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12. The NLP Room
Classic NLP
This is where it began for us – with NLP.

NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming and encompasses three of the most influential components involved in producing human experience: Neurology, Language and Patterning. NLP grew out of the collaboration of John Grinder, Richard Bandler and a group of open-minded individuals based in Santa Cruz, California in the early 1970s. (For an overview of NLP visit:

What most attracted me (Penny Tompkins) to NLP was the saying: “Experience has a structure.”  In 1991 I began training to find out more and became so enthralled that I dedicated much of the next five years to becoming adept at applying NLP processes.  I met James Lawley on that first level training, so I have a lot to be grateful for to NLP!

What interests us most about NLP is the way it works directly with people’s internal perceptions; how it give us a language to describe that strange non-physical world called ‘consciousness’; and the dramatic effects it can have on improving people’s lives.

The first articles James and I ever wrote (in 1993) are among the two dozen in this room. You will find several introductory articles (written in the rah-rah style of every convert) and there are also lots of more advanced articles for those of you who already have a grasp of the basics. One notable article is an introduction to ‘New Code NLP’ by one of the originators, Judith DeLozier, entitled Mastery, New Coding and Systemic NLP.

NLP fundamentally influenced our way of thinking and working by introducing us to Modelling — how to study, code and replicate excellent behaviour.  The myriad of techniques NLP is famous for were interesting and wonderfully useful in our personal development, but the process of modelling was where we concentrated our attention.  And thank goodness we did, because it gave us the skills to begin our five-year modelling project of David Grove.

These days James and I consider ourselves professional modellers because modelling is the bedrock of all we do, whether with individuals, groups or consulting to organisations. Perhaps our most important contribution to the field of NLP is our enhancement of the 'how to' of modelling and in particular our explication of a new way of modelling — Symbolic Modelling.

For a more in-depth yet brief description of how NLP and Symbolic Modelling fit together, visit Less Frequently Asked Questions.

We will now return to the entrance hall downstairs where I have some last points to make before we end the tour.

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Symbolic Modelling

James Lawley
Penny Tompkins

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