Examples of Meta-Comments
The following 125 examples of meta-comments have been drawn from the verbatim transcripts of the first 20 minutes of therapy sessions with eight clients. We have underlined the words that indicate which category the
meta-comment belongs to. Many of the sentences
fall into multiple categories. Our aim is to provide enough examples for you to get a sense of the pattern
of each type of meta-comment, and to notice the range of ways people indicate they are self-reflecting, it
is not to produce a one-to-one mapping between particular words and a category.
WAYS OF KNOWING
- I suppose I must have psyched myself up.
- I have to — I guess.
- I wonder if it is a fear of ...
- It may be that it doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference what I do or don’t do.
- That’s probably why I’m in the mess I’m in.
- On reflection I would think that wasn’t so bad.
- Thinking about it, I am angry.
- I’ve noticed I still feel a bit resentful.
- I’m guessing it must be just a kind of ...
- Considering ...
- On the other hand, ...
- Am I worried? [question to self]
- I know I do that.
- I kind of know that I want something, but I don’t know what I want.
- I realise that ...
- And this is what I really don’t understand.
- I am at a loss to figure out what it is.
- I should be able to sort it out for myself.
- But I believe ...
- It makes perfect sense to me.
- I’m not sure about ...
- I have absolutely no idea.
- That means ...
- The first thing that comes to mind is ...
- It seems they work together.
- So in that sense I am bound to make mistakes.
- I actually need to ...
- I can imagine I can ....
- I’m imagining ...
- Let me see ...
- I feel like I’m trying to nail jelly to a tree explaining it.
- I still feel I need something else as well, but I don’t know what.
- Hearing myself
- It sounds like
- I get a sense that ..
COMPARISON — SCALE
- It’s important.
- The most powerful thing is ...
- Obviously there is something significant about the fact that I can’t remember.
- I think the main question
- Then there’s a secondary issue.
- I actually think that’s a lesser problem.
- It’s a big deal for ...
- Predominantly, ...
- That’s calmed me down.
- The whole point is ...
- How good is that?
- What it’s a bit like is ...
COMPARISON — JUDGEMENT/PREFERENCE
- That is good/bad.
- It would be wonderful/terrible.
- I must be stupid/clever.
- That’s all that needs to be done to put it right.
- Well, actually that’s not true.
- If I’m honest.
- Let’s be explicit.
- That would be nice.
- That’s odd.
COMPARISON — CHANGE/PERSISTENCE
- Actually in some ways that’s new.
- It’s changed.
- It’s not a new problem.
- Here we go again.
- I have actually more or less resolved it.
- Here it’s different.
- At the moment they are in the past.
- In future ...
- But at this time it doesn’t ...
- I have never been one to be able to ...
- OK, now I can do it.
- It’s very old.
- When we started talking I though maybe it was something I could do on my own.
- This has happened over time.
- I haven’t had time to ...
- Up 'til now I’ve been trying to ...
- I’m beginning to wonder ...
- This is a relatively recent appreciation of myself.
- I think I’m at the stage where...
- I feel that’s the end of it.
- Then it all starts over.
- When I’m in there I can’t ...
- At this point in time.
- That’s where I always get stuck.
- This is where it is coming unstuck because I can’t decide.
- I would say ...
- Let me rephrase that.
- I can’t verbalise it.
- I get irritated by talking about it.
- I’ve had a fair amount of feedback about it.
- It’s not an answer to just say I’d ...
- The question is ..
- To sum up ...
- I’m being very specific.
- In general, ...
- The word is ‘procrastination’.
CATEGORIES OF EXPERIENCE
- That’s the pattern.
- So, that’s not the problem
- My outcome is ...
- We’ve got to the real cause.
- I don’t actually have a belief that it will happen.
- I’ve no new ideas
- My motives are ..
- The decision is either to ...
- It’s an option.
- There are different levels to this
- I would like that to be true.
- It would be great to have ...
- That would have been a perfect.
- It will be a place where I can ...
- If only I could get some new insight.
- Almost anything can happen.
- If only!
- I might do something about it.
TO FACILITATOR DIRECTLY
- Yes, you got it.
- No, that doesn’t actually feel right.
- I’d like to stop for a moment.
- Let me think about that.
- Can you ask me that again?
- Well, you’re certainly very thorough.
- Bear in mind ...
- We need to go deep.
- [Laughter at]
- [Tears about]
- [A sigh]