Perspectives to model by

Where do Symbolic Modeller’s perceive from?
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Presented at The Developing Group, 6 April 2002

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity highlights that where and how we perceive makes a difference to what we perceive.  When you are Symbolic Modelling, do you perceive:

   From behind the client’s eyes
In their shoes
Inside their skin
As a fly on the wall
Outside the system
Like a cameraman
Out of my own eyes and ears
With my body
By stepping into their model
By taking on their information
By osmosis
By taking in information
From a bird’s-eye-view

We have noticed that people who are experienced at using Symbolic Modelling do not seem to perceive the client’s information from any of the traditional NLP “Perceptual Positions(Encyclopedia of Systemic Neuro-Linguistic Programming and NLP New Coding):

First Position –

From within their own body, perspective and map of the world

Second Position –

From within the client’s body, perspective and map of the world

Third Position –

From an independent observer perceiving the relationship between therapist and client.

So if they are not in any of these perceptual positions, where and how are they gathering information and constructing their model?

Of course any “Perceptual Position” is only a metaphor because, as Michael Breen wonderfully informed us, “All modelling is self modelling.”

The focus of this Developing Group day will be to increase your awareness of how you and others construct and work from a model based on the client’s metaphors.  We will be exploring:

When you are Symbolic Modelling:

(a) Where is the focus of your attention?

(b) Where do you perceive your model of the client’s Landscape from?

(c) How do you perceive your model of the organisation of that Landscape?

Specifically, where and in what form is the client’s outcome in your perceptual space?

Also, does your point of perception change during the Symbolic Modelling process, and if so, what determines when it changes and what difference does that make?


More detailed investigation of this subject has been added at:

Pointing to a new modelling perspective (2013)


A Modellers Perspective (2014).


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