I have found The Listening Space to be one of the most accessible and beneficial methods of releasing inner blocks, anxieties, and in some cases even phobias and traumas.
When we ask ourselves or another questions of a certain type and in a specific way, we are able to allow our inner self / subconscious to offer us insights, solutions, and healing in ways which cannot usually be arrived at as easily via linear, cognitive thinking.
This type of inquiry usually elicits naturally occurring metaphors in order to provide in-depth understanding of a person's symbolic understanding of their inner world.
I will facilitate you in exploring an issue that is on your mind. This could be anything from a problem you would like to gain clarity on, an upsetting incident that you can't seem to let go of, or maybe a creative idea you want to develop. This is achieved by using a combination of repeating back your words, and using a specific set of "Clean Questions".
The sessions can also be "content free". In other words if you feel uncomfortable sharing the content of a problem in any detail, you can just assign a phrase or word to it as a marker - such as "This situation/person/place" for example.
Clean Language aims to support clients in discovering and developing their own symbols and metaphors, rather than the facilitator suggesting or contributing their own interpretation of a topic. In other words, instead of "supporting" the client by offering them ready-made metaphors, when the counsellor feels that a metaphor would be useful, the facilitator asks the client, a "clean" question, such as "And that's like what?" The client is invited to invent their own metaphor.
Wendy Sullivan and Judy Rees in their book - Clean Language: Revealing Metaphors and Opening Minds list some of the power of working with metaphors:
- Metaphors condense information, making things more tangible and easier to work with.
- Metaphors can represent experience more fully than abstract concepts, and enable more effective communication.
- Metaphors allow us to think in deeper and more profound ways.
- Someone’s metaphor for an experience has a similar structure to the experience that it represents.
- When people experience change, both their metaphor and their life experience generally associated with it change in tandem.
In The Listening Space, we work on the assumption that people make useful choices when they are encouraged to gain awareness of themselves and do their own thinking. This makes Clean questions the perfect tool for the job since as much as is possible, they ensure that I as a facilitator, put my assumptions and suggestions to one side.