Publications using David Grove’s ideas

Academic and professional articles
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Below you will find over 120 references to articles published in academic and professional journals that have incorporated the ideas of David Grove.

Many of these articles can be downloaded directly from this site, although some of the original academic articles require access via an institution or payment.

If you notice any errors or want to suggest other articles to be included please provide the full reference direct to me or via the contact form. James Lawley.

Akbari, M. (2013). Metaphors about EFL Teachers’ Roles: A Case of Iranian Non-English-Major Students, International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies, Vol: 1, Issue: 2, July-September, 2013. Download original article (PDF)

This research used a methodology derived from Symbolic Modelling to identify ten kinds of metaphors used by Iranian non-English-Major students to describe ‘English as a Foreign Language’ (EFL) teachers.

Barner, R. (2008). The dark tower: Using visual metaphors to facilitate emotional expression during organizational change, Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 21, Issue 1, pp. 120-137. doi.org/10.1108/09534810810847075. Download original article (PDF)

A descriptive case study showing how the construction of drawings as visual metaphors can help work groups “give voice” to their emotional reactions to organizational change events, and provide groups with a vehicle for interpreting and framing their experience of organizational change. Throughout the team’s discussion, the author attempted to be guided by each team’s unique perspective and personal interpretation of their drawings by the use of clean language.

Boyd, K. J. (2013). The Language of Equus: Exploring Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) Using the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) Model, submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Social Work, Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, MA. https://scholarworks.smith.edu/theses/587/ Download thesis (PDF)

Explores the professional insights, personal experiences and perspectives of equine-assisted psychotherapy mental health practitioners – many of whom mention their use of clean language.

Britten, D. (2015). Felt sense and figurative space: Clients’ metaphors for their experiences of coaching. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring. Special Issue No. 9, June, pp. 14-29. radar.brookes.ac.uk/radar/items/3dae8945-c026-47e3-9d3d-f6a4a0e77d32/1/

This study examines coaching clients’ metaphors for their experiences of coaching. The findings suggest that eliciting metaphors is an effective, though problematic, means of generating experientially-rich research material. [Harland 2012 and Lawley & Tompkins 2000 are discussed.]

Buetow, S. (2013). The traveller, miner, cleaner and conductor: Idealized roles of the qualita-tive interviewer. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy18(1), 51-54. doi.org/10.1258/jhsrp.2012.012085

Qualitative researchers commonly receive simplistic advice on pitfalls to avoid when conducting interviews. … This paper distinguishes between the roles of the miner, traveller, cleaner, and conductor. These roles are ‘ideal types’ that construct, as problematic or not, the use of contested interviewing practices such as ‘leading’ and assigning meaning to informant responses. The paper emphasizes how the ‘cleaner’ attempts to enable informants to interpret their own ubiquitous metaphors and symbolic language. … ‘clean language’ can enable informants to interpret their own metaphors and symbolic language.

Cairns-Lee, H. (2013). The Inner World of Leaders, Why Metaphors for Leadership Matter, Developing Leaders, Executive Education in Practice, Issue 13, Oct 2013 pp. 27-33, IEDP. Download original article

The research is based on in-depth interviews with 30 people who hold positions of leadership in international businesses. The interviews are conducted using Clean Language and explore how leaders can become more aware of their inner mental models and the implications that result from them. This exploration surfaces and examines the naturally occurring metaphors and implicit theories held by leaders – the everyday images of what they think leadership is.

Cairns-Lee, H. (2015). Images of Leadership Development From the Inside Out. Advances in Developing Human Resources, Volume 17, issue 3, pp. 321-336.  adh.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/06/04/1523422315587897.abstract

This article explores the subjective and symbolic reality of those in leadership roles to discover what leaders can learn about their leadership and its development from awareness of their own mental models. These models are illuminated by an exploration of leaders’ naturally occurring metaphors and implicit leadership theories (ILTs) using clean language to acknowledge experience exactly as described while minimizing external influence or interpretation.

Cairns-Lee, H. M. (2017). An exploration of leadership and its development through the inner worlds of leaders using metaphor. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey. http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/845188/

This research explores the naturally occurring metaphors of 30 business leaders from fifteen nationalities … It addresses the question; what can leaders learn about their leadership and development from an exploration of their inner worlds through metaphor? Using Clean Language, an innovative interview method to elicit naturally occurring metaphors, leaders were invited to surface and explore their metaphors of leadership verbally and in drawings. … Diverse conceptualisations of leadership are revealed in multiple and idiosyncratic metaphors, yet ten ‘key’ metaphors appear to underlie these diverse expressions. Moreover, the importance of relationship to provide subtle guidance and comfort during exploration of the inner world was revealed. … Methodological advances are proposed for qualitative interviews that aim to surface individuals’ metaphors.

Cairns-Lee, H. (2022), “Drawing Lessons Learned From Mental Models of Leadership”, Chapter 6 in Cairns-Lee, H., Lawley, J. and Tosey, P. (2022), (Eds.) Clean Language Interviewing, Emerald Publishing, pp. 75-87. doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80117-330-820221006

Cairns-Lee, H., Lawley, J. and Tosey, P (2022), “Eliciting Interview Data Cleanly Through Minimising Leading Questions”, Chapter 2 in Cairns-Lee, H., Lawley, J. and Tosey, P. (2022), (Eds.) Clean Language Interviewing, Emerald Publishing, pp. 17-30. doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80117-330-820221002

Cairns-Lee H., Lawley J. & Tosey P. (Editors). (2022). Clean Language Interviewing: Principles and Applications for Researchers and Practitioners. Emerald Publishing. emeraldinsight.com/page/detail/clean-language-interviewing/?k=9781801173315

Clean Language Interviewing is a landmark publication that defines the field for this important practice; it is essential reading for all researchers who seek to obtain data that are faithful to the experience of the interviewee. Clean language interviewing aims to improve the ability of academic and applied researchers to minimise the introduction of the interviewer’s own assumptions, to avoid ‘leading’ questions and instead to ask ‘clean’ questions. The book presents a state-of-the-art review of the principles and practice of clean language interviewing to make this rigorous and innovative method accessible. Using real application examples, a global group of contributors analyse the use of clean language interviewing in multiple settings including business, education, and healthcare.

Cairns-Lee, H., Lawley, J. & Tosey P. (2021/2022). Enhancing Researcher Reflexivity About the Influence of Leading Questions in Interviews. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science. 58(1):164-188. doi/10.1177/00218863211037446 (open access – free to download)

This article focuses on the potential for the wording of interview questions to lead and unduly influence, or bias, the interviewee’s responses. This underacknowledged phenomenon affects the trustworthiness of findings and has implications for knowledge claims made by researchers, particularly in research that aims to elicit interviewees’ subjective experience. We highlight the problem of the influence of interview questions on data; provide a typology of how interview questions can lead responses; and present a method, the “cleanness rating,” [derived from Clean Language Interviewing] that facilitates reflexivity by enabling researchers to review and assess the influence of their interview questions. This clarifies the researcher’s role in the production of interview data and contributes to methodological transparency.

Cairns-Lee, H. & Tosey P. (2014). Stepping Up, Stepping Back: Metaphors of Leadership. Presented at 15th International Conference on Human Resource Development Research and Practice across Europe. Theme “HRD: Reflecting upon the Past, Shaping the Future” 4-6 June, 2014, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, UK. Stepping-Up-Stepping-Back–Metaphors/99514109502346

This working paper reports on a longitudinal inductive study that seeks to elicit and explore the naturally occurring metaphors and implicit leadership theories (ILT) used by leaders of business to describe their own leadership and development. The research comprises 30 leaders in international business and combines a novel research method using Clean Language to elicit and explore metaphors with drawings to depict the metaphorical landscapes and implicit leadership theories (ILT) described in the interviews.

Calderwood, J. A. (2011). Pervasive Media Arts: Participation, Practice and Well-Being. Well-Being 2011: First International Conference Exploring the Multi-dimensions of Well-being, 18–19 July. Birmingham City University and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Download conference paper (PDF)

This paper introduces two arts-based action research doctoral projects that facilitate shared personal narratives discovered by walking in the landscape. One of the projects, Living Voices – a portable woodland walk featuring narratives from people who are living with the diagnosis of dementia – introduces the therapeutic approach of Clean Language within the recording process, and uses metaphor to elicit another layer of narrative, rich in textual imagery: each individual’s story is represented by a specific tree.

Calderwood, J. A. (2012). Pervasive Media, Commons and Connections: Research as Reflective Studio Practice at Banff, Reviews in Cultural Theory 2.3 Special Issue: On the Commons. Download original article (PDF)

Makes use of Clean Language, Emergent Knowledge and Clean Space

Calderwood, J. A. (2012). Pervasive Media, Commons and Connections: Research as Reflective Studio Practice at Banff, Reviews in Cultural Theory 2.3 Special Issue: On the Commons. Download original article (PDF)

Makes use of Clean Language, Emergent Knowledge and Clean Space

Calderwood, J. A. (2017). Pervasive media and eudaimonia: transdisciplinary research by practice. De Montfort University, Leicester UK. Doctoral thesis: research by practice. Institute of Creative Technologies. dora.dmu.ac.uk/handle/2086/17480

My use and interrogation of Clean methods, methodologies and principles – as artistic strategy – has pioneered new research, adding knowledge to the fields of art-making, research by practice, and Clean. Through experimentation with suggestive and autogenic metaphor, Clean Language, Clean Space and Emergent Knowledge, I have integrated Clean within the development of Experimental Walks, Hunter Gatherer and Living Voices. I have used clean and Symbolic Modelling in my research interviews and in the exposition of my framework and emergent model of Anthroposensory Sculpture.

Calderwood, J., Till, R., & Vasiliauskas, V. (2019). Developing a Co-Creative Methodology of Narrative Artwork Production for the BEACONING Platform Metagame. AVANCA CINEMA Journal, pp. 74-84. publication.avanca.org/index.php/avancacinema/article/view/16

This paper presents an emergent co-creative methodology for the conception, making and sharing of narrative artwork for a gamified learning platform. Drawing on cinema, the graphic novel, and comic book art, two unusual characters were developed by Student Activators working with researchers at the Disruptive Media Learning Lab, Coventry University. The creative process began by using Clean Language and Clean Space.

Cásková, K. (2015). Sharing tacit knowledge of students with their training teacher. Presented at SGEM 2015 International Multidisciplinary Scientific Conferences on Social Sciences and Arts. Education and Educational Research. Pragmatism and Education. muni.cz/en/research/publications/1309917

The aim of the research is to identify which factors facilitated the sharing of tacit knowledge between student teacher and training teacher, what brings sharing of tacit knowledge to student teacher, and what brings sharing of tacit knowledge to training teacher. It will be illustrated on data which are gained by in-depth interview that is inspired by method called ‘clean language‘. Download conference paper (PDF)

Conway, P. (2019). The Extraordinary in the Ordinary: SKYchology – An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Looking Up at the Sky. Chapter 5, Proceedings of Presented Papers 5th Annual Applied Positive Psychology Symposium (Ed. G. M. Cseh) pp. 63-88. bnu.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/17819

Clean Language an approach to questioning that “facilitates exploration of a person’s inner world through their own naturally occurring metaphors [to] gain a deeper understanding of each participant’s symbolic world” (Tosey, Lawley, & Meese, 2014, p. 634) was integrated into the schedule. Download original article (PDF)

Cooper, L. (2022), “Modelling Excellence: Using Clean Language Interviewing to Research Exceptional Performance”, Chapter 9 in Cairns-Lee, H., Lawley, J. and Tosey, P. (2022), (Eds.) Clean Language Interviewing, Emerald Publishing, pp. 131-141. doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80117-330-820221009

Cullen, B. (2015) Clean Language in the Classroom. New Directions, Nagoya Institute of Technology Repository, 33: 73-78. id.nii.ac.jp/1476/00001577. Download original article (PDF)

This paper explores how the questioning technique of Clean Language can be used in the ESL classroom to help students to explore and enrich their own metaphors in simple language.

de Bryas, S. (2005). Modélisation symbolique : apprendre et transmettre (Etude ethnométhodologique),  Université Paris-VIII, DESS Ethnométhodologie et Informatique. Download thesis (PDF)

Divett, D. R. T. (2004). Refocussing: The Development and Definition of the Theory and Its Therapeutic Practice with Critical Analysis and Illustrative Case Studies. PhD thesis, University of Auckland, School of Education, New Zealand.

Refocussing is a clinical approach which uses David Grove’s Clean Language and his metaphor therapy within the context of Christian theology.

Doyle, N. & McDowall, A (2015). Is coaching an effective adjustment for dyslexic adults?  Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, Published online: 25 Aug 2015. dx.doi.org/10.1080/17521882.2015.1065894

Includes some of the first peer-reviewed evidence for the effectiveness of coaching models such as ‘symbolic modelling’ that assist coachees to develop positive models of their experience. For example, the coaching question ‘When you are organised at your best, it’s like what’ (Walker, 2014) leads to a review of the scenarios and contexts in which the coachee can organise. The study involved 95 dyslexic coachees who, along with 41 line managers, provided independent ratings of work performance both before and after the coaching was conducted. The results showed a statistically significant improvement in the most common five areas of work performance selected by coachees and their managers in the introductory coaching session.

Doyle, N. & McDowall, A (2023). Coaching techniques and principles: Chapter 5. Clean Language interviewing, in Neurodiversity Coaching: A Psychological Approach to Supporting Neurodivergent Talent and Career Potential. Routledge.

The book supports existing coaching practitioners, managers and community leaders to understand the essentials of neurodivergence, a term which encompasses ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia and Tourette Syndrome, and how these diagnoses require specific coaching approaches to support individuals to thrive at work. This book is practically focused on the “how”, sharing coaching exercises and activities that have been evaluated and researched by authors with extensive experience in the field. Grounded in coaching psychology theory, those with existing knowledge will be able to transfer their skill set to the neurodiversity context and those who are considering learning more about coaching can be signposted to essential knowledge and skills.

Doyle, N. & Waseem, U. (2022), “Using Clean Language Interviewing to Explore the Lived Experience of Neurodifferent Job Applicants”,, Chapter 10 in Cairns-Lee, H., Lawley, J. and Tosey, P. (2022), (Eds.) Clean Language Interviewing, Emerald Publishing, pp. 101-115. doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80117-330-820221010

Doyle, N., Tosey, P. & Walker, C. (2010). Systemic Modelling: Installing Coaching as a Catalyst for Organisational Learning, e-Organisations & People, Journal of the Association for Management Education and Development, Winter 2010, Vol. 17. No. 4. pp. 13-22. Download original article (PDF)

We introduce the background to our organisational coaching process, Systemic Modelling, outlining where it comes from, how it works as a cornerstone of organisational development work and some practical examples. We present a case study with one corporate client to illustrate how it can be implemented, plus the results of our first evaluation.

Flynn, J. (2009) An exploratory study on the use of metaphor on creative cognition. M.Sc. thesis in Occupational Psychology, University of Leicester, School of Psychology. Download thesis (PDF)

Results from this study broadly support the notion that Clean Language promotes creative cognition.

Foreman (Robinson), F. (2012). How does exploring metaphorical representations of organisational change at its best affect levels of well-being in an ambiguous and rapidly changing public sector work environment? Paper presented to The Third International Neuro-Linguistic Programming Research Conference, Hertfordshire University, 6-7th July 2012. Complete paper here.

Foreman F. (2013) An investigation of the effects of using Clean Language to support employees through organisational change, Acuity, No. 4, 104-126. Download original article (PDF)

This study found that exploring metaphorical representations of organisational change at its best correlated significantly with increasing well-being during a period of organisational change; potentially mitigating deleterious effects and causing a small well-being uplift. Group and one-to-one interventions showed similar well-being correlations over a three-month period. However, the nature of the effect was different, with insights and positive affect the prime outcome for the one-to-one intervention, and workshops additionally leading to experimentation with new skills. There are four implications of this study for clean language practitioners. Firstly, clean language and symbolic modelling interventions are suitable as part of the change management mix to support employee well-being. Secondly, metaphorical interventions have effects over time, undertaking interventions over a period is recommended. Thirdly, creating an open, safe environment for exploration and insight is key to supporting well-being. Finally, teaching clean language will enable application of learning into other contexts. Using one-to-one interventions may require more sessions to lead to behavioural change.

Groppel-Wegener, A. (2015). Design Tasks Beyond the Studio. In Vande Zande, R., Bohemia, E. & Digranes, I. (Eds). Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference for Design Education Researchers, 1:93-108. Aalto University. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.1200.7520 Download original article (PDF)

The research project investigated whether the design thinking and problem solving used in the studio can improve students’ levels of academic literacy. Using the ‘Fishscale of Academicness’ that likens texts to fish and Lawley & Tompkins’ Symbolic Modelling process, students verbalise in group discussions their understanding of what makes a source academic, and at the same time to physicalise them as a visual representation. This paper analyses the metaphors student groups developed and discovers that allowing students to design their own personalised (and visual) metaphors turned the abstract experience of analysing secondary sources into something more concrete.

Hanley, K. G. (2020). To work or not to work? That is the dilemma for older workers in Denmark, age 60+. PhD thesis, University of Brighton.

Danish language interviews were conducted with employees, using both standard and Clean Language questions, producing qualitative data to answer the research question.

Harrer, S. (2014). From loss and grief to game design working with the experience of bereaved mothers. CHIPlay 2014 – Participatory Design for Serious Game Design. Download original article (PDF)

Draws on the work of Lakoff & Johnson [1980] and Lawley & Tompkins [2000] in a PhD project at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, University of Vienna, Austria to answer the questions: “How can the experience of loss and mourning be communicated through digital game design? How can the voices of grieving people be made tangible through game mechanics, rules, and game fiction?”

Hartley, T. (2012). Cutting Edge Metaphors, Journal of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland Number 37, September, pp. 26-29. Download original article (PDF)

Hemmen V. D. (1995). Metaphors in Pastoral Care and Counseling: Utilizing the Therapeutic Model of David Grove. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree Doctor of Ministry, Faculty of Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan. Download thesis (PDF)

Hoogendijk, C. J. (2015). The Art of Clean Language in Appreciative Inquiries of the 3. 0 Kind: How Do We Connect, Share and Co-Create for Tomorrow’s Human Wholeness?. Chapter 68. pp.152-153. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Download original chapter (PDF)

Janssen SKH, Mol APJ, van Tatenhove JPM & Otter HS (2014). The role of knowledge in greening flood protection. Lessons from the Dutch case study future Afsluitdijk, Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 95, July, pp. 219–232. Download original article

Janssen S. K. H. (2015) Greening Flood Protection in the Netherlands: A knowledge arrangement approach. PhD thesis, Wageningen University, Wageningen, NL. ISBN 978-94-6257-334-5. Download thesis (PDF)

“The formal interviews had a semi-open character and were based on the clean language approach.”

Just, L. (2014). Why, when and how do qualified psychotherapists from a range of modalities make use of client-generated metaphors using Clean Language? A research thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements of Awaken School of Outcome Oriented Psychotherapies Ltd. for the Postgraduate Diploma in Outcome-oriented Psychotherapies. Download thesis (PDF)

Konat, B. & Juszczyk, K, (2015). Multimodal communication in career coaching sessions: lexical and gestural corpus study. Empirical Methods in Language Studies 37, 193-211. Download original article (PDF)

Korsak, T. (2022), “Making the Unspoken Visible Through Clean Language: Interviews With Families Facing Encephalopathy in Their Child”, Chapter 8 in Cairns-Lee, H., Lawley, J. and Tosey, P. (2022), (Eds.) Clean Language Interviewing, Emerald Publishing, pp. 117-129. doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80117-330-820221008

Langley, A. & Meziani, N. (2020). Making interviews meaningful. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 1-22. journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0021886320937818

“A second potentially useful approach is what has been called clean language interviewing, a method that consists of deliberately asking highly neutral questions that do not inadvertently influence interviewees’ responses. Tosey et al. (2014) propose this approach, derived from the clinical work of David Grove (Grove & Panzer, 1991)”

Langseth, I. D. & Sedal, H. (2019). Smart Phones in Schools: In What Ways Can Coaching Empower Students to Make a Valid Judgement on When and How to Use Their Smart Phone? HUMAN IT 14.3:48–82. Download original article (PDF)

The research included 20 school teachers developing their competences in clean language within the GROW coaching model.

Lawley, J. (2015). Acquiring Excellence. HEC Alumni Journal Sept/Oct pp. 66-67. Download original article (PDF)

What is the basis of excellent behaviour – not in general, but for the individual exemplar of that excellence? The article explains and includes a short case study of modelling a sales method using Symbolic Modelling. Watch a video of the modelling session at: https://vimeo.com/174103094

Lawley, J. (2017). Metaphor, Embodiment and Tacit Learning. Chapter 2 in Becoming a Teacher: The dance between tacit and explicit knowledge. V. Švec, J. Nehyba & P. Svojanovský (eds.) Brno:Masaryk University, pp. 106-114. Download original chapter (PDF)

This chapter concentrates on a subset of the field of embodied cognition: embodied metaphor. It examines a variety of ways metaphors can be embodied and the links with tacit learning.

Lawley, J. (2017). Clean Language Interviewing: Making qualitative research interviews verifiable. Chapter 3 in Becoming a Teacher: The dance between tacit and explicit knowledge. V. Švec, J. Nehyba & P. Svojanovský (Eds.) Brno: Masaryk University, pp.115-122. Download original chapter (PDF)

This chapter examines how an interviewer’s use of linguistic structures, such as metaphor, presupposition and framing can unintentionally influence the content of an interviewee’s answers, and how that may compromise the authenticity and trustworthiness of the data collected (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). These concerns are addressed by a description of the Clean Language interview method, and a method for checking the validity of research interviews. Finally, there is a discussion of the relevance of Clean Language interviewing to tacit knowledge research.

Lawley, J. (2022), “Enhancing Clean Language Interviewing With Modelling”, Chapter 4 in Cairns-Lee, H., Lawley, J. and Tosey, P. (2022), (Eds.) Clean Language Interviewing, Emerald Publishing, pp. 45-59. doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80117-330-820221004

Lawley, J. & Linder-Pelz, S. (2016). Evidence of competency: exploring coach, coachee and expert evaluations of coaching, Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice. doi.org/10.1080/17521882.2016.1186706

Competency-based coach training and assessment implies that coaching skills and effectiveness are closely related. But who is best placed to determine ‘effectiveness’? This paper reports on research that examined how closely the evaluations of coachees, expert-assessors and coaches correspond. The research used a novel multi-method approach to triangulation including Clean Language interviewing (CLI) to explore coachees’ experience and evaluation of coaching. Preprint: Download preprint (PDF)

Lawley, J. & Manea, A. I. (2017). The Use of Clean Space to Facilitate a “Stuck” Client – a Case Study, Journal of Experiential Psychotherapy, 20(4):62-70. Download original article (PDF)

This first-of-its-kind academic paper consists of a case study of a spatially-based therapeutic approach, Clean Space, which facilitates a client through a “stuck” state. The study situates “clean” approaches within the context of mental space and metaphor research, outlines the method, and provides a full transcript of a session, explanatory commentary and client feedback.

Lawley J. Meyer M., Meese R., Sullivan W. & Tosey P. (2010) More than a Balancing Act?: ‘Clean Language’ as an innovative method for exploring work-life balance, October 2010, University of Surrey and Clean Change Company, ISBN: 978-1-84469-022-0. Download original report (PDF)

In this first funded research project to explore Clean Language, research partners, the Clean Change Company and the University of Surrey, collaborated to test the use of Clean Language as the principal research tool and  ‘discovery medium’ for exploring interviewees’ metaphors for ‘work-life balance’ (WLB). The purpose was three-fold: (1) To explore how Clean Language could generate insights into the experience of individual participants, and into understandings of the nature of WLB generally, through its capacity for eliciting participant-generated (autogenic) metaphors; (2) To test the application of Clean Language as a research methodology; (3) To pave the way for further research into, or utilising, Clean Language.

Lawley, J. & Tompkins, P. (2011). Metaphor, the Body and Healing, The CAPA Quarterly, 2011:1(22-25) Download original article (PDF)

Lawley, J. & Tompkins, P. (2011). Symbolic Modelling: Emergent Change though Metaphor and Clean Language. In Chapter 4 of L. M. Hall & S. R, Charvet (Eds.), Innovations in NLP: Innovations for Challenging Times. Download original chapter (PDF)

Lawley, J. & Tompkins, P. (2012). Premiers pas vers la modélisation métaphorique et le clean langugage. Chapter 15 in G. Le Roy (Ed.). Le Coaching Bref pour aller à l’essentiel : Vers les transformations rapides et durables des acteurs clés de l’entreprise. (2012) pp. 277-302. InterEditions. ISBN : 9782729612078. Download original chapter (PDF)

Lawley, J., Tompkins, P. & Manea, A. I. (2018). The Analysis of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy from a Clean Language Perspective., Journal of Experiential Psychotherapy, 21(2):3-20. Download original article (PDF)

This paper compares and analyses Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) through the paradigm of Clean Language and Symbolic Modelling at three levels: intention, process and practice. The aim is to identify specific similarities and differences between the two approaches in order for practitioners of both to mutually benefit. … [NOTE: As well as the specific findings, this paper points to a new methodology for how CL & SyM can be used to analyse and learn from other approaches.]

Linder-Pelz, S. & Lawley, J. (2015). Using Clean Language to explore the subjectivity of coachees’ experience and outcomes. International Coaching Psychology Review, 10(2):161-174. international-coaching-psychology-review-vol-10-no-2-september-2015.html

This paper contributes methodologically and substantively to understanding how coachees experience and evaluate coaching. First, we explore the use of Clean Language as a phenomenological approach to coaching research, including the eliciting and analysing of data into findings and insights for coaches and coach trainers. Second, we explore the nature of events, effects, evaluations and outcomes reported by six coachees after single coaching sessions. The interviews elicited detailed information on many aspects of coaching without the interviewer introducing any topics. Download preprint (PDF)

Lloyd, J. (2011). The Use of Metaphor in Counselling and Qualitative Research Interviews. Assignment three of a Professional Doctorate in Counselling, School of Education, Faculties of Humanities, University of Manchester. Download thesis (PDF)

The use of metaphor in therapy is relatively common, although its specific conscious use as seen in Grove’s work continues to be unknown in the counselling world. This paper has also highlighted the possible use of Clean Language and metaphors in the research domain to enhance the richness of resultant data. … Rather than looking at the hermeneutics, the meaning of the text, I want to investigate how much meaning is created by the questions posed. … The profound findings that Clean Language, focusing on memory and metaphor, can increase the resultant amount of meaning by a factor of five.

Lloyd, J. (2015) The Therapeutic Use of Metaphor: A Heuristic Study. A thesis submitted to The University of Manchester for the degree of Professional Doctorate in the Faculty of Humanities. Download thesis (PDF)

This research was designed to explore the experience and understanding of counsellors’ and psychotherapists’ engagement with metaphors in the therapeutic process. The aim is to reflect on the experience of therapists involved in therapeutic metaphors from differing perspectives. It appears that the use of metaphor in therapy is pervasive and offers an opportunity for therapeutic change. [NB. Includes plenty of references to David Grove‘s work]

Manea, A. I. & Barbu, I. A. (2018). Psihoterapiile Spațiale O abordare emergentă, ArtTE – REVISTA DE TERAPII CREATIV-EXPRESIVE ȘI DEZVOLTARE PERSONALĂ UNIFICATOARE, volumul 5, numarul 8. Download original article (PDF).

Article published in ArtTE: The magazine of creative-expressive therapies and personal development about Mental Space Psychology as an emergent approach with a section dedicated to Clean Space.

Manea, A. I. & Barbu, I. A. (2017). Mental Space meets Psychology – a new Paradigm and Approach to Psychotherapy, Journal of Experiential Psychotherapy, 20 (3), 37-43. Download original article (PDF)

This paper outlines the basic concepts of mental space representations, its primary concepts and the connection to psychology and psychotherapy. Also included are the descriptions of three mental space based psychotherapies [including Clean Space] and their applications. A comprehensive list of references containing case-studies and researches is also provided.

Martin, J. N.T.
(2007). Book Review: Metaphors in Mind: Transformation Through Symbolic Modelling, by James Lawley and Penny Tompkins, Metaphor and Symbol, 22(2):201-211. doi/abs/10.1080/10926480701235510 Download original article (PDF)

Conversations at a recent [metaphor] conference suggested that the work [Metaphors in Mind] describes is not yet well known to metaphor researchers. Perhaps this reflects the gulf between the practitioner/trainer world of shared experiences and face-to-face contact versus the academic world of journal articles and statistics. But if I had a research student working on metaphor, experience of Lawley and Tompkins’ work would be a key part of the basic training because of its striking capacity to bring our internal metaphorical worlds to life.

Meyer, M., Sullivan, W., Tosey, P. & Lawley, J. (2022), “Exploring Experiences of Work-Life Balance: A Pilot Study of Clean Language as an Interview Method”, Chapter 5 in Cairns-Lee, H., Lawley, J. and Tosey, P. (2022), (Eds.) Clean Language Interviewing, Emerald Publishing, pp. 63-74. doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80117-330-820221005

Martin, J. N.T. & Sullivan, W. (2007). “… and good systems practice is [pause] like [pause] what?”: ‘Clean Language’ and ‘Metaphor Landscapes’ as potential tools in Systems Practice. Presented at the 11th United Kingdom Systems Society (UKSS) International Conference, Oxford University, 3-5 September 2007. Revised version published in Systemist, Vol 29, No 3, Nov 2007. Download original article (PDF).

Checkland has referred to the primacy of cognitive processes, and the importance of self-reflection and phenomenology in modern Systems thinking. This paper takes that position at its face value and describes a way of reflecting on one’s sense-making cognitive processes that is well established in its own domain, but not widely known to Systems practitioners. It was developed as ‘clean language‘ by David Grove (Grove & Panzer, 1989) and subsequently codified as ‘symbolic modelling’ by James Lawley and Penny Tompkins (Lawley & Tompkins, 2000).

McGrath, M. (1998). A Study in the Use of Symbolism in Counselling. MA thesis: University of Durham, Centre for Studies in Counselling.

Munsoor, M. S. (2018) Knowing Thyself: A Causal Model of Spiritual Leadership and Self-Development: A Case Study of the Naqshbandiyah Khalidiyah Spiritual Order in Malaysia. Department of Aqida and Islamic Thought, Academy of Islamic Studies, University of Malaya, Malaysia. (Doctoral thesis)

The emerging data set was constructed through the use of the ‘clean language’ approach, which builds on the original narratives of the subjects, with methodological triangulation including interview and survey data.

Munteanu D. & Freeman G. (2023). An investigation of clean language questions benefits in managing relationship conflict: A narrative review. Psychreg Journal of Psychology 7(2):41-56. pjp.psychreg.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/4-daniela-munteanu-41-56-1941.pdf

This narrative review explores whether clean language questions can resolve or prevent relationship conflicts. … The essence of these articles suggests clean language questions may aid understanding of different viewpoints, thereby resolving or preventing relationship conflicts rooted in misunderstandings, unclear expectations, and poor communication … Overall, this review highlights the potential of clean language questions to improve relationship conflicts, while calling for additional rigorous studies on this emerging approach.

Naughton, Linda (2009). Beyond Narrative: Modelling Metaphor in Environmental Discourse. MSc thesis: Cranfield University, School of Applied Sciences innovation and Design for Sustainability. Download full thesis (PDF).

Needham-Didsbury, I. (2011). The Application of Metaphors in Psychotherapy. A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the Masters in Research in Speech, Language & Cognition, University College London, Division of Psychology & Language Sciences. Download original article (PDF).

Needham-Didsbury, I. (2012). The Use of Figurative Language in Psychotherapy, University College London, Working Papers in Linguistics 2012, pp. 75-93. Download original article (PDF).

This paper surveys a proportion of the literature on the use of metaphor in psychotherapy including Grove’s work and Symbolic Modelling.

Needham-Didsbury, I. (2014). Metaphor in Psychotherapeutic Discourse: Implications for Utterance. Poznań Studies in Contemporary Linguistics, 50(1), 2014, pp. 75–97. Download original article.

This paper examines figurative expressions in two passages from attested psychotherapy exchanges where explicit use is made of metaphor for therapeutic purposes and discusses the use of Clean Language in this context.

Nehyba, J. (2022), “Metaphor, Clean Language and Qualitative Research”, Chapter 3 in Cairns-Lee, H., Lawley, J. and Tosey, P. (2022), (Eds.) Clean Language Interviewing, Emerald Publishing, pp. 31-43. Clean Language Interviewing, Emerald Publishing, pp. 17-30. doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80117-330-820221003

Nehyba, J. & Lanc, J. (2013). Koncept čistého jazyka v psychoterapii (The Concept of Clean Language in Psychotherapy), Psychoterapie: praxe – inspirace – konfrontace, 7(2) 123-133 Brno: Masaryk university. journals.muni.cz/psychoterapie/article/view/9661

Článek představuje tzv. „čistý jazyk“ ne-bo „čistý přístup“ – jeden z postmoderně orientovaných terapeutických přístupů vycházející z myšlenek Davida Grova. Kromě teoretických východisek se příspěvek zaměřuje na praktickou ukázku toho, jak je možné během rozhovoru „nechat vyvstávat“ metafory, sebereflexe, uvědomění či „aha!“ momenty u klienta. Na závěr text nabízí diskuzi principů čistého přístupu a toho, do jaké míry může pro terapeuty být inspirací. Download preprint (PDF).

The article introduces ‘clean language’ or a ‘clean approach’ – one of the post-modern oriented therapeutic approaches, building on the ideas of the late David Grove.  After the theoretical background, the article focuses on the practical example of how is possible to ‘let emerge’ metaphors, self-reflections, insights or ‘aha!’ moments for the client. In the concluding part, the text offers a discussion of the principles of the clean approach and the ways it can be inspiring for therapists.

Nehyba, J. & Lawley, J. (2020). Clean Language Interviewing as a second-person method in the Science of Consciousness, Journal of Consciousness Studies, 27(1–2):94–119 ingentaconnect.com.

This article reports on Clean Language Interviewing (CLI), a rigorous, recently developed ‘content-empty’ (non-leading) approach to second-person interviewing in the science of consciousness. Also presented is a new systematic third-person method of validation that evaluates the questions and other verbal interventions by the interviewer to produce an adherence-to-method or ‘cleanness rating’. A review of 19 interviews from five research studies provides a benchmark for interviewers seeking to minimise leading questions. The inter-rater reliability analysis demonstrates substantial agreement among raters with an average Intraclass Correlation Coefficient of 0.72 (95% CI). We propose that this method of validation is applicable not only to CLI but to second-person interviews more generally. Download preprint (PDF)

Nehyba, J. & Svojanovský, P. (2017). Clean language as a data collection tool. Chapter 5 in V. Švec, J. Nehyba & P. Svojanovský, (eds) Becoming a teacher: The dance between tacit and explicit knowledge (pp. 130-147). Brno: Masaryk University. Download original chapter (PDF)

This chapter explains and evaluates how the data collection method entitled Clean Language was implemented in our research. In the context of pedagogical sciences, it is a new way of interviewing, which helps to gather data as closely as possible from first person (Searle, 1992; Varela, 1999). We explain how we understand the term Clean Language and how we interpret it, and then move to the actual analysis of how we used this method in practice, i.e. in conducting the research interviews.

Nixon, S. (2014). Teaching and learning pedagogies to enhance practice in Higher Education: a practitioner’s perspective. A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Liverpool John Moores University, Faculty of Education, Health and Community. researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/4594/

This mixed method approach studied the enhancement of the student experience through creating conditions where excellent learning can occur both individually and through working in communities of practice. Includes the application of Clean Language and Systemic Modelling.

Nixon, S. (2013). Using Metaphors to Aid Student Meta-Learning: When You’re Learning at Your Best Your Like What?, Creative Education 2013. Vol.4, No.7A2, 32-36. Published Online July 2013 in scirp.org/journal/ce DOI:10.4236/ce.2013.47A2006. Download original article (PDF)

This paper adds to the body of knowledge in relation to students using metaphor as a tool to support meta-learning. This project focuses on what students are like when they are “learning at their best” and discusses what knowing this information does for both individual self-awareness and working with others. Six final year students spent half a day exploring, developing and pictorially representing their “learning at best” metaphors. The benefits were highlighted to be both for the individual working on their own and for understanding others in group work situations.

Nixon, S. & Walker, C. (2009). Personal Development Planning – Inspiring Capability, chapter 11 in Enhancing Student Centred Learning in Business and Management, Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism, edited by John Buswell and Nina Becket for HLST, Oxford Brookes University, published by Threshold Press. Download original article (PDF)

PDP has been an area of interest within the Sport Development programme at Liverpool John Moores University. The chapter begins with the context for the project and what we wanted to happen. Then outlines the philosophy underpinning our approach and introduce key features including the notion of autogenic metaphors for learning, clean (metaphor-free) questions, clean set-up and clean feedback. It continues with how we engaged staff and students, some challenges, learning and the impact so far, and then ends with a summary of how we will do things differently in the coming year year

Nixon, S. & Walker, C. (2009). Modelling the curriculum through metaphors: one programme’s approach, CETL Journal: Innovations in Practice, 1(2), 3-6. Download original article (PDF)

As part of exploring Personal Development Planning (PDP) across the Sport Development programme we decided to gather the views of staff on the programme to see if we could agree on a common model, philosophy and message. This approach, called Metaphors at Work (Walker, 2007), allows individuals and groups to explore their own thoughts and perceptions on a subject, in this case the degree programme, through the development of metaphors [using Clean Language] and their associated meaning. The process has a number of stages which are documented in this paper with the overall objective being to get to a jointly shared view amongst staff.

Nooitgedagt, M. & Nieuwland, W. (2022), “Facilitating Change in Organisations: Applying Clean Language Interviewing Through Action Research”, Chapter 12 in Cairns-Lee, H., Lawley, J. and Tosey, P. (2022), (Eds.) Clean Language Interviewing, Emerald Publishing, pp. 155-166. doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80117-330-820221012

Open University (1999). Imagery and Metaphor, part of the OU Business and Management postgraduate course B822: Creativity, Innovation and Change produced by John Martin. The course includes three videos related to David Grove’s work featuring Caitlin Walker: Engaging the Imagination; Group Metaphor Development; and Clean Language. These videos can be seen at: podcast.open.ac.uk/oulearn/business-and-management/podcast-b822-imagery-and-metaphor#

How do you address problematic issues at work? This [programme] reveals more creative ways to solve problems, other than relying on rational techniques such as brainstorming and lateral thinking. Employees at a small software company are shown how to access their unconscious minds using the power of imagery, associative thinking, [Clean Language] and metaphor, to find solutions and creative approaches to their work. The facilitators also comment and discuss their techniques and observations, including the significance of gesture, body language and breathing in the sessions.

Open University (2004). Practical Thinking: an online course in perception, ideas and action, T185, part of the Technology Faculty’s ‘Relevant Knowledge’ programme (2004-2006, no longer available) produced by John Martin:

This ten-week course is presented online and explores the practical role of metaphor in shaping and transforming various areas of imagery, thinking and communication. Application areas include the concept development stages of policy-making and design, the generation of ideas, visualising
implementation issues, the communication of complex project ideas, problem-solving, resolving differences, and so on. T185 draws heavily on the ideas of cognitive scientists such as Lakoff and Johnson, classic writers on creative problem solving such as George Prince, management writers such as Gareth Morgan and practitioners such as Lawley and Tompkins.

Owen, I. R. (1989). Beyond Carl Rogers: The work of David Grove, Journal of Interprofessional Care, 4(4), 186-196. doi: 10.3109/13561828909046386 Download from: researchgate.net/publication/232036252

This paper introduces the psychotherapy of David Grove. It re-emphasizes the need for therapists, or healers of all kinds, to be aware of the language, therapeutic structure and experience of clients. The case for a phenomenological therapy is put forward.

Owen, I. R. (1991) Using the sixth sense: The place and relevance of language in counselling British Journal of Guidance & Counselling 19:3 307-319.  doi: 10.1080/03069889108260394

The last section of this paper outlines a form of therapy devised by David Grove and using clean language that has been demonstrated to 20,000 therapists worldwide since 1985.

Owen, I. R. (1996). Clean Language: A linguistic-experiential phenomenology, in A.-T. Tymieniecka (Ed.) Analecta Husserliana, Vol. 48. pp. 271-297, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic. Download from: researchgate.net/publication/300670475

In this study clean language is applied to make a reproducible method for phenomenologists. This new procedure adheres to many phenomenological first principles. The method reveals the place of metaphor and metonymy as possible connections between language and lived experience.

Philmon, J. N. (2019) Pushing toward Pushback: A Phenomenological Multi-Case Study Exploring the Transformative Potential of Coaching Conversations. A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty in the Curriculum and Instruction Program of Tift College of Education at Mercer University, Atlanta, GA, in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy. Download thesis (PDF)

The research used a Clean Language interview protocol designed to ensure that “all descriptions and evaluations are sourced exclusively from the interviewee’s personal vocabulary and experience” (Lawley & Linder-Pelz, 2016, p. 120). The Clean Language interviews involved combining the participant’s own words with 12 reflective question stems to conceptualize the experience from their unique point of view.

Pickerden, A. M. (2013) How do older workers in the fire & Rescue service deal with work life balance issues as they plan for, approach and transition through retirement? Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Leicester. ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?did=1&uin=uk.bl.ethos.593712

The research made use of Clean Language during the interviews (pp. 95-96).

Pieśkiewicz, B. & Kołodkiewicz, M. (2011). Metafora w coachingu: zastosowanie metody Clean Coaching w pracy z organizacjami [Metaphor in coaching: Application of Clean Coaching method in working with organisations]. In: Czarkowska, L. (ed.), Coaching jako katalizator rozwoju organizacji [Coaching as a catalyst in orgnizational growth]. Warszawa: New Dawn.

Pincus, D. & Sheikh, A.A. (2009). Clean Language and Metaphor: The Work of David Grove in Imagery for Pain Relief: A scientifically grounded guidebook for clinicians. pp. 206-224 London: Routledge.

Pincus, D. & Sheikh, A.A. (2011) David Grove’s Metaphor Therapy. Imagination, Cognition and Personality 30(3) 259-287. doi.org/10.2190/IC.30.3.d

Within the ever-expanding list of approaches to psychotherapy, there is a tendency to overlook deep imagery approaches. The current article reports on one such metaphor-based therapy developed by David Grove (Grove & Panzer, 1989). … It is argued that deep imagery approaches in general, and Grove’s approach in particular, may provide a means for greater theoretical integration within integrative healthcare. Download preprint (PDF)

Pole, N. & Cadney, P. (2016) ‘Very, Very Traumatic’ Working with Trauma with Clean Language and Shiatsu. Shiatsu Society Journal (UK), Winter 2016, Issue 140. nickpole.com/2019/06/27/very-very-traumatic

Rain, T., Lawley, J. & Henwood, S. (2016) From coaching and therapy to research interviewing: reflections and recommendations from practice. Acuity, April 2016 Volume 5. Download original article (PDF)

This article shares the personal experiences of one practitioner (Thora Rain) who made a successful transition to researcher. It focuses on the adjustments practitioners need to make to become high-quality researchers. It also draws on the longer experience of two of the paper authors (James Lawley and
Suzanne Henwood) and offers some guidance to those thinking about taking on a research role, mentioning clean language interviewing as a “helpful methodology”.

Rees, J. & Manea, A.I. (2016). The Use of Clean Language and Metaphor in Helping Clients Overcoming Procrastination. Journal of Experiential Psychotherapy. 19 (3). Download original article (PDF)

In psychotherapy, coaching and personal development, problems are often framed in terms of metaphor. For example, procrastination might be described as a “mysterious” force, holding the client back from creating the happy, fulfilled life he often dreams of. Clean Language, created by the late David Grove between the 1980s and the 1990s, is a process designed to use such client metaphors as an engine for positive change. In this article, we show how it works in a typical one-on-one session.

Rusch, D. C. (2017) Making Deep Games – Designing Games with Meaning and Purpose. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press Taylor & Francis Group.

This book offers a perspective into how to make games that tackle the whole bandwidth of the human experience, games that teach us something about ourselves enable thought-provoking emotionally rich experiences and promote personal and social change. Dr Rusch, Ass. Prof. at DePaul University says “the book is strongly influenced by Metaphor Research and Symbolic Modeling“. See especially section 3.3.1.

Sanders, J., de Vries, R., Besseling, S., & Nieuwenhuijze, M. (2018) ‘Such a waste’–Conflicting communicative roles of Dutch midwifery students in childbirth decision making – Midwifery, Volume 64, September 2018, Pages 115-121. sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0266613818301785

In-depth interviews and a focus group with seventeen Dutch midwifery students were conducted and analyzed applying a grounded theory approach. The interviewer asked neutral, non-judgmental questions, using clean language (Tompkins and Lawley, 1997).

Schenck, K. (2013). “So What’s a Meta For?” InterAction – The Journal of Solution Focus in Organisations, Volume 5, Number 2, November 2013, pp. 35-53(19), SFCT. Download original article (PDF)

The approach of Clean Language has cultivated a whole set of questions that may be helpful to know about, and useful for extending the toolbox of Solution Focus questions.

Seldon, B. (2010). How Clean Is Our Language? Training and Development in Australia, Vol. 37, No. 4, Jul 2010: 36-37. Download preprint (PDF)

Sinnige, M. (2019). Bijgewoond: Clean Space. Workshop begeleid door James Lawley en Michael Oskam Haptonomisch Contact nr 1 30e jaargang maart 2019 pp 12-13. Journal of Haptonomic Contact, nr 1, 30th volume, March 2019, pp 12-13. (Translated into English from original Dutch).

Smith, K. (2014). Towards a Model of Clean Supervision. The Listener: A journal for coaches, No.6 October. 17-28  Download original article (PDF)

Švec, V., Nehyba, J. & Svojanovský, P. (Eds.) (2016). STUDENTI UČITELSTVÍ MEZI TACITNÍMI A EXPLICITNÍMI ZNALOSTMI, Brno: Masarykova Univerzita MUNI press. ISBN:978-80-210-8428-5 doi:10.5817/CZ.MUNI.M210-8429-2016  Free Download: munispace.muni.cz/index.php/munispace/catalog/book/887

Chapter authors: Vlastimil Švec, Jan Nehyba, Petr Svojanovský, James Lawley, Radim Šíp, Eva Minaříková, Blanka Pravdová, Barbora Šimůnková, Jan Slavík.

English transaltion  Švec, V., Nehyba, J. & Svojanovský, P. (Eds.) (2017). Becoming a teacher: The dance between tacit and explicit knowledge. Brno: Masaryk University. ISBN:978-80-210-8605-0 doi:10.5817/CZ.MUNI.M210-8605-2017 Download free from: munispace.muni.cz/book?id=887 (click “English”)

The book focuses on pre-service teachers’ tacit knowledge in the second stage of their studies. It deals with the theoretical background and highlights the need for a radical turn in the methodology when we want to explore this concept. Drawing on this, a qualitative method of data collection which was used in the presented research, so called clean language, is described in detail. The empirical part of the book presents studies concerning topics connected to pre-service teachers’ tacit knowledge – unexpected situations, student teachers’ beliefs or explicit and tacit knowledge sharing.

Seldon, B. (2010). How Clean Is Our Language? Training and Development in Australia, Vol. 37, No. 4, Jul 2010: 36-37. search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=329133785918865;res=IELBUS
Sinclair, J. (2019). The Wave Model: A Holistic Exploration of thesea’s positive effect on wellbeing. Chapter 6, Proceedings of Presented Papers 5th Annual Applied Positive Psychology Symposium (Ed. G. M. Cseh) Download original article (PDF)

Questions were asked strategically to expand on nominalisations to help explore ongoing processes present for the interviewee using a ‘clean language’ interviewing technique (Sullivan & Rees, 2008).

Small, S. (2022), “Interviewing for Cause: When Interviewing Is About Life and Death”, Chapter 16 in Cairns-Lee, H., Lawley, J. and Tosey, P. (2022), (Eds.) Clean Language Interviewing, Emerald Publishing, pp. 205-217. doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80117-330-820221016

Snoddon, M. (2005). Legacy of War: Experiences of members of the Ulster Defence Regiment, Conflict Trauma Resource Centre, Belfast. Download original report (PDF)

Research included use of Clean Language in 12 interviews of individuals and four workshops each attended by 20 participants.

Snoddon, M. (2022), “Clean Neutrality in Conflict”, Chapter 13 in Cairns-Lee, H., Lawley, J. and Tosey, P. (2022), (Eds.) Clean Language Interviewing, Emerald Publishing, pp. 167-177. doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80117-330-820221013
Sullivan, W. & Tunney, D. (2022), “Adding Value and Insight: Applying Clean Language Interviewing to Market Research”, Chapter 15 in Cairns-Lee, H., Lawley, J. and Tosey, P. (2022), (Eds.) Clean Language Interviewing, Emerald Publishing, pp. 191-203. doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80117-330-820221015

Surin, J.A. (2020), “The Potential of Clean Language Interviewing for Journalists”. Chapter 7 in Cairns-Lee, H., Lawley, J. and Tosey, P. (2022) (Eds.), Clean Language Interviewing, Emerald Publishing, pp. 89-100. doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80117-330-820221007

Surin, J.A. & Walker, C. A. (2016), That’s not my elephant!: How modelling the way your colleagues use their five senses can lead to deep team-level behavioural change. Rapport, 52, September 28th. pp. 44-47. Download original article (PDF)

Tompkins, P. & Lawley, J. (2006). Coaching with Metaphor, in Cutting Edge Coaching Techniques Handbook Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Coaching at Work, September.  cleanlanguage.com/coaching-with-metaphor

Tompkins, P., Sullivan, W. & Lawley, J. (2005). Tangled Spaghetti in My Head: Making use of metaphor, Therapy Today, Journal of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, October. cleanlanguage.com/tangled-spaghetti-in-my-head

Tosey, P. (2011). ‘Symbolic Modelling’ as an innovative phenomenological method in HRD research: the work-life balance project, presented at the 12th International Conference on HRD Research and Practice across Europe, University of Gloucestershire, 25th–27th May 2011.Download from: openresearch.surrey.ac.uk

This project applied symbolic modelling in order to elicit the naturally occurring metaphors of six mid-career managers in the UK, relating to the way they experienced work-life balance. The analysis yielded a unique metaphor landscape for each manager. A key finding is that, although the ‘work-life balance’ metaphor is widespread, not one of the interviewees’ main metaphors overtly involved ‘a balance’. However, a number of their metaphors implied some form of balancing, for example ‘juggling’, ‘surfing’, or being in ‘equality’. The study illustrates potential enhancements that symbolic modelling and the clean language questioning technique can bring to phenomenological interviewing and analysis in HRD research. The results also have implications for the understanding of work-life balance, and for managers and human resource professionals who are dealing with work-life balance issues in the workplace.

Tosey, P. (2014). Clean Language in Research Interviews. Rapport, 40, pp.44-46. Download original article (PDF)

This introductory article outlines applications of Clean Language to research interviewing. Interviewers are likely to find Clean Language accessible and of potential use as an approach to data gathering.

Tosey, P. (2015). And what kind of question is that? Thinking about the function of questions in qualitative interviewing. Chapter 14 in Handbook of Research Methods on Human Resource Development. Editors, Saunders, M. N. K. & Tosey, P. Edward Elgar Publishing. handbook-of-research-methods

This chapter explores qualitative interviewing, drawing from a project that investigated managers’ metaphors of work-life balance, informed by a practice called Clean Language. The chapter highlights the function of questions in interviews and considers how to design and ask questions in order to elicit data of good quality.

Tosey, P., Cairns-Lee, H. & Lawley, J. (2022), “An Introduction to Clean Language Interviewing for Research”, Chapter 1 in Cairns-Lee, H., Lawley, J. and Tosey, P. (2022), (Eds.) Clean Language Interviewing, Emerald Publishing, pp. 3-16. doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80117-330-820221001
Tosey, P., Cairns-Lee, H. & Lawley, J. (2022), “And, Whereabouts Is Clean Language Interviewing Now?”, Chapter 17 in Cairns-Lee, H., Lawley, J. and Tosey, P. (2022), (Eds.) Clean Language Interviewing, Emerald Publishing, pp. 221-234. doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80117-330-820221017

Tosey, P., Lawley, J. & Meese, R. (2014). Eliciting Metaphor through Clean Language: an Innovation in Qualitative Research, British Journal of Management. Vol. 25, 629–646.
doi: 10.1111/1467-8551.12042 Download a free preprint: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/807943/

This paper shows how an innovative method of questioning called Clean Language can enhance the authenticity and rigour of interview-based qualitative research. We investigate the specific potential of Clean Language as a method for eliciting naturally occurring metaphors in order to provide in-depth understanding of a person’s symbolic world; despite substantial interest in metaphors in the field of organizational and management research there is a lack of explicit, systematic methods for eliciting naturally occurring metaphors. We also demonstrate how Clean Language can improve qualitative research more widely by addressing the propensity for researchers inadvertently to introduce extraneous metaphors into an interviewee’s account at both data collection and interpretation stages. Data are presented from a collaborative academic–practitioner project in which Clean Language was used as a method of interviewing to elicit the metaphors of six mid-career managers, relating to the way they experienced work–life balance. The first contribution of this paper is to demonstrate the potential of Clean Language for eliciting naturally occurring metaphors in order to provide in-depth understanding of a person’s symbolic world. The second contribution is to show how Clean Language can enhance the rigour and authenticity of interview-based qualitative research more widely.

Tosey, P., Sullivan, W. & Meyer, M. (2013). Clean Sources: Six Metaphors a Minute? University of Surrey ISBN: 978-1-84469-029-9 Download from: openresearch.surrey.ac.uk

It is frequently suggested, in relation to Clean Language, that people use six metaphors a minute. But do you know where that figure comes from, and what it is based upon?

van Helsdingen, A. & Lawley, J. (2012). Zuiver belevingsonderzoek: het vermijden van onbedoelde beïnvloeding in kwalitatief onderzoek, Kwalon, 17(3):43-50. Download original article (PDF)

English translated from the original Dutch: Modelling Shared Reality: avoiding unintended influence in qualitative research, Kwalon Vol 3, October 2012. (Journal of the Netherlands Association for Qualitative Research). Download translation (PDF)

Modelling Shared Reality is a new qualitative research methodology which is rooted in Clean Language and Symbolic Modelling. It minimizes undesired influence of the researcher during all stages of the research: design, interviews, analysis and reporting. The methodology is action oriented: both the process and the results function as a catalyst for action, behavioural and organizational change.

van Schuppen, L., Sanders, J. & van Krieken, K. (2021) Navigating Narrative Subjectivity in Schizophrenia: A Deictic Network Analysis of Narrative Viewpoints of Self and Other Inquiries. In Macagno, Fabrizio, Capone, Alessandro (Eds.) Inquiries in Philosophical Pragmatics: Issues in Linguistics. Springer.

An interview was conducted according to the clean language method (Lawley and Tompkins, 2000), which is aimed at minimizing the influence of the interviewer on the verbal narrative production of the interviewee by evading interpretive and morally loaded words like ‘problem’, ‘normal’, ‘strange’, and ‘false’, and asking for clarification without offering interpretation (p.178)

Vanson, S. (2011). Aligning identity in legal services firms: Do senior partners in legal services firms possess the core characteristics of identity to work in alignment within the firm? Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment for award of the degree of Doctor of Business Administration, University of Portsmouth. Download thesis (PDF)

The study used clean language techniques to take out presupposition and incorporate narrative spacing in the questions asked of 11 senior partners from large UK law firms working across a range of legal specialisms.

Walker, C. (2006). Breathing in Blue by Clapton Duck Pond, Counselling Children and Young People, British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, December, pp. 2-5. Download original article (PDF)

Walker, C. & Way, M. (2022), “Coding-in-the-Moment and Other Hidden Skills of Clean Language Interviewing”, Chapter 11 in Cairns-Lee, H., Lawley, J. and Tosey, P. (2022), (Eds.) Clean Language Interviewing, Emerald Publishing, pp. 143-154. doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80117-330-820221011

Walsh, B. , Nixon, S. , Walker, C. & Doyle, N. (2015). Using a Clean Feedback Model to Facilitate the Learning Process. Creative Education, 6, 953-960. dx.doi.org/10.4236/ce.2015.610097 Download original article (PDF)

In this article we examine the clean feedback model developed by Walker and Doyle (2006) and explore its impact on the learning experiences of a purposeful sample of eleven beginning physical education teachers. The findings indicate that the model has improved the students’ ability to give and receive both positive and negative feedback and to improve students self awareness and understanding of their own learning and teaching styles.

Ward, C., Tosey, P. & Cairns-Lee, H. (2013). ‘A Strange Route to Get Here’: Metaphors of Leadership Development and Leadership. Presented at 14th International Conference on Human Resource Development Research and Practice across Europe, 5-7 June 2013: HRD in Turbulent Seas-Continued Global Economic Uncertainty: Challenges and Opportunities. University of Brighton, Brighton Business School, UK. Download original article (PDF)

The purpose of this paper is to explore leaders’ naturally occurring metaphors of leadership development and leadership. It reports a secondary analysis of interview transcripts from a study (Ward and Preece, 2012) of seven leaders.

Way, M (2018) Finding your creative place with Clean Space. Rapport, 61, 44-45. cleanlearning.co.uk/blog/discuss/finding-your-creative-place-with-clean-space

Wilson, C. (2012) “Do you see what I see?” Coaching at Work. Vol 7 Issue 3, pp.52-53. Download original article (PDF)

An account of a session that combines Clean Language and metaphor with an Emergent Knowledge technique called Clean Boundaries.

Wing, S. B. (1994) David Grove Metaphor Therapy and traumatic memory resolution with incarcerated sex offenders. A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology, The Union Institute & University, Ohio. Download thesis (PDF)

Yamagami, Y. & Ramirez, J. (2022), “Clean Language Interviewing in Management Systems Auditing”, Chapter 14 in Cairns-Lee, H., Lawley, J. and Tosey, P. (2022), (Eds.) Clean Language Interviewing, Emerald Publishing, pp. 179-190. doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80117-330-820221014
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