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Pulling time back cleanly

Inviting a client to ‘move time back’ using Clean Language is a fundamental feature of Symbolic Modelling and there are more ways to do it than you might realise.

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Stick or Twist

Do I invite the client to stay with what and where they are currently attending to, or do I invite them to switch to something or somewhere else?

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Context makes Clean clean

What makes a question contextually clean in coaching and therapy? What is the value of these questions? Under what conditions does it makes sense to ask them?

Evaluating Coaching

A full transcript of Clean Language Interviewing (CLI) in action. The annotation focusses on the process of interviewing with Clean Language, rather than the interviewee’s content.

I want the children to be alive

How we honoured and worked with a client’s desire for children who were killed during a rocket attack the night before to still be alive.

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I am the Owner of my Head!

Working with a highly stable but unwanted symbol that has “the smell of hell” and spiritual aspects such as “soul” and a “previous life”.

From Pain to Calm Clear Sky

Even duing ongoing suffering, a valuable resource metaphor and several perspective-changing realisations emerge.

Coping with Un-safety

Demonstration of how to use the Problem-Remedy-Outcome (PRO) model to facilitate a client to identify and develop a rich embodied experience of a desired Outcome.

A Journey with Whales

A transcript of facilitating a client who is living through traumatic circumstances to develop a resource metaphor using Clean Language and Symbolic Modelling.

I want a clean house

A transcript of Penny Tompkins facilitating with Symbolic Modelling using the Problem-Remedy-Outcome model and working ‘live’ with the client’s here-and-now embodied experience.

It’s a matter of opinion

How do some of our opinions remain constant while others change without us noticing, and sometimes it is such a shock that we are left temporarily disorientated?

Going live

When a client is aware of what they are experiencing ‘in the now’, they get direct, high-quality information for self-modelling as it is happening.

Learning from transcripts

Two ways we use transcripts for professional development: To model experienced facilitators; and to provide supervisory and developmental feedback to self and others

It’s about time

Why it is vital to model the timeframes, structures and evidence of a client’s desires.

Extending Clean Space

A series of activities to create entirely new processes based on Clean Space principles.

Saying ‘No’ to Self

How to cleanly facilitate people to self-restrain – when they have the desire to act in a way they would rather not?

It takes two to tango

From a systemic perspective both parties in a relationship (often unwittingly) perpetuate recurring patterns. What needs to happen to initiate and maintain a new behaviour?

Getting to ‘it’

How do experienced symbolic modellers use the information embedded in a client’s first words to guide the direction of a session?

Embodying others’ metaphors

Metaphor is a prime vehicle for the acquisition of knowledge, tacit or otherwise. But how do we ‘acquire’ or ‘take on’ or ‘incorporate’ metaphors that are not our own?

Learning from a Master

Reflections on David Grove’s mastery published in Carol Wilson’s The Work and Life of David Grove: Clean Language and Emergent Knowledge

Calibration and Evaluation – 3 years on

As a coach, how aware are you of how your client and an expert would evaluate a coaching session? Does knowing your client and an expert’s opinion affect your own evaluation?

Choosing a modelling project

I was asked: (a) what a modelling outcome should look like, and (b) what I mean by: Scope, Timescale and Presupposition.

A modeller’s perspective

An investigation of an under-reserached aspect of modelling – the perspective adopted by the modeller when modelling an exemplar for an ability or behaviour.

I don’t know what I want

Given Symbolic Modelling is an outcome orientated methodology, what if a client cannot identify a desired outcome?

Facilitator choices

A conversation with Maarten Aalberse about ‘The Tree of Wisdom’ video in my last blog.

The Tree of Wisdom

When a client comes for coaching or therapy with a topic that presents a conundrum, what do you?

Macabre Metaphors

“And what would you like to have happen now?” “I want to go back down the hole and pick up the dead bodies there.” Bob’s affect was at once intense and deeply sorrowful. What would you do next?

Nobody duped me

How we use a person’s language to model the way they self-deceive.

Deconstructing Feedback

This paper raises awareness of both the complexity of the feedback-giving process and the range of information that can be included in feedback.

Difficulties Modelling David Grove

Answers to: 1. How long after you started modelling David Grove did you start training others?; 2. What were the main difficulties modelling Grove?

Applying cross-domain thinking

Domain dependence and it’s inverse, cross-domain thinking, occur in many different guises. We have collected ideas from a range of contexts.

What are Double Binds?

Double binds defined and why “Be spontaneous!” and “Damned if I do and damned if I don’t” are not examples of double binds.

What constitutes Clean Language?

‘Clean Language’ has been used in many ways since David Grove coined the term in the early 1980s. This is my attempt at defining and contextualising it.

What’s in a Name?

All words are labels for experience, and every label slants our thinking in some way, we examine the effect of labelling on experience.

Modelling Shared Reality

Introducing Modelling Shared Reality, a new qualitative research methodology which is rooted in Clean Language and Symbolic Modelling. Published in Kwalon.

How Clean is How Far?

Why we now consider ‘How far?’ to be a mildly leading question and have removed it from the summary of ‘specialised’ questions

More good DEEDS

My second blog about DEEDS delves deeper into the ideas which pose an alternative to the standard computational theory of mind.


Nine functions of inhibition, how it affects learning and the body, and 12 activities exploring the value and problems of inhibition.

Pointing attention

Part 2: A new metaphor for the perspective I adopt as a symbolic modeller.

Setting up Clean Space

Attending more to the artistic aspects of Clean Space whihc contribute to the overall aim of encouraging conditions for creative emergence.

What is self-modelling?

A process whereby a person constructs a model of the way their system operates and in so doing provides feedback to the system from which it can learn.

The Clean Community

The clean community is a ‘community of practice’. Such communities are created by people gravitating to like-minded people who have a passion for something they do, the desire to learn how to do it better, and the motivation to interact regularly.

Tracking where clients perceive from

An important question-to-self when modelling symbolically is: Where is the client perceiving from?. Tracking changes to the ‘point of perception’ is a sophisticated skill.