Symbolic Modelling

“Symbolic Modeling is a process for identifying how people represent their experience through metaphor and symbol.” (Tompkins and Lawley). James Lawley and Penny Tompkins created a model after working with and observing David Grove for several years. They combined David’s work with cognitive linguistics, systems thinking and NLP to produce a model which could be taught to others. In their own words “it facilitates an individual to become familiar with the symbolic domain of their experience so that they discover more ways of perceiving themselves and their world. It uses Clean Language to facilitate them to pay attention to their metaphoric expressions so that they create a model of their symbolic mind:body perception. This model exists as a living, breathing, four dimensional world within and around them.” From Metaphors in Mind, pg xiv

Symbolic Modeling is an iterative process, once you have entered the symbolic domain or your metaphor landscape any exploration tends to change or transform it and it continues to change over time.

There are three guiding principles for Symbolic Modeling;

• Know what you are modeling i.e. what kind of experience the client is having (are you modeling a problem, remedy, outcome or resource?)

• Know what your purpose is;

• the overall frame/contract

• the clients desired outcome

• where you are heading

• Calibrate whether you are encouraging conditions for change - or not.

For more on Clean Language and Symbolic Modeling see Penny and James’ website www.cleanlangauge.co.uk

Quote of the Week

“Don't give in to your fears. If you do, you won't be able to talk to your heart.” 

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

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