Proposal for Development

A proposal for a peer led and “crowd sourced” collaboration on metaphors and linguistics

By Andrew T. Austin (April 2012)

ProposalSummary: I am seeking people to lead a project with regards to the categorisation and exploration of metaphorical theme in a number of different subjects under the banner of, “Metaphors of Movement.” A self-nominated person picks a theme, then using crowd sourcing methods, enlist others to give as many examples of metaphors of that theme to be grouped and categorised accordingly.

In the main, Metaphors of Movement is a structured exploration of the verbalisations of non-verbal communication and behaviour. Whilst other communications are explored at depth, the Metaphors of Movement work concerns itself primarily with metaphors of, well, movement.

To explain what is meant by this: if I, standing at some distance away from you, point my index finger at you with the rest of my hand forming a fist and then rotate my hand to have the palm turned upward and extend and contract my index finger repeatedly, this is a non-verbal communication that communicates, “You, come here!”

That is an example of a non-verbal communication. Similarly a shrug, stamping my foot, folding my arms and tutting and so on are all non-verbal (“without spoken words”) communication.

A metaphor of movement – a verbalisation of a non-verbal behaviour – might be, “I put my foot in it”, “I stand up for myself”, “I’m stamping my foot on this issue”, “I get to grips with an idea”, “I race ahead of myself”, “I point the finger of blame.” These verbalisations are descriptions of a physical activity or movement.

Similarly, there are metaphors that depict movements from one location to another. “I am moving forward with this idea,” “I’m going around in circles,” “I’m just not going anywhere in life,” and so on.

When I first started training in this material I was calling the workshops, “Metaphors of Movement and Motion” but was unable to find a consensus as to which aspect was motion and which was movement. For simplicity, Metaphors of Movement refers to both verbalisation physical movements and behaviours, and movement of location through time and space.

Developing field: Initially I was concerned that much of my Metaphors of Movement work could be simply replicating existing models and trainings offered by other trainers and researchers in the field. However, from exploring Metaphors of Movement with clients, experimental groups and in workshop training environments a number of key features have emerged:

Extension of previous language based trainings

Without exception, attendees of the Metaphors of Movement trainings report that the Metaphors of Movement work significantly extends their experience and knowledge in communication based change work, this includes workshop attendees who have trained in other metaphor communication models such as “Clean Language” and “Symbolic Modelling”, Charles Faulkner’s developments, George Lakoff’s work, David Grove’s work, NLP and Ericksonian therapy.

As such, my interpretation of Metaphors of Movement serves as both an extension and/or a complementary model to existing models, depending on personal bias and preference.

Metaphors of Movement does not compete with any other model in terms of the business end (i.e. marketing) or in terms of its training content.

Information density

Metaphorical communication is information dense, confirming what Charles Faulkner observes as, “worlds within a word.”

As such, it is possible to accurately infer significant amounts of data about the communicators experience based on relatively small communication data fragments.

Such accurate inference is a teachable skill within the Metaphors of Movement framework and has a significant range of applications.


Whilst my own interpretation and teaching of Metaphors of Movement has a strong leaning towards personal therapeutic change and client change work, trainees readily identify diverse areas of application such as teaching, business management, systems design and politics.

The personal development aspect of my Metaphors of Movement (but not necessarily others models) tends to notably parallel certain mystical and initiatory traditions and more recently workshop participants have observed this as well

A proposal for collaboration.

To a large degree there is already an extensive collaboration on the Metaphors of Movement Facebook page for which I am very grateful. There are a wide variety of formats at our disposal including the numerous public and private discussion forums, publicly or group shared documents and so on.

People may well have their own preference which will also suit their own “crowd”, but I’m recommending that a good starting point is the Metaphors of Movement Facebook page for no other reason than it has a large established following. I encourage people to post onto the Facebook page anything that will help them develop their own metaphors project and related material.

I do not have a sense of exclusivity or fear competition and so I also encourage people to post promotional material for other metaphors work, products and training courses.

Step by step:

  • Pick a subject, for example, “metaphors of madness.”
  • Take ownership of it, announce that you consider yourself peer leader of that subject. Where two or more people lay claim to a particular subject, I will put them in touch with each other and leave them to sort it out between them.
  • Let me know, who you are so I can add your details to the Metaphors of Movement website and direct interested parties in your direction.
  • You may want to consider reserving yourself the domain name of that subject.
  • Collect contributions from others and start formatting/grouping the data.
  • Send me the data you wish to share or receive further collaboration on.

In formatting the data, consider:

What does each grouping mean or imply? (big chunk)

What can be inferred from each piece of data. (small chunk)

For example:

“Howling at the moon.”
“Barking mad.”
“He’s rabid.”
“He’s just chasing his tail.”

 Big chunk – this grouping all imply dogs.

Small chunk – “he’s rabid” infers madness as disease/infection.


I lay no claim of ownership to any aspects of metaphors work and have no intention to issue licensing restrictions or to limit other people’s efforts in teaching or offering training of this material. I only have claim with respects to the artwork/images that I have created and/or purchased and the internet domains names (URLs) that I have reserved or purchased.

It is my hope to be able to include the some aspects of the collaborative data onto the Metaphors of Movement website. It may be that each peer leader wishes to keep some of the work privately for purposes of training or further development.

Unless prevented by copyright or trademark, I reserve the right to incorporate the results of this collaboration into my own work. I suggest others do the same.


Having observed the general trend of diversification, rivalry and complex politics that has riddled virtually every model in the mental health and psychological fields, from the original splits in the field of psychoanalysis through to the splits within the field of NLP and its subsequent developments.

 I encourage such [friendly] rivalry and [enthusiastic] diversification as I believe this enables advancement, however I do beg that in this developing field we continue with a mutual sense of collaboration and fun.





Email me: (that is .CO.UK)

Telephone me: 07838 387580
Skype: andrew.t.austin (I don’t do “chat”)