Panning for Your Client's Gold: 12 Lean Clean Language Processes

Panning for Your Client's Gold: 12 Lean Clean Language Processes

by Gina Campbell


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Panning for Your Client's Gold: 12 Lean Clean Language Processes by Gina Campbell


Looking for easy, effective, and creative ways to engage your client's deeper knowledge of their learning and healing processes?

Psychotherapist David Grove had an insatiable curiosity about how a client subconsciously structures his experience and how change at the subconscious level happens. With a deep respect for the accumulated wisdom in a client's internal world, Grove determined to find ways to keep the facilitator from contaminating the client's experience while fostering self-discovery and self-healing. The result is Clean Language, carefully-worded questions incorporating a client's exact words coupled with strategic processes that create ideal conditions for a client to learn more about himself. The Clean facilitator directs his client's attention, trusting that as the client collects information about his mind and body systems' strengths and weaknesses, insights and confusions, strategies and maladaptations, the system learns from itself, heals, and grows.

Discover twelve easy-to-learn Clean Language processes that combine the science of emergence and Metaphor Therapy as only creative innovator David Grove could.

Clean Language expert Gina Campbell presents twelve Grovian processes for therapists, coun-selors, coaches, and other helping and healing professionals looking for ways to guide their clients in experiential self-exploration. From among the many process Grove developed, Campbell has selected ones that are easy to master and easy to use. You will learn step by step how to facilitate clients to access their inner knowledge and experiences by projecting them onto a drawing or into the surrounding physical space. Spread out before them, your clients'deeper understandings and perspectives readily reveal themselves.

"Gina Campbell has marshaled an admirable array of material into a wonderful resource. For the first time in one book are twelve golden nuggets from David Grove's life work. Whether you are a new coach or an established therapist, your clients will be delighted with how elegantly you facilitate them to find their own resources and solutions. Panning for Your Client's Gold is a wellspring that you will want to return to again and again."


—James Lawley and Penny Tompkins, authors of Metaphors in Mind: Transformation through Symbolic Modelling


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504329279
Publisher: Balboa Press
Publication date: 06/04/2015
Pages: 236
Product dimensions: 8.25(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author


Gina Campbell, MEd

Gina Campbell has led trainings in Clean Language and Symbolic Modeling since 2005. Drawing upon her decades of experience as an educator, developmental counselor, poetry therapy facilitator, and a certified Clean Language practitioner, she expertly guides her trainees to master and apply these profoundly powerful Clean processes. She resides in Baltimore, Maryland, where she trains helping and healing professionals and conducts private sessions for individuals engaged in personal development.



Read an Excerpt


Theories and Intentions


If you are a miner and you want to find gold, there are two ways to go about it. You can mine it, going deep in the earth to search for veins of it. With luck, you tap a primary vein: "hit the mother lode," as they say. The other option is to pan for it, to sift the gravel carried by a stream through a sieve to find what are usually small nuggets. Chance upon a large nugget or find enough smaller ones, and you can amass a wealth of gold.

As a helping or healing professional, you can assist your client in finding his gold, that valuable material that enriches his life by bringing understanding, new perspectives, and sometimes significant shifts and healing. To find it, you could invite him to go deeply into his past and present issues and his mind/body system, like a miner. Or you can guide him to pan for it: you encourage information from the subconscious to come to the surface, touching upon it lightly and briefly. This allows the individual to find his own answers at his own pace, using his expertise on the intricacies of his own self and situation.

Panning for our clients' gold with Clean processes is about:

• Where we as facilitators direct our clients' attention to look for information

• How many and what questions we ask

• How long we spend asking about any one specific detail

Sometimes it benefits your client not to go deeply but to hold his attention near the surface and see what rises to it. This book will give you the right tools and skills to help that happen.

Before we get to the lean Clean processes themselves, let me introduce you to David Grove, the original thinker and grand experimenter who pushed the boundaries of counseling and coaching into new frontiers.


David Grove (1950–2008), originally from New Zealand, was a counseling psychologist by training. Among his early interests in therapeutic techniques were NLP (neurolinguistic programming), Eriksonian hypnosis, and the works of Virginia Satir and Carl Rodgers. Observing and experimenting with clients from his psychotherapy practice, he went on to develop his own theories as to:

• How people internally or subconsciously structure their experiences

• What needs to happen for people to change

• Innovative counseling and coaching processes to help them do it

Most of the 12 Clean processes we will cover are Grove's. A few were developed by others using his general Clean questioning approach.

To give you a conceptual framework to understand what these processes are intended to achieve, let me briefly present six concepts that informed Grove's work. They do not build in a strictly sequential fashion, and there is some overlap. I invite you to notice the concepts' common ground and consider their reoccurring aspects from different perspectives.

But first ...


Emergence attempts to explain how a collection of individual units become complex, self-directing systems. From evolutionary leaps in nature to the growth of cities, from busy ant colonies to sensitive stock markets, self-organizing systems and patterns emerge from innumerable small interactions of the system's parts in response to simple guiding rules, repetitions, and feedback.

When a system reaches a level of complexity for which the existing management structure is no longer adequate, a transformation occurs. Something new, something that is more that just a sum of its parts, comes into existence. By definition, emergent features are unpredictable; there will be characteristics of the new whole that do not exist among its component parts. Thus you cannot know in advance what the "new" will be. Nor can you predict precisely if or when a shift will occur.

Shifts in organizational patterns sift down through the system. In a process termed downward causation, the original component parts that made up the system are affected by the new structure. They change because the individual's system has a feedback loop: it learns from itself. The parts are no longer exactly as they were before.

To give you an example of something that demonstrates emergence, think of a rioting mob. A collection of individuals gather, certain influences are brought to bear — perhaps a speaker inciting hate or a small but critical mass of those present start to run — and individuals start to behave en masse the way they would not alone, often without making a conscious decision to do so. What emerges is a mob mentality. To use a more positive example, take a group of athletes. Individually, they have skills, strengths, and weaknesses and may play a certain way, etc. But something happens to the individuals when they bond as a team. The coach will know it when it happens, for a team is something more than its individual players. It demonstrates a collective, higher order of functioning.

From the microlevel of quantum physics to the macrolevel of the global economy, there are multitudinous examples of emergence at all levels when conditions give rise to some new structure of organization. Fundamental to this concept is that the reorganizing of the system happens naturally, without needing a structural organizer from outside the system. Over the long term, the system self-regulates.

GUIDING CONCEPT #1: We are self-organizing, self-correcting systems

David Grove applied emergence theory to the individual, regarding him as a system of interrelating parts with numerous bits of information, experiences, and coping strategies accumulated over the years. At any given time the system has an organizing structure, a modus operandi or way of functioning.

When the individual has a problem, a contributing factor may be that his system's organization is not optimized to resolve it. Healthy or helpful functioning is not a result of what the interrelating parts are; it is a matter of organization, of how the parts are interacting, which is why, for example, two soldiers with similar combat experiences may experience very different long-term effects.

According to the principles of emergence, with enough pieces of information relating to the problem, a system with a less-than-optimal way of organizing that information will eventually find a better way. This new structure of organization leads to the clients' having a different way of coping or managing, which can in turn, mean new choices and outcomes are possible.

For some clients, the shift filters through the system's parts rapidly. The old structure may have proved to be so inadequate that it collapses and spontaneously disappears entirely. Other times, the new pattern of organization that emerges may incorporate some or all of the old pattern.

Still other times, the old pattern gradually fades away. Given our mind/body system's natural tendency to self-correct to function efficiently and beneficially, as the new structure demonstrates to the mind/body system its more beneficial, stable way of functioning, it becomes the go-to pattern of responding.

Depending on the pressures on it, the new emergent state exists for awhile (maybe for a very long while) until some new dilemma challenges it. This creates a pressure for change, and at some point, a new order will again emerge.

It is a dynamic process of self-correction.

So what might happen when a client's system reorganizes? Of course it is different for each individual, depending on what's needed. In terms of observable effects, I have had clients finally leave a job or relationship, change careers, decide to have an operation, start exercising regularly, lose weight, start AA, have a difficult conversation, cease debilitating grieving, forgive themselves, and do all sorts of things that they had agonized over for months, if not years. Sometimes the effects are more about a pervasive feeling: a sense of relief or joy or engagement with life. Their systems evolve a new coping strategy that allows them to establish a new modus operandi.

Suggestions that come from the outside, that is, any external source such as a therapist's or coach's ideas or solutions, may or may not penetrate to the system level; if they do, they may not override old patterns and beliefs.

David Grove maintained that comprehensive and lasting change, change that resonates throughout the individual's entire system, requires structural reorganizing from within.

How do Grovian processes apply emergence theory?

All Grovian processes rely on the characteristics of emergent systems to naturally self-correct, even those David Grove developed before he began to study the science of emergence specifically (Lawley & Tompkins, 2000). Grove's intention with Clean interventions was to optimize the conditions whereby the client discovers, accesses, and accumulates information from his mind/body system, including relevant data that may have been inaccessible or unrecognized before.

The processes focus the Clean facilitator on structuring the exploratory experience rather than introducing any new content.

Grove used the term Emergent Knowledge to describe his processes that most fully assign the job of identifying and exploring elements of his inner system to the client himself. In Emergent Knowledge processes, developed by Grove and Clean coach Carol Wilson, the facilitator follows a scripted sequence of questions and directives, giving the client's system full rein to determine what sort of information gets collected.

GUIDING CONCEPT #2: Work from the bottom up

Fundamental to the processes David Grove developed is the respect in which he held the client's wisdom and the confined role he assigned for the coach, therapist, or other helper or healer. In Clean processes the client, not the professional, is the expert on himself. The professional is there to hold the space and facilitate the client's exploration. Grove would surely never have assigned so little responsibility to the facilitator and so much to the client unless he truly believed — and had seen demonstrated quite literally thousands of times in his practice — that clients have within what they need to heal.

So if the client is to get accurate information about his inner organizing structure, where does the facilitator direct him to start looking?

Top-down approaches

Helping professionals using top-down approaches start with preestablished generalities, to which a client is compared. This might mean referring to a list of categories to which the client is matched. These categories then suggest appropriate ways to diagnose and work with the client. Examples would be the DSM-V, Enneagrams, and the Meyers-Briggs Inventory.

While some practitioners adhere to their chosen framework without deviance, others use the frameworks to inform, but not dictate, what they do. In either case, a top-down approach inevitably involves applying some assumptions. If your framework has only square boxes, you will probably be looking for and asking about only what is in the square boxes. You risk missing entirely what's outside the boxes, especially if your client isn't consciously aware of it.

A bottom-up approach

Grove believed that to help a client learn about and help himself, he is best off working from the bottom up, that is, starting from scratch. No predetermined boxes. The facilitator encourages the client to expand his self-awareness by helping him find fundamental self-definitions: Who am I? What do I know? What do I want? What needs to change for me to get what I want? These are broad, generic questions that provide no implicit answers.

David Grove determined to make as few assumptions as possible in the way he worked. His guiding intention was to work with the client's own content only, trusting that the client would find for himself what he needs.

Equal information employers

One of the distinguishing characteristics of Grove's Clean processes is they are designed to work with whatever the client offers up, regardless of the kind or source of information. They are what Grove called "equal information employers." Information may come from the past or the present or be oriented to the future. It can be a feeling, a thought, a belief, a behavior, or a gesture. It can be an image, a metaphor, or a sound. Its relevance may not be immediately obvious to you or the client. But with patience and trust in the process and in the client, what is needed will emerge.

GUIDING CONCEPT #3: We learn best through experiences

You might be wondering: if emergence theory applies to individuals, if they are self-correcting and self-organizing, then why are so many people confused, dysfunctional, or otherwise not able to act in their own best interests? Because there's yet another key element of a responsive, self-correcting mind/body system. You can have identified the process — encouraging conditions for emergence leads to self-correction. You can know the source of the information needed for self-correction — the client. You can know from which direction to work — the bottom up. But you also have to be able to access the needed information.

How do you access relevant information, especially if it is subconscious?

When you work with Grovian processes, you come to realize that having your client spend a lot of time talking about what happened in his past or about his present is not as helpful as you might think (assuming, of course, we are not talking about someone who is in danger). Knowing a client's history, the what of his story, may not be all that relevant; often more important are questions about the how. How does his system function? What lessons for surviving and thriving has it learned? What coping strategies has it adopted? Do they serve him well? What internal resources does he rely on? How do any or all of these need to change?

It is the difference between focusing on the content of your client's history and the way he processes information, all types of information: mental, emotional, physical, behavioral, spiritual, internal, external, etc.

Experiential processes

Directly asking a client these how questions is not likely to be particularly revealing. Most of us don't have much insight into how we do what we do. Some of us are good at coming up with explanations if asked, for the human mind naturally seeks to create a narrative. But often it turns out our conscious, cognitive awareness is incomplete.

Our subconscious minds are much better sources for this how-I-do-it (or can't-do-it) sort of information. And the way to access the subconscious best is through experiential processes that engage the whole mind/body.

While early practitioners of experiential processes relied on experimenting and making qualitative assessments of the processes' effectiveness, recent research into how the brain works offers still another argument in their favor. For the brain to be receptive to learning and change, to exhibit what is termed brain neuroplasticity, the conditions that need to be met are the very ones that such processes create. As Daniel Seigel (2010), clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and expert in the field of the relationship between brain science and psychotherapy, describes it:

Under the right conditions, neural firing can lead to strengthening of synaptic connections. These conditions include repetition, emotional arousal, novelty, and the careful focus of attention. Strengthening synaptic linkages between neurons is how we learn from experience. (p. 40)

As you learn the Clean processes in this book and, hopefully, experience them yourself, I think you will find each of these criteria is met: the repetition of words and questions, the surprisingly visceral and emotional quality of the client's experience, the novelty of what I call "experiencing oneself" through metaphors and process-guided moving in space, and a slowing down and extended careful focusing of attention.

I would add that Grove studied hypnosis and deliberately designed Clean Language questions, with their unique wording and rhythm, to naturally induce a light trance state, from which the subconscious is more readily accessible.

As the client's brain is primed to be more flexible, more open to new learning and possibilities, he may be able to let disturbing or problematic neural connections fade. He may eject old patterns and establish new priorities, new responses, and new patterns. Engaged in an experiential process, the client's mind/body/brain system may more readily self-correct.


So let's review for a moment.

Guiding Concept #1: People are systems that self-correct based on the principles of emergence.

Guiding Concept #2: To achieve an accurate model of his organizing structure, an individual should work from the bottom up.

Guiding Concept #3: We learn best and thus change most readily through "experiencing ourselves" by engaging in experiential processes that put us in touch with our subconscious understanding of how we do what we do.


Excerpted from "Panning For Your Client's Gold"
by .
Copyright © 2015 Gina Campbell.
Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

About this Book, xiii,
Section One: Theories and Intentions, 1,
Section Two: Priming the Pump, 23,
Section Three: When Space Becomes Psychoactive, 41,
Section Four: When the Page Becomes Psychoactive, 77,
Section Five: Making a Plan, 105,
Section Six: Clean Closures, 121,
Section Seven: Clean Processes with Groups, 127,
Section Eight: Mix and Match, 153,
12 Lean Clean Processes Scripts, 191,
What's Next?, 208,
Resources, 210,
Glossary of Terms, 212,
Bibliography, 214,
Endnotes, 216,
Contact Information, 217,

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