clean language

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Feb 9, 2011, 4:46:15 AM2/9/11
Hi all,

I'd love some feedback on this, and whether it could bring something to NVC:


by David Grove

edited from talk given at a Clean Language Research Day in London, 13 November 1998


1. Clients have within themselves the ability to heal the psychological and somatic wounds of their biographical, ancestral and cultural past.

2. Symptoms are unsuccessful attempts by the mind and body to heal itself. Our job is to create a suitable context in which we can encourage symptoms to be successful.

    Every negative symptom has within itself a deeply coded solution which will not only abate the initial presenting symptom, but will also contribute a confidently positive resource (which compensates the client's psychic economy for the negative effects of the symptom's habitation).

3. The therapist's role is to visit the client's model of the world and unfold solutions that are conducted within the language and logical boundaries of that world.

    Most therapies, to a lesser or greater extent, introduce fictional constructs as an agency which disrupt the client's model of the world based on a therapist's training. Clean Language speaks to an internal evolutionary process as distinct from an external revolutionary overthrow of a client's symptomatic world.

4. Clean Language is information-centered.

    It is neither client nor therapist-centered. To be client-centered means that the locus of therapy is going to the client's ego state, or is egocentric in nature. And to be therapist-centered means the questions come from a therapist's school of thought (as Maslow said, 'if all you have is a hammer, the only thing you'll see are nails.'). Whereas information-centered respects that information is sourced in a number of different places: semantically, somatically, spatially, and also temporally in biographical, ancestral and cultural time.


A. The nature of Clean Language is homeopathic: we are looking to language the minimal that excites the curious.

B. One purpose of Clean Language is the identification, gathering and embracing of symptoms. Whereas most therapeutic modalities see symptoms as negative and needing to be excised in the therapy, the art of Clean Language engages and interrogates symptoms until they confess their strengths.

C. The therapist ought to use questions that do not imply a client's answer should be restricted to a certain modality -- the worst offenders being 'How do you feel about that?' and 'What do you think?'.

D. A therapist's question should be formed in such a way as to not contaminate the client's model of the world with presuppositions inherent in the way a question is asked.

E. Normal dyadic discourse is OK for social conversation, but is not much given to the delivery of language as a healing art.

F. Clean Language encourages ................

Andy "Ray" Taylor

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