This report describes both the product of our modelling of Robert Dilts and the process by which we arrived at our model: 'Selecting what is Essential'.
The report is unusual in three ways:
It provides nine video clips and a complete interview transcript, as well as other source material.
It shows how we use Symbolic Modelling as a modelling methodology (rather than as a therapy/coaching process).
It documents step-by-step how we constructed our model: gathering, selecting and organising information through the observation, interview and review stages.
Our hope is that by seeing how the information builds up and is organised through a number of iterations you will get a better sense of both our model of how Robert models, and our approach to modelling.
We are able to publish this report and the video clips because of the permission and generosity of Robert Dilts of NLP University; Fran Burgess and Derek Jackson of the Northern School of NLP; and Martin Snoddon of the Conflict Resource Trauma Centre (CTRC) and Northern Spring. Our appreciation also goes to Phil Swallow for video editing and web site support.
We have organised this report into twelve separate web pages as listed below. If you would like to view the whole report in one go click 'Print-friendly page' near the top of the right hand column.
2. Overview of how we modelled Robert Dilts
3. First iteration: Modelling from observation
4. Second iteration: Modelling in the moment
5. Third iteration: Modelling from recordings
6. Comments on our methodology
Appendix – Source Material:
7. Sample transcript of Robert Dilts modelling Martin Snoddon
8. Copy of Robert Dilts' modelling notes [to be added]
9. Robert Dilts' model of 'Healing from the Heart'
10. Full transcript of our interview with Robert Dilts
11. List of questions we asked
12. Example of modelling from a transcript
The material in this report has been produced and developed at three times.
Northern School of NLP, December 2006
Fran Burgess and Derek Jackson of The Northern School of NLP in England have long had a vision of 'modelling the modellers'. As part of that vision they invited Robert Dilts to a special two-day workshop where he modelled an exemplar for the first day and presented his model to the group on the next day.
On December 6-7, 2006 about 60 people attended the two-day modelling fest. The unique format for the two days was designed by Fran and Derek:
- Robert Dilts interviews Martin Snoddon (the exemplar) for 3 x 40-minute sessions while the group observes - In between, Robert comments on his modelling process and answers questions - The participants compare their observations
- Robert presents his model and facilitates one of the participants to acquire it - We use Symbolic Modelling to model Roberts for 40 minutes and present a first-pass model to the group - Fran Burgess models Robert for 40 minutes
NLP Conference, November 2007
The following year we decided to present our model of Robert modelling to the November 2007 NLP Conference in London organised by Jo Hogg. To prepare for that presentation we reviewed the recodings of the original event, updated and documented our model, and packaged it for a 3-hour presentation. The main focus of the presentation was the product of our modelling of Robert.
Publication on the Web, April 2010
We have eventually bowed to requests to publish our methodology – the process by which we arrived at our model. This report contains our model of Robert and the stages and iterations we went through to construct it. Therefore you get both:
Our model of how Robert Dilts selects what is essential when he is modelling
Our model of how we conducted this modelling project
While lots of models and techniques have been created in NLP, there is still very little about how those models were created. Our aim is to redress that balance, and to take you through an in-depth study into model creation and construction, and to some extent, acquisition.
Robert Dilts - our exemplar
Robert Dilts was one of the original group who, under the leadership of Richard Bandler and John Grinder in Santa Cruz, California in the early 1970s, started coding the processes that were to become Neuro Linguistic Programming. Robert has kept modelling at the core of his work ever since. He is the author of a number of seminal books that chart the development of NLP over the last 35 years. (See nlpu.com for a full biography and bibliography.) It was our privilege to model Robert because of our great admiration for him, and for the contribution he has made to the field of NLP.
Martin Snoddon and Robert Dilts at the Northern School of NLP
Martin Snoddon - Robert's exemplar
Martin Snoddon runs the charity Conflict and Trauma Resource Centre (CTRC) in Belfast, and his own organisation, Northern Spring. He was chosen as an exemplar because of his background and special talents:
Martin has spent the last 20 years working tirelessly to resolve conflict and heal trauma in Northern Ireland.
His skills and expertise are in demand in conflict areas across the world, e.g. Kosovo, Palestine, Haiti.
He works across all communities and religious denominations, with ex-paramilitaries, members of the security forces, non-governmental organisations and groups, and with individual victims of conflict.
He had consistently demonstrated an ablity to work with groups who have violently opposed each other, facilitating them to engage in peaceful negotiations and reconciliation.
Our experience as modellers
Our modelling of Robert Dilts was the latest in a long line of modelling projects starting in 1992 when Penny modelled how highly creative people knew they had a good idea, and James modelled the internal state of Spiritual Healers while healing.
Our first large-scale project was modelling David Grove, a counselling psychologist who developed Clean Language and specialised in working with his clients’ autogenic metaphors. This took us four years and culminated in the publication of our book in 2000, Metaphors in Mind: Transformation through Symbolic Modelling. After that we continued to model David’s numerous innovations until his death in 2008. It was quite a learning experience to model such a creative exemplar for 13 years.
In addition to our modelling of David Grove we have published the results of several shorter-term modelling projects related to our work. For example:
Currently, we are collaborating in modelling the work of the late Dutch environmentalist, Stefan Ouboter. Stefan used 'clean' principles to devise a method, 'Modelling Shared Reality', for sampling the views of key individuals across multiple organisations and communities.
[ADDED NOTE: The result of this project was published in the Journal of the Netherlands Association for Qualitative Research, Kwalon Vol 3, October 2012 and is available in English at cleanlanguage.co.uk/articles/articles/328/]
As psychotherapists we use Symbolic Modelling as our main methodology, which means we model the individual perceptual landscape of each client. This, and our continued involvement in medium and large-scale projects means modelling has become a part of our daily lives.
Naturally our approach has been influenced by our training in modelling, in particular with Richard Bandler, Judith DeLozier, Robert Dilts and Todd Epstein, Charles Faulkner, John Grinder, David Gordon and Graham Dawes, and John McWhirter. We are indebted for their groundbreaking work.
For those unfamiliar with our work, here is the briefest of outlines. Symbolic Modelling is an outcome-orientated methodology made up of three components: modelling, metaphor and David Grove’s Clean Language.
The Components of Symbolic Modelling
While Symbolic Modelling is often used as a therapeutic or coaching process it can also be used for modelling of excellence, all manner of interviews (police, research, job, defining specifications, etc.) and a variety of other applications in business, education and health.
A symbolic modeller pays particular attention to a person’s verbal and nonverbal metaphors. By using Clean Language questions to direct a person's attention to particular aspects of their experience a 4-dimensional model of their internal perceptual world (a metaphor landscape) emerges. As the person discovers information (self-models) they reveal it to the symbolic modeller who then updates the model they are creating and uses it to decide what question to ask next.
Symbolic Modelling is a bottom-up, iterative process. It is based on the premise that the organisation of our mind is inherently metaphoric and this influences the decisions we take and the way we live our life.
We have written a number of introductory articles about Symbolic Modelling which are available our web site.
Types of modelling
This report, including the video clips, show two (of the many) ways to model – Robert's (sometimes called Analytic Modelling) and ours (Symbolic Modelling). There are many similarities and overlaps between the two; and there are two main differences:
What the modeller pays attention to
How the modeller facilitates the exemplar to describe what they do.
Please note, these are only two out of a number of modelling methodologies within and outside of NLP. They all have their merits and their limitations. Our advice is to become as proficient as you can in as many of them as you are able, and to use whichever methodology best seems to fit the circumstances in which you are modelling.
For an explanation of the NLP terms used in this report, and especially those used by Robert during his interview with us, see the online version of the Encyclopedia of Systemic NLP and NLP New Coding by Robert Dilts and Judith DeLozier.
Throughout the report we have included some ‘Acquisition Hints’ to help you acquire a model of Robert modelling. And, we hope that by following how we gathered the information and organised it over a number of iterations you will also be acquiring our bottom-up approach to modelling.
2. Overview of how we modelled Robert Dilts
Levels of modelling This report is a model of our modelling of Robert Dilt's modelling Martin Snoddon! In order to get the maximum from reading it you will need to keep in mind who is modelling whom and for what purpose. One way to organise the complexity of the information is to consider the levels of modelling involved.
Levels of modelling:
(Read from the bottom-up)
Our behaviour and description forms the CONTENT
from which we identified the patterns of PROCESS
which constitutes our model of modelling.
This whole report, particularly 2 and 6
Robert's behaviour and description forms the CONTENT
from which we identified the patterns of PROCESS
to construct our model.
In the first day and a half of the Northern School workshop we observed
Robert Dilts going through each of the five stages while modelling
Martin Snoddon. During that workshop and subsequently we went through
the same five stages to model Robert, but in a different way.
Although we have numbered the Stages 1-5 modelling is not a linear process; rather it involves multiple iterations (see our article Iteration, Iteration, Iteration). To give you a sense of this we have organised this report into three major iterations:
First iteration - Modelling from observation Second iteration - Modelling in the moment Third iteration - Modelling from recordings
Below we outline what happened during each iteration using the five stages of product modelling as a framework.
First iteration - Modelling from observation
Stage 1. Preparation
- We set personal outcomes and filters for Day 1 of the Northern School workshop (e.g. for conscious and unconscious uptake; and to identify which of Robert's abilities we might want to model on Day 2)
Stage 2. Information gathering
- Observed Robert modelling Martin for 3 x 40 minutes (see the video clip of Robert interviewing Martin in Section 3) - Observed Robert answering questions from the group - Observed Robert present his model of 'Healing from the Heart' (see Robert's model in the Appendix, Section 9)
Stage 3. Model construction
- Identified potential patterns in Robert's modelling from our observations and notes. (see our comments on the video clip in Section 3)
Second iteration - Modelling in the moment
Stage 1. Preparation
- Decided a focus for our modelling: 'Selecting what is Essential', and agreed that with Robert
Stage 2. Information gathering
- Interviewed Robert (40 minutes) (see video clips 02-09 of our interview with Robert in Section 4)
Stage 3. Model construction
- Identified potential patterns in Robert's modelling process (see our comments after each video clip in Section 4) - Presented a prototype model to the group (see Section 6)
Third iteration - Modelling from recordings
Stage 1. Preparation
- Got permission from Robert, Martin, Fran and Derek to use the material publically - Submitted a proposal to the NLP Conference 2007
Stage 2. Information gathering
- Reviewed recorded material (see the Appendix for:
° Sample transcript of Robert modelling Martin in Section 7
° Copy of Robert's notes taken while interviewing Martin in Section 8 ° Copy of Robert's model in Section 9 ° Full transcript of us modelling Robert in Section 10)
Stage 3. Model construction
- Identified patterns from the transcripts, selected relevant elements and set aside the rest (see our example in the Appendix, Section 12) - Put essential patterns together into a model (see our diagrams and explanation in Section 5)
Stages 4 and 5. Testing and Acquisition
- Described our 'How Robert selects what is essential' model at an NLP Conference - Facilitated conference participants to acquire our model and got feedback - Later, wrote this report (which involved many iterations)
3. First iteration: Modelling from observation
On the first day of the Northern School workshop Robert interviewed Martin for three 40-minute sessions, and in
between answered questions from the audience. Overnight he
constructed a model called 'Healing from the Heart' and summarised it in powerpoint slides which he presentated to the group. Below we reproduce one of his slides (the complete model can be
seen in the Appendix, Section 9).
A Slide from Robert Dilts' model: 'Healing from the Heart'
Having presented his model, Robert facilitated a member of the audience to
acquire it; that is 'take on' how Martin heals from the heart.
Acquiring is not about understanding a model; it is about being able to do it so that you get similar
results to the exemplar.
If you want to acquire Robert's way of modelling you can 'take
on' what he is doing and
saying as you go through this report. For example, in the first video
clip you can imagine being Robert interviewing Martin – sitting and
moving your body the way he does, and saying what he
Clip 01 - "Inviting, holding, exploring" Robert was not given a brief of what to model from Martin's peace and reconciliation work. During the first interview they explored what to focus on. Video Clip 01 is taken towards the end of the second interview. It starts when Martin says "It’s inviting the connection, and it’s holding the connection, and it’s exploring the connection." (See Appendix, Section 7 for a transcript of this clip.) We chose this clip because Robert later said he immediately knew this was significant and, as you can see from the slide above it became central to his final model.
Observations on Clip 01 Below are our initial observations and inferences. We have distinguished our inferences by putting them in [square brackets].
Robert often writes while Martin is speaking. From Robert’s notes we later saw that he was recording some of Martin’s exact words. He said they were the ones he considered were labels or cues for significant parts of Martin’s process.
In this five-minute video clip Robert does the majority of the speaking. Embedded within his comments are four questions; three of them of the form, 'How do you...?':
How do you 'open your heart'? How do you 'let go'? This notion of 'just being' - so how do you do that?
The fourth question is quite different:
My guess is
that you have to prepare yourself in a certain way to connect. In fact
reach out, or to invite means that you kind of have to be – in some
language you might say, ‘not in your own ego’. It seems to me it’s a
special place to be. You’re not trying to impose your map of the world
on other people. You’re not trying to be right. You’re not trying to go,
'I’ve got to be safe'. It seems to me there's some quality that you
have inside that allows
you to do that. What would you say to that?
Robert often repeats Martin’s exact words. He also uses Martin’s words as part of his own description. Much of what Robert says is in the form of meta-comments. These can be:
From his own perspective, e.g. “That seems to me to be very interesting ...”
Inferring about Martin’s process, e.g. “It seems like in a certain way
everything else is all dependent on your capacity to open your heart.”
To explain what he is doing [apparently to prepare Martin for what’s to come] e.g “I’ll be asking you a lot of ‘how’ questions.”
Describing NLP or modelling e.g. “It’s a really fundamental difference that makes the difference”.
One of the effects of Roberts commenting is that it gives Martin
time to think: “As you’re talking I’m thinking: What am I doing when I’m
actually doing that?”
A number of times Robert starts a sentence, stops and starts another
one. Also, he regularly says or asks something and then says it again in several
different ways (for example see the quote above which starts "My guess is that ...").
While Robert is speaking his body often seems to be actively
involved. Particularly noticeable are his gestures. He often repeats Martin’s words while pointing to and gesturing around his own body. For instance Robert asks: “How do you open your heart?” while gesturing to his own heart area.
As modellers it’s intriguing to consider: Given Robert is an expert,
what is the function of his repeating, describing and commenting? We guess Robert is giving himself time to embody and take on Martin’s description, and to decide what question to ask next. What happens in the interior of Robert's mind-body becomes clearer during our interview with him.
Observed patterns From observing Robert modelling and explaining his process we identified a number of patterns. His approach can be summarised as:
Multi-outcome orientated — his own, the exemplar’s, and the imagined acquirers’
Multi-sensory (Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic)
Multi-level — from “details of how” to “deepest drivers” of life purpose
Multiple perspectives — we counted at least seven
Multiple time frames — from exemplar’s history, to the interview in the present, to future acquisition
Lots of repetition/backtracking — of words, metaphors, concepts, etc.
High use of metaphor and analogy
Overt and consistent demonstrating on the outside of what’s happening on the inside
Describing things in groups of three.
Robert acknowledged that to do the above requires “multi-tasking”. We think to be able to access multiple outcomes, levels and perspectives simultaneously (or to switch between them fast enough as to appear simultaneous), requires the ability to have 'split attention'. This is vividly illustrated in the next section when Robert describes how he associates into an inner movie he has created and dissociates to watch the movie and ask himself questions about it, while continuing to interview the exemplar.
4. Second iteration: Modelling in the moment
Having observed Robert modelling Martin on the first day of the
Northern School event we chose a focus for our modelling and agreed it
with Robert before starting our interview. We used a process called Symbolic Modelling which we developed from our modelling of David Grove. We call the interview part 'modelling in the moment' because that's exactly what we are doing: gathering information, constructing a model and testing it in real time as Robert is describing and doing it. The eight video clips below demonstrate how we did this.
Our modelling centred on the question: When Robert Dilts is modelling, how does he know what is essential? In other words, given everything Martin (the exemplar) said and did, how did Robert select the elements that ended up in his model and acquisition process?
We have chosen eight 2-3 minute clips from our interview, each of which highlight an element we consider essential to what Robert does. After each clip we describe some of what we noticed was
significant. These clips show about half of the interview. A transcript of the entire interview is available in the Appendix, Section 10.
In this section we take you through our interview with Robert as the exemplar. You can use the eight video clips to imagine you are Robert doing what he is describing he is doing (rather than copying him as in the last section).
Clip 02 - "Guided by the feeling"
Clip 02 is from the beginning of the interview where Robert gives his "first answer" – a list of factors involved in the process of knowing what is essential:
"You feel it" and are "guided by the feeling".
It is "not a cognitive analysis".
It is not "the words themselves, you have to tell by the meaning".
It has to do with "what your goal is – what you are trying to get to" the "acquisition tool or process".
And, "what Martin [the exemplar] is doing – his goals – to create this
type of healing among people who have been in conflict and trauma
You "have to get enough of something that's necessary and sufficient enough to produce the result".
Interestingly from the very beginning of interviewing the exemplar, Robert is considering the end product – an acquisition tool. What is more, his gestures clearly indicate where he locates this goal (up and to his right). Most novice modellers have to gather the
information first, then construct a model, and only then can they
consider an acquisition process. That Robert can do all this at the same time demonstrates his expertise.
CLIP 03 - "Like a radar that goes beep, beep, beep"
In Clip 03 Robert describes more about his selection process:
The feeling of significance is on the "mid-line".
"It is like a feeling of activation".
"I pay attention to my center [where] things register".
"I listen a lot to my center. It's different than listening to my heart".
"It's like a radar signal that goes beep, beep, beep .....".
"In significant times the center becomes activated" with a "quality of energy".
Robert is not attempting to feel what Martin feels when he is connecting from the heart. Instead he is noticing a "radar signal" that lets him know something is significant. How does he do that? By "accessing" or "listening to" his "center" he notices what "quality of energy" is being "activated" there. The "quality of energy" tells him what kind of activation-feeling it is. For 'significance' it's like "a radar signal that goes beep, beep, beep ....".
The metaphor "radar signal" is symbolically represented by his gesture and the beep, beep, beep, beep sound he makes. (It sounded more like a Geiger counter to us, but that's not what Robert called it.) Like all metaphors it reveals much about a person's inner world. Although Robert didn't say it, the entailments of the metaphor suggest:
A scanning process that comes from the area of the navel.
Being able to detect what can't be seen (Robert calls this "deep structure").
The signal is variable (analogue) as his "beeps" change in volume, pitch and speed. This likely makes the signal highly sensitive to small changes in relative significance.
Having begun to identify how Robert selects for significance (and located it), we now want to keep his attention where it is so that he (and we) can find out more.
Clip 04 - "I mark it inside"
Whatever activates Robert's center is "marked into memory" and "connected to my center". These then "become more likely to be a part of me". It seems Robert has a three-step selection process:
Listen to/access center Notice a feeling of activation (indicating significance) Mark or register what the exemplar said or did that activated the feeling.
You can see from his gestures that for Robert selecting for significance is a highly embodied process. Robert also externalises what he has selected as significant by making notes on paper, but the main marking is something that happens inside.
In this clip Robert uses his first Mozart analogy (a form of metaphor) to illustrate how notes would come to Mozart, and only those ones that he hummed were selected:
Notes that come
Words of exemplar (data)
Feeling from tone
Feeling of significance
Notes he hummed
Marked as significant
Clip 05 - "Backtracking things that have been marked"
In Clip 05 we discover there is a fourth aspect of Robert's selecting-for-significance strategy. This involves "testing" the exemplar's descriptions he has marked to find out: (i) "Are they still there?" (ii) "Are they still significant?" and (iii) "Do they still feel resonant?". He does this by repeating and backtracking (a form of recapping) what he has marked by "pulling them back out" of his memory bag (à la Mozart) and noticing if he still gets his signal for significance.
Now we have the key elements of Robert’s strategy: he keeps his modelling outcomes in mind from the very beginning (i.e. to produce an acquisition tool); he keeps his attention on
his center and waits for his radar-like signal to be activated by an example of significance; then he marks that bit of the exemplar's content/process in memory by
connecting it to his center. And at various times he tests whether what he has marked is still significant, by backtracking and running the whole strategy again.
Initially we were surprised just how much Robert spoke while modelling Martin. Now we know the purpose it serves. By backtracking he is running the exemplar's process through his system and internally testing for significance over and over. Of course this also gives the exemplar a chance to confirm the accuracy of Robert's model-in-creation – which is an external test.
Having selected, marked and tested what is significant, then what does Robert do?
Clip 06 "This fits with this"
Once Robert has marked enough significant things "they start arranging themselves". He again draws on a Mozart analogy, this time to explain how he is noticing when things "fit". When "two notes love each other" they are paired together. Then at a higher logical level he fits the pairs together until
"there's some kind of field created". Thus two levels of fitting are taking place.
We surmise that Robert has already begun this process because part of "marking" involved determining whether the thing that has a feeling of significance had "resonance" with other significant things. As the fitting process progresses it "starts to involve much more cognitive mind" because now he is organising the information.
Clip 07 "Phases one, two, three"
Robert describes his process in "phases". Congruently, the first thing he does is to make the purpose of each phase clear:
To identify "What is significant to explore in phase two".
"I'm still looking for what's significant but now I've got more
information. I'm kind of trying to fill in, that has to do with the
notion of exploring a direction, also beginning to try to get a picture
of what the process is."
"To construct a movie", to discover "Can I do what he does?" and to "install it" in me.
Robert uses the same process to model himself as he does when he models
an exemplar. That is he "backtracks" what he has described before providing more detail and filling in the gaps. For instance he adds information about Phase II: the "notion of exploring a direction" and getting "a picture of what the process is."
In Phase III Robert creates a movie of what Martin has described. Most significant is Robert's statement "I'm getting second position, not with the Martin who is sitting here answering me, but with the Martin in my movie who was doing what he does."
We think this distinction is vital because it is not trying to 'be' the exemplar in the room. Robert is saying he creates a movie of the situation Martin works in (e.g. with paramilitaries), and imagines himself in the movie doing what Martin is doing, and saying what Martin is saying.
In this way he is "installing" the strategy in himself, which means he will have "already rehearsed aspects" that will form part of the acquisition process for others.
But how does Robert know he has done enough modelling? How does he know whether what he has is "necessary and sufficient"?
Clip 08 - "Can I do it?"
Robert continues gathering information, fitting parts together and constructing the movie until he has "a feeling, a congruence" that he can do what Martin has described he does. We guess it probably takes less time for Robert to get this feeling than for most of us because of his vast experience of modelling. He doesn't have to know exactly what the exemplar would say and do, because he is "always filling in the gaps". All he needs is to have "a certain level of detail in that movie to fit; step into it; and then sho-o-o, and I know that my body and my words can follow, can do that chunk."
If he doesn’t have the congruence feeling he wonders, "Where does it feel vague?" and he asks more questions to fill in gaps. Phases I, II, III are cumulative, not just sequential.
Clip 09 - "Both associated and dissociated at the same time"
In the "process of making a movie all these things start to fit together" as a unit. When that happens the "process flows" through the movie. This is a different kind of "fit" from that in Phase II because it is at a higher, more inclusive level. This is more about organising and in particular sequencing the parts that have already been fitted together.
Clip 09 also demonstrates an unexpected extra piece of Robert's
modelling process. He
doesn’t just put himself into the movie he has created, at the same time he also imagines himself in the "audience" watching the
movie. This is an interesting dual perceptual position. He’s in the movie as Martin, and also out
in the audience watching and considering the process.
Phase IV - "Putting it together into a model"
You can now see how most of the content of each video clip
relates to one of Robert's three phases:
I Clips 02-05 Phase II Clip 06 Phase III Clips 07-09
The rest of the interview related to how Robert later organised the information he had gathered during the interview with Martin. We call this 'Phase IV'. We have not shown any clips of this since it relates less to our topic of selecting what is essential. However, you can read the transcript of the interview in the Appendix, Section 10, and see our not-yet-complete model of Phase IV in Section 6.
Although we had observed Robert modelling, and listened to his explanation of what he was doing, and listened to his answers to
questions from the audience, some significant pieces in how he
models had not been made explicit. Our short interview demonstrates how Symbolic Modelling can facilitate an exemplar to go beyond what they think they
Modelling from recordings
Robert Dilts do what he does, and having used Symbolic Modelling to
him about how he does it, our modelling went through a third
We used the source material we had gathered during the
workshop to complete our modelling and produce a
This required four steps:
the video of our interview with Robert
and reviewed what we
identified during the first and second
a verbatim transcript (including notable nonverbals) and went
it several times filtering for different
of information, e.g. metaphors; internal and external
outcomes; evidence criteria, etc. These were marked
using different coloured highlight pens.
We organised the patterns
in the transcript by:
our questions and some duplication
irrelevant and less-significant information
together (cut & paste) and organising the information relating to
of Robert's four phases
Identifying chunks of process within
phase and organising information into a logical sequence.
[You can see an example of this step
the Appendix, Section 12.]
into location and systemic diagrams,
and organise the
remaining essential elements into a
Our Model for 'Selecting what is
started with an outcome: To model how Robert Dilts 'selects what is
essential' when he is modelling. We ended with a model that has four
phases. Phases I-III occur while interviewing the exemplar, Phase IV
Select what is significant II.
Fit parts together III.
Create associated/dissociated movie IV.
Arrange what is essential into a model
first sight it might appear that we accomplished our aim with Phase I
and that we could have stopped there. However a number of factors meant
a result of modelling Robert we now make a distinction between
'selecting what is significant' and 'selecting what is essential'.
'Significance' is required for something to be 'essential', but it is
not the whole story. Essential only selects those significant events
that constitute a minimum requirement without which the process would
not work. Essential means no frills, even if those frills add value.
Co-opting Robert's language, 'essential' is both "necessary and
sufficient" – but no more.
Robert's selecting process does not
just happen at the beginning. He is continually selecting and testing
his selections with each new piece of information supplied, and with the
congruence of his own imaginings. In each phase he selects for
I - Selects individual parts Phase
II - Selects pairs that fit together Phase
III - Selects coherent chunks that meet a high-level goal Phase IV - Selects a minimal
description from Phases I, II and III.
given that Robert is one of the most prolific modellers in the field of
NLP and this might be our only chance to interview him, we wanted to
grab the opportunity with both hands and get as much as we could.
models of Phases I, II and III each contain two diagrams: Location and
Process. These are two descriptions of similar information and are best
'read' together since the where
and the how of experience are complementary.
be clear from the video clips that modelling for Robert is
embodied. This is indicated by both his gestures and his embodied
metaphors. The 'location diagram' shows where Robert
experiences the various types of information in his internal perceptual
space. Some of this is inside
his physical body and some is in
his mind-space but outside his
body (see our article, When
'process diagram' depicts a systemic, circular chain of events. We
decided to represent Robert's processes with systems diagrams
his use of iterative feedback loops. An iteration
applies the same process to the output of the previous
over and over. In Robert's case he uses an iterative process for
gathering, selecting, marking, fitting and organising information.
Phases I, II and III are not only sequential, they are also cumulative.
They enable Robert to home in on what is essential and settle on a model
that he knows he can enact.
model of Phase IV is incomplete since we didn't observe Robert
constructing his final model and it would have required more interview
time to get to the internal processes behind his conceptual labels.
Having said that, we included what we did get since it contains some
useful information and gives a sense of Robert's modelling process from
beginning to end.
To save repeating ourselves, the
annotation accompanying each diagram assumes you
have read our notes
accompanying the video clips in Section 4.
far, to take on Robert-as-modeller you copied him by saying and doing
what he actually said and did while interviewing Martin. Then you
imagined you were saying and doing what he described he was saying and
doing while he was an exemplar being interviewed. Now if you want to you
can take on our model.
To take on Robert's strategies you need to have a sense of how he
makes use of his
"somatic mind" and "cognitive mind". The location
and process diagrams below will help you do this. Remember the phases
are cumulative: when you transition to Phase II you
running Phase I; and in Phase III you are running both Phases
II, just more in the background.
You may find it helpful to have
someone assist you to acquire the following models. Start by using the
Phase I location diagram to help you associate into Robert's interior
perspective. Then your assistant can step you round the process
diagram. You will need to go round the loop several times until you
signal to move on to the next Phase. Your aim is, without
to do it Robert's way as best you can and to notice
what happens. Your
assistant's job will be to keep to the model and
to not add in their own
words, ideas or suggestions.
When Mozart composed music
he said that
notes would come to him and sometimes he would get a
feeling from the
tone, and if he got the feeling he would hum those
notes. Of all the notes that
were coming the ones he would hum were
the ones marked as significant.
That’s how he selected
notes. Mozart would put the notes he had marked into his bag
memory. Later he would pull them back out to test them. Are they
there? Are they still significant? Do they feel resonant?
they would feel more resonant than before.
Then, there’s a phase where
start fitting. In the beginning the notes are just coming
and some of
them he hums, and after he marks enough of them they
themselves. Mozart was constantly looking for two
notes that loved each
other. Do these two notes love each other?
Yes, all right, we’ll take
those. Do these two notes love
each other? Yes, we’ll take those. Do
these two? OK. Then
he'd wonder: How do all of these notes fit together? That’s
from selecting the notes and it starts to involve more of a
mind because now he’s
When he had collected enough notes,
all of a
sudden he would start to apply rules of point and
notes am I going to use? He didn’t
apply these rules at the beginning. Not until he’d got enough
would he go: that’s got to
go there and that’s
got to go there. Sometimes it would feel like he’d
change something to really capture it. That’s even more of a
cognitive process. Of course Mozart was
trained in the structure of
music but he also had intuitions about the
basic feel of music.
finally, once Mozart got the sound
organised he would say
we’re going to use this instrument to play that
Phase I –
Select what is significant
two diagrams in Phase I depict where and how Robert selects, marks and
tests what is significant.
provides the building blocks which get organised in Phases II,
and IV. Phase I happens continuously throughout the modelling because
the exemplar might add something significant at any moment. Similarly,
regularly testing against an internal criteria of significance is
necessary because the model you are creating will continuously evolve
with each updating. You
can consider the repeating, backtracking and
testing as a form of quality control. If something is
registering as significant after several testings the more
is an essential part of the exemplar's process.
One of the challenges of taking
on this model is getting a sense of what Robert is selecting for. He
several times during the
interview that although he is selecting,
marking and testing words used
by the exemplar (i.e.
these are only labels or cues for bits of process or
art is to remember to stay at this level.
We have already commented on the
three-step nature of selecting what's significant: attending to center,
noticing when a feeling of significance is activated, then marking the
triggering content in memory and making it part of you. The process
diagram shows how systemic this is. It also shows the importance
backtracking plays in keeping the process going.
The feeling of what is significant
– the radar signal – guides the direction of your
questions. This, along with your goal for modelling clearly in mind
throughout, means information gathering is not a random search. Although
you cannot know in advance where you are going, the guidance system
gives directionality to the search and increases your hit rate when
sorting the wheat from the chaff.
Phase II – Fit parts together
The process Robert uses to fit
together what he is marking as significant is depicted in our two Phase
Phase II "is a different information gathering process" to Phase I, you
can use a similar three-step strategy:
to your center - Notice when
there is a resonance between things marked as significant - Capture those parts that fit
together in a picture.
describes how things "start to arrange themselves" and "a field is
created". It seems he doesn't use his "cognitive mind" until the
out-of-awareness arranging has progressed enough that it is ready to
become conscious. Once this happens he starts to "explore a direction"
which, we'd guess, enables him to "fill in" more and to test the
robustness of the fits in another iterative loop.
Notice how the metaphors of "radar"
and "guided" from Phase I, and "direction" and "explore" from Phase II
work together as a coherent method of mapping a new territory.
– Create associated/dissociated movie
Robert has identified some of the significant parts of the
process and started to fit them together he can transition
arranging everything into a movie.
We are not sure if in Phase II Robert
one picture which contains all the significant parts that fit together
or he creates a number of pictures – a "storyboard"
naturally become a movie when there are enough
frames. Either way, then he can
"step in" to the exemplar in the
Section 4 we commented extensively on Robert's ability to associate
into and dissociate from the internal movie he creates. By creating an
inner movie and associating into the position of the exemplar in the
situation where they apply their skills, Robert is "installing" the
exemplar's process into himself. You will note that in Phase I the
significant parts were already "becoming part of me". We suspect that
when pairs of significant things are "registered" in Phase II that too
has the effect of installing them. If so, installation is another aspect
of Robert's strategy that happens throughout his modelling.
Robert mentioned "exploring a direction" in relation to Phase II, from
observing him it is clear that in Phase III his questions have a
definite directionality too. It seems that when bits are missing or feel
vague he pursues a line of questioning around that chunk of the
exemplar's process. He continues to "figure out" and "fill in" until a
feeling of congruence lets him know he can do it. Then he's done.
Phase III is essentially an
extension of Phase II with three
additions: sequencing of events; an
perspective; and an exit strategy.
– Arranging what is essential into a model
Our model of Phase IV is less
complete than Phases I, II and III because we didn't observe Robert
produce his model and we didn't have much time to explore what he does internally during that process.
This is why our description is more conceptual than the previous three
phases. However we thought what we did get was useful and below we
present an outline of a model.
Just as at the beginning of
modelling, in Phase IV Robert is strongly focussed on his outcome: To
organise what is significant in a way that is meaningful and useful:
Meaningful has to do with deeper desires (for
you and the exemplar).
It is felt in the center
is facilitating the meaningful to happen
outside (physically and perceptually)
As with previous Phases, Phase IV
starts outside of Robert's
awareness. We think it is highly likely
that Phase IV processes have been operating in the background during the
earlier phases. Robert becomes the recipient of this knowledge when
there are enough significant things gathered and fitted together (in
Phases I, II and III) that they start to fit into coherent structures;
they start fitting together as a
In locational terms, Robert arranges
the parts of his model on a
"workbench" in front of him, whereas his knowing that he has
identified a deep structure is
a felt-sense inside his body. As in
the other phases his "cognitive" and "somatic" minds work in
the most general of process terms, to construct a formal model once he
has interviewed the exemplar Robert reviews his Phase III movie and his
written notes, and:
Starts with general connections
Applies known rules/structures to
fit things together as a unit
detail about activities.
that Robert uses iteration in Phases I, II and III we can be reasonably
sure that he does the same in Phase IV. If so these processes are not
to be seen as linear procedure but more as a systemic wheels within
Let's take a look at these processes
in a little more detail:
Start with general connections
Identify connections –
this is about that Relate things
by kinds of information, e.g. goals, activities Find
links between significant things Use
visual and auditory perspectives to find:
Nice fits – what goes with
that fit together form themselves into where they belong in a process
of words which are clues to deeper structure
What makes sense
inside for connections and relationships (Remember,
words are surface structure. They are cues/labels about a deeper
known rules/structures to fit things together as a unit
It is like using a workbench Apply:
rules Cognitive structures, e.g.
TOTE Principles Training Experience
the deep structure of the process so that it flows through the whole
Get details about activities
Identify details of how to do
each activity Ask yourself: What is
each activity trying to make happen?
When you look at Robert's model of
Martin in the Appendix you will see that it has been
structured in a way that is congruent with the above:
General comments on Phases I, II, III
Mozart analogy After the interview Robert said the
most surprising thing to him was how much he referred to Mozart for
analogies of his modelling process. These helped Robert explain what he
does to himself as much as to us. We did not specifically reference
Mozart in our diagrams. Instead we attempted to retain the value of
analogy by putting all of Robert's references to Mozart into one
preparatory story that replicates the four phases of his modelling.
Questions Robert asks himself Central
to Robert's methodology are the questions he asks himself. We counted
about 40 in the transcript of our interview – that's over one
per minute. Not only is the frequency important, so is the quality of
the questions. They are 'pure' modelling questions which neatly dovetail
with his outcome orientation.
We recommend you read through the
Appendix, Section 12 and pick out the questions Robert asks himself. (We
have made this easy for you by indenting them and putting them in
italics.) When you look for the pattern in these questions (and the
questions he imagines Mozart asks himself) you will notice that they are
remarkably 'clean'. That is, they are short, to the point and they only
ask for information about what is happening with minimal presupposition
outside of the context. To answer his own questions Robert has to keep modelling. Searching for
the answer to each question naturally takes him towards his outcome.
(parts to whole) and Top-down (whole to parts) Robert is modelling bottom-up from
specific examples provided by the exemplar to create a top-down model
for an acquirer (see our article, Modelling
Top-down and Bottom-up):
In Phase I
bits of process are selected; in Phase II he finds pairs that fit
together; and in Phase III he is looking for how they fit together into a
movie which can be represented as a unit in Phase
IV. Each phase, to use Ken Wilbur's term, "transcends and includes" the
In Phase IV however Robert does
something different. He finds general connections, applies known rules
and then identifies the detailed 'how to' of each activity. This
culminates in a physical representation of his model. So Phase IV is
more of a top-down methodology. It starts at a high level and works its
way down to a specific representation.
characterise this bottom-up and then top-down process in the following
transcript and video clips demonstrate another common phenomenon in
– when the same word means different things. During the
interview Robert uses the word "fit" 20 times, but not always in the
same way. It took a diligent analysis to differentiate the meanings. We
think there is a difference between the "fit" in Phase II, the "fit" in
Phase III, and the "fit" in Phase IV. "Fit" in Phase II and Phase III
means fitting parts together and then
fitting the fitted parts
together. These form the basis for the "fit" in
Phase IV which is at
least one logical level higher, at the
fits parts together Phase III
fits those fitted parts into a movie Phase
IV ensures a fit with the structure of the whole model.
In this way Robert covers several
fundamental ways of organising experience: functional relationship
between attributes; temporal relationship between events; and part-whole
Agent and recipient While
modelling is an active process requiring a large degree of agency on
behalf of the modeller, much of what Robert does has a more passive
'it's just happening' feel to it. It appears Robert is as much a
recipient of signals as he is an active agent. He experiences these
signals or cues as feelings, embodied fits, intuitions, thinking "that's
it", and congruence. These are not emotions; rather they are
felt-senses or kinesthetic representations or embodied knowledge.
one hand, Robert leaves the identification of what is significant to
the activation of his radar signal and is guided by that feeling. Then
things fit together and at some point start to arrange themselves. This
creates a field and the words start to form themselves into where they
belong in the structure. On the other hand, Robert actively gets
involved in setting his goals and intent, listening to his center, and
doing external behaviours such as note taking, backtracking and asking
questions. Later he actively tries to capture what has been brought to
his attention first in a picture, and then in a movie – if
necessary filling in when something feels vague or is missing.
the time he gets to Phase IV, Robert is mostly an active agent:
relating things; finding links; using visual and auditory perspectives;
using a workbench; and applying rules, cognitive structures, principles,
training and experience.
dual agent/recipient function can be seen by an analysis of Robert's
I’ve got to find out
what’s essential to create something
by the feeling of what’s essential
I listen a
lot to my center
significant times the center becomes activated
backtracking and pulling out those things that
have been marked
like a radar signal that goes beep, beep, beep
for what’s useful and what’s meaningful
radar is going to go ‘this thing is significant'
I’m trying to get a picture
There’s some kind of a
field created by these different things
I’m trying to fill in
Do these two notes love each other?
To really capture what it is
They start arranging themselves
I’m trying to construct a
phase where things start fitting
I’m already installing
Lots of data that comes
out, where does this movie stop? Where
does it feel vague?
forming themselves into where they belong
I’m going to register that
Something will register
Mozart would start to apply rules
start to fit into a structure
In a parallel process the relationship
between Robert's "somatic mind" and his "cognitive mind" changes during
the modelling. In Phase I, Robert's modelling mainly involves somatic
mind with little or no cognitive mind. In Phase II and III there is a
"interplay" between somatic and cognitive minds. By the time he gets to
Phase IV his process is mostly cognitive, organising what he has
previously identified somatically.
you have an overall sense of what Robert does you can
behaviours with more of a context for how they work
together to produce
excellent modelling. You can also return to
and 4 (and the transcripts in the Appendix) and review the information more cognitively. Since we do not
have a complete model of Robert’s method of modelling
will have to fill in bits – just like he does!
After you have acquired a model as
as you can to the way Robert does it, you can consider adjusting
of the elements to make better
use of your existing resources.
significance signal might be located somewhere
and it may not be like the beep,
beep, beep, radar signal
uses. You can substitute your
own location and metaphor as
as it has enough of the same characteristics that it
same function as
in the model.
We have completed the tour through our model of Robert modelling. That journey involved three iterations, each one visiting the same material with fresh eyes but with an accumulated knowledge. Next we turn the spotlight on our methodology.
6. Comments on our methodology
Up to now we have presented the product of our modelling of Robert. Now we take a step back and look at the process by which we arrived at that model. We conclude with a review of Symbolic Modelling as a product modelling methodology.
You can now turn your attention from modelling Robert to modelling our methodology. We haven't produced a formal model of our approach although our notes of How to do a Modelling Project go some way towards this. You can get a sense of what we did in two ways: reviewing the format of this report since it's structure replicates our process; and using our description below to imagine yourself doing what we did.
First iteration: Modelling from observation We have studied with Robert and read all of his books so at some level we will have previously created some kind of mental model of him. Therefore while observing him model Martin our aim was, as much as possible, to set aside our preconceived ideas and to discover something new. We did this by alternating between a not-knowing unconscious-uptake state and a more conscious musing-about-what-is-happening state. Both of these states share an intention to not jump to a conclusion. In the first, the intention is just to receive and take on; in the second it is to muse cleanly (see Judith DeLozier's article, Mastery, New Coding and Systemic NLP; and our article, A Model of Musing).
In the breaks and overnight we downloaded our initial impressions and compared our notes. However at this stage most of our model construction was happening out of awareness. By the end of the day we were in a position to describe some of what we saw and to identify a few general patterns in the way Robert does 'Robert modelling'. We consider the list at the end of Section 3 to be a set of general capacities inherent in his approach. Although we detected some of these patterns during the first iteration we also added to and reorganised the list throughout the second and third iterations.
We may have had some intuitions and had identified some patterns, but we didn't have a model yet. Second iteration: Modelling in the moment We chose to model the topic of 'selecting what is essential' because it is fundamental to all modelling methodologies. Every modeller has to handle a mass of information, much of which is not directly relevant to their outcome. And while it is possible to construct an effective model out of non-essential bits, it will be neither efficient nor elegant.
Since we had observed Robert's exterior behaviour the previous day, our aim when interviewing him was to invite him to attend more and more to his interior perceptual mind-body space. We wanted to find out what he did on the inside while he was doing what we had observed on the outside. Having heard him answer many questions from the group we also wanted to get to those aspects of his modelling which he had not mentioned.
When we sat down with Robert we didn't have a plan of the questions we wanted to ask. Rather we started with a general aim to identify and locate some of his key symbols, and to find out how they worked together to produce the ability known as 'selecting what is essential'. After that the direction of our questions was guided by the emerging organisation of the information – and our desired outcome.
An important point to note is that we did not 'take on' Robert's process, i.e. we did not put it in our body and in our perceptual space like Robert does when he is modelling. Instead we constructed our model in Robert's perceptual space, keeping the elements (symbols) where they were located from his perspective. That's why we gestured to his body/space, and not ours.
Also we did not do as much backtracking and meta-commenting as Robert did when he was interviewing Martin. In part this is because Robert-as-exemplar was doing a lot of backtracking himself, and in part because we are doing a form of 'internal backtracking'. We visit the symbols in the exemplar's inner metaphor landscape and muse on them so we can ask enough intelligent questions to keep them revealing more of their process. From our point of view this has a similar effect to external backtracking: it keeps the modeller connected and close to the totality of the information being presented; and it has a different effect on the exemplar and on the flow of the interview.
By the end of the interview we still didn't have a complete model, but our notes were good enough to present a first-pass model to the group. This consisted of a single locational diagram covering the key symbols we had jotted down in our notes and a verbal description of the main bits of Robert's process we had identified so far:
Penny Tompkins and James Lawley's first-pass model of: 'Robert Dilts: How I know what's Essential'
Although we had a sense of the iterative nature of Robert's approach, we didn't have a conscious representation of how it all worked together. That only came in the third iteration.
Having taught modelling for decades, Robert is obviously not your average exemplar. Many of his answers contained a huge amount of information neatly packaged. This created somewhat of a dilemma. Often what an exemplar does is so out of their awareness that facilitating them to describe what they do is a painstaking process. Not so with Robert. The challenge for us as modellers was to cope with the concentration of information – only some of which was getting into the model we were constructing around him – and to continue to ask questions which would shine light into the few unlit corners of his mind. When Robert said "the most honest answer is I don't know" and "You just do it", he is saying what all exemplars say when they reach the edge of their meta-cognitive map. The purpose of our questions was to tease out his 'tacit knowledge'.
It is also interesting to note that while interviewing Robert we were faced with what Gregory Bateson might have called a code-congruency dilemma. Not only were we trying to acquire a model of Robert modelling, we were attempting to do it by demonstrating our model of modelling. Fran Burgess has noted that expert modellers like to be modelled with their own methodology. To be congruent with Robert’s approach we would have done lots more backtracking, more preparatory explaining and more overtly taking on his model in our bodies – just as he did. However, our outcome was to provide the group with a different description of modelling. So most of the time we refrained from doing that in order to more clearly demonstrate our approach. One potential downside was that at times it seemed Robert wasn't getting the cues from us that would have let him know we 'got' what he was describing. Third iteration: Modelling from recordings The detailed analysis and model construction in the third iteration involved going through the video and transcripts over and over. We distilled what was essential and arranged it into a model.Getting to this stage involved both a quantitative and qualitative analysis.
Our quantitative analysis was very simple and yet gave us a sense of scale. (See our article, Big Fish in A Small Pond.) For example we looked at:
The proportion of words spoken by Robert while interviewing Martin (in Clip 01 it is approximately 60:40. This ratio changed at other times during the the interview).
The number of questions we inferred Robert asked himself (40 during our interview with him).
The number of times Robert used the metaphor "fit" (20 during our interview with him).
You can see that we picked out a few 'extreme' behaviours to quantify. We did this to find out if our intuitions were based on solid evidence. We were surprised to find out that in all three examples our intuitive count underestimated the frequency of occurrence.
A key element in constructing a model involves detecting patterns. Without access to sophisticated computer software this will need to be some form of qualitative analysis. We used a number of mental filters to repeatedly comb through the text of our interview with Robert. For example we highlighted all the metaphors Robert used. We also distinguished between different kinds of information: external and internal behaviour; outcomes and activities; actual examples and abstractions; perceptual perspectives; organisational levels; the relationship between verbal and non-verbal metaphors; etc. In the Appendix, Section 12 we show a summary of our qualitative analysis which provides a stepping stone from the transcript to our final model.
Another question or frame we were always considering was: How is what is being said and done in the moment a fractal of a more general process? More specifically, how could Robert's self-modelling be an example of how he models others?
If you review the words we selected to go in our diagrams you will see we favoured Robert's embodied metaphors (e.g. activating energy, connect to center, marked inside, guided by a feeling, capture the fit, fill in, explore a direction, install in myself, etc.). We did this for a number of reasons: because Robert used so many; because his body was so obviously involved in his modelling; because he said his "somatic mind" was important; but mostly because embodied metaphors are an excellent way for an acquirer to get a sense of how to do someone else's internal process (see our article Embodied Schema: The basis of embodied cognition).
Once we had identified the key metaphors and noted the sequence of mental processes, we enacted them in the same places in our body and perceptual space, and in the same order as Robert – and noticed our responses. When something didn't work – we couldn't go from one behaviour to the next, or there was a clash/inconsistency, or something didn't fit, or there was an unnecessary piece, or we couldn't get out of a loop, or whatever – we would adjust the combination and sequence of metaphors. Our aim was to stay close to Robert's description while searching for the minimal number of elements in the minimal number of steps that would produce the required result – selecting what is essential.
Our method involved lots of trial and feedback. Initially the feedback came from our own reactions as we tried on Robert's processes and from our joint system as we discussed what we were discovering about our prototype model. Once we had settled on a reasonably robust model we asked individual colleagues to try it out and eventually we invited a group to be our guinea pigs. Their feedback was incorporated into our model and thus we passed through another iteration.
What's still to be done? In reviewing our model we realise the are a number of gaps. There are three ways we could fill in, firm up and refine the model: a second interview with Robert; a detailed analysis of the videos of Robert modelling Martin; or observe Robert modelling another exemplar.
It wasn't until after the interview that we realised fitting parts together is itself a selection process, but at a higher logical level than the original selection of parts. Because we were focussed on 'selecting what is essential' we didn't pay as much attention to the processes of 'fitting' as we could have. Hence our model of Phase II is a little thin. Although we have some ideas about how Robert noticed parts that fit together and how these are subsequently fitted together into an imagined picture, then into an imagined movie, and finally into physical representation of the model, we would like to get more examples of the different kind of fits, and then look for patterns of similarity and difference at each level of fit.
Also, we have little idea what Robert does with anomalies: those parts that have been selected for significance but that don't seem to fit anywhere (assuming this happens). Robert gave a clue when he described the testing of things that activated his radar: "Are they still significant? Do they feel resonant? Sometimes they feel more resonant." From this we guess that things that don't fit lose their (relative) significance. Somehow they are 'un-marked' and disappear from the bag of selected parts, or perhaps they drop out of the picture.
There are plenty of other areas we could investigate, for example how Robert "explores a direction" when he has got a fit. Also we noted that Robert said "If I go out of the center, then there’s all kinds of feelings you can have and you can get lost in feelings." A useful side area to model would be what first lets him know he has gone, or is going out of his center; and having gone out, how does he get back?
The least complete part of our model is Phase IV. There is another whole modelling project to be done to find out how Robert takes his internally constructed movie and turns it into a physical representation, a model, that can be acquired by someone else. How does he do that?
These are interesting questions that will have to wait for another day. As will a forth iteration. We sense it is possible to refine our model into an even more compact form, but for the time being we like it the way it is.
Symbolic Modelling as a product modelling methodology
Symbolic Modelling emerged out of our modelling of one of the most innovative therapists of our time, David Grove. Our original aim was to generalise David's approach so it could be used in contexts in addition to individual therapy. It wasn't until we were well into the project that we had two light-bulb moments: David was continuously modelling his clients – but in a way we had never seen before; and that his process could be coded as a modelling methodology in its own right.
Below we highlight four features of Symbolic Modelling – metaphor, Clean Language, modelling systemically and outcome orientation – which make it suitable as a product modelling methodology, particularly if your outcome is to capture the internal experience of your exemplar.
The role of metaphor Metaphor is central to Symbolic Modelling. The expanding fields of Embodied Cognition and Cognitive Linguistics are demonstrating that metaphor is fundamental to how we think, feel and act (see George Lakoff on the research into metaphor and embodiment).
Throughout this report we have shown how noticing an exemplar's metaphors helps us to 'get' – both cognitively and somatically – the way they do things. This applies not only to explicit metaphors (like: tool, radar, movie) and analogies (Mozart), but also to the many more implicit metaphors such as those highlighted in the Appendix, Section 12. Metaphor enables us to acquire an embodied sense of the interior perspective and internal activities undertaken by an exemplar.
Noticing metaphors is only the first step. Next we consider the logic inherent in these symbolic expressions. Then we wonder how they work together to automatically produce the exemplar’s behaviour. One way we do this is to muse on the presumed entailments of the metaphors and what that tells us about the nature of the exemplar's way of doing things. For example, we pointed out some of the entailments of Robert's radar metaphor in our comments on Clip 03. When we considered the metaphors of radar, guided, direction and explore together a theme emerged which suggested a systemic process: detection results in a direction which is explored, leading to further detection and so on.
Noticing metaphors, considering their inherent logic, conceiving a model based on these metaphors, and checking it’s relevance happens throughout the modelling process.
Clean Language The beating heart of Symbolic Modelling is Clean Language. We believe questions based on David Grove’s clean approach are modelling questions par excellence because they:
Are short, simple and use the exemplar’s exact words
Ask for information about ‘what is’; they don't disagree, deny or negate an exemplar's experience in any way
Keep the modeller close to the exemplar’s information – their words, their nonverbals and their perspective
Keep the modeller's intrusions into what is being modelled to a minimum
Direct the exemplar's attention where it needs to be – their interior world.
In short they get the modeller out of the way and encourage an exemplar to self-model.
'Pure' Clean Language questions were designed as part of David Grove’s therapeutic process and they do not contain any reference to the therapist. However, since product modelling is not a therapeutic process you will notice that while we keep to the spirit of the principle, at times we relax this criteria somewhat.
We have found that being constrained by the discipline of Clean Language is a way to develop your capacity to model. In becoming proficient at Clean Language you learn to: pay exquisite attention to what the exemplar says and does; utilise their exact descriptions in your questions; let the logic of the exemplar’s information guide your exploration; hold more and more of their process in mind; and become attuned to the idiosyncrasies of their experience.
The video clips and transcript show how we used Clean Language to interview Robert Dilts. In the Appendix, Section 11 we provide a list of the questions we asked. We have removed our repetition of Robert’s words and our few side comments to make it easier for you to see the structure of the questions and how they demonstrate the features listed above.
Modelling systemically We think humans can be considered to be complex adaptive systems. Therefore it seems congruent to use a systemic, bottom-up perspective to model them.
From a systemic perspective, when we consider how a person consistently performs a complex behaviour we are seeking to identify ‘circular chains of causation’ rather than linear strategies. These will involve escalating and dampening feedback loops which form ‘operational closure’ (see our article, Feedback Loops). That is, these processes have enough internal autonomy to run themselves despite changing circumstances. One example is an ability that is flexible enough to achieve consistent results in a variety of new situations. In Robert’s case, to be able to select what is essential from a wide range of exemplars he has never met before.
Rather than attempting to fit what the exemplar says into predetermined categories or existing models, bottom-up modelling means we let a structure emerge out of the information itself (see our article What is Emergence?). This requires a great deal of trust that the deep structure will become evident, and the result can be something surprisingly fresh.
Outcome orientation Maintaining an outcome orientation is vital to a modeller who does not want to get lost in the mass of information presented by an exemplar — much of which will not be relevant. The conundrum is how to work systemically with an emergent process (bottom-up) and have a predetermined desired outcome (top-down). We do this by making our desired outcome for modelling ‘a dynamic reference point’ for everything we do and for every question we ask. In this way a desired outcome is more of a signpost than a destination, and the actual outcome — what is happening moment by moment — provides the pathway. It grounds the process in sensory evidence.
Within our overall outcome for modelling we aim to identify the fundamental pieces of the exemplar's process and then figure out how they work together as a whole. We call these outcomes within outcomes 'vectors' since they determine the direction of our questions over time periods of a few minutes (see our article Vectoring and Systemic Outcome Orientation).
In essence, a systemic outcome orientation enables us to direct our clean questions to areas in the exemplar’s metaphor landscape where something new is likely to emerge. Then we hold their attention in those places long enough for them to find out more about what they do so excellently.
Concluding remarks We hope you have enjoyed and learned from our wheels-within-wheels presentation of this material. Our aim has been to present the results of our modelling of Robert Dilts and to demonstrate that Symbolic Modelling is a valuable addition to the modelling methodologies already in use.
We would like to emphasise that a model’s usefulness is independent of how it was produced. You can make use of our model of Robert and ignore Symbolic Modelling; or you can adopt a Symbolic Modelling approach without taking on board Robert’s method for selecting – or you can use both.
Having acquired the product of our modelling – selecting what is essential – we can see how it can be applied in many areas. We recommend you try it on and notice whether the feedback you get from the world suggests you now have more choice and greater flexibility to pick out and utilise the ‘signal from the noise’.
Over the years the Symbolic Modelling process has proved fruitful in teasing out ways in which people do things excellently. It is beginning to be applied in academic research as a method to investigate phenomenological information. It has also been used to model the written word in the form of transcripts of client sessions, business meetings, questionnaires, organisational announcements and market research. And these applications haven’t even scratched the surface of what is possible.
There is much to be learned from comparing, contrasting and combining the different modelling methodologies. And as we said at the beginning, they all have their place depending on the context, your outcome and who will be the acquirers.
Once again, our thanks go to Robert Dilts, Martin Snoddon, Fran Burgess and Derek Jackson whose commitment to making modelling more prominent made it possible for us to offer you this report.
Appendix – SOURCE MATERIAL
7. Sample transcript of Robert Dilts modelling Martin Snoddon
Start of Video Clip 01 (shown in Section 3)
That works for me within groups. It’s inviting the connection, and it’s
holding the connection, and it’s exploring the connection even further
at that particular point.
So inviting, holding and exploring. That seems to me to be a very
interesting and important sequence. I’ve got to first invite it, then
I’ve got to hold it, and then explore it. So I’d like to get down to
some very very specific detail. My guess is
that you have to prepare yourself in a certain way to connect. In fact, to reach out, or to invite means that you kind of have to be – in some
language you might say, ‘not in your own ego’. It seems to me it’s a
special place to be. You’re not trying to impose your map of the world
on other people. You’re not trying to be right. You’re not trying to go,
'I’ve got to be safe'. It seems to me there's some quality that you
have inside that allows
you to do that. What would you say to that?
M: I would say that’s exactly right in the sense that I mean for me it’s opening my heart at that particular moment. And embracing in some way that other person. It’s about opening the heart for that to happen.
R: So now this is where we really get into the interesting part of NLP because I'm going to ask some of those questions which [you] will probably go ‘I have no idea’. So my first question is going to be about [inaudible]. Ok so that’s the exploration. How do you open your heart? I mean is there a something. It seems like in a certain way everything else is all dependent on your capacity to open your heart. How do you do this? I imagine it’s probably something that’s intuitive for you, but if I was just to ask you that question first, would you have an answer? How do you open your heart?
M: To let go in some ways. To let go of probably everything my society has taught me. To let go of that. That conditioning in terms of what I should be or shouldn’t be. And just to be. Just to be in the flow or to let things flow through me. That energy I believe comes through me from the universe. And it's lovely being a vessel. It’s lovely being in receipt of [inaudible].
R: So you let go of everything society has taught you,
M: Probably not everything!
R: But there are some really fascinating things here. So first of all how do you (I’ll be asking a lot of ‘how’ questions). So how do you let go? I want to backtrack on a few things that were really powerful about what you said. It’s a really a fundamental difference that makes the difference. So to just be yourself, let things flow, let things flow through you. This notion of just being. So how do you do that? What is that like? How do you know how to do that?
M: As you’re talking I’m thinking, What am I doing when I’m actually doing that? It’s almost like I want at that moment to love this person and to engage with this person with the love that I would have within me. And basically to put it out there and say to them come out here and meet me out here. This is where I want to be with you.
End of CLIP 01
[More transcript will be added here when available]
Appendix – SOURCE MATERIAL
8. Copy of Robert Dilts' handwritten notes
To be added
Appendix – SOURCE MATERIAL
9. Robert Dilts' model of 'Healing from the Heart'
Robert presented his model of Martin Snoddon 'Healing from the heart" on the second day of the Northern School of NLP workshop. The model consisted of eight powerpoint slides which are reproduced below.
To show the overall structure of Robert's model we created a tree diagram of the slides:
Structure of Robert Dilts' Model
Appendix – SOURCE MATERIAL
10. Full transcript of interview with Robert Dilts Conducted at Northern School of NLP, 7 December 2006
Notes: The timing of the start and end of the video clips shown in Section 4 are marked.
"..." in the transcript indicates a pause, or an unfinished sentence.
James Lawley: [To the group] So let me just by way of introduction say that one of the things that the Northern School take very much to heart in the philosophy of NLP is the idea of double and triple description. So this is an opportunity to get different descriptions of Robert as a modeller. Penny and I use a process we call Symbolic Modelling which you’ll notice is a cousin to the kind of modelling that Robert has been doing, but I think is sufficiently different to be able to produce some new information for you. Your focus, if we stay within the frame, will still be on Robert and hopefully our aim is to bring out some new information and deepen your understanding of one or two aspects of what you‘ve already got. But if you have any spare capacity you might notice how we’re doing our modelling and how it is similar and different to what you’ve already got. Did you want to add anything Penny?
Penny Tompkins: I do but I don’t know if this is the right place to do it so I’ll wait.
JL: We had a chat with Robert beforehand about the kind of piece [to focus on]. What’s been wonderful in these two days is that we’ve seen from the beginning all the way through, a whole quick [demonstration] of the modelling process, and so what we’d like to do is take a piece of it and go into that in more depth. [Turns to Robert] Where we thought we’d start is with the question ‘How do you know what’s essential?’ Because [on the previous day] we’ve heard you say that you identify what’s essential when you’re gathering information. And when you were producing your model last night you had to identify what was essential in that – so that’s a process that’s interesting, certainly to me as a modeller. So if we just start there and we’ll see where it goes. Is that OK?
Robert Dilts: Sure.
[2:40] START OF CLIP 02 JL: So when you’re modelling then Robert, how do you know what’s essential?
RD: Well ... I suppose my first answer is that you feel it. I mean guided by the feeling of what’s essential is not a cognitive analysis, that’s for sure. It’s not something ... you can’t tell by the words themselves you have to tell by the meaning, and then ‘essential’ also has to do with what your goal is. So essential for what? It’s essential for what it is you’re trying to get to [both hands pointing up right].
So I was saying yesterday that there’s this whole notion of, the end product is going to be some sort of an acquisition thing – a tool or a process. I’ve got to find out what’s essential on the one hand to create something [heart gesture] but also in terms of what Martin [the exemplar] is doing – his goals – to create this
type of healing among people who have been in conflict and trauma
situations. So what is essential? Modelling is always about: What is the difference that makes the difference? So what is it of all the things, that is the most key in this case to bringing about some kind of healing? So there’s always that notion of: So what is essential for the idea of what is necessary and sufficient? Because there’s some things that are not necessary and some things are necessary. So you have to get enough of something that’s necessary and sufficient enough to produce the result. [4:43] END OF CLIP 02
JL: Lets take an example, when you were modelling Martin what’s the first thing that you noticed that was essential?
RD: Well he said this notion of “connecting from the heart”.
JL: So how did you know that was essential, then?
RD: Well, first of all because I think I asked him. I set the frame ‘What's the most important thing?’, ‘What’s the difference that makes the difference?’, and so partially just because the frame we had set was creating a little box that says what is something essential. Now that doesn’t always mean that the first thing a person says will always fit into that box; sometimes you have to specify it. Because sometimes somebody might even say something too vague to understand, but that seemed to me to be essential. Also I think whenever you’re doing modelling you need to have some type of intuition about that situation and of course I’ve worked in the area of healing quite a bit. And so that felt to me like something quite significant, the notion of connecting at the heart level.
[6:15] START OF CLIP 03 JL: So when it felt significant, that connecting at the heart level [Robert's right hand gestures out and back level with his heart], where did it feel significant?
RD: Um [pause]. In different places certainly. In there and there [pointing to chest and solar plexus] where you would typically expect. For me the mid-line.
JL: The mid-line. And what kind of feeling is that feeling in the mid-line when you had an intuition that this was essential?
RD: The best way to describe it is like a feeling of activation [right hand opening gesture from navel] – sort of like in – I pay a lot of attention to my center, the center of me [where] things register. In my map there’s a cognitive mind and a somatic mind. And somatic mind has different accessing cues than the cognitive mind. And accessing the somatic mind comes from the center. And so I listen a lot to my center [pointing with right hand to solar plexus area]. It’s different than listening to my heart. Martin says ‘listen to your heart’ which I also do, but it’s for a different purpose. So it’s kind of the center that goes a little bit like a ... I don’t know how you’d say it except it’s like a radar signal that goes beep, beep, beep, Beep, Beep, Beep. So it’s kind of like a feeling of activation like that beep, beep, beep, beep. It doesn’t make that noise.
JL: That’s what it’s like ...
RD: It’s like that [two-handed gesture from solar plexus] – beep, beep, beep. [Laughter]
PT: And is the activation cue, is that the same or different to the accessing cue?
RD: No. Well the accessing cue is the feeling in the center, putting your attention on the center, and different energies happen there and different things happens at the center. But in significant times the center becomes activated. It could be if you’re in danger, it could be if you’re excited. But there’s an activation of this place but the quality of energy will be different. [8:58] END OF CLIP 03
Like, if you’re in danger it’s a different thing than if you are on to something – but it’s coming in the same [place]. It’s like you need to know, the analogy would be ... I think part of what we need to learn in life is – we’ve got lots of internal voices – which internal voices do you listen to? That’s your voice and not all the other things that people have told you. The voice that’s the voice of your own truth. The same thing. There’s a lot of feelings that you have. You can be scared and angry and have a whole lot of feelings at the same time. And which one do you act on? Well so for me it’s like there’s the center, the place where I’m going to pay attention to. If I go out of the center, then there’s all kinds of feelings you can have and you can get lost in feelings. A little bit like [participant] described being fractionated, so you go into the center. So the center is the access, it’s a channel. But the quality of that feeling that comes through there is different. Based on all sorts of stuff.
[10:08] START OF CLIP 04 JL: So when you access that center and you accessed that center, and you knew you were onto something with Martin, what’s the first thing that you noticed at your center?
RD: Well like I said, there is energy there.
JL: What kind of energy?
RD: This activating kind of energy that I was describing.
JL: Kind of like a radar. So you notice that. And then what happens?
RD: Well then it says, it’s like a marker. That this is significant and that path is going to be marked into memory and maybe sometimes I’ll write a note. In my notes there will be ... I kind of wrote down some things that Martin said in the session. So in 15 minutes it ends up like that [Robert holds up one page of his notes]. And those are just an externalised expression of [pointing to his center with right hand] something that’s felt significant [gestures up and down his mid-line].
JL: So you mark them down.
RD: So I mark it inside too. It’s not like it goes there [touches his notes] and I forget it. An analogy would be Mozart said when he would compose music that these things would come to him and he would get a feeling from the tone and if he got the feeling he would hum it, and the ones he would hum then were the ones marked as significant of all the notes that were coming. That’s how he selected notes. I think he said he was constantly looking for two notes that loved each other. So this one may be this resonance, you feel it, hum it [accompanied by three different hand gestures]. So that’s my humming [holds up his notes].
PT: The internal humming. And then there’s an internalised ...
RD: Marking that goes with this feeling of significance. Because there’s lots of data that comes. And how do you know which to make ...? When something gets connected to my center it’s going to become more likely to be part of me. So rather than this just be knowledge or data it goes sh-h-h, I’m going to register that and it’s going to go more into long-term memory. [12:40] END OF CLIP 04
[12:42] START OF CLIP 05 JL: So it’s both marked and connected to your center. And when it’s marked whereabouts – if we take that example of the heart connection – whereabouts is that marked? Where do you mark that?
RD: Well I guess the center. There’s also stuff I guess that goes on cognitively, like I might repeat it. When I'm doing the backtracking ... the backtracking is another example of these significant things [right hand indicates a shape]. And a lot of my backtracking ... I’m not reading the notes I’m backtracking and pulling out [gesture from center] those things that have been marked sh-h, sh-h, sh-h, just to see them [hands wide apart at shoulder level]. Sometime I’ll look at them [his notes], but most of the time when I was backtracking with Martin I wasn’t reading from the notes, I was just saying them.
PT: So you’re pulling them out to see, to see what?
RD: The purpose is for backtracking. First of all: What is it that’s [significant]? Are they still the things that are significant? Mozart talked about ... he put things into his bag of memory and pulled them back out. That way [pulling out gesture], like you’re testing them. Are they still there? Are they still significant? Do they feel resonant? Sometimes they feel more resonant. Sometime it feels like you’ve got to change the wording [left hand twists back and forth], maybe the wording isn’t quite right. So to really capture what it is – that whole deep structure, surface structure. This is the whole notion of proper naming. What’s the proper name for what seems significant about this? [14:25] END OF CLIP 05
JL: So there’s a testing of the resonance in the backtracking process and a pulling out. You’ve got the backtracking, you’ve got the feeling, the marking and you’ve got the external as well. And ...?
RD: There’s an interplay between the cognitive mind and the [somatic mind – gestures to right and up and down]. The cognitive mind can make associations but most of the sense of significance doesn’t come from there. It’s not a mental significance, it’s more of a somatic significance.
JL: And that somatic significance from that center, where does that come from?
RD: Where, do you mean in my body where, or a more generally abstract where?
JL: I’ll take anything, Robert.
RD: You’ll take anything [laughing]. So up to me to decide. I just meant did you mean it came from some other ... So ask the question again.
JL: So the activation and the feeling and that’s what lets you know what’s significant and essential, another way of putting it is where does that knowing come from, or where does that activation come from?
RD: [Pause] The most honest answer is I don’t know [looking up right]. It’s there, it’s one of those things that happens by association or resonance or something that it’s like, like I said, there’s a goal [pointing up to right]. I’m going to make a tool. There’s what Martin’s doing, he’s doing this kind of healing process. I’m trying to find what’s the difference that makes the difference, to produce those [two-handed point to both goal and tool]. And I’ve got the radar there and the radar is going to go ‘this thing is significant’. For all I know it comes from maybe there was a certain degree of congruity that Martin has when he says it. Maybe it’s something that rings with something that – because I’ve done healing myself. I go this just seems to fit with what my own experience is – it’s hard to say – it’s not a conscious process by any stretch of the imagination. It’s you know [shrugs].
JL: I’m just fishing. [laughter] You never know what you might get.
RD: What might come up!
[17:04] START OF CLIP 06a There’s some kind of a field created by these different things – the intent and how exactly it happens I don’t know. It’s like resonance. This fits with this, fits with this, fits with this, [lots of gesturing in front and then out from center] ... that shooo, and I think it’s about a feeling of importance to me. [left hand over his solar plexus.] So, so ...
JL: So, so it’s a feeling of importance to you and you have a this fits and this fits and this fits.
RD: There are several outcomes that are going on. [17:40] END OF CLIP 06a
And so we’re modelling and making some kind of acquisition tool. Also Martin is expressing things that are important for the very meaningful work that he does. So what are the really essential parts? What are the key parts that serve those things? And this seems like it fits there. Like I say, maybe I’m accessing my own, quote “intuition”, my reference experiences for also having been involved in working with people and stuff that’s meaningful for me in my life. So something will register.
JL: So when something fits, is that the same ... how you know that, is that the same or different to the resonance and the feeling in the center? That significance, is that the same or different to how you know something fits and how you know it’s significant?
[18:56] START OF CLIP 06b RD: Your example of going back to the very first part, there wasn’t a whole lot of information for it to fit with. But definitely there is a phase where things start fitting. Going to the Mozart analogy he said that like in the beginning the notes are just coming and there’s some that he hums, and after he gets enough of them then they start arranging themselves [both hands gesturing above eye line]. So the first thing, I mean in the Mozart analogy, do these two notes love each other? [hands together] whew. Yes, all right, we’ll take those. Do these [other] two notes love each other? Yes, we’ll take those. Do these two? OK. Now then you start going ‘then how do these things [the three pairs of notes] fit?’ That’s different from a selection process and starts to involve much more cognitive mind to fit because now you’re [gesturing just above eye line] organising it.
JL: Just there [gesturess to just in front of Robert’s eyes]. Organising and fitting, which is more cognitive than the selecting [gestures to his mid-line].
RD: [Nods]. Right. [20:00] END OF CLIP 06b
JL: [Turns to Penny] Do you want to ask any more about this? [Penny shakes head and James turns to Robert] Because I was going to take an example from further on in the process about you selecting what goes into the model. And to find out, is that the same kind of selecting or a different kind of selecting? So last night or maybe this morning when you were deciding on what out of that [points to Robert’s notes] was going to go into the model, how did you know what was essential or what was going to go in? How did you select from that?
[20:32] START OF CLIP 07 RD: Right, well there are different phases of the modelling process, right. Phase one is asking questions and for me the whole purpose of phase one is to go: What is significant to explore in phase two? So that’s a different information gathering process. In phase two I’m still looking for what’s significant but now I’ve got more information. So now I’m going to be going, he’s giving me these ideas about phase one, he was telling me about the structure of what he’s doing, what seems to be important. So in phase two, I’m kind of trying to fill in, there has to do with the notion of exploring a direction and then, also beginning to try to get a picture [hands form a 'frame' at eye line] of what the process is. Then in phase three I'm really asking questions to try to get to the acquisition part of phase three [gestures up right]. I'm asking for examples and so on and so forth. Then in phase three what I’m doing is, now I’m trying to construct a movie [gestures to same place as picture].
So in phase two I’m trying to get a picture. In phase three I’m trying to get a movie. And while he [Martin] is talking, I’m literally, I’m getting second position, not with the Martin who is sitting here answering me, but with the Martin in my movie who was doing what he does. I’m not getting second position with Martin who’s here because if I were I’d just be getting into second position with somebody answering the questions. But I’m trying to get second position with what he’s saying, he’s describing what he does with people and I’m putting myself into him in that situation and: Can I do what he does? Does it feel ... It’s like a form of what you would call in NLP a New Behaviour Generator. You get a picture and you associate into it, go to second position with him, and does it feel like I can do it?
And so actually even though (I was explaining to someone at the break), even though it looks like I’m just sitting here asking him questions, it’s not at all a cognitive exercise for me. I’m taking his answers to the questions, I'm making an inner movie, putting myself in that movie because, and in that way it’s like a Behaviour Generator, because I’m already installing it. So this morning when I was doing the work with [participant] in the acquisition, I’ve already rehearsed aspects of that because when I’m talking to Martin I’m putting myself into it. What would I look like? How would I say these words? How do I open my connection to my heart to somebody? When he says ... when he was here going ‘well I open my heart’, that’s what I’m doing there. In second position with what he’s [describing he’s] doing. And then that’s all feeling, is that do-able? Can I do it?
Because that’s the first question of all modelling. What John Grinder said to Richard Bandler when he was first modelling him was ‘If you teach me to do what you’re doing I’ll tell you what you’re doing’. Not let me observe you and take notes and I’ll tell you, it’s when I can do it then I can tell you what you were doing. It’s the same thing for me, it’s like I’m trying to get it in the muscle. [24:08] END OF CLIP 07
JL: And to do it not just here, but in the context where you might use it.
RD: Right, I’m imagining, when he was talking about being with these paramilitary people I’m imagining: What’s that context? What’s that like? What’s the energy in that room like? I mean I can only go to that to the degree that I have either my own imaginations or my own reference experiences.
JL: And you do that and ...
RD: It’s like reading a novel, you don’t just read it, it’s like you’re getting engaged in it and you’re building your own fantasy of what that, if you’re reading Harry Potter you’re getting the thing [gesture] not just the ... so for me modelling is like reading or writing a novel.
[25:02] START OF CLIP 08 JL: And so when you do that with Martin, you imagine being in that paramilitary situation, then what happens next, what do you then do with Martin? How do you use that?
RD: I just want to clarify one thing, I don’t imagine him in the situation, I imagine I am him in that situation, associated in his perspective.
JL: So you’re doing that and then he’s still sitting here. So then what happens when you’ve done that associating in that context?
RD: It's a feeling. It’s like a New Behaviour Generator. Does it feel like I can do it? In the New Behaviour Generator you have a reference of what you know what you can do and when you run that film you step into it: Does it feel like I can do it? It has to be based upon some test that says I’ve got enough to be able to actually do it. I can do it. Which I think is not necessarily always ... it’s a strategy I learned which was when I run a movie and I run through it, how do I know there’s enough there that I can actually do it? It’s something that I live every day. Now because I’m planning for a seminar I run through this, this, this, and then I go out and I do it. And I only need a certain amount of [gestures to movie], a certain level of detail in that movie to fit, step into it and then sh-o-o-o, and I know that my body and my words can follow, can do that chunk.
JL: And what lets you know you can do that in that movie?
RD: It’s a feeling.
JL: And what kind of feeling is that one?
RD: It’s like a feeling, it’s like a feeling, a congruence [hands vertically aligned].
JL: So the congruence is you can do it, and then what do you do?
RD: I’ve got enough. I’ll actually be able to do that.
JL: So what do you do if you don’t get that feeling?
RD: Then I’d ask more questions. Maybe figure out, where does this movie stop? Where does it feel vague? And either ask more ...
JL: Or are there any gaps?
RD: Are there any gaps. A VK [visual-kinesthetic] type thing. Sometime auditory, if it’s very verbally orientated. What am I saying to this person? What kind of questions am I asking? And again sometimes what happen is that Martin hasn’t given me the answer but I fill it in with what I would do. You’re always filling in the gaps. But if I could do it, even though I don’t know what Martin exactly would do, but if I can run the movie I can kind of get through and know what I would say, I’ve got enough. [27:52] END OF CLIP 08
JL: So that helps you decide what question you’re going to ask next. Where does the movie start? Are there any gaps? If it’s vague that determines what question you ask next. And from the outside what it looks like is you backtrack that movie to Martin and then ask him to answer a piece about it.
RD: Right. Exactly. It’s a bit like being a director. You’ve got your storyboard, and you’re trying to get if there’s some missing piece. It’s like that.
JL: And what’s fascinating to me is that you’re doing that in real time while you’re interviewing Martin
RD: It’s like multi-tasking.
JL: So let’s check out this one other piece which was about selecting what was going to go into the model, which you did on your own. I don’t know if you want to take any particular piece. How did you know that you were going to select that to go into the model? What let’s you know that that should go in?
RD: To the model or to the acquisition?
JL: Let’s take the model for example. You have to decide what word you’re going to put up on there [points to where Robert had displayed his slides]. Let me ask you, you said you knew those three pieces were going to go in. Did you know that before last night? Had you already decided that?
JL: Oh, you already had.
RD: [Looks up right] As soon as he said those words I thought, that’s it, that’s a basic structure. That’s not the only – there are other bits. But that seemed to be significant.
JL: And the difference between the individual in the community? You knew that basic structure was going to go in, or not?
RD: That started coming a little bit later. But the community part of it, I knew there were pieces there. What happened this morning was I started. I got the sense Martin had said several things [that] seemed to me to be related. There was a thing – the outcome – connecting from the heart. Meeting people where they are. Then modelling the future. They were like key things that he had said. But they were more like goals, whereas the inviting, holding, exploring are processes, they’re activities. And then there was a query, oh there’s a connection. The connecting part was about inviting. Holding was about meeting people. This was about that. The outcome and the process, that makes a nice fit. So that’s about fit. That goes with that, that goes with that, that makes sense. Not only from a visual and auditory perspective, but you can feel the connection and then there’s all the details about how you do that – invite someone, reaching out, the goals, the bridge – all those things that he had said.
[31:09] START OF CLIP 09 But then again in this process of making a movie all these things start to fit together. They’re not data on a piece of paper [picks up his notes], they are now labels for a process. This [picks up his notes] is a surface structure, and then there’s deep structure and these cluster around their cues or clues about this deeper process. The process flows through it. And the words start to fit.
JL: So when there was that fit and the fit’s there [gestures to Robert’s space] that you were getting, is there a relationship between that fit and the movie you’ve created of you stepping in?
RD: Oh yeah. That’s the basis of the fit. That’s what I’m saying. [Picks up piece of paper] That’s data. Then the words start connecting to that movie. The words are secondary to the ... the words are not primary thing. That’s what I was saying before. It’s not about getting words precisely. It’s about getting the process precisely. And the words are cues, or labels for things that are trying to express a process. It’s the process, not the words. The process is this movie, this associated-type of movie. It's got both associated and dissociated. It's got both at the same time.
JL: So that movie is both associated and dissociated. I’ve got the associated. What’s the dissociated about the movie then?
RD: Watch it and be in it at the same time.
JL: How do you do that Robert?
RD: You just do it.
JL: So when you just do that, where do you watch it from – when you’re dissociated?
RD: It’s a little bit like being a sort of a member of the group, but not quite. A bit more up, like when Martin was talking about something I can kind of see him [gestures just above eye line] as if I was in the audience looking at him [in the movie], and then I can be in him. [33:41] END OF CLIP 09
JL: OK, so you take the two. And do you [switching gesture] between them?
RD: Um [shrugs]. It’s not so hard.
JL: Not any more. Now we know how you do it, by taking the position of the audience and between that and imagining yourself as him.
PT: And when you get the outcome and the process, is that from being a member of the audience dissociated?
RD: [Pause] The outcome of the process, that came from taking key things that Martin talked about and trying to arrange them into a model. That’s a different thing, that’s finding a link between things that seem significant. I mean that’s ... let me see. There’s things that are related, in other words an activity of inviting is an activity, and it has ... in me there’s a relationship. Why do you invite something? You invite it in order to do something. Or why do you hold something? You hold in in order to make something happen. What are you trying to make happen? And then he’d also said, it was emphasised several times, meet people where they are and lots and lots of things he said about how you meet people where they are and the importance of that. So those things are starting to go together as a unit, and then some of that is from the associated experience. But also some of that is now from where you do get into a cognitive thing. When – I keep making an analogy to Mozart – he said that when there was enough stuff that he got all of a sudden then he would start to apply rules of point and counterpoint. He didn’t apply rules of point and counterpoint at the beginning. Not until you start to get enough that now you’re going to go, this is going to fit here, and this is going to fit there, because that’s counterpoint. And that is more of a principle. So for me those are more cognitive structures that have to do with models. It’s like Mozart had some intuition of music. And also trained in the structure of music. So for me it’s like there are TOTES. There are goals, these are operations. So these things have a relationship to each other. But the goal is not an activity. The activity is something you do to get a goal. Then these things that Martin has said that I’ve gathered as being significant start to fit into a structure. A goal is a goal in that sense. The definition of a goal is something I’m trying to get to. And that’s what I do to get there. So these words [picks up his notes] start forming themselves into where they belong in a process [gestures in front of him in same shape as model he presented]. But there’s the deep structure of a process. That’s the other thing I was saying about a tool. It’s a process structure. I know independent of any information I’ve gathered from Martin, I know what it takes to have a process. That comes from NLP training. And also just from experience.
JL: And so, is that knowing of a process the same or different as the significant knowing in the center?
RD: No, because a significant knowing is about how you determine what’s significant. And this is how you’re putting it together into a model [gestures in front]. That knowing of the process is ... a goal is a goal. I know what a goal is, versus an activity and that’s like a feeling of structure. That’s the fit part. That’s a different place. It’s like there’s a workbench. [In] my analogy with Mozart he gets the sound and then he says we’re going to use this instrument to play that sound because it’s [inaudible]. This counterpoint, that’s got to go there and that’s got to go there. That’s more of a cognitive process. Then sh-h-h-h. What notes am I going to use? The basic feel of this. Does that make sense?
JL: I’m tracking you. I might not look like I am, but I’m doing my own version of that for sure. Penny, is there anything else you want to ask? We just need about 10 minutes at the end to say a few words.
JL: Robert, thank you
RD: The only thing I’d say is that there is also in there, in terms of significance this whole notion of purpose that relates to – I think I said it the other day or yesterday – what is useful and what is meaningful. And that’s going back to one of your questions you were asking today. Looking for what’s useful and what’s meaningful. And meaningful has to do with a deeper desire about bringing transformation to people and bringing healing. That’s the deepest driver, to do something that’s going to make a difference for people. And the rest of this is about structuring it in a way that facilitates that. So the feeling of: this is going to make something meaningful happen. Anyway, and what you were saying in terms of your question – meaningful [touches his stomach], useful [gestures in front]. How to fit the structure of a tool [gestures in front], meaningful there [touches his stomach].
JL: At the center.
RD: And to have something that’s useful but not meaningful ... [shakes his head].
JL: It has to do both.
RD: The two simultaneous.
JL: All the way through the whole modelling process.
PT: [Turns to audience] Even that is congruent with the modelling process. Do you see the structure of that is there, a little fractal – how could it not be?
JL: Thank you Robert. Thank you for your patience in answering our questions.
Appendix – SOURCE MATERIAL
11. List of questions we asked Robert
Below is a list of the verbatim questions we asked Robert during the 38 minute interview (see Section 10). We have removed the recaps of Robert’s words and a few side comments. We have done this so that you can see the structure and pattern of our questions and gain insight into the Symbolic Modelling way of modelling.
The primary inspiration for this type of question comes from David Grove's Clean Language. You will find a number of introductory articles on our web site.
[Words inside quotation marks are Robert’s.]
So when you’re modelling then Robert, how do you know what’s ‘essential’?
Lets take an example, when you were modelling Martin what’s the first thing that you noticed that was ‘essential’?
So how did you know that was ‘essential’, then?
So when ‘it felt significant’, that ‘connecting at the heart level’, where did it feel ‘significant’?
‘The mid-line’. And what kind of ‘feeling’ is that ‘feeling in the mid-line’ when you had ‘an intuition’ that this was ‘essential’?
And is the ‘activation cue’, is that the same or different to the ‘accessing cue’?
So when you ‘accessed that center’ and you knew ‘you were onto something’ with Martin, what’s the first thing that you noticed at your ‘center’?
What kind of ‘energy’?
Kind of ‘like a radar’. So you notice that. And then what happens?
The ‘externalised humming’. And then there’s an ‘internalised ...’
So it’s both ‘marked’ and ‘connected to your center’. And when it’s ‘marked’, whereabouts — if we take that example of the ‘heart connection’ — whereabouts is that ‘marked’?
So you’re ‘pulling them out to see’ ... to see what?
So there’s a ‘testing of the resonance’ in the ‘backtracking’ process and a ‘pulling out’. You’ve got the ‘backtracking’, you’ve got the ‘feeling’, the ‘marking’ and the ‘external’ [points to Robert’s notes] as well. And ...?
And that ‘somatic significance’ from that ‘center’, where does that come from?
So the ‘activation’ and the ‘feeling’ and that’s what lets you know what’s ‘significant and essential’, another way of putting it is where does that knowing come from, or where does that ‘activation’ come from?
So when something ‘fits’, is that the same ... how you know that? Is that the same or different to the ‘resonance’ and the ‘feeling in the center’? That ‘significance’, is that the same or different to how you know something ‘fits’ and how you know it’s ‘significant’?
So last night or maybe this morning when you were deciding on what out of that [points to Robert’s notes] was going to go into the model, how did you know what was ‘essential’ or what was going to go in? How did you ‘select’ from that?
And so when you do that with Martin, you ‘imagine being in that paramilitary situation’, then what happens next, what do you then do with Martin? How do you use that?
So you’re doing that and then he’s still sitting here. So then what happens when you’ve done that ‘associating’ in that ‘context’?
And what lets you know you can do that in that ‘movie’?
And what kind of ‘feeling’ is that one?
So the ‘congruence’ is you can do it, and then what do you do?
So what do you do if you don’t get that ‘feeling’?
Or are there any ‘gaps’? *
And from the outside what it looks like is you ‘backtrack’ that ‘movie’ to Martin and ask him to answer a piece about it.
So let’s check out this one other piece which was about ‘selecting’ what was going to go into the model, which you did on your own. I don’t know if you want to take any particular piece. How did you know that you were going to ‘select’ that to go into the model? What let’s you know that that should go in?
Let’s take the model for example. You have to decide what word you’re going to put up on there [points to where Robert had displayed his slides]. Let me ask you, you said you knew those three pieces were going to go in. Did you know that before last night? Had you already decided that?
And the difference between the ‘individual’ and the ‘community’? You knew that ‘basic structure’ was going to go in, or not?
So when there was that ‘fit’ and the ‘fit’ is there [gestures to Robert’s space] that you were getting, is there a relationship between that ‘fit’ and the ‘movie you’ve created of you stepping in’?
So that ‘movie’ is ‘both associated and dissociated’. I’ve got the ‘associated’. What’s the ‘dissociated’ about the ‘movie’ then?
How do you do that Robert?
So when you just do that, where do you ‘watch’ it from – when you’re ‘dissociated’?
OK, so you take the two. And do you [switching gesture] between them? **
And when you get the ‘outcome’ and the ‘process’, is that from being a ‘member of the audience dissociated’?
And so, is that ‘knowing of a process’ the same or different as the ‘significant knowing in the center’?
Once the interview had started our questions and comments accounted for about 15% of the total words spoken and Robert’s were 85%.
* 'Essential' and 'gaps' were words Robert had used on the first day of the workshop.
** The nonverbal switching gesture was replicating the gesture Robert had used previously (see Clip 05 in Section 4). Even so this is a less-than-clean question because it provides an answer within the question.
Appendix – SOURCE MATERIAL
12. Modelling from a transcript
This section contains a summary of how we organised the information recorded in the transcript of our interview with Robert Dilts.
We structured the information using the three phases identified by Robert and called his post-interview work Phase IV:
While interviewing exemplar:
Phase I - Select what is significant Phase II - Fit what is significant together Phase III - Construct an associated/dissociated movie
After the interview:
Phase IV - Arrange what is essential into a model
- All words below are Robert Dilts’ except those inside [square brackets].
- Key metaphors are highlighted.
- His four Mozart analogies have been retained in their entirety. - Bold denotes key chunks of Robert’s modelling process which were candidates for inclusion in the formal model (see Section 5 for what did and didn't get in). - Italics marks the questions Robert asks himself. - ‘Martin’ is the name of the exemplar who Robert modelled.
There are several [general] outcomes:
To create something useful and meaningful. Meaningful has to do with a deeper desire about bringing
transformation to people and bringing healing. That’s the deepest
driver, to do something that’s going to make a difference for people.
And the rest is about structuring it in a way that facilitates that.
The end product is going to be an acquisition tool or a process.
Modelling is always about:
difference that makes the difference?
What is necessary and sufficient?
You have to get enough of something
that’s necessary and sufficient enough to produce the result.
There’s a cognitive mind and a somatic mind:
The somatic mind
has different accessing
cues than the cognitive mind.
The cognitive mind
can make associations
but most of the sense of
significance doesn’t come from there. It’s not a mental significance,
it’s more of a somatic significance.
Phase I Phase one is asking questions for a purpose. [It’s] a selection process:
My goal [as the modeller is] to find out what’s essential:
So essential for what?
What is significant to explore in phase two?
So what are the really essential parts?
Martin’s goals [as the exemplar] Martin is expressing things that are important for the very meaningful work that he does:
What are the key parts that serve those things?
What is it of all the things, that is the most key in this case to bringing about [the exemplar’s goals]?
As soon as he said those words ["inviting, holding, exploring"] I
thought 'that’s it, that’s a basic structure'. That’s not the only [structure] —
there are other bits. But that seemed to be significant.
Accessing the somatic mind comes from the center:
I listen a lot to my center
[solar plexus area]. It’s different than listening to my heart, it’s for a
The accessing cue is the feeling in the center
Putting your attention on the center. It’s a channel.
I pay a lot of attention to my center, the center of me [where] things register.
Guided by the feeling of what’s essential:
It is not a cognitive analysis, that’s for sure.
not a conscious process by any stretch of the imagination.
[It’s a] feeling of activation.
Like a radar signal that goes beep, beep, beep, Beep, Beep, Beep.
[At the center] there’s a lot of feelings that you have at the same time.
And which one do you act on?
There’s an activation of this place [the center] but the quality of
energy will be different. It could be if you’re in danger, it could be if you’re excited. If you’re in danger it’s a different thing than if you are on to something but it’s coming in the same [place].
If I go out of the center, then there’s all kinds of feelings you can have and you can get lost in feelings.
can’t tell by the words themselves you have to tell by the meaning
what is] emphasised several times
Whenever you’re modelling
you need to have some type of intuition about that situation
For all I know the activation comes from something that rings with a certain degree of congruity of Martin
I go this just seems to fit with what my own experience is.
Marking goes with this feeling of significance.
There’s lots of data that comes.
When something gets connected to my center it’s going to become part of
me. So rather than this just be knowledge or data it goes sh-h-h, I’m
going to register that and it’s going to go more into long-term memory.
It’s like a marker inside
That this is significant and that path is going to be marked into memory
Sometimes I’ll write a note — an externalised expression of something that’s felt that’s significant.
It’s not like it goes there [touches his written notes] and I forget it.
Mozart said when he would compose music that these
things would come to him and he would get a feeling from the tone and if he got the feeling he would hum it, and the ones he would hum then were
the ones marked as significant of all the notes that were coming.
That’s how he selected notes.
So maybe that’s my resonance. So feel it, hum it [touches his mid-line]. So that’s my humming [holds up his notes].
Mozartput things into his bag of
memory and pulled them back out.
Are they still there?
Are they still significant?
Do they feel resonant?
Sometimes they feel more resonant.
There’s also stuff I guess that goes on cognitively:
I might repeat it.
Backtracking is another example of these significant things.
I’m backtracking [I’m] pulling out those things that have been marked
sh-h, sh-h, sh-h, just to see
Are they still the things that are
Sometimes it feels like you’ve got to change the wording
What’s the proper name for what seems significant about this?
Phase II Phase two is a different information gathering process [to phase one]:
I’m trying to get a picture of what the process is
So to really capture what
it is — that whole deep
I’m still looking for what’s significant but now I’ve got more information.
I’m trying to fill in, that has to do with exploring a direction
[It] starts to involve much more cognitive mind to fit because now you’re organising it.
There’s an interplay
between the cognitive mind and the [somatic mind].
There is a phase where things start fitting.
Mozart said that like in the beginning the
notes are just coming and there’s some that he hums, and after he gets
enough of them then they start arranging themselves. So the first
thing, do these two notes love each other? Yes,
all right, we’ll take those. Do these [other] two notes love each
other? Yes, we’ll take those. Do these two? OK. Then you start going
‘then how do these things [the three pair of notes] fit?’
There’s some kind of a field created by these different things:
It’s like resonance. This fits with this, fits with this, fits with this.
And this seems like it fits there.
That shooo, and I think it’s about a feeling of importance to me.
Something [a fit] will register
I’m accessing my own, quote “intuition”, my reference experiences for
also having been involved in working with people and stuff that’s
meaningful for me in my life.
Phase III Now I’m trying toconstruct a movie.
I'm asking for examples.
You are really asking questions [of the exemplar] to try to get to the acquisition part
Does it feel like I can do it?
I’m taking his answers to the questions, and while he’s talking:
I'm making an inner movie.
I'm putting myself in that movie — I’m getting second position, not with
the Martin who is sitting here answering me, but with the Martin in my
movie who was doing what he does. With what he’s saying, he’s
describing what he does with people and I’m putting myself into him in
that situation. I imagine I am him in that situation, associated in his
In the process of making a movie all these things start to fit together.They’re not data on a piece of paper [picks up his notes], they are now
labels for a process. This [picks up his notes] is a surface structure,
and then there’s deep structure and these cluster around their cues or
clues about this deeper process. The process flows through it. And the
words start to fit.
That’s the basis of the fit. [Picks up piece of
paper] That’s data. Then the words start connecting to that movie. The words are secondary to the ... the words are not primary thing.
It’s not about getting words precisely.
It’s about getting the process
precisely. And the words are cues, or labels for things that are trying
to express a process. It’s the process, not the words. The process is
You’ve got both associated [as above] and dissociated [as below] at the same time.
It’s a little bit like being a sort of a member of the group, but not
quite. A bit more up, like when Martin was talking I can kind of see
him as if I was in the audience looking
I’m imagining, when he was talking about being with these paramilitary people
What’s that context?
What’s that like?
What’s the energy in that room like?
And then I can be in him — you run that film you step into it.
like a New Behaviour Generator, because I’m already installing it.
was going ‘well I open my heart’, that’s what I’m doing there. In
second position with what he’s [describing he’s] doing:
What would I look like?
How would I say these words?
How do I open my connection to my heart to somebody?
You get engaged in your own imaging. Like reading or writing a novel
It’s like I’m trying to get it in the muscle.
[If] Martin hasn’t given me the answer:
I fill it in with what
I would do.
You’re always filling in the gaps.
[You backtrack that movie
and then ask Martin to answer a piece about it] — Exactly. It’s a bit
like being a director.
You’ve got your storyboard,
and you’re trying to
[see] if there’s some
How do I know there’s enough there that I can actually do it?
It has to be based upon some test that says I’ve got enough to be able to actually do that chunk.
You feel it.
Is that do-able?
Does it feel like I can do it?
It’s like a feeling, a congruence.
if I could do it, even though I don’t know what Martin exactly would
do, if I can run the movie I can kind of get through and know what I
would say, I’ve got enough.
And I only need a certain level of
detail in that movie to fit, step into it and then sh-o-o-o, and I
that my body and my words can follow. When I can do it, then I can tell
what [they] were doing.
[If don’t get that feeling:]
Then I’d ask more questions.
Maybe figure out:
Where does this movie stop?
Where does it feel vague?
Asking myself, Where are the gaps?
Sometime auditory, if it’s very verbally orientated.
What am I saying to this person?
What kind of questions am I asking?
Phase IV The
outcome of the [modelling] process, came from taking key things that
Martin talked about and trying to arrange them into a model.
Then these things that I’ve gathered as being significant start to fit into a structure.
So these words start forming themselves into where they belong in a process.
They’re not data on a piece of paper, they are now
labels for a process. [Written notes are] a surface structure,
and then there’s deep structure and these cluster around their cues or
clues about this deeper process.
There’s the deep structure of a process.
The process flows through it. And they start to fit.
got the sense several things seemed to me to be related:
from the heart’. ‘Meeting people where they are’. ‘Modelling the
future’. These were more like goals,
Whereas the ‘inviting’, ‘holding’, ‘exploring’ are processes, they’re activities.
And then there was a query, oh there’s a connection:
The ‘connecting’ part was about ‘inviting’. ‘Holding’ was about ‘meeting people’. This was about that.
There’s things that are related — in me there’s a
Why do you ‘invite’ something?
You invite it in order to do something.
Why do you ‘hold’
something? You hold in in order to make something happen.
What are you trying to make happen?
The outcome and the process, that makes a nice fit:
That goes with that, that goes with that, that makes sense.
Not only from a visual and auditory perspective, but you can feel the connection.
Knowing how you’re putting it together into a model, that’s like:
A feeling of structure.
That's the fit part.
It’s like there’s a work bench.
So those things are starting to go together as a unit:
Some of that is from the associated experience.
But also some of that is now from where you do get into a cognitive thing.
Mozart said that when there was enough stuff that he got all of a
sudden then he would start to apply rules of point and counterpoint. He didn’t apply rules of point and counterpoint at the beginning. Not
until you start to get enough that now you’re going to go, this is
going to fit here, and this is going to fit there, because that’s
counterpoint. And that is more of a principle. Mozart had some intuition of music. And also trained in the structure of music. Mozart gets the sound and then he says we’re going to use this instrument to play that sound. This [is] counterpoint, that's got to
go there and that’s got to go there. That's more of a cognitive
process. Then sh-h-h-h. What notes am I going to use?
Those are more cognitive structures that have to do with models.
So for me it’s like there are TOTEs: There are goals, these are operations.
So these things have a relationship to each other.
But the goal is not an activity. The activity is something you do to get a goal.
A tool is a process structure I know
independent of any information I’ve gathered from Martin, I know what
it takes to have a process. That comes from NLP training. And also
just from experience.
then there’s all the details:
About how you do that: ‘invite someone’, ‘reaching
out’, the goals, ‘bridge’.
Penny and James are supervising neurolinguistic psychotherapists – first registered with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy in 1993 – coaches in business, certified NLP trainers, and founders of The Developing Company. They have provided
consultancy to organisations as diverse as GlaxoSmithKline, Yale
University Child Study Center, NASA Goddard Space Center and the
Findhorn Spiritual Community in Northern Scotland.
Their book, Metaphors in Mind was the first comprehensive guide to Symbolic Modelling using the Clean Language of David Grove. An annotated training DVD,A Strange and Strong Sensationdemonstrates their work in a live session. James has also written (with Marian Way) the first book dedicated to Clean Space: Insights in Space. Between them Penny and James have published over 200 articles and blogs freely available on their website: cleanlanguage.co.uk.