Chatting with Penny & James

Chatting with Penny & James

I talked with Penny Tompkins & James Lawley about their focus for their 3-day Enhancing and Integrating Your Symbolic Modeling Skills at Clean Convergence 2019.

In 2019 Penny & James will be presenting a program titled A Clean Approach to Working with Physical Symptoms and the Ecology of Systems.

“Metaphor is the natural language of physical symptoms and the process of healing. When clients explore the inherent logic of their metaphors and the system of which they are a part, they can discover ways to improve their well-being. Also, we can apply the metaphor of ‘healing’ from working with an individual as a system, to working with a family, team or an organization as a system of individuals. At the training will explore guiding principles, ethical issues, intentions behind problems, paying attention to the ecology of relationships – and more. You will learn through demonstrations and debriefs, guided facilitation, discussion and small group activities (with personal coaching).”

Clean Convergence is an annual program hosted each January by the Clean Language Institute and me, Sharon Small. We offer three different workshops as well as a 3-day self-modeling retreat for personal or professional development.

Penny and James bring their A-Game to each Clean Convergence at which they train. Here are some links to quick video testimonials from some of their fans from down under.

Roz is a professional mediator, media coach, and educator. She speaks briefly about how clean has helped her in both her personal and professional life


Greg is a professional coaching trainer. Greg speaks on the value he has found in his work with Penny Tomkins & James Lawley


Leona is a private therapist and coach. Leona speaks about her time with Penny Tompkins & James Lawley’s an a course on physical symptoms.


Sandy Hall is client director for HumanKind works in organizational development. Sandy recommends anyone in organizational development to work with Penny Tompkins & James Lawley.


Coaching with Metaphor

Coaching with Metaphor

Are you an aspirational, beginner, or advanced trainer or coach? Do you work in business, personal development or mind/body therapies? Are you a manager, director or a life long learner?

Join us for Clean Convergence 2019 and put the power of “Clean” to work for you!

Clean Convergence is just what the name implies – it is the convergence of global Clean Language trainers and participants gathering for the purpose of learning and skills development in Clean Language Methodologies. Lets just call it GOOD CLEAN FUN!

We all know that there are many models available for working with others  – yet none so powerful as Clean Language and Symbolic Modeling. Cleanis a methodology that works directly with the symbols of a persons mind and language.

In the last 25 years the research of many neuro-scientists, cognitive scientists and cognitive linguists have converged to form a new understanding about the way the human mind works. They have identified four key findings:

1. Metaphor is far more common in everyday language than had previously been realized. It is nearly impossible to describe internal states, abstract ideas and complex notions without using metaphor.

2. Usually neither speaker nor listener is aware of the metaphors being used.

3. Metaphor is more than a linguistic device; it is central to the way people think, make sense of the world and make decisions.

4. Metaphors are not used arbitrarily. They are mostly drawn from how people experience their body and how they interact with their environment.

Through the clinical and coaching experience of Penny Tompkins & James Lawley, described in Metaphors in Mind: Transformation through Symbolic Modeling, they add four findings of their own:

1. While people often make use of common metaphors and clichés, the moment these are explored (with Clean Language) they become idiosyncratic and unique to the individual.

2. An individual’s use of metaphor has a coherent logic that is consistent over time.

3. Once a person settles on a particular metaphorical perspective there are logical consequences that follow, and result in behavior that is consistent with the metaphor.

4. When a person’s basic metaphor changes so does their view of the world, the decisions they make and the actions they take.

Read the full article online:


We are excited to share this opportunity with you!

Join Penny Tompkins, James Lawley, Gina Campbell and myself at Clean Convergence 2019

Chatting with Penny & James

What IS Symbolic Modeling

Symbolic Modeling is the Clean Language methodology we teach at the Clean Language Institute.

Originally developed by Penny Tompkins and James Lawley, and based on the work of David Grove, NLP and self-organizing systems theory, Symbolic Modeling is an extremely effective  (more…)

What IS Clean Language?

What IS Clean Language?

Clean Language is a discipline originally developed by psychotherapist David Grove as a tool for facilitating clients to understand their behavior patterns and generate positive change in their lives. As he observed other therapists, he noticed how often they introduced their own interpretations of clients’ words, and that this caused the clients to leave their own experience as they in turn processed the therapist’s words. David developed a set of carefully devised questions that could be used to explore progressively a client’s own personal intrinsic reality, without adding any extrinsic information (such as the facilitator’s own concepts, assumptions or suggestions).

The Clean Language questions enable a trained facilitator to help their client to discover and to express more information about how they work. As the client expresses their own subjective experience, they get to experience their thought or behavior patterns in a very immediate way. That enables them to take steps towards their desired outcome.

It is not necessary for the Clean Language facilitator to understand why the client functions the way they do. The facilitator is not expected to impose any solution or suggestions. The simple process of enabling the client to uncover their own model leads to surprising, natural change.

Clean Language is an extremely flexible and neutral way of working, and has been used successfully for decades in a wide range fields including therapy, coaching, counseling, mediation, law, sales, and management. Its flexibility makes it particularly helpful as an additional tool that can work alongside professionals’ existing methods.