Adolescents' Views on Families as Metaphors in Hong Kong: Implications for Pre-counselling Assessment

Chung Yee Zenobia Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This interpretative study aims to offer metaphors that describe family meanings from the adolescent's perspective by encouraging them to give a metaphor with their own explanation on a self-administering essay form. This study has three objectives: to explore the family meanings as a metaphor from the Hong Kong adolescent's perspective; to reveal any common and unique features of these metaphors; and to search for the possibilities of collecting metaphors from adolescents as a pre-counselling assessment tool. The 12 participants for this study were referred to me for family counselling because of poor self-esteem, loss of life goals or ineffective relationships with their parents. Based on the 12 metaphors, the following five themes can be discerned: (i) gender role in a family, (ii) Chinese culture in a family, (iii) heat in a family, (iv) security in a family and (v) the family as honey and a loan company. Based on the above five themes, there are some common metaphors (e.g. a warm place, honey, a shelter, a boat shelter, a chick and a hen, a volcano, a fire, an oven and a loan company), trans-cultural and unique metaphors (e.g. a wet market and 'Kung Fu' experts), and those that are culturally specified. Both strengths and limitations of collecting and analysing metaphors were discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-115
Number of pages12
JournalChildren and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2013


  • Adolescents
  • Chinese
  • Counselling
  • Families
  • Metaphors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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