How To Combine Clean Language And NLP

What’ the best way to combine Clean Language and NLP? “It depends!” is the natural answer.

In this blog post I suggested five specific occasions when Clean Language questions might be especially useful:

    • In an intake interview, to clarify goals and explore symptoms
    • When a potentially-useful metaphor emerges
    • When a bind emerges
    • Giving feedback to the client (Clean Feedback)
    • To find out about changes between sessions.

Robert Dilts

And, there’s more to it than that. When you know Clean Language, you have more than just the questions! You’ll understand that frequently, a change agent who can get out of the client’s way, and let them get on with changing, can provide the most value. And you’ll appreciate the value of the client’s own words, psycho-geography and metaphors.

That means that you can take any NLP process and instantly amp up its effectiveness for the client in front of you by combining Clean language and NLP. For example, take Robert Dilts’ and Todd Epstein’s SCORE Model. SCORE stands for Symptoms, Causes, Outcomes, Resources, Effects. NLP clients are often invited to mark out spaces with these labels in a straight line, and then to step sequentially into the spaces to consider these aspects of their situation before moving freely through them at will, “dancing the SCORE”.

The story goes that when Dilts was running a workshop with Clean Language experts Penny Tompkins and James Lawley a few years ago, he discovered that for him, these elements didn’t belong in a line at all! He laid them out in an arrangement which better suited his own psycho-geography, and had better results with the process.

Another example would be the well-known neuro-logical levels of change model: Environment, Behaviour, Capabilities, Beliefs and Values, Identity and Beyond Identity. As the client considers each of these, a clean-trained NLPer can ask Clean Language questions as well as the “official” NLP ones. My colleague Pirjo Mikkola tells me that in Identity and Beyond Identity, the client’s answers will almost always be in metaphor. Clean Language questions can be used to develop the metaphor more fully, making it an even stronger talisman to empower the client at the other levels.

How have you combined Clean Language with NLP? I’d love to hear your examples in the “comments” field below.

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