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Less is More: A Clean Approach to Mind, Metaphor and Modelling Saturday 11th May 2024 In-person and live-streamed one-day Masterclass At the Sheraton Skyline Hotel, London Sign up here

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.

The secret ingredients of AWWYLTHH?

My answer to: When you ask ‘And what would you like to have happen?’ it has a different effect to when I ask it. What is the secret ingredient in how you ask this question?

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.

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.

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.

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?

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?

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.

Maximising Serendipity for Personal Change

This blog first appeared in the newsletter of the SerenA project whose aim is “to transform research processes by proactively creating surprising connection opportunities.”

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.

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.

Symbolic Modelling Lite

Introduces the ‘lite’ version of our general method. Published as Chapter 4 of Innovations in NLP.

How DO you know?

Modelling criteria: the principles, values or standard by which something may be judged or decided.

Analysing transcripts

How to model the pattern of facilitator/interviewer decisions from a session transcript.

The Other Therapeutic Relationship

As well as ‘the’ therapeutic relationship between client and facilitator, the relationship between the client and themselves is just as important.

Stochastic Tinkering

What drives most innovation, both of knowledge and technology? Making use of Nassim Nicholas Taleb ideas.

Mutual gaze

The neurology activated when sharing a client’s inner landscape from their perspective.

Ent-sprechen says it all

We do not ask clean questions so they are ‘answered’, in the traditional meaning of that word. We ask them to envoke Ent-sprechen:

Robustness and Fragility – Part 3

“After the crisis, people asked me what we should be doing. The logical conclusion is to stay as far away as possible from certain exposures that make you Black Swan prone.” NN Taleb.

Robustness and Fragility – Part 2

“There is an environment that creates Black Swan problems; a man made environment that I call ‘extremistan’ … where the exception plays a very large role”. NN Taleb.