First published in IPN Communication
the magazine of the Independent Practitioner's Network, Spring 2001
Book Review by Joe Sinclair
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
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
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
© 2001 Joe Sinclair