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Short example

The following transcript illustrates a number of ways in which the client’s description is accepted as a perfectly accurate, in-the-moment metaphor for their experience — with no intention to change it. The facilitator’s questions establish a feedback loop between the client and (the logic of) their Landscape. As a result the whole system starts to shift in a dynamic, self-reinforcing way:

C: I want the big scary monster to go away. .
F: And when you want big scary monster to go away, where is that big scary monster? The facilitator accepts the client’s current reality by (a) acknowledging their desire for a remedy to their problem - symbolised by “big scary monster”, and (b) asking a question about its location.

C:

Over there [points].

F: And when that big scary monster is over there, what would that monster like to have happen? This further accepts the logic of the client’s reality. If the client wants the monster to go away, we can presuppose that the monster is not going away and wonder what its intention is.

C:

It wants to destroy me.


F: And can it destroy you? Taking the client’s description at face value by attending to the capabilities of the monster.

C:

Yes.


F: And it can destroy you, and has it destroyed you?

Maybe the monster has destroyed the client in the past and they have recovered from that. Or maybe the monster has the capability to destroy the client,, but has not yet done so. Either way this this question accepts the client’s logic and aims to find out.

C:

Well, no.


F: And how long has that big scary monster that wants to destroy you, not destroyed you for?

This is an interesting question. It has two aims: (a) to find out if the monster is a recent phenomenon or not, and (b) to put attention on the apparent paradox - if the monster wants to and can destroy the client, it’s strange that it hasn’t.

C:

A long time.


F: And when a big scary monster that wants to destroy you and can destroy you hasn’t for a long time, where could that not destroy you come from?

This makes explicit the apparent paradox and cleanly asks for the source of whatever has prevented the monster carrying out its intention.

C:

I was wondering that myself.

The client has shifted from a state of ‘scare’ to a state of ‘wonder’ - who knows what might happen next.

Conclusion

Symbolic Modelling facilitates a form of self-modelling that automatically leads to an increased self-awareness, and a knowing and accepting of one's own experience, and that itself is a profoundly important place to start any change.

An annotated transcript of a full session where acceptance was a key motif follows.


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7-9 May 2018



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