A developmental metaphor for psychological change is that of transformation or metamorphosis.
In the following excerpt, the change metaphor is symbolized by the physical metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly.
“Several years ago, I was working with client who was virtually obsessed with that metaphor. He was also painfully impatient to make the transition from the ‘worm’ he had been to the ‘wings’ that he so desperately desired. He longed for the day that he would awaken to find that he had ‘shed’ his old self and finally emerged into a new form of being. From then on , he thought, he would be free of his past and his life would be blissful. Then one day he arrived for a session in unusually relaxed mood. When I commented on his apparent peace with himself, he related a brief story he had just heard from a friend who had just returned from a workshop where the transformation metaphor had been discussed. The workshop leader had talked about early scientists attempts artificially to accelerate the rate of metamorphosis. When one researcher discovered a way substantially to reduce the duration of the pupal (cocoon) stage, it was considered a major breakthrough. He had found that slowly raising the temperature surrounding the transforming organism accelerated their metabolic rates so that they emerged from their cocoons in much less time than usual. The discovery had been heralded for several months as a bona-fide miracle of science, but its promise was soon shown to be premature. Other investigators were able to replicate the original findings, but they noticed something that had been overlooked by the pioneering scientist. Although the experimental organisms spent less time in the pupal stage, they emerged with a common defect: their wings had not fully developed and they were incapable of flying. With that concluding statement, my clients sighed deeply and said “I guess I’ll just have to learn patience”. Michael J Mahoney, 1991. Human Change Processes: Principles of Developmental Psychotherapy: p275. Basic Books.