man rather than from the booming, intimidating image he projected..