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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

Please note:
- 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:
    • What's the 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 different purpose.
  • 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:
  • You feel it.
  • It is not a cognitive analysis, that’s for sure.
  • It’s 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. 
  • You can’t tell by the words themselves you have to tell by the meaning
  • [Also 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].
You’re testing them:
  • Mozart put 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 significant?
  • 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 structure
  • 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:
  • The intent
  • 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 to construct 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 perspective.
  • 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 this movie,
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 at him
  • 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.
  • It’s like a New Behaviour Generator, because I’m already installing it.
  • When he 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 missing piece.
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.
  • But 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 know that my body and my words can follow. When I can do it, then I can tell you 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.
I got the sense several things seemed to me to be related:
  • ‘Connecting 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 relationship
    • 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.
And then there’s all the details:
  • About how you do that: ‘invite someone’, ‘reaching out’, the goals, ‘bridge’.

Penny Tompkins & James Lawley
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 Sensation demonstrates 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:
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