About Clean Language & Symbolic Modelling

Our paths crossed in 1991 while studying a form of applied psychology called neuro-linguistic programming and we began a personal and professional partnership. We became psychotherapists registered with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) through the Neuro-Linguistic Psychotherapy and Counselling Association (NLPtCA) in 1993 and established a private practice in London.

In 1995, Penny’s intuition to seek out a therapist called David Grove — originator of Clean Language and pioneer in the therapeutic use of client-generated metaphor — was yet another turning point. This started a five-year research project, culminating in the publication of our first book, Metaphors in Mind: Transformation through Symbolic Modelling and the training DVD, A Strange and Strong Sensation.

Symbolic Modelling uses personal metaphors to facilitate clients to work with higher levels of experience — core beliefs, sense of identity and purpose, the spiritual — as well as complex and seemingly intractable issues that are not amenable to traditional techniques. Metaphors and symbols are like threads which weave together to create a continually unfolding tapestry — the fabric of our existence. Metaphors are so fundamental, pervasive and embedded in thought, word and deed that they tend to remain out of our awareness. Through Symbolic Modelling we become aware of the way our metaphors define our experience. They show how our symbolic mind-body-spirit perceptions work together as a perfectly functioning system. This model of self, or metaphor landscape, exists as a living, breathing, dynamic, multi-dimensional world within and around us. As we explore this symbolic world it begins to evolve, thereby creating the conditions for a transformative shift in the way we perceive our self and our relationships. And as this happens, our everyday thinking, feeling and behaviour change as well.

Our passion is using Symbolic Modelling to develop the developers of others (therapists, counsellors, coaches, managers and teachers), to research new applications of metaphor, and to continue our own personal and spiritual evolution.