First published in IPN Communication Spring 2001

Joe Sinclair's review of

Metaphors in Mind: Transformation through Symbolic Modelling

by James Lawley and Penny Tompkins

ISBN 0-9538751-0-5 published by The Developing Company Press


What a wonderful tool this book is for anyone working in those areas relevant to our members, be they therapists, counsellors, trainers or teachers.

Based on David Grove's use of Clean Language and his recognition that clients often describe their symptoms in metaphor, the authors have developed Symbolic Modelling. David Groves, a New Zealander, achieved remarkable successes with the methods he developed in the 1980s for resolving the traumatic memories of his clients. He ascertained that many clients described symptoms in metaphor and, by reflecting their own words back at them, their perception of the trauma began to change. Clean Language developed out of this discovery. It was, and is, a way of asking questions of clients' metaphors which neither contaminate nor distort them.

Penny and James observed Grove working with clients over a considerable period of time, seeking out the patterns in the relationship between what he was doing and the response he was eliciting from his clients. They then modelled what they had seen and used this as part of the basis for the process they call Symbolic Modelling which incorporates also aspects of cognitive linguistics, self-organising systems theory, and Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

The result is (in the words of Caroline Myss Ph.D) "a tool for profound analysis and insight . . . a means of evaluating how you order your world, your relationships, your occupation, and interpret the experiences of your life" using metaphors.

Although the book deals with facilitating individuals in a therapeutic context, it is also a valuable resource outside that environment. The authors suggest that the model can be successfully applied in the areas of education, family counselling, in the spiritual realm, in health, physical therapy, business and organisations.

Read this book. It will give you a refreshing insight into how to solve your own problems and how to empower your clients to solve theirs.

© 2001 Joe Sinclair

Joe Sinclair is a publisher and author of several books including The ABC of NLP. His web site is

Independent Practitioner's Network (UK)

Other reviews of Metaphors in Mind:

Bob Janes' two reviews: (1) in Rapport, Issue 50, Winter 2000 and (2) NLP World Volume 7, No. 3, November 2000

Michael Mallows in New Learning, Issue 8, Autumn 2000

Pat Williams in Human Givens - Radical Psychology Today, Volume 8, No. 1, Spring 2001

Judith Lloyd Yero in Anchor Point, Vol. 15, No. 3, March 2001

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