First published in Acuity Vol.2, No.1, pp. 27-41 Download
IntroductionPenny Tompkins and I started introducing David Grove’s work to the NLP community in 1996, and we have continued to do so ever since. If you are new to Grove’s work and our modelling and systemisation of it, then some of the terms in this article may be unfamiliar. They are, however, explained in the footnotes and in our previous articles, all of which are available on our web site. While the content of this article is about joining up the work of David Grove, the article can also be read as a process for designing the join up of many other techniques and approaches.
Three PhasesWhen we reviewed the sweep of David Grove’s work from the early 1980s until his death in 2008 we identified three major phases. Each phase deals with a separate domain of experience and for each one Grove created a different language model – Clean Language, Clean Space and Emergent Knowledge:
|Phase||Dates (approx.)||Domain||Language Model|
|I||Early 1980s to 2001||Metaphor||Clean Language||CL|
|II||2002 to 2004||Networks||Clean Space||CS|
|III||2005 to 2007||Recognition||Emergent Knowledge||EK|
Domains and Language ModelsI believe it is important to understand and be adept in the workings of each domain of experience and each language model separately, before seeking to combine them. Why? Because each domain has it’s own nature and each language model has its own function. The fundamental motif of each domain can be summarised as:
Networks involve a number of interconnected, yet separate spaces/nodes which through their interactions establish a meaningful configuration.
Recognition arises from attending iteratively to a knowing.
Mediums, Means and MethodsBefore I explain how the three ways of working identified above can be joined up, I need to make a further distinction. All processes require a ‘medium’, a ‘means’ and a ‘method’:
The MediumPerceptually, the medium within which the client works is the same as the domain of experience, i.e. Metaphor, Network or Recognition. Physically, the medium is what the client uses to express (make external) their internal world. There are six ways clients commonly express their perceptual world which can vary depending on the domain:
- Spoken word
- Nonverbal sounds/music
- Movement of the body
- Use of objects
- Use of space
The MeansGrove devised a different means of facilitating change in each domain. His genius was to devise ways of working that had a congruent medium, means and method. These have been described in a number of articles and books (see references and endnotes):
|Clean Language questions||for working with||Metaphor |
|Clean Space questions/instructions||for working with||Networks |
|Emergent Knowledge questions/instructions||for working with||Recognition |
A clean approach minimises the contamination of the client’s interior and exterior worlds by the facilitator’s language and behaviour; and by working with the client’s verbal and nonverbal cues, maximises the flow of the client’s own reality and creative emergence.People new to Grove’s work often mistake the most accessible part of the process, the language models, for the whole process. Just learning the Clean Language questions, for example, won’t make you a Clean Language facilitator. Penny Tompkins and I called our model of Grove’s Phase I, Symbolic Modelling, in an attempt to highlight that both the medium (symbol/metaphor) and the method (modelling) are as important as the means (Clean Language). Having looked at the medium and at the means, I will now consider the methods Grove used. I will do that by comparing three of his processes to a generalised method for working emergently.
The MethodIn Metaphors in Mind: Transformation through Symbolic Modelling, Penny Tompkins and I proposed a ‘universal’ 5-stage change process, or method. The ‘bottom-up’ version can be summarised as:
- Set up
- Individuation of parts
- Interaction of parts
- Emergent property of whole
- Set down.
|use CL, CS or Po6||to establish||M, N or R domain||Stages 1-2|
|then, use same question set||to explore||the same domain||Stages 3-4|
Table 1: Questions for the five stages of Symbolic Modelling using Clean Language
|Stage 1 Set up||Stage 2 Individuate||Stage 3 Interact||Stage 4 Emerge||Stage 5 Set down|
Modelling using Clean Language
|Entry:Where would you like to be?Where would you like me to be?What would you like to have happen? —————- PRO model ||Developing a perception: Is there anything else about …? What kind of…? Where/ Whereabouts…? … Like What? —————- WITHIN A PERCEPTION When …, what happens to …? Is there a relationship between … and …?||Multiple perceptions: Then what happens? What happens just before …? Where could … come from? —————- ACROSS PERCEPTIONS When …, what happens to …? Is there a relationship between … and …?||Six approaches:ConcentrateAttend to wholesBroaden spaceLengthen timeNecessary ConditionsIntroducing||Maturing: Develop Spread Evolve Consolidate —————- Exit: Take all the time you need to … Assignments|
Table 2: Questions and Instructions for the five stages of Clean SpaceInteract
|Stage 1 Set up||Stage 2 Individuate||Stage 4 Emerge||Stage 5 Set down|
|Starting:Client writes/draws statement.Place that where it needs to be.Place yourself where you need to be in relation to it. [= Position 1]||Establish nodes: What do you know from here? What does this space know? And is there anything else you/this space knows? And what could this space be called? Client writes name and places paper to mark space. Find a space that knows something else about ….||Establish links: And what do you know from here about … [another space]? Return to … [name of space]. And what do you know from here now? And is there anything else you know about … [another space] now?||Work with the network:Use metaphors given to groups of spaces.AND/ORFind a space outside of all this [whole network]And what do you know from here about all that [whole network]?||Finishing:Return to [Position 1].After all that, what do you know from here now? What difference does knowing all this make?|
Table 3: Questions and instructions for the five stages of an Emergent Knowledge process, Powers of Six
|Stage 1 Set up||Stage 2 Individuate||Stage 3 Interact||Stage 4 Emerge||Stage 5 Set down|
|EK using Powers of 6||Clean Start: Choose a size of paper and write or draw what you want to work on. Place that where it needs to be [=B]. Place yourself where you need to be in relation to that [=A]. Are you [A] in/at the right space / angle / height / direction? Is that [B] in/at the right space / angle / height / direction? Is that the right distance [=C] between you [A] and that [B]?||Overdrive A: What do you know? Upload A: Put that on there. —————- OPTIONAL on later iterations: Overdrive and Upload B/C: What does that [B/C] know? Put that on there.||Iterate x 5: And what else do you know? Put that on there. —————- OPTIONAL on later iterations: Iterate B/C x 5: And what else does that [B/C] know? Put that on there.||Download A: And now what do you know? —————- OPTIONAL on later iterations: Download B/C: And now what does [B/C] know? —————- Metaâ€Drive A x 5: Find another space.||Download A: Knowing what you know now, what do you notice about the difference between your initial statement and your last statement? —————- OPTIONAL Action Plan: Taking into account your last statement, write down six things you will do when you leave here; where and when you are going to do them; and who if anyone you are going to do them with.|
Join UpHaving established what constitutes Grove’s three processes and how they can be distinguished, we’ll turn to how they can be combined. While there are numerous possible combinations of questions/instructions, my aim is to join up the three question sets in ways that preserve the nature of each domain of experience. It’s like mixing paint. If you keep mixing colours, eventually the character of each individual colour is lost and you end up with a mess. Whereas if you mix carefully in appropriate proportions, you end up with new colours and subtle hues. The key is to mix in such a way as to make use of the unique features of each colour. Below I examine how join up can happen at three levels:
- Stage level
- Vector level
- Question/instruction level.
Think about these levels as containing larger and larger chunks of the process. Diagram 1 shows how each stage of the 5-stage process consists of a number of vectors, each of which in turn comprise a number of questions/instructions. Typically one question and response takes from a few seconds to a few minutes. A ‘vector’ is a number of questions/instructions which together head in a particular process-outcome direction. A client and facilitator will commonly be on a vector for 2-15 minutes. Stages comprise a number of vectors and take anywhere between five minutes to an hour or more.
Stage-Level Join UpThe simplest way to join up the three processes is to complete one, and to use what emerges as the seed for starting a different process (represented by the solid line in Diagram 2). A more sophisticated join up switches within a process (as shown by the dotted lines in the diagram). It is important at this level that each switch occurs only after going through at least Stage 1 (Set up) and Stage 2 (Individuation) of a process. That is, to establish a domain each time before switching.
|use CL||to establish||a Metaphor Landscape|
|use CS||to establish||a Network|
|then, use CS||to explore||the Network|
|use Po6||to establish||a Recognition|
|use CL||to establish||a Metaphor Landscape|
|then, use CL||to explore||the Landscape|
While Diagram 2 and the examples show a single switch, it is possible to follow the first switch with a second to either a different process, or to return to the starting process.
Vector-Level Join UpA vector sits between the level of individual questions/instructions and the level of the stages. Each vector involves stringing together a number of questions/instructions to provide a short-term direction to the process (not the client’s content). A number of vectors are usually required to ‘go through’ any stage. The transition between each stage will always necessitate a new vector. Joining up the processes at the vector level is more tricky than at the stage level. It takes a good deal of skill and awareness by the facilitator to retain the properties of one domain of experience while using a language model originally developed for a different domain. The primary difference between join up at the vector level compared to join up at the stage level is that at the switch the facilitator does not Set Up the new process but makes use of one or more vectors from a different process within the framework of the original process. Done well the switching will be seamless to the client. Diagram 3 shows vectors for one process inserted into the general flow of a different process. It’s like genetic modification where a bit of genetic material is imported, cut-and pasted, into a host gene.
Examples of how I have joined up Grove’s work at the vector-level follow:
- Once a metaphor landscape has been established by a Clean Language process, run a Powers of Six iteration on an aspect of the landscape and incorporate the result into the landscape. This might be appropriate if the client introduced a significant knowing, e.g. in answer to a Clean Language question they might say, “Well the first thing I know is …”. You might respond with: “And what’s the second thing you know?” … “And what’s the third?” … “And the forth?” … “And the fifth?” … “Sixth?” … “And now what do you know?”. You then revert to Clean Language to facilitate the client to find out how the result relates to, or affects the rest of the landscape.
- Once a metaphor landscape has been established, use Clean Space questions/instructions so the client moves around physically in relation to their metaphor landscape. This could be within the landscape using the location of symbols as existing spaces, or to one or more spaces outside – making the whole landscape the focus of the activity.
- Once a network has been established by a Clean Space process, use Clean Language to develop a metaphor while retaining the structure of a network. This would be appropriate if the client started describing the relationship between the spaces/nodes in metaphor, e.g. “The line between those spaces looks like a river”. The skill is to develop the metaphor while maintaining the psychoactivity of the rest of the network.
- Run a Powers of Six iteration on [A] the space the client is in; or [B] on what the client originally drew/wrote; or [C] the space between. Then continue with the Clean Language process.
- Use a recognition from a Powers of Six process, to run a Clean Space process with a Po6 iteration in each space.
- Use a recognition to identify a knowing into an embodied symbol using the ‘Feeling/Knowing to a Metaphor’ vector (“And when you know that, where is that knowing?” etc.). Then invite the client draw their metaphor and use that to continue with a Po6 process.
When joining up at the vector level it is important to establish a domain (Stages 1 and 2) before bringing in a vector from a different process. If you don’t, you risk ending up with a heap rather than a whole. For example, asking about a metaphor in the middle of Po6 series of questions will likely ruin the Po6 process. Similarly, having a client move to a Clean Space process before a metaphor landscape is established may well result in the client losing touch with the psychoactivity of their metaphor.
Question/Instruction-Level Join UpAt the lowest level it is possible to occasionally introduce a single question/instruction normally used in a different domain. The skill is to choose the appropriate moment. If you do it too often, not only are you asking the client to do a lot of mental gymnastics, you will likely pull them out of their current domain. And if they do not stay in one domain for long enough they will unlikely get beyond the obvious. Diagram 4 depicts an ongoing process with a number of questions/instructions inserted from one of the other processes.
Examples of ‘foreign’ questions/instructions that have proved useful are: When a client physicalised their interior landscape by getting up and enacting a metaphorical event, the following Clean Space instruction offered them a meta-perspective:
Given the nature of the Powers of Six process it is not appropriate to interrupt the six iterations with any other form of question/instruction. Therefore input from any other process needs to come between the sets of six iterations. [Extra examples not published in Acuity are outlined in the Appendix.]
In ConclusionIn this paper I have shown how Grove’s three brilliant and innovative leaps produced three stand-alone processes; and how each process can be mapped onto five stages of a universal bottom-up methodology. I have also shown how these processes can be joined up at three levels: stage, vector and question/instruction level. Once you become adept at working with each process in the relevant domain using the appropriate language model, you can then experiment with join up. Doing it this way mens you will understand the nature of each domain and the function of each question/instruction in preparation for joining them up in new and creative ways. On a meta-level, the way I have have mapped out the join up of Grove’s three processes could be used as a generalised model for combining many other techniques and approaches. Finally a reminder. This paper has been written from the facilitator’s perspective. The only purpose for joining up any of David Grove’s work is to serve the individual client who has entrusted themselves to your expertise.
References to booksCapra, Fritjof (1996) The Web of Life, London: Harper Collins.
Dilts, Robert B. & Epstein, Todd A (1995) Dynamic Learning, California: Meta Publications.
Grove, David J & Panzer, Basil (1989) Resolving Traumatic Memories: Metaphors and Symbols in Psychotherapy, Irvington, New York.
Harland, Philip (2009) The Power Six: A Six Part Guide to Self Knowledge, Ridgway, CO: Wayfinder Press.
Johnson, Steven (2001) Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software. London: Allen Lane The Penguin Press.
Lakoff, George & Johnson, Mark (1980) Metaphors We Live By, Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.
Lawley, James & Tompkins, Penny (2000) Metaphors in Mind: Transformation through Symbolic Modelling, London: Developing Company Press.
Rossi, Ernest (1996) Symptom Path to Enlightenment, Palisades, CA: Gateway Publishing.
Wilber, Ken (1995) Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution, Boston, MA: Shambala.
Notes and references to articles available on the web.1 Penny Tompkins and I first presented the three phases of Grove’s work in a keynote address to the Clean Conference, 22 June 2008.
2 David Grove defined ‘psychoactive‘ as “taking on a life of its own”. Almost anything, a perception, space, drawing, object or movement of the body can, at a particular moment, become psychoactive for a person. See ‘When Where Matters: How psychoactive space is created and utilised’, James Lawley. The Model, January 2006.
3 “In [complex adaptive systems] agents residing on one scale start producing behavior that lies one scale above them: ants create colonies; urbanites create neighbourhoods; simple pattern-recognition software learns how to recommend new books. The movement from low-level rules to higher-level sophistication is what we call emergence.” Steven Johnson, Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software (p. 18). See also ‘What is Emergence?’ Penny Tompkins and James Lawley, February, 2002.
4 montyroberts.com/ju_about.html (16 Sept. 2008)
5 “The essence of metaphor is understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another.” George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By (p. 5).
6 “[The] common pattern of organization that can be identified in all living systems … its most important property is that it is a network pattern. Whenever we look at life, we look at networks.” Fritjof Capra, The Web of Life (pp. 81-82).
7 ‘Recognition’ as a term for a domain of experience comes from Philip Harland, The Power Six: A Six Part Guide to Self Knowledge. ‘Iteration’ is a process that repeatedly applies a rule, computation or procedure to the result of the previous application of the rule, computation or procedure. See ‘Iteration, Iteration, Iteration’, Penny Tompkins and James Lawley, February, 2007.
8 ‘Less is More … The Art of Clean Language’, Penny Tompkins & James Lawley Rapport 35, February 1997
9 Clean Space: Modelling Human Perception through Emergence’, Penny Tompkins & James Lawley, Anchor Point, Vol. 17, No. 8, September 2003.
10 ‘Six Steps to Emergent Knowledge’, Matthew Hudson & Philip Harland, ReSource, February 2008, available at: www.powersofsix.com
11 ‘Clean Language Without Words’, Penny Tompkins and James Lawley, Rapport 43, Spring 1999.
12 Robert Dilts and Todd Epstein, Dynamic Learning (pp. 3-9)
13 This definition of ‘clean’ was inspired by Steve Saunders’ version posted on www.cleanforum.com on 10 December 2010
14 “Different therapies have their own names for these five stages. In Symbolic Modelling we call them: Entry, Developing Symbolic Perceptions, Modelling Symbolic Patterns, Encouraging Conditions for Transformation, and Maturing.” James Lawley & Penny Tompkins, Metaphors in Mind: Transformation through Symbolic Modelling (p. 40).
15 ‘Set up’ and ‘set down’ are terms borrowed from ‘The Three Sets Model: Re-Modelling NLP Part Six: Understanding Change’, John McWhirter, Rapport 48, Summer 2000. www.sensorysystems.co.uk/RemodellingNLPPart6%20.pdf.
16 Stages 2, 3 and 4 can be mapped on to Ken Wilber’s 1-2-1 model of development described in Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution. In other words: one, to many one’s, to one at a higher emergent level of organisation. Or put another way, the emergent whole transcends and includes its interacting parts. Also, Stages 2-5 can be mapped on to the four stages of the creative process: Data Collection (initiation); Incubation (induction); Illumination (insight); Verification (reintegration). Ernest Rossi maintains that it typically takes a person 90-120 minutes to go through these four stages. See Chapter 6 in Symptom Path to Enlightenment.
17 The ‘PRO Model’ is described in ‘Coaching for P.R.O.s’, Penny Tompkins and James Lawley, Coach the Coach, Feb. 2006.
14 ‘Vectoring and Systemic Outcome Orientation’, Penny Tompkins and James Lawley, October 2008.
The following examples of joining up David Grove’s work were tried by members of The Developing Group on 4 October 2008. ]Thanks to everyone who attended and took part in the testing and extending of the model.
Domain/Language Model-Level Join Up1. Po6 or CS develop a metaphor with CL (for all or part of the output of the Po6/CS process).
2. Po6 or CS -> [change happens] mature the change with CL
3. CL to develop a metaphor Po6 or CS using a drawing of the metaphor as [B]
Vector-Level Join Up4. CS start
5. CL to develop a metaphor landscape physicalise the landscape
6. Po6 iteration
8. CS to establish a network
9. Po6 [e.g. Final answer includes a desire to know about shoulders and feet].
10. Where would you like to be?
What would you like to have happen?
Anything else you would like to have happen? x 5
What does this space know about that?
Anything else you know from here about that?
Return to there [first location].
11. CL to develop [Present/Problem state]