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Complete Annotated Lozenge Transcript (from Metaphors in Mind pp. 273-281. Session took place November 1997. Comments in this colour. )

C1: I started a relationship recently but there’s insecurity about the relationship. It’s “too good to be true.” I find it difficult to enjoy the relationship as I get very anxious when I am not with her. I overwhelm her. I have to hold back. I’m waiting for her to say “I can’t take it any more.” I was last in a relationship three years ago which I managed to sustain for 2 weeks. When I fall in love I get the feeling of anxiety – I feel almost ill – so maybe I engineer the collapse of the relationship so I can manage the anxiety. It gets worse because I’m aware of the effect. I’ve had to pull back from the brink a couple of times.

How many layers are there to this binding pattern? Two at least. A secondary bind is apparent because his awareness that the primary bind – it is difficult for him to enjoy being with her and he gets anxious when he is not – causes more anxiety.

T1: And what would you like to have happen?

C2: I’ve got to give her room to love me back.

A desired outcome.

T2: And you’ve got to give her room to love you back. And when you’ve got to give her room to love you back, is there any-thing else?

C3: A feeling that I’ve got to love her as much as I can because she’s not going to be around for that long. It’s like I’ve got to eat all the sweets today even though there will be plenty more to-morrow. “It’s too good to be true.” I don’t believe it will be there tomorrow. I’m not meant to be happy, it’s not for me. Love brings me happiness but I can’t handle happiness and joy. It’s as if I have to live my life in the darkness.
Further description of the tangled web of cause-effect relationships reveals the pervasiveness of this binding pattern – it extends to ‘my life’.

T3: And when you’ve got to eat all the sweets today, and you’re not meant to be happy and you have to live your life in the darkness, is there anything else about that darkness?

So much complex information so soon that we simply select the last metaphor mentioned.

C4: I don’t ever remember having been happy. I don’t feel I’ve ever had permanent happiness – sustained happiness. I felt very alone as a child. I don’t feel I was ever happy. It’s just a feeling within me now.

T4: And you don’t feel you were ever happy.  And when it’s just a feeling within you now, what kind of feeling could that feeling be?

Developing the attributes of the feeling.

C5: A sad feeling.

T5: And a sad feeling. And when a sad feeling, where is that sad feeling?

Asks for the location.

C6: In my stomach.

T6: And in your stomach. And when sad feeling is in your stomach, whereabouts in your stomach?

C7: Here [touches stomach].

T7: And sad feeling is here. And when sad feeling is here, is there anything else about that sad feeling?

More developing of attributes.

C8: A feeling sick and nauseous. I can feel it now. I feel very anxious. I hate this feeling.

T8: And you hate this feeling of sick and nauseous and very anxious. And when you feel sick and nauseous and very anxious, does sick and nauseous and very anxious have a size or a shape?

Inviting feeling into form.

C9: A hand’s-span width [makes gesture with right hand].

T9: And a hand’s-span width. And when [replicates gesture], that’s like what?

Invitation to convert to metaphor.

C10: Like a lozenge.

T10: And like a lozenge. And what kind of lozenge could that lozenge be?

Developing the symbol.

C11: Dark, purple with black and it’s oozing negative emotions. I feel if I could get rid of the lozenge I’d be ok.

Further developing the symbol.

T11: And if you could get rid of the lozenge you’d be ok. And when lozenge is dark, and purple with black and it’s oozing negative emotions, is there anything else about that dark, purple, black, oozing lozenge?

C12: It’s like a black or purple sponge, with liquid seeping out, acid burning me up.

Classic Stage 2 questions have enabled the client to identify an anxious-making, negative-emotion oozing, acid-burning metaphor. Now we direct the client’s attention to the source of the symbol.

T12: And a black or purple sponge, with liquid seeping out, and acid burning you up. And when liquid seeping out, where does that liquid come from?

C13: A permanent store, a secret store replenishing itself and it never runs out. When nothing seeps out I feel ok. (I’m glad you two are not psychiatrists or you’d be writing out the Section Order right now!)

T13: [Laugh.] And when nothing seeps out and you feel ok, what happens to lozenge?

Invites client to attend to the relationship between ‘feel ok’ and ‘lozenge’.

C14: It’s always in there, even when I was a baby. It started off like that [holds up thumb and forefinger of right hand, fingers not quite touching]. Now it’s taking up more and more space.

Note all the references to time in C13 and C14: ‘permanent’, ‘never’ ‘always’, ‘started’ and ‘now’.

T14: And it started off like that [repeat gesture]. And it’s always in there, even when you were a baby. And where could [repeat gesture] have come from before it was in baby?

As he is reviewing the history of the metaphor, we continue to move time back by asking for a prior source of lozenge.

C15: It travelled down the umbilical cord into me.

T15: And when it travelled down the umbilical cord into you, where did it come from?

Tracing back the source of lozenge.

C16: It was given to my mother by my father.

T16: And it was given to your mother by your father. And what kind of father is that father?

Develops the new symbol.

C17: He resented her. [Blows a breath out.] He was angry with her and he didn’t let her know he was giving her the lozenge.

T17: And when he was angry with her and he didn’t let her know he was giving her the lozenge, where did his didn’t let her know he was giving her the lozenge come from?

Asks what motivated ‘father’ to keep ‘mother’ in the dark about the ‘lozenge’.

C18: A feeling of frustration that no matter what he does he can’t shake off the shackles of unhappiness. He has to sneak it into her during intercourse. I can’t handle this any more.

Is this meta-comment aimed at us?

T18: And you can’t handle this any more. And when he can’t shake off the shackles of unhappiness, where do those shackles come from?

Don’t know, but the metaphor is a repetition of ‘I can’t handle happiness’ (C3). We acknowledge the comment and keep to the process.

C19: Dark distant past which I don’t know about. He has been dragging them around on his hands and knees. They are attached to his ankles. Something is being pulled along behind him and it’s heavy.

We note that the client will probably need to find out about ‘dark distant past’ at some time, because he has said ‘I have to live my life in the darkness’ (C3) ...

T19: And shackles are attached to his ankles. And when shackles are attached to ankles and something heavy is being pulled along behind, how far is that something behind?

... and in the meantime we ask about what he is now attending to – the ‘something’ being pulled along behind.

C20: Ten feet. Like a huge, massive boulder of unhappiness.

T20: And a huge, massive boulder of unhappiness is being pulled along ten feet behind. And what happened just before those ankles were shackled?

Directs attention to the event which preceded the shackling.

C21: He was free to crawl around as a baby. They were put on by my grandfather, to stop him crawling away, but he forgot to take them off the baby.

T21: And he was free to crawl around. And shackles were put on by a grandfather who forgot to take them off baby. And where did his forgot to take them off baby come from?

(How come ‘grandfather’ forgot?)

C22: He died and no one else noticed.

T22: And he died and no one else noticed. And what kind of grandfather put shackles on a baby?

Developing the nature of the symbol ‘grandfather’.

C23: Mean and vindictive.

T23: And mean and vindictive. And when grandfather is mean and vindictive, and puts shackles on ankles of baby, where does his mean and vindictive come from?

C24: From me.

Given the information has been moving back in time inter-generationally, this answer is unexpected and confusing. But we stay true to the process by developing the attributes of ‘me’.

T24: And what kind of you is a you where grandfather’s mean and vindictive comes from?

C25: “You’re old enough.”

T25: And “you’re old enough.” And when “you’re old enough,” how old is old enough?

Specialist developing question.

C26: 18 and I can’t handle it.

The same metaphor as C3, C18.

T26: And 18 and you can’t handle it. And when you can’t handle it, then what happens?

A moving time forward question invites him to identify the effect of not being able to handle ‘it’.

C27: Thank God I got rid of it [pause], but there seems to be another one floating around.

T27: And when there seems to be another one floating around, where is that other one?

Developing the new symbol.

C28: [Laughs.] There is only the one – and that’s in me. There’s a mirror image of the lozenge. I’m seeing it in my hand and it’s big and I’m being shown the future and it’s going to kill me – I’m being shown it as a warning. So I passed it back to my grandfather.

The client explains the apparent paradox of receiving lozenge through his genealogy and giving it to his grandfather.

T28: And you passed the one and only lozenge back to your grandfather. And where did it come from before grandfather ever had it?

But how did grandfather get the lozenge in the first place? A modified clean question invites the client to find out.

C29: (Long pause.) Been floating around in time for thousands of years.

The motif of a very long time returns (C13, C14).

T29: And it’s been floating around in time for thousands of years. And it’s been floating around for thousands of years like what?

Invites the ‘floating’ relationship between ‘lozenge’ and ‘time’ into form.

C30: Like a parasite looking for a host.

T30: And like a parasite looking for a host. And when a parasite’s looking for a host, what kind of parasite is that parasite that’s been floating around for thousands of years?

Developing attributes.

C31: Lonely, looking for a home and love and warmth and comfort, saying “I’m really friendly” but when it goes into someone it seeps out the acid. It has to get rid of it and it doesn’t mean to hurt.

‘Lonely’ last appeared in C4 and ‘acid’ in C12. The client is spontaneously modelling the metaphor’s inherent logic.

T31: And it doesn’t mean to hurt. And it’s lonely, looking for a home and love and warmth and comfort. And it’s friendly but it has to get rid of the acid. And where could that acid have come from?

C32: The beginning of time.

Indicates we are approaching the original source.

T32: And the beginning of time. And when the beginning of time, what kind of time is the beginning of time?

C33: A huge black sphere. Huge black spherical sponge that one day exploded and it created billions of lonely lozenges. It became the lozenge.

The defining moment when lozenge came into being.

T33: And a huge black spherical sponge exploded and created billions of lonely lozenges. And what happened just before that huge black spherical sponge exploded?

C34: Behind it was a sun shining from behind and it got so hot it exploded and that let all the light through and suddenly there was light.

(Shining son?) After 12 moving time back questions (since T23) the client is attending to a time before the entire pattern began – when there was ‘light’.

T34: And when all the light is let through and suddenly there’s light, what kind of light is that light?

Developing the new resource symbol.

C35: The sun is bringing light and love and warmth and happiness and calmness and I want to just sit and bask in the warmth of the sun, so the more sun I get the smaller the lozenge gets. [Eyes closed, face upturned, smiling.]

Presumably ‘I’ has introduced itself to the ‘sun’ and is basking. In this context at least, he seems able to ‘handle’ happiness and love.

T35: And the more sun you get the smaller the lozenge gets. So take all the time you need to just sit, and bask in the warmth of that sun, that’s bringing light, and love, and warmth, and happiness, and calmness.

[Long pause until a noticeable movement of the client’s body.]

And as you bask in the warmth of that sun, would that sun that brings light, and love, and happiness, and calmness be interested in going to shackles on a baby’s ankles?
As changes are occurring spontaneously, we utilise the clear cause and effect relationship (the more sun ‘I’ gets the smaller the lozenge gets), and honour the ‘long time’ motif by saying “so take all the time you need ...” and then just wait. Then we test the interest of the ‘sun’ to continue spreading the changes.

C36: Certainly.

T36: And can that sun go to those shackles?

C37: Certainly

T37: And as that sun goes to those shackles then what happens?

Introducing the two symbols ...

C38: They melt and disappear.

... results in more changes.

T38: And as they melt and disappear, then what happens?

Maturing the latest changes.

C39: The baby can crawl and stand and play.

T39: And the baby can crawl and stand and play. And as baby can crawl and stand and play, then what happens?

Further evolving the change.

C40: All the lozenges disappear.

T40: And all the lozenges disappear. And when all the lozenges disappear, they disappear to where?

Discovering the whereabouts of the lozenges helps bring the new landscape into form.

C41: The sun. They are absorbed by the sun, gently, without pain, into the light.

T41: And when lozenges are absorbed by the sun, gently, without pain, into the light, are lozenges lonely?

Checking if the changes have affected the attribute ‘lonely’ (C4, C31).

C42: No.

T42: And when lozenges are absorbed by the sun, then what happens?

More evolving.

C43: A baby grows up to be a happy person and he can take his time.

T43: And baby grows up to be a happy person and he can take his time. And then what happens when father has intercourse with mother?

Checking if the changes have spread to ‘father’ and ‘mother’ (C18).

C44: There is just happiness.

T44: And there is just happiness. And when there is just happiness, what travels down the umbilical cord into you?

This non-standard clean question spreads the effects of ‘just happiness’.

C45: Sunlight.

T45: And sunlight. And then what happens?

More evolving.

C46: Just happiness.

T46: And when just happiness and sunlight, and just happiness, what happens to sad feeling in your stomach?

Checking if changes have spread to stomach (C5–C8)

C47: My lozenge has gone! All I can say is ‘just happiness’.

T47: And your lozenge has gone. And does just happiness have a size or a shape?

Developing the form of the symbol called ‘just happiness’.

C48: A big warm glow, happiness, peace and calm.

T48: And when there is a big warm glow, happiness, peace and calm, what happens to insecurity about the relationship and overwhelming her?

Checking if the changes have influenced the original conditions (C1).

C49: It just goes. Like sunshine on both of them.

T49: And then what happens?

C50: They go forward together, relaxed, confident, no anxiety, no worries, enjoying being, peace, tranquillity, comfort.

T50: And as they go forward together, relaxed and confident with no anxiety and no worries, what needs to happen for you to handle all the enjoying being and peace and tranquillity and comfort and happiness?

The ‘as’ continues to evolve the changes and the question checks that the client knows the conditions necessary for him to continue to ‘handle’ the changes (C3, C18, C26).

C51: I need to get out into the sun.

T51: And where are you when you need to get out into the sun?

Developing the new landscape by locating the perceiver.

C52: Living in a dungeon where no light comes in.

Developing the new context.

T52: And when living in a dungeon, what kind of dungeon is that dungeon where no light comes in?

C53: It’s my basement flat where I’ve been since 1979.

T53: And when your basement flat is a dungeon where you’ve been since 1979, what’s the first thing that needs to happen for you to get out into the sun?

Evolving by identifying conditions necessary for him to continue to ‘handle happiness’.

C54: I need to empty it.

T54: And you need to empty it. And what is the first thing you will empty in your flat?

C55: The lozenges! [Long pause.] I’m going home and opening the front door and saying “Ok buddy, time to go.”

T55: And you’re saying “time to go.” And do lozenges want to go?

Checking if the intention of lozenges matches the intention of ‘I’.

C56: Yes [long pause]. They want to get out.

T56: And lozenges want to get out. And can lozenges get out?

Checks if lozenges are able to enact their intention.

C57: I’ll see them float out the door. I’ll go around the flat and check they’ve all gone.

T57: And you’ll see them float out the door. And when they’ve all gone, where have they gone to?

Identifying the location of lozenges in the new landscape.

C58: To the sun.

The lozenges go home (C34).

T58: And when lozenges have gone to the sun, then what happens?

Even more evolving.

C59: [Very long pause, then looks up and around room.] There’s space here [touches stomach]. Things seem different.

This contrasts with when lozenge was ‘taking up more and more space’ (C14) in the place indicated by the same nonverbal (C7).

T60: And now there’s space and things seem different, can you give her room to love you back and enjoy the relationship?

Checks if changes have spread to the client’s original outcome (C2).

C60: [Nods. Tears in eyes.]

T61: And is there anything else you need now that there is space and things seem different?

Twelve months after this session the client called to say he was getting married – not to the woman referred to in the transcript, but to another woman with whom he had “fallen in love in a different way.”

C61: [Long pause.] No. I’m feeling very weird. It’s amazing what I came out with.


Penny Tompkins & James Lawley
Penny and James are supervising neurolinguistic psychotherapists – registered with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy since 1993 – coaches in business, certified NLP trainers, and founders of The Developing Company.

They have provided consultancy to organisations as diverse as GlaxoSmithKline, Yale University Child Study Center, NASA Goddard Space Center and the Findhorn Spiritual Community in Northern Scotland.


Their book,
Metaphors in Mind
was the first comprehensive guide to Symbolic Modelling using the Clean Language of David Grove. An annotated training DVD, A Strange and Strong Sensation demonstrates their work in a live session. They have published over 200 articles and blogs freely available on their website: cleanlanguage.co.uk
 
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