“Clean language – Revealing Metaphors and Opening Minds” by Wendy Sullivan and Judy Rees

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Have you ever wondered if there was a way to help people solve their problems without ever revealing what the problem was? Just by asking questions? If you have then maybe this is the answer for you! Clean Language was developed by David Grove, an exceptional New Zealander, who died unexpectedly last year.
Its roots can be traced back to the Personal Constructs of George Kelly, to the reflecting back methods of Carl Rogers, and the original works of NLP and the development the Milton and Meta models of language. 

This book, “Clean Language – Revealing Metaphors and Opening Minds” by Wendy Sullivan and Judy Rees, takes the ideas of David Grove, and Penny Tompkins and James Lawley and others working in the area of clean language and metaphor, and has produced a simple, concise and elegant method of questioning that gets behind the everyday metaphors that we all use, to discover what is hiding underneath.

Wendy and Judy explain how to use the concepts of metaphor and twelve simple questions to explore the nature of a client’s problem and enable them to work their way behind the metaphor and discover new solutions to old problems

The amazing thing is that simple metaphors have become such a common part of language that we all use, but no one ever really checks what they mean to the individual’s using them. Think of the number of times people say “old Fred is real pain in the neck” –
” pain in the neck” is a metaphor for some sort of annoyance caused by Fred. It is not literally a pain in the neck. So, as therapists, we need to get behind the metaphor to find out what is really going on.

Other everyday examples are used throughout the book in very simple ways to illustrate the techniques and use of the 12 questions to get behind the metaphor. One independent study has concluded that people use roughly six metaphors in a minute of normal conversation! As soon as someone says “it’s like…”, “it’s as though…”, “it’s as if…”, then the following statement will be metaphorical. 

When I first started training in Ericksonian Hypnosis we were told only to use the client’s actual words, because if you paraphrase something that the client says then you’re putting your own slant on it. That is one of things that clean language encourages you to do, as they explain in the book do not paraphrase, parrot phrase – repeat exactly what the client said. So if the client said “I had a really rough week” Using a clean language approach you would explore the concepts of rough , as used by the client e.g. “What sort of “rough week” was it?” 

This book has been written in such a straightforward way that it has been quickly accepted by the health community and became a best seller within four months of publication! And that’s pretty good going in today’s market!!  

So, if you were ever stuck for something to say, or were thoroughly confused by the Metamodel, or did not know how to start dealing with somebody, then this will be a good place to start a new journey of discovery. And you may find that you develop better relationships and improve your understanding of the people in your life, along the way.
Get more information at http://nlpbooks.synthasite.com

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