Clean Language

Clean Language is a medium for the delivery of authentic self-knowledge and healing. It lends itself to the most profound therapeutic transformation and yet can be used informally at home, at work, or in the queue for the bus. It works in ways that conventional language-based methodologies find difficult to resolve. 

The technique of non-assumptive, non-suggestive Clean questioning was created by pioneering therapist David Grove to decipher the code contained in autogenic (self-generated) Metaphor, a higher-order courier for conveying information from the unconscious in such a way that gives rise to Emergent Knowledge, a state of grace that is more than the sum of its parts.

Clean questions do not contaminate the personal elements required for true self-knowledge. They are a counter to the negative aspects of older methodologies in which the practitioner had the power. 

The new Wayfinder book Trust Me, I’m The Patient is a definitive guide to the principles and practices of Clean Language and Therapeutic Metaphor. The article Ethics, Love, and Power Relations elaborates on its philosophy. The booklets How The Brain Feels and Possession and Desire deal with applications of Clean Language in emotion, cognition, and addiction. The book The Power of Six (2009, second edition 2012) is a comprehensive account of the latest application of Clean principles in the field of Emergent Knowledge.


"Clean Language is so much more than a counselling, coaching, or problem-solving process. It enables people  to ‘get inside’ the organization of their own minds like no other methodology we know, which allows the mindbody system to reflect on itself in a remarkably concentrated and direct way."  

James Lawley and Penny Tompkins, psychotherapists, coaches, authors of Metaphors in Mind


Clean Language is a practical, respectful, non-directive, non-interpretative, non-intrusive way of facilitating people to lead fuller, freer lives and be the best they can be. Clean questioning elicits and facilitates personal intelligence that none but the person concerned may retrieve. Most change modalities aim to maximize their influence and to establish a relationship with the client in which the balance of power is tipped heavily in favour of the suppositions and suggestions of the agent of change. The aim of Clean questioning is different: it is to facilitate the client’s relationship with what only they can know.

The immeasurable contribution of the late David Grove to the science and politics of facilitating others means that the conscious and unconscious sub-divisions of a facilitator’s mind can operate without cross-contamination. Clean questioning minimizes the risk of casual assumption and involuntary association, equalizes the balance of power between client and facilitator, and reduces the confusion of negotiating between two sets of perceptions.


"‘Clean’ proclaims the client’s right to be trusted; their right to access, process, and use their own personal experience without expert interference. It is a practical means of facilitating people so that their rights are respected. This is an important challenge at the present moment in evolution. We have daily reminders that populations are demonstrating for their rights to be trusted in the way their countries are governed. It is up to us in the helping professions to ensure that every client who comes to us is facilitated in their own learning instead of being force-fed our learning."  
Jennifer de Gandt, psychotherapist, trainer, Clean facilitator, from her Foreword to Trust Me, I'm The Patient


The content-free nature of Clean questioning does not require the client to respond to the therapist’s fantasies, or to accept or reject the therapist’s reasoning. Clean exchanges are geared to self-psychoactivity. They invite conscious and non-conscious self-knowing to come together in such a way that the system learns to recognize its own organization. Change and growth are self-generated and genuine.