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Exercises

We designed the following exercises with appreciation to David Grove for introducing us to many of the ideas on which these activities are based.

NOTE: These are awareness-raising activities. Where you are in a Facilitator role your job is to facilitate the Explorer to self-model, you do not have a contract for change work.

Exercise 1
: Where is your sense of ...

This is an awareness activity. While it can be done alone it is best done in a group of four to six so that the results can be compared.

a) Each person divides a plane sheet of paper into 9 with each square labeled as:


1.
2. 
 3.
4. 
 5.  6.
7. 
 8.  9.

b) Either:
Each person reads the instructions, identifies the locations and and draws their sketches in the relevant box.
Or preferably:
One person reads out the instructions s-l-o-w-l-y and gives the others time to locate each of their answers in their body or perceptual space and then draw their sketches in the relevant box.

[NOTE: Some people prefer to locate and draw one at a time, others prefer to locate all nine and then draw them all. Or you can compromise and do them in three sets of three. You will just have to experiment.]

The context is right now with a current partner or a significant other. 


Guide says (use only these words):
1.  I In the context of your partnership, where is your 'I'?
2.  me Where is your ‘me’?
3.  myself

Where is ‘myself’?
4.  us In the context of your partnership, where is ‘us’?
5.  we Where is ‘we’?
6.  our

Where is ‘our’?

7.  -> you When your partner says ‘you’, where does that ‘you’ go?
8.  you ->
When you say ‘you’ to your partner, where does that ‘you’ seem to go?
9. -> you
(plural)


When someone else says ‘you’ about the partnership, where does that ‘you’ go?

c) Reflect on your nine sketches – what do you learn from the way you experience these nine aspects of yourself and relationship?

d) Compare sketches – notice any patterns or distinctions.

NOTE: While most of us experience I, Me, Myself, You somewhere inside or nearby their body. There is usually much more variation in how we experience Us, We, Our, You (partnership). Common ways people symbolise these experiences are to use:

Location & relative distance (see our article on Proximity and Meaning)
Relative size
Figures touching or not
Inside or outside a container/boundary
Direction/facing (in front/behind)
Perspective from which drawing is done.
Sided-ness (left or right)
Firmness/Thickness of pen/pencil lines in the drawing.
Colour.


Exercise 2: The Respect – Disrespect – Contempt continuum


John Gottman's research shows the amount of respect/contempt is a predictor of the longevity of a relationship. Gottman says 94% of couples, once they start on the contemptful road, can’t get off.

We suggest that one of the reasons is that they simply don’t know when they are being contemptful.

By doing this activity you can raise your awareness of how you experience respect/contempt. The aim is for a self-feedback loop is established so that it is clear as soon as either party starts to move toward the disrespect-contempt end of the continuum.

In a pair: Explorer and Facilitator.

The context your relationship with your current partner or a significant other. 

a) Explorer:
- Use the context of your partner or a significant relationship.
- Assume that Respect – Disrespect – Contempt lie on a continuum.
- Imagine two lines on the floor that represent the continua of:

1. When you are:

most respecting them               Disrespecting         Most contempting them
_____|_____________________________________|________________


2. When they are:

     most respecting you                 Disrespecting                      most contempting you
__________|___________________________________________|_____


b) Explorer identifies two places on each continuum:

- One that symbolises the most respect/least contempt they have experienced with that person.
- The other, the least respect/most contempt.

c) For each place, Explorer stands on continuum and is facilitated (preferably with Clean Language) to identify the (visual, auditory and/or feeling) signals that let them know how they experience:

1a.    You    --- Contempt --->    Partner
When you are disrespecting or contempting your partner, how do you know you are disrespecting or contempting them?

1b.    You    --- Respect --->    Partner
When you are respecting your partner, how do you know you are respecting them?

2a.    You    <--- Contempt ---    Partner
When your partner is disrespecting or contempting you, how do you know they are disrespecting or contempting you?

2b.    You    <--- Respect ---    Partner
When your partner is respecting you, how do you know they are respecting you?

The aim is for the Explorer to identify four signals/knowings.

NOTE:
The signals that you are being respectful/contemptful to them may be a combination of:

Exterior
- Your behaviour
- Their reaction
Interior
- Your signals before their reaction
- Your signals after their reaction

They are being respectful/contemptful to you?

Exterior - Their behaviour
Interior - Your signals



Exercise 3  - Part 1

In pairs, an Explorer and a Facilitator. 15 minutes in each role. 30 minutes in total.

The context your relationship with your current partner or a significant other. 

NOTE: If you are bold, you might like to do this activity with your partner. You can either facilitate each other one at a time, or both of you could jointly be the Explorer – with or without a Facilitator.

a) Explorer locates four spaces where they would like them to be, one for each:





b) Explorer stands in space 1 and nonverbally gets a sense* of what this experience is like.

c) Explorer moves to space 4 and nonverbally gets a sense* of what this experience is like.

d) Explorer moves to space 2 and is asked:

How do you know you are respecting them?

How do you know they are not respecting you?


e) Explorer moves to space 3 and is asked:

How do you know you are not respecting them (by their definition)?

How do you know they are respecting you (by their definition)?

* If you have the time this sense can be developed in a metaphor using Clean Language.



Exercise 3 - Part 2



a) Explorer returns to space 3.

    Facilitator asks Explorer:

A. When you are disrespecting them, what needs to happen for you to respect them — by their definition?

B. And if that cannot happen, what would like to have happen?

b) Explorer returns to space 2.

    Facilitator asks Explorer:

C. When they are disrespecting you what needs to happen for them to respect you?

D. And if that cannot happen, what would like to have happen?

c) Explorer moves to a fifth space, outside of the other four.

    Facilitator asks Explorer:

And what have you learned?

And what difference will that make?



Exercise 4

In pairs, an Explorer and a Facilitator 20 minutes in each role. 40 minutes in total.

a) Explorer sketches two pictures or metaphors, one for each of —

A    When you are respecting someone.

B    When they are not respecting you.

b) Facilitator uses exactly the following instructions and questions:

1. Place that [B] where it needs to be.
    Place that [A] where it needs to be in relation to that [point to B].
[with Explorer at A:]
    And where would you like me to be? [Facilitator moves there]

2. Are you in the right space there?
    Is that [point to B] in the right space there?
    Is this the right distance between you and [point to B]?

[If not, have Explorer move A and/or B until they are just right.]

3. And what do you know from this space here [A]?
    And what do you know from this space here about there [point to B]?
    And is there anything else you know from this space here?

    And find another space to go to. [The explorer moves to C.]

4. And what do you know from this space here [C]?
    And what do you know from this space here about there [point to B]?
    And what do you know from this space here about there [point to A]?
    And is there anything else you know from this space here?

    And find another space to go to. [The explorer moves to D.]

5, 6 and 7. [Repeat step 4 for spaces D, E and F (or until the time runs out).]

8.   Return to space of A: 

And what do you now know?

And what difference will that make?


Exercise 5: What do you do when you can’t both have what you want?


The context is your relationship with your current partner (or a significant other if not in a relationship) when you both want different things or are in conflict or disagreement.  Preferably this should still be a current, ongoing or unresolved disagreement. The content of this disagreement should preferably not be revealed. It can be referenced as a code word or symbolic drawing if needs be.

Explorer identifies four locations, one each for:

- What they want = X.
- Where they are now in relation to what they want = I.
- What their partner wants = Y
- Where their partner is in relation to what they want = P

The space between 'I' and 'X', and 'P' and 'Y' symbolises each person’s relationship with their own desired outcome (positions of circles are illustrative, Explorer can arrange them as they like) :




1. Explorer starts in I. 
    Facilitator asks:
  • And what do you know from here about X?
  • And what do you know from here about the you who wants X?
  • And what do you know from here about Y?
  • And what do you know from here about P who wants Y?
Then:
  • Move to there [P]
2. [Explorer moves to P]
  • And what do you know from here about Y?
  • And what do you know from here about the P who wants Y?
  • And what do you know from here about X?
  • And what do you know from here about the I who wants X?
Then:
  • Find a space that knows about the space between X and Y.
3. [Explorer moves]*
  • And what do you know from here about the relationship between the X and Y?
  • And is there anything else you know from here?
Then:
  • Find a space that knows about the space between P and Y.
4. [Explorer moves]
  • And what do you know from here about the relationship between the X and Y?
  • And is there anything else you know from here?
Then:
  • Find a space that knows about the space between the P that wants Y, and the you who wants X.
5. [Explorer moves]
  • And what do you know from here about the relationship between that P and that you?
  • And is there anything else you know from here?
Then:
  • Find a space that knows about the space between the you that wants X, and X.
6. [Explorer moves]
  • And what do you know from here about the relationship between that you and X?
  • And is there anything else you know from here?
Then:
  • Find a space that’s outside or beyond or above all of this.
7. [Explorer moves]
  • And what do you know from here about all of that [gesture to all eight spaces]?
  • And is there anything else you know from here?
Then:
  • Return to your starting space.
8. [Explorer returns to I]
  • And what do you know from here now?
  • And what difference does knowing that make?

* sample configuration:



Penny Tompkins & James Lawley
Penny and James are supervising neurolinguistic psychotherapists – registered with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy since 1993 – coaches in business, certified NLP trainers, and founders of The Developing Company.

They have provided consultancy to organisations as diverse as GlaxoSmithKline, Yale University Child Study Center, NASA Goddard Space Center and the Findhorn Spiritual Community in Northern Scotland.


Their book,
Metaphors in Mind
was the first comprehensive guide to Symbolic Modelling using the Clean Language of David Grove. An annotated training DVD, A Strange and Strong Sensation demonstrates their work in a live session. They have published over 200 articles and blogs freely available on their website: cleanlanguage.co.uk
 
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