With Clean Language, are you attempting to change client’s cognitions through metaphor rather than focusing on accepting cognitions and changing behaviors. I got the feeling that the change in metaphors was about playing around with behavior, not cognition, but if that’s not the case, I am a little skeptical. -T. M., psychologist, Baltimore, MD
Let me start by clarifying that it would be inaccurate to say I, as a facilitator, have the intention to change anything. My role is to help the client gain access to his inner world through metaphor, and offer questions that heighten his awareness of the images/symbols there and identify what he wants to have–or not have–happen. To discover his own blocks, own patterns, own system. I ‘hold’ what emerges for the client, direct attention and invite responses.
As we are all systems, I don’t believe you can effect change in a behavior without effecting cognitions and feelings, and visa versa. Who’s to say which comes first? The beauty of the Clean Language approach is you, as the facilitator, don’t have to decide for your client which is the most effective way to help an individual change; you can honor your client’s system’s own knowing–believing the mind/body knows, on some subconscious level, perhaps– what is the best way to heal, in what order, at what pace. It is a process that is client-centered, deeply respectful, and very empowering.
I invite you to approach Clean Language with a curious, open mind, and see what you discover. There is nothing that says you can’t combine this with other ways of working. You will learn to listen precisely, use a client’s exact words, notice things about a client’s words that may well have passed unnoticed, and work with the problem/remedy/outcome model…for starters. I have yet to train a helping/healing professional who was not eager to apply these new skills and ways of thinking.