First published in New Learning, The Journal of the NLP Education Network, Issue 8, Autumn 2000
Book Review by Michael Mallows
REVIEW OF: Metaphors in Mind: Transformation through Symbolic
by James Lawley and Penny Tompkins
ISBN 978-0-9538751-0-8 published by The Developing Company
I need to declare an interest: I admire, respect and love James
Lawley and Penny Tompkins. They are warm, funny, sensitive,
honourable, crative people and good friends who constantly pursue
their own development, with a fierce determination to serve their
client' best interest.
These qualities are evident in their work with groups and
individuals and in METAPHORS IN MIND, their first book, which offers
a 'tool for profound analysis and insight' to give your
students, clients, patients or colleagues an opportunity to discover
how their symbolic perceptions ar organised and what needs to happen
for them to change.
Symbolic Modelling, which evolved from Penny and James
linking cognitive linguistics, self-organising systems theory and (of
course) NLP, with the innovative therapeutic work of David Grove,
author of 'Resolving Traumatic Memories'. David realised that many
clients naturally describe their issues (problems/symptoms) in
metaphor and, if their exact words are used when enquiring
about the symptoms, their perception ('map') of the problem/trauma
begins to change.
The Heart of Symbolic Modelling is Clean Language. Key
components of Clean Language include the full syntax, nine basic
questions, the required vocal qualities and nonverbal metaphors.
Although the book has a therapeutic bias, Clean Language will serve
anyone (parents, teachers, managers), who want to listen
better, ask questions more skilfully, and communicate more
The five main chapters explain theory and background knowledge
about metaphor, modelling and self-organising systems, give extensive
clients transcripts, and describe various applications of Symbolic
Modelling and the basic questions, philosophy and methodology of
Any professional whose work requires that they understand and
influence others without imposing their own version of 'reality' or
violating the student, client or colleague will find this a useful,
stimulating addiction to their library and metaphorically speaking,
their box of tools, their palette, their box of tricks.
© 2000 Michael Mallows