Metaphor Restructuring – What You Can Expect


David John Oates – Metaphor Restructuring

David John Oates - Discoverer & Founder of Reverse Speech & Metaphor Restructuring

The purpose of this article is to explain in detail exactly what is, and what one can expect from, a round of Reverse Speech session work or what can be called Metaphor Restructuring. This article assumes that you already know what Reverse Speech is.

The Metaphor Restructuring process has gradually developed over the last 30 years of my work with Reverse Speech. It began in the late 80s as a simple analysis of a 30 minute recording where I would report my results to my small base of clients. However, it soon became apparent that my clients wanted more than just the results of their recordings. They wanted changes as well. And thus began a search for a therapeutic modality that I could use to work with and change my client’s unconscious patterns.

I already knew that Reverse Speech described unconscious patterns with metaphors. In fact, in private session work up to 90% of the transcript will usually be in metaphors. Over a period of 2-3 years I had developed a theory that the deep unconscious mind thought in pictures, or metaphor, and that these metaphors orchestrated behaviour. I wondered if it would be possible to somehow changes these metaphors and hence change the behaviours that they created.

I took a course in hypnosis in the early 1990s and started experimenting with simple visualisations. If my client had a metaphor that said “I have a sick wolf”, I would ask them to picture this sick wolf and make it well. This technique had some quite encouraging results and as I became bolder with the process I began changing 3-4 metaphors in one sitting, creating a hypnotic journey that would usually last 15 minutes or so.

One of the first things I noticed as I continued my work through the early 90s was that the state of trance that could be achieved was quite deep and profound. Many people saw the images I was suggesting in vivid detail and sometimes saw them even before I had suggested them. Secondly, and most importantly, was that the process was working! My clients were experiencing profound changes that were deep and long lasting.

I introduced another step to my process in 1994 which I called the pre-trance tape. This was a 30 minute recording that I conducted after I reported the results of the first session. In this second recording I would ask my clients what specific steps we should take to repair or change the dysfunctional metaphors. Amazingly, the unconscious would give us the answers in reverse using metaphors. My trances became even more powerful and rich.

I then re-titled the trances and called them Metawalks, which is a combination of 2 words. Metaphor and Walkabout. Walkabout being the spiritual pilgrimage Australian Aborigines will take into the Outback. Thus, a metawalk was a spiritual journey through the metaphors of the unconscious mind.

I opened an official practice in San Diego in 1995 and worked with many clients over the next five years, perfecting and refining the process. I added yet another step to the process in that time which I called the post trance tape. I conducted this recording after the first 2 metawalks and I would ask my client what changes had taken place. The reversals from this recording would tell me if any further work was needed and I usually finished off with a final metawalk.

Thus, by the turn of the millennium, I had perfected my process and it now consisted of eight steps, each step conducted one week apart over a period of 8 weeks.

  1. The Initial 30 minute recording to discuss the issues that need to be worked on.
  2. Reporting of the results, playing the reversals and explaining their meaning.
  3. A second 30 minute recording where we explore solutions for the problems as revealed by the reversals.
  4. First metawalk, usually 15 minutes long.
  5. Second metawalk, usually 15 minutes long.
  6. A third 30 minute recording where we discuss what changes have taken place.
  7. Discussion of the results of the third recording, playing the reversals and determining what other steps, if any, need to be taken.
  8. A final metawalk to address any issues that appeared in the third recording.

I moved back to Australia in late 1999 and started a telephone/internet practice which continues to this day. I have worked with 1000s of clients over the years on line or via the phone, and the results I continue to achieve are astounding. I have developed a substantial portfolio of common metaphoric images which form the foundation stones for many of my metawalks. Although each person is different and no two metawalks are the same, sometimes the metaphors used are common.

Based on my research, I believe the unconscious mind has a standard structure just like the physical body has a standard structure. Many of my metawalks are designed to restore the structure of the unconscious mind to its correct state, utilising the common metaphors I have experienced and used over the years.

What happens after the metawalks varies from person to person, but usually by the 6th session, most clients have begun to notice the first signs of changes. This is often experienced as a feeling of confidence or being grounded. Many clients will have begun to notice synchronicities in their lives, or those meaningful “coincidences”. The changes then continue to grow and expand over the next few weeks and months.

Whilst most issues can usually be handled in one round of session work, sometimes particularly stubborn issues may require another round. This is particularly so when dealing with physical diseases which can sometimes need 2-3 rounds to resolve.

The process, while not perfect, has a very high rate of success, well into the 90 percentile range. I invite you to partake of it. You can contact me at