The Developing Group

List of topics
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We established The Developing Group in 2001 as a regular forum for the exploration of new ideas in the field of all things Clean – and we met three to six times a year until 2022. Totalling exactly 100 workshops!

The list of topics below represents the development of our ideas and methods since the publication of our book Metaphors in Mind in 2000.

Our aim was to provide a setting where, within a clean approach:

  • Leading-edge thinking can be applied in practical ways
  • We can go into greater depth and get feedback on specific aspects related to Symbolic Modelling and other Clean approaches
  • Participants can develop their modelling skills and the ability to work systemically.

The Developing Group was for people who used Symbolic Modelling and David Grove’s Clean Language, Clean Space, Emergent Knowledge and other Clean processes. Annual membership of the group was open to those who were recommended by a leading member of the Clean community, or who have the equivalent of 10 days training and who have maintained a fluency with Clean Language.

The Developing Group was not a training. Each day examined a topic that we found interesting and worth researching. Participants did not know what the topic would be until we sent out an email a few weeks in advance.

Often we provided preparatory notes which, with the input from the day, either formed the basis for an article or were published as a ‘work in progress’ paper.

All the topics presented at the group are listed below. Most of them contain a link to preparatory notes which, with the input from the day, either formed the basis for an article or were published as a ‘work in progress’ paper. Click on the links below to go direct to the relevant paper. Or if you prefer a you can browse a brief description of each paper at The Developing Group papers.

In 2020, our twentieth year, circumstances meant we needed to go online. As a result the group developed a more international membership. Each workshop was run over two recorded half days. The recordings and resources created for the online workshops are available here: devgroup.thinkific.com.

If you would like to access this material please contact us to discuss it.

Penny Tompkins and James Lawley

* These papers are published in various professional and academic journals.

2022Nov 26/27The characteristics of heuristics
 Oct 1/2How desires and problems relate
 Jun 11/12Working with Intensely Un-resourceful States
 Apr 2/3On the Edge: Facilitating at the margins
2021Nov 20/21Going Out and Going In: Dissociation and Fragmentation
 Sep 11/12Living in the Blend – Counterfactual thinking
 Apr 24/25From whence it came: Revisiting David Grove’s early work
2020Nov 14/15Seizing a Thought: Learning from Method of Levels
 Sep 5/6Stick or Twist: Tracking attention
 July 4/5Investigating Agency
 May 2/3David Grove’s last four questions

In person

2019Nov 9Life-directing patterns
 Sep 14What do you do when you can’t have what you want?
 Jul 13Modelling self-modelling
 May 11Working systemically with linear logic
2018Nov 10Holding space
 Sep 18Antifragility & Skin in the Game: Hidden risk & opportunity
 Jul 21What do you do when you don’t know what to do?
 May 19Working with physical symptoms: Same or different?
2017Nov 25Becoming more mindful with Clean Language & Symbolic Modelling
 Sep 16It’s a matter of opinion
 Jul 8Going live
 May 6The “When …what happens what happens to …?” question
2016Dec 3Learning from transcripts
 Oct 8Appreciating aesthetics: The effect of beauty
 Jul 9It’s about time: Modelling frames of desire
 May 7Questioning Clean Language questions: Combinations & variations
2015Nov 28Extending Clean Space (with Marian Way)
 Oct 3Saying ‘No’ to self: Modelling the structure of self-restraint
 Jul 4It takes two to tango: Changing relationship patterns
 May 9Getting to ‘It’: First words, first questions
2014Nov 29Embodying others’ metaphors and acquiring their tacit knowledge
 Sep 27Polishing the mirror of reflective practice
 Aug 2Calibration and evaluation 3 years on
 May 24The leader-follower dynamic: A systemic perspective
2013Nov 30Solution focus through a Clean lens *
 Sep 28What do you say before you say goodbye?
 July 6Deconstructing feedback
 May 18Applying cross-domain thinking
2012Dec 1What’s the ‘co-’ in cooperating, collaborating and co-Inspiring?
 Oct 8What’s in a name?: The effect of labelling on experience
 Jul 7Inhibition: The art of systemic balancing
 May 12Pointing to a new modelling erspective *
2011Dec 3Clean evaluative interviewing
 Oct 1Self-nudging: How we can bias our future self
 Jul 9Calibrating when what you are doing is working–and when it’s not
 May 14REPROCEss: Modelling attention *
2010Dec 4What did Improv ever do for us?
 Sep 4Modelling the written word
 Jun 5Huh?: Shifting frames
2009Dec 5Modelling how we act from what we know to be true
 Oct 3Cognitive dissonance and creative tension
 Aug 1Clean Space revisited
 Jun 6Embodied schema: The basis of embodied cognition
 Apr 4Accepting acceptance
 Feb 28Attending to salience
2008Dec 6Clowning and the art of split attention
(with Vivian Gladwell and Carol Thompson nosetonose.info)
 Oct 4Joining up the work of David Grove *
 Aug 2Vectoring and systemic outcome orientation
 Jun 7Maximising serendipity: A systemic approach to change
 Apr 5Black Swan logic: Thinking outside the norm
 Feb 2“And Death Shall Have No Dominion” – A memorial to David Grove
2007Dec 1Responding-in-the-moment (with Random Acts Theatre Company)
 Oct 6Coaching in the moment
 Aug 4The neurobiology of space
 Jun 2The Systemic Nature of TA Games: When Symbolic Modelling meets Transactional Analysis (with Michael Mallows)
 Mar 31‘If only God would give us a sign’ – The role of meta-Comments *
 Feb 3Iteration, iteration, iteration
2006Dec 2David Grove presents Emergent Knowledge
 Oct 7Modelling conflict
 Aug 5Using Symbolic Modelling as a research and interview tool
 Jun 3Thinking networks – II
 Apr 1Becausation: Causality through a cognitive linguistics lens
 Feb 4PPRC: Paying attention to what they’re paying attention to
2005Dec  3When the remedy is the problem
 Oct 1Learning from relationship
 Aug 6Clean conversations: Remaining Clean-ish in everyday settings
 Jun 4Feedback loops
 Apr 2When ‘where’ matters: How to create & utilise psychoactive space *
 Feb 5Preferences: What and how we like
2004Dec 4When and how to use ‘when’ and ‘as’
 Sep 25Body awareness (with Julie Driver)
 Jul 31Proximity and meaning: A ‘clean’ approach to adjacency *
 Jun 5Thinking Networks – I
 Apr 3Learning to act from what you know to be true
 Feb 7Self-deception, self-delusion and self-denial
2003Dec 6It’s happening now!
 Oct 4A developmental perspective
 Aug 2Levels: All the way up and all the way down
 Jun 7Multiple perceptions, perspectives and perceivers
 Apr 5Context matters
 Feb 1Constructivism: It’s only a construct
2002Dec 7Endings and beginnings
 Oct 5Utilising autogenic metaphor
 Aug 3Metonymy and part-whole relations
 Jun 1Modelling dynamic equilibrium
 Apr 6Perspectives to model by
 Feb 16What is emergence?
2001Dec 1A Model of musing: The message in a metaphor *
 Oct 13BIG FISH in a small pond: The importance of scale *
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