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The Art and Science of Effective Language

Language is one of the defining features of being human.  Language is one of our main tools for communicating, thinking, planning, and expressing our thoughts and feelings to ourselves and others.

We use language to make sense of the world. Our thinking and feeling is strongly influenced by the linguistic sense we make. The greater our accuracy in language the more effective our thinking and feeling will be. The selection of individual words, the relationship between words and thinking and feeling can result in inaccurate understanding, unnecessary problems and conflicts. Through the process of Development Behavioural Modelling (DBM®) we can identify in detail how the different applications of language function and through this develop greater understanding and skills to work with language more effectively.

Increasing our understanding and skills in all areas of language can transform our abilities in all areas of life; improving our effectiveness in communicating, increasing our understanding, developing our ability to question relevantly, describe accurately, give instructions usefully and negotiate successfully.

This workshop will cover the main language functions including organising experience, communication, questioning, thinking, feeling, planning and negotiating. Participants will develop skills for personal development and explore professional applications including coaching, therapy, counselling, advising, mentoring, teaching and training.

The course will explore the everyday structure and function of language rather than formal grammar; how we really use language. New language skills will be based on a thorough understanding of language and not through superficial tricks and scripts.

The training is suitable for all those who want to this greatly increase the understanding in skill and language for personal development and professional development

The group size will be limited to ensure that individual interests can be incorporated into the course content and that individuals receive a higher level of personal attention and supervision.


Syllabus will include the full range of Main Language Functions with DBM® Distinctions, Models and Skills


  • Organising Experience: Detail, Scope, Connection
  • Experiencing: Levels of Experience
  • Communicating: Listening Skills, Comprehension Skills, Emit, Transmit, Communicate Model, Communication Skills, Communication Systems Model, Feedforward, Feedback and Noise.
  • Language Distinctions: Fractal Language Model, Assumptions, Pre-Suppositions, Proposals, Implications Model
  • Naming: Nine Types of Distinctions
  • Performing: Words, Performative language, Non-Verbal Behaviour
  • Describing: That, What, How, and Why
  • Expressing: Perform, Literal, Metaphor
  • Thinking: Different Types of Thinking, Fractal Thinking Model
  • Investigating: That, What, How, Why, That
  • Questioning: Fractal Language Model
  • Stating: Fractal Language Model
  • Directing (Commanding): Fractal Language Model
  • Leading and Following
  • Motivation and Attaining: Achieving, Affiliating, Positioning
  • And Effect, Affect, Impact
  • Planning: Levels of Results, Sensory Experience, Meaning, Significance
  • Negotiating: Types of Negotiation
  • Conflict Creation and Resolution: Types of Conflict and Conflict Creation and Resolution
  • Creating: Beyonding, Levels of Creativity
  • Changing: Pre-Modelling, Re-Modelling, Post Modelling and
  • New Modelling.
  • Developing Language: Re-Modelling, and New Modelling
  • Modelling Language: Mythical, Metaphoric, Magical, Formal Modelling



Developmental Behavioural Modelling DBM®


“If man could once be reasonable enough to know that he is not a creature of reason, but only a reasoning creature, he might avoid making himself more prisons.”

D. H. Lawrence


As humans we are born with less built in instincts than other species. This gives us a survival advantage, we are not limited to behaviours that fitted a previous environment, and we learn about our current environment and in learning adapt to it or adapt it to us.

This means that the unknown is a bigger issue for us. The more effectively we ‘go into the unknown’ the more effectively we will be able to explore the world. Effective exploring will supply the experience required for accurate understanding of our world and a practical basis for meeting our needs.

All of us build our understanding of the world around us based on our experience.  We continue to create and change this understanding throughout our lives.  We call this understanding that each of us creates our ‘model’ of the world.  By a model we mean “an organised dynamic representation of our world”.  We do not respond to the world as it is. We respond to how we have made sense of it, how it is “meaningful” to us.  We then respond to new things based on what we already “know”.  Instincts build in responses for animals but human beings need to learn how to respond in our cultures, organisations, countries and families.  This learning, the building of a model, is a process of Modelling.

We build and use models; our clients build and use models. As professional we are more likely to build formal models (including theories) to extend our informal or “naturalistic” modelling.

Both informal understanding and the formal understanding of science are models (and theories) built through the process of modelling. No matter what the epistemology underlying a theory both the epistemology and the theory require to be created in the first place.

Developmental Behavioural Modelling DBM is the formal studying of the complete range of modelling. This includes the structure and function of models, how models are formally and informally constructed and applied.  

Developmental Behavioural Modelling DBM is a new field that offers a unique set of skills. The uniqueness lies in that it operates at a deeper level than the usual techniques and ready-made answers and solutions. DBMÒ is a methodology not a fixed method. It offers a set of behavioural modelling skills to apply in any situation. DBMÒ modelling skills are used to identify the specific needs of the situation and to create answers that fit the particular circumstances rather than applying a pre-packaged solution. This makes DBMÒ a very practical approach. It also means that there is a greater need for skills and appropriate models.


Over twenty five years of development in practical applications in Social Services, Education, Psychotherapy and Business have gone into the development of DBM. John McWhirter, the developer and Master Trainer of NLP, has drawn upon the most effective approaches in therapy, education and business together with skills and approaches of Neuro-linguistic Programming, Ericksonian hypnotherapy, Gestalt therapy, General Semantics, all within a framework developed from the work of Gregory Bateson, Cybernetics and Systems theory. The result is a constantly developing field that provides a revolutionary approach to understanding human behaviour, learning and development.


Art and Science 

Art and Science are two of the main areas of human creativity. They are often perceived as very separate; sometimes considered opposites or non-compatible. Unfortunately this can be quite a limiting way to consider them.  Instead if we integrate the artistic and the scientific it is possible to gain considerably more than the sum of the parts. The great benefit of modelling is to identify the best in Art and Science and how best to combine them in all areas of human activity. In this workshop we will be exploring the integration of Art and Science in relation to effective coaching and supervising.


Trainer: John McWhirter

John has over 30 years experience of working with children, adults, families, communities and organisations. He has explored and developed models for 35 years creating Developmental Behavioural Modelling as a field committed to the exploration and development of all things related to models and modelling. He was personally certified by Richard Bandler in 1990 as a Master Trainer of NLP. He is the designer and main trainer in the DBM Masters degree at the University of Valencia, Spain. He is based in Glasgow, Scotland where he is Director of Sensory Systems Training and coordinates research, development, and training and a private practice as a therapist and consultant.