What is Clean Language?
Clean language is a technique used in consultative environments to support clients in developing their own metaphors, ’embodying’ their issues, without those metaphors being led or polluted by their consultant, coach, therapist or teacher.
It gives complete freedom to the client to create and develop their own imagery and symbolism and can lead to profound self-realisation. By ’embodying’ abstract concepts and exploring them more and more deeply until they reach a point of peace, clients can see potential solutions.
David Grove (1950-2008) developed the technique from his work with clients in trauma counselling but it is recognised as widely applicable to the domain of coaching. The role of the coach is to effectively step to one side, encouraging the client to develop and deepen their metaphors with the least possible interference. The resulting metaphors honour the clients experience, providing them a space where they are truly heard, and do not in themselves require interpretation.
The techniques employed in a Clean Language session require dedicated and repeated practice and so I offer this practice environment to that purpose.
More details on the technique can be found in the books of James Lawley and Penny Tompkins, ‘Metaphors in Mind‘; and that of Wendy Sullivan and Judy Rees, ‘Clean Language: Revealing metaphors and opening Minds‘