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6. Modelling Room
Ah, modelling — that process that's so tricky to describe and so yet vital to becoming adept at working with people in a clean way.  Put most simply, a model is a representation of a thing or process that can be used to help people do things, have certain experiences or make decisions.  There are mathematical models; model cars for testing aerodynamics; architects' plans of the buildings they envisage; the Underground map of London; and computer-generated models of all sorts – the list is endless.

The kind of modelling we are interested in was first formalised by John Grinder and Richard Bandler in the 1970s. It involves producing models of human behaviour — both external behaviour that can be observed, and internal behaviour that can only be described by the person having the experience.

In modelling, you are the creator of a model — the model maker.  In Symbolic Modelling, we model human perception and experience mainly by listening for the verbal and watching for the nonverbal metaphors people use to express themselves. This tell us how they organise their perceptual time and space.

By asking someone Clean Language questions we enable people to discover for themselves their model of their experience — what James Lawley and I (Penny Tompkins) call 'facilitating a person to self-model'. From their answers and responses we create our model of their model-of-self. This informs our next question, and so it goes on, round and round, wheels within wheels. We call this modelling-in-the-moment. Put simply, we're modelling them modelling themselves.

Modelling-in-the moment is at the core of Therapeutic Modelling. Another way to use Symbolic Modelling is in a more formal modelling project which has as its end point a 'product' — a model which others can acquire. These projects can last a few hours and result in a simple diagram or, like our modelling of David Grove, last many years and culminate in the publication of our book, Metaphors in Mind. If you are involved in a modelling project I think you'll find How to do a Modelling Project an invaluable reference guide.

Apart from David Grove, we have conducted a number of other modelling projects that are displayed in The Gallery. Our extensive report on how we Modelled Robert Dilts Modelling should keep the serious student engaged for a good while. And our modelling of improvisational clown trainer Vivian Gladwell unexpectedly produced a Coaching in the Moment process. Then there's our paper on Modelling the Written Word with its 16 detailed examples. The list goes on.

Once you learn how, you can create models of just about anything. But don't get me started on modelling or we'll be here for a week. Instead let's go to the next room, The Developing Group.


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InsideClean Series 1-3

Penny Tompkins
James Lawley
Marian Way

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