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.

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.

4. Clean Language is information-centered.


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 psychoactivity. It has the ability to recreate and construe context so that it becomes self healing. The healing experience occurs in real time -- not one that the client goes home to think about and then they change. If you get it right, it happens right there in front of you, and mostly it happens in the pauses between questions. Pauses are tremendous servants. They are response-inviting gaps in which psychoactivity takes place. This contrasts markedly with processes which engage cognizance.

G. Clean Language is hard for the therapist operationally and is easy for the client because it addresses the notion: "What's the next question the client would really like to be asked?" and it is a discipline of only using the client's lexicon.

H. In the delivery of Clean Language:

I. Clean Language recognises and gathers together all disparate kinds of information into an organising proximal landscape, or 'psychescape' which includes all the usual suspects (words, feelings, memories) and:

J. Physicality (the precise placement of questions within a client's psychescape) is an agency by which questions induce psychoactivity. Clean questions have a holographic virtual shape to them and have an 'oomph factor' which distinguishes them from other questions. If you don't have oomph, you don't got it. The oomph factor enhances psychoactivity and the oomph can be ascertained in a number of ways:

K. There is no such thing as a resistant client. There is such a thing as a therapist who doesn't know what to do with the client's response. If there is any resistance it's the client's way of training you how to ask a better question.

L. Clean language works with the intelligence between the lines.

M. Clean Language is deeply agreeable to the client's heart and soul.

David Grove conducts healing retreats for therapists and for clients that are referred by therapists. David also conducts training seminars for therapists.  These are located in various places around the world, including USA, UK and New Zealand.  For more information visit and see the Calendar of Events.

David's book, entitled RESOLVING TRAUMATIC MEMORIES and co-authored with B.I. Panzer in 1989 is published by Irvington Publishers, Inc. and available through The book focuses primarily on Quadrant II work and David's theories and methods have evolved significantly since this book was published. The book was recently translated into German.

Also by David Grove:

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