Les Origines


Clean Emergence is based on the work of David Grove , which I had the chance to study with David from 1997 to his early death in 2008. David, as Eric Rossi once said, was like a “gentle genie let out of the bottle”. He certainly went far from his roots geographically, working in the USA, UK, Europe, but alwys deeply influenced by his early life in New Zealand, where he was born to a Christian father and a Maori mother.


His first therapeutic work was in the late 70’s and 8O’s with the traumas of Vietnam veterans and of sexual abuse in families. Contrary to the therapeutic practices of re-enactment much used at the time, he explored the effects of staying close to his client’s words and so to their experience, restricting himself to very simple questions. He found that when he did this consistently, people fell into metaphorical language. Their experience when asked “And that was like what?” would produce a description like “ It is like pushing against a brick wall”, “it is like drowning”, “it is like a volcano”. This entrance to the Right Brain’s creativity David took seriously, keeping his questions simple and clear like “And what kind of wall is that wall?” or “Is there anything else about drowning?” “And where is that volcano?” thus developing an unknown landscape that gave form to the invisible sensations created by thinking about the event. He found that if he continued this development further finding a time sequence “And what happened just before volcano?” or accompanying his client in the story “And what happens next?” he allowed his client to relive the trauma not in direct but in a parallel description that existed in the present moment and thus could permit new unexpected resolutions to emerge. The good news was that the metaphorical description did not cause re-traumatisation. The Right brain transferred the new information to the Left Brain, a process known as Isomorphism, thus allowing the metaphorical description and new solution to be registered and used for new action in the world.
Later his Clean Language, based on 9 basic questions, was seen to be equally useful in problem solving at other less traumatic levels. It has been developed extensively for Coaching and for Team work in Business, Education and general Life Skills. The principle remains the same:
The Questions are simple and direct and follow exactly the client’s words thus tracking the movements of their minds without imposing the models of the Facilitator. The Client’s inner space opens to a deeper Intelligence that can find resources and solutions not available in ordinary discourse.
This deeply client-centered approach moves to “a fourth kind of power relation – not sovereign, not disciplinary, not auto-repressive but shared, mutual and independently exercised”. This is a quote from Philip Harland in his book “Trust me I am the Patient” where he discusses the profound effects of using Clean Language so clients enter their own inner experience of outer events.
Books: “Trust me I’m the patient” Philip Harland .
“ “Manuel de Clean Coaching” Bogena Pieskiewicz in French
“Metaphors in Mind” Penny Tompkins and James Lawley; “Metaphors dans la Tête” in French.


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