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James Lawley

James LawleyJames Lawley offers psychotherapiy to individuals and couples, and coaching, research and consultancy to organisations. He is a co-developer of Symbolic Modelling and co-author (with Penny Tompkins) of Metaphors in Mind: Transformation through Symbolic Modelling, (with Marian Way) Insights in Space: How to use Clean Space to solve problems, generate ideas and spark creativity and an Online training in Clean Language and Symbolic Modelling. For a more detailed biography see about us and his blog.

Articles by this Author
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Constructivism is Only a Construct
Extended quotations about Experiential Constructivism from Fritjof Capra, John Grinder & Richard Bandler, and George Lakoff & Mark Johnson. Plus recommended reading.
Self-Organising Systems: Findhorn
By James Lawley | Published 08 01 2003
Business & Organisations
This paper was written in preparation for the facilitation by the Clean Team* of a Large Group Metaphor Process at The Findhorn Community during 13-16 January, 2003. The paper's aim was to raise the Team's awareness of:
  • the key features of self-organising systems
  • how these might manifest in a community setting
  • how this knowledge can inform the way we facilitate.
* James Lawley, Penny Tompkins, Steve Callaghan, Wendy Sullivan, Phil Swallow, Caitlin Walker and Marian Way.
Metaphors of Organisation part 2
This is the second part of a two-part article:

Part 1 explained that underlying every theory of management or organisation is a metaphor. It described eight commonly used metaphors and Gareth Morgan's method for analysing and facilitating organisations to change.

Part 2 shows how Symbolic Modelling uses client-generated metaphors to facilitate individuals to understand and change themselves and their organisations.

Metaphors of Organisation part 1
By James Lawley | Published 01 09 2001
Business & Organisations , Introductory
"All theories of organisation and management are based on implicit images or metaphors that persuade us to see, understand, and imagine situations in partial ways." Gareth Morgan

This is a two-part article:

Part 1 draws on the ideas of Gareth Morgan, a pioneer in the use of metaphor to read, analyse and facilitate organisations to change.

Part 2 shows how Symbolic Modelling uses client-generated metaphors to facilitate individuals to understand and change themselves and their organisations.

Report on French NLP Congress 2001
By James Lawley | Published 04 05 2001
Advanced NLP , French
A report in English on a French NLP Congress in 2001
Modelling the Structure of Binds and Double Binds
How is it that sometimes people want to change, try to change, and may even make changes, yet they end up repeating the same old patterns? They are in a bind. This article describes four prototypical binds; defines double binds; and summarises how to transform binds. PLUS, newly added: Guidelines for working with binding patterns.
Introducing Modelling to Organisations

"What is NLP modelling?"  This article contains a brief overview of the five stages of a modelling project. It includes a 'checklist' of items and questions to consider when you decide to embark on a modelling project in an organisation, as well as an annotated reading list.

Quand où est important?
By James Lawley | Published 01 03 1998
Cet article explique comment l’espace psychoactif se crée et comment il peut être utilisé en Modélisation Symbolique. Dès que l’espace est devenu psychoactif pour une personne, cette dernière, « vit effectivement dans sa métaphore ». Ensuite, quand quelque chose change dans cet espace perceptuel (souvent spontanément) son corps-esprit est plus impliqué. Ceci produit habituellement un changement plus  incarné et systémique que  si l’on se contentait de « parler de changer ». Cette expérience n’est pas nécessairement accompagnée d’une grande démonstration d’émotions ou d’une catharsis – l’affect n’implique pas l’effet - mais le client sait que quelque chose a changé, même s’il ne peut le verbaliser sur le moment.

Traduction de Noémie Dehouck et Nadine Lecamus.

The Application of Metaprogrammes to the Classroom
By James Lawley | Published 01 09 1997
Education , Introductory NLP
The article which follows was presented to the Teacher Development Special Interest Group Conference of the International Association for Teaching English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) in November 1995. While the focus of the article is teaching it should be fairly easy to adapt the information for other contexts such as business, therapy etc.
Vision is Not Black and White: The Colourless Case of Mr. I
By James Lawley | Published 01 12 1996
Advanced NLP

While reading Oliver Sacks' latest book, An Anthropologist on Mars, I was excited to discover how many of the conclusions from his lifelong study of people with unusual neurological conditions could be mapped directly onto an NLP framework.

This article gives a brief description of Sacks' research with one particular patient. It describes how Sacks' findings can be used to enrich the NLP model and how an NLP perspective can make sense of the functioning of the brain.
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Blogs by this Author
Published 24 12 2010
Where do good ideas come from? Not as we like to think, with a sudden flash of genius, says writer Steven Johnson. He tells the Guardian's excellent Oliver Burkeman that "Eureka moments are very, very...
Published 25 12 2010
Robert Sapolsky, Professor of Biology, Neurology and Neurosurgery at Stanford University, writes on 'This Is Your Brain on Metaphors': [1] Consider an animal (including a human) that ha...
Published 26 12 2010
In the latest issue of Scientific American Mind, Siri Carpenter, PhD social psychology from Yale University, reviews the recent research into embodied cognition.[1] She writes:Why do we look up to th...
Published 28 12 2010
Aaron Mays describes a new study which concludes that weight-conscious individuals are likely to believe in "negative calories", i.e. they believe that adding a side salad to a cheeseburger will lower...
Published 27 12 2010
Following on from yesterdays' piece about 'Body of Thought: Fleeting sensations and body movements hold sway over what we feel and how we think' [1], Siri Carpenter says that many cognitive scientis...
Published 31 12 2010
Give yourself a New Year's gift.The idea for the following activity came from an article by Wray Herbert in Scientific American Mind. Herbert describes several pieces of research that demonstrate "t...
Published 10 01 2011
I was recently asked: Is Symbolic Modelling indicated for the following clients?:Clients who have a metaphor landscape that is too filled with self-destructive or violent material.Clients who are in r...
Published 09 01 2011
How do you work with someone who can identify metaphors for their desired outcomes and develop them in rich detail but later dismisses them as only fantasy?At one level, of course they are fantasies, ...
Published 02 01 2011
What approach would you take with a client who has "a deep fear of giving up my victim, for then, "Who would I be?" 'A victim' is a perspective on a situation which can develop into a perspective on...
Published 11 01 2011
I'm a great fan of Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. For Taleb, a "Black Swan is an event, not an exception or a bird with feathers, but an event th...

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