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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:
Articles by this Author
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Des metaphores dans la tete
By Penny Tompkins & James Lawley | Published 04 09 2006

Metaphors in Mind by James Lawley and Penny Tompkins is published in French by Dunod-InterEditions as: Des Métaphores Dans La Tête: Transformation par la Modélisation Symbolique et le Clean Language.
How to do a Modelling Project
We summarise 15 years experience of conducting formal modelling projects and training modelling. Our ideas are presented as working notes and guidelines rather than a finished article. We intend to keep updating and expanding these notes. Please revisit this site and let us know if you think there is something we should add. All contributions will, of course, be credited.
Modelling: Top-down and Bottom-up
By Penny Tompkins & James Lawley | Published 16 06 2006
About Modelling
Two of the most common ways to model is to either build up patterns or break wholes into parts. This article explains the differences between top-down and bottom-up modelling, and the value of the latter to 'clean' approaches such as Symbolic Modelling.
What is Therapeutic Modelling?
This article has been written as a dialogue. Some of these dialogues have actually occurred, although most of the questions are composites of those we have been asked over the years. It describes differnces between Therapeutic and Product modelling, and between Top-down and Bottom-up modelling.
From a constructivist, systemic perspective, nature doesn’t have causes — people punctuate the continuity of natural processes into ‘cause’ and ‘effect’. Aristotle identified four basic causes. They can be viewed as four different ways to perceive a situation.  Our premise is that four perspectives are better than one, two, or three.  
Paying attention to what they're paying attention to
Perceiver-Perceived-Relationship-Context (PPRC)An introduction to the Perceiver-Perceived-Relationship-Context (PPRC) model. It enables a client’s verbal and nonverbal behaviour to be used to infer how they construct their model of their world, i.e. it is a model of perception from the client’s perspective.
Coaching for P.R.O.s

Being able to make the distinction between a Problem, a Remedy and desired Outcome statement is vital to being an 'outcome orientated' facilitator. This article gives detailed instructions on how to recognise client's PRO statements and how to respond so that you have more choice about where you guide their attention.

PRO can also be used to keep meetings on track, to keep a group in a creative state, to move people beyond conflict towards a joint outcome, or in numerous other productive ways.

Ethics of Change Work
By Penny Tompkins & James Lawley | Published 28 01 2006
SyM and NLP
A response to a request by John Grinder (co-developer of NLP) for information about David Grove's work and Symbolic Modelling as examples of processes that involve "transactions that are designed to provoke change without the imposition of the agent’s own material." 
When the Remedy is the Problem
This paper investigates how attempting to apply a remedy to a problem can sometimes perpetuate or exacerbate that problem or create another problem, and then the attempted remedy is itself a problem. We draw heavily on the work of Paul Watzlawick and his colleagues in the 1960s and 70s at the Brief Therapy Center of the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, California. 
Feedback loops

What is a feedback loop?
What are the ten principles of feedback loops?
What difference does it make to think in terms of feedback loops?
These notes reveal all.
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Clean Language &
Symbolic Modelling

10-11 March 2018
Sydney, Australia

with James Lawley
Penny Tompkins

view all featured events