Article from www.cleanlanguage.co.uk


The first Clean Space process

Notes from a David Grove training workshop
Auckland, February 2002

The first recorded mention of the words 'clean space' I've found are in David Grove's 1998 paper Problem Domains And Non-Traumatic Resolution Through Metaphor Therapy:

The first step is to create a clean space. The client finds a place in the room where they are comfortable.  The client also determines the therapist's location in the room. This is so the therapist doesn't interfere by contaminating the perceptual space of the client. By creating a clean space for the client the therapist has given the client control of his/her own perceptual space.

As far as I am aware the first recorded notes of the Clean Space process came from a workshop David gave in Auckland, New Zealand in February 2002. (We are not sure who took these notes – please let us know if you know.)

There are two versions of the process below:

1. The original unedited notes
and
2. A reformatted version. (To aid my understanding I separated the process from the commentary.)

Legend has it that David Grove’s first inkling of Clean Space occurred on a container ship voyage in 2001. He said he wanted to place himself in a context where he could have an out-of-the-ordinary relationship with physical space in order to better consider perceptual space.

The Clean Space process went through many iterations – for example, see the 2003 model Penny Tompkins and I created – before it morphed into Emergent Knowledge several years later. The version below is a snap shot in time. Since it is embryonic it contains several vestiges of David's previous work interspersed within the core elements of Clean Space. We are publishing it because of its historical significance in the evolution of David's thought.

(James Lawley, 23 July 2009)

1. The original notes

Where to start when working with space:

Encourage the client to write a mission statement or draw a picture on paper and then place it somewhere in the room, which sets up the observer, the observed and the space in between. Sometimes the client will not want to draw or write and it may just be an age or a colour or a shape, which would represent the statement, and if no words etc. at all, then use the space in the room.

And then ask them to place the therapist within the room. The dialogue will be between the client and their statement or map or the space not with the therapist.

So, the first question to ask is this one which allows the Gestalt of the space to begin, So what do you know there, about there and about that? (The space allows the person to carry information about their statement or map.) Notice also about the body and gestures that the client may make.  Ask questions to the body and these gestures, What kind of feet are those feet, in that position and in that place.  - What else do know about that from there.

When this position (which is position 1) has been established then facilitate the client to move around the room and to find another position to know something different to what they know now. As soon as the client goes even slightly into the trauma, move them into another position where they can again know different information.  Then ask the question, What do you know here about that? (and refer again to the original mission statement or the previous position).
 
It is possible to 'pull back' in these spaces when appropriate. As the client moves around the room there will be an agreement with spaces to allow further information which allows an unfolding and many different views of the same situation. The client can be asked to comment from his/her current position on the other spaces as well as the original mission statement and position 1.

The space then becomes psycho-active as the different spaces communicate, and without any intervention whatsoever the client begins to uncover memories that have been previously out of their awareness. 

After all the exchanges have taken place move the client back to position 1 and ask, What do you now know about that from there and knowing what you now know? (This addresses the original mission statement etc.)  After all of that it may be appropriate to ask the client if they would like to make any changes to their original statement.

2. James Lawley's formatted version
[Words in square brackets are mine.]

Where to start when working with space:


Set up the observer, the observed and the space in between.

[Ask] the client to write a mission statement or draw a picture on paper and then place it somewhere in the room.

Sometimes the client will not want to draw or write. It may just be an age or a colour or a shape which would represent the statement. If [they have] no words etc. at all, use a space in the room.

Then ask them to place the therapist within the room.

The dialogue will be between the client and their statement or map or the space not with the therapist.

The first question to ask is one which allows the gestalt of the space to begin:

So what do you know there, about there and about that?

The space allows the person to carry information about their statement or map.

Notice also their body and the gestures that the client may make. Ask questions to the body and these gestures:

What kind of feet are those feet, in that position and in that place?

[Then ask:]

What else do know about that from there?

[When] this position (which is position 1) has been established, facilitate the client to move around the room and to:

Find another position to know something different to what they know now.

As soon as the client goes even slightly into the trauma, move them into another position where they can again know different information.  

As the client moves around the room there will be an agreement with spaces to allow further information which allows an unfolding and many different views of the same situation.

The client can be asked to comment from his/her current position on the other spaces as well as the original mission statement and position 1.

What do you know here about that? (refer to the original mission statement or a previous position).

[It] is possible to 'pull back' [time] in these spaces when appropriate.

The space then becomes psychoactive as the different spaces communicate, and without any intervention whatsoever the client begins to uncover memories that have been previously out of their awareness.  

[After] all the exchanges have taken place,

 Move the client back to position 1 and ask:

What do you now know about that (the original mission statement etc.) from there and knowing what you now know?

After all of that it may be appropriate to:

 Ask the client if they would like to make any changes to their original statement.




URL: http://www.cleanlanguage.co.uk/articles/articles/254/1/Clean-Space-the-first-workshop-2002/Page1.html


Until his untimely death in 2008 David innovated numerous therapeutic methods and he conducted training seminars in the USA, UK, France and in his country of origin New Zealand. In 1989 he co-authored with B.I. Panzer, Resolving Traumatic Memories: Metaphors and Symbols in Psychotherapy. He was the originator Clean Language, Clean Space, Emergent Knowledge and a host of other processes.
 

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