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on January 27, 2002
I believe this book marks a significant advance in psychology and therapy. David Grove is a genius. For me, he is up there with Freud, Jung and Milton Erickson. And while anyone who experiences David at work can see he is doing something very different with his clients, understanding that something has not been easy until the arrival of "Metaphors in Mind". The authors have had access to David and have made his work accessible.
Not many serious books are as well written as this one. Penny & James have managed to make the chapters largely self-contained. Chapters begin with an outline of what will be covered, then the details and then a useful summary. There is no mystification. It is obvious the authors want people to have a clear understanding. The book is well referenced, has a useful index and also contains three annotated transcripts of symbolic modelling at work with clients.
The only limitation is that it is a book. Symbolic Modelling also pays attention to body language, "line of sight" (where people look as they think) and the way that words are said. And David Grove has developed a style of therapy that is equally rich in language and what goes with language. I hope audio and videotapes are the next project for Penny and James or that David will produce taped copies of his more recent work.
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on February 4, 2002
This is a definitive book about the most important development in human psychology since Freud. Lawley and Tompkins have written an accessible, insightful account of a new way of working with verbal and nonverbal language that will not only appeal to the ordinary reader but to therapists, psychologists, educators, trainers, doctors, managers and consultants - indeed anyone interested in facilitating human change. Read this book and I guarantee you will never use language the same way again.
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on September 14, 2003
The nature of the book turns me toward testimony rather than review, because the book is where a change began for me. I thought Metaphors in Mind had something to do with literary analysis, which is what I was looking for. I was thus a little disappointed when I first opened the book, but then I couldn't put it down (see . . . it's impossible to live outside metaphors). So compelling was its proposal, metaphor is reality, that for the first time in my more than fifty years, I sought a therapist who ascribed to its principles. By happy coincidence I was able to meet with James and Penny--two of the gentlest human beings I think I have ever met. What has changed is my relationship and response to the images I live with and have lived through, once I spoke what they were, and where they resided in me, and what it felt like living with them, and what needed to happen to dispell--those ghosts, bugaboos and, ah yes those very symbolic ties that bind and double bind ones consciousness. For an English teacher to obtain reality through the life that exists in words is an awesome and radical experience. Without the book though there wouldn't have been a beginning . . . or, so as not to try logic, there wouldn't have been such a beginning. Metaphors in Mind is clear, precise and orderly, a succinct presentation of theory and pratice, even for the lay reader. It's an extraordinary introduction, and perhaps a great beginning.
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on February 28, 2002
The previous reviewers spoke of the value of this book for therapists and mental health professionals. However, Metaphors in Mind will also provide the interested layman with a fascinating view into the way people create their "realities." The explanations are clear and any special vocabulary is well defined. The annotated transcripts provide powerful examples of the way metaphors shape people's perceptions. I would highly recommend Metaphors in Mind to anyone interested in the intriguing landscape of the human mind.
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on March 29, 2007
I consider myself pretty "cutting-edge" in terms of personal-growth technologies, and this was definitely something new! I highly recommend this to therapists, coaches or really anyone who wants to effectively navigate and help others (or yourself) heal and develop their minds.

I fear that some may be turned off by the long sub-title, but really this is about how to understand and use metaphors (and metaphorical language) in a powerfully healing way. I have a lot of background in NLP and therapy and I don't know if others will find it as accessible without this. Once you learn "clean language" (a form of asking questions and eliciting information that does not "contaminate" the answers with your own assumptions, metaphors, etc.) you will wonder how you (or any therapist) gets by without it!

I just wish these people lived closer, so I could more easily study with them (and experience being on the receiving end - other than in self-guided sessions!).
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on November 3, 2006
Very neat read...especially for all those interested in the process of change / reality perception...and all those studying NLP.

This book clarifies how we code our reality, if you will. A good companion to NLP books on Modeling.

A basic understanding of NLP is suggested prior to reading Metaphors in Mind, yet it keeps a pretty simple tone and clarifying language to go deep into the subject. When I read this, I new I had outgrown my therapist.

All those studying or working as therapists / counselors can also draw a lot of useful info from this book.
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on May 4, 2015
I give very few 5 star ratings and this book is a solid 5. First I'd recommend reading "Clean Language" which is a primer on the subject; it is also a 5 star book. It will provide a good high school level understanding before you jump into this book which is like a college 200 level course. The density and quality of every paragraph give me chills. Yes, it is that good. There are great explanations and then great examples of each point they want to make, driving home a deep understanding of the process.
I've done many clean language sessions on friends and family and the results are always magical. This book inspires me to start doing sessions again and take things to the next level.
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on August 28, 2008
Lawley and Tompkins set out to analyse, then chronicle the therapeutic approaches and methods of David J. Grove, creator of Clean Language. Clean language is a simple method of having the client amplify the metaphors they often use when describing a traumatic experience. The key to Clean Language is to use the client's exact words without inference in a structured process that enables the client to self discover the cause of their problem.

Through a process of observing Grove, analysing client transcripts, being clients of Grove's themselves, and finally binging their own expertise and experience to bear, they have developed a process described as Symbolic Modelling.

The authors intimate that the process is equally applicable by a manager or teacher as it is by a therapist - and they are right. The challenge for anyone reading this book who is not a therapist, is to be able to discern the extent to which they need to study the model in order to apply it in their situation. Although I would argue that this is a tough challenge, Lawley and Tompkins have helped by designing the book in a manner that enables one to start at various parts of the book, depending on ones style and need.

The book is well written and well laid out. It features many practical examples and includes chapters that takes one through entire client transcripts.

As a management writer myself and not a therapist, I think the ordinary manager may struggle to study enough of the model to be able to apply it in day to day situations. Nether-the-less, the underpinning approach of clean language would be an immeasurable help to any practising manager. I know it has certainly changed my own approach when helping people solve their issues. I would think it should be compulsory reading for all therapists and certainly I would highly recommend it to any manager or teacher who is really interested in helping others develop.

Bob Selden, author What To Do When You Become The Boss: How new managers become successful managers
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on January 28, 2012
The material written by James Lawley and Penny Tompkins is exciting and fresh. They have expanded the work of David Grove who was a genius in his own right. Understanding that the world of another person is unique and to understand them you need to seek guidance from the source, the person. Part of the mystery and challenge is , although the person's maps and metaphors hold the key they are not consciously aware of the data. The journey is to assist the person in uncovering and then revealing the information contained in their representational world. This work gives a wonderful map to direct you on the quest for pure information . It is well worth the journey.
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on January 20, 2015
detailed approach to "clean language." I work as a consultant and had always wanted a guide like this which coaches me to listen and not "contaminate" the client's needs with my own ideas. well done.
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