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Clean Language:Revealing Metaphors and Opening Minds: Revealing Metaphors and Opening Minds Paperback – 30 Dec 2008
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This book promises to transform the way we think about language and meaning. --Psychologies Magazine
One of the most fundamental and important tools available in NLP and coaching. This book stands out for the clarity of its explanations and makes Clean Language commonsense. The communicators' bible. --Toby McCartney, WestOne Training, Author of Mastering Memory
I really love this book. It s a gift book for any helper. I praise the 16 chapters of Clean Language. The book is so well constructed. So refreshingly clear to read. So it is with pleasure, that its comes highly recommended to others. --Deborah Rose: DipM, MA Marketing Consultant and Facilitator
About the Author
Wendy Sullivan is an international trainer of Clean Language and Symbolic Modelling who has worked extensively with the founders of that field. Judy Rees is a certified Clean Facilitator an expert in Clean Language and Symbolic Modelling, and runs a London-based Clean Language Company with Wendy Sullivan.
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Top customer reviews
Questioner: What would a five star book of this kind look like?
Speaker: It would introduce clean language techniques in a clear manner that I could apply.
It would link these techniques to their roots in NLP , Ericksonian Hypnosis, Systemic approaches and solution Focused Therapy.
It would honestly appraise the approach and admit to wide influences , even if they were from other approaches than Clean Language texts and NLP.
It would be genuinely innovative and also consider "tricky" or complex situations and give examples of using these techniques in difficult meeting/teaching/ business negotiation or clinical contexts.
Questioner : Did this book look like that?
Speaker : No. Only the first thing I stated was achieved.
Questioner: Well, will you settle for that ?...................
If the answer is ....."yes" then this book is for you. It is a clear introduction. If the answer is "no" there are some issues you may consider before buying it.
This book does explain core aspects of clean language which is an interesting idea for counsellors, business folk and therapists. It is clearly (if rather repetitively) written. The case examples used are simplistic and do not seem "real" somehow. There are references to celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal and many popular quotations that may either Jar with the reader or may be amusing and accessible , depending on what you seek from a book of this kind.
It also attempts to stand in splendid isolation, pulling the ladders clean language would have used to climb to this position up behind it - it has an embarrassingly short list of sources and wider reading on language in therapy and the authors seem to be laying claim to relationship questions, future focused questioning styles, systemic feed forward or preferred future questions, Ericksonian adventures in metaphor and matching communication patterns and cooperation in therapy. Certainly Steve De Shazer and Bergs language structures from SFBT are either ignored or have been missed by authors? A good introduction to these would be [ASIN:0789033984 More Than Miracles: The State of the Art of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (Haworth Brief Therapy). Sullivan and Rees acknowledge only the late David Grove and "clean language" sources for what are very widespread therapeutic techniques and language structures. These techniques could just as easily be linked to JL Austons "How to do things with Words"[ASIN:019281205X How to Do Things with Words: The William James Lectures delivered in Harvard University in 1955 (Oxford Paperbacks), Wittgensteins work on "Language Games a good summary is in his biography by Ray Monk [ASIN:0099883708 Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius] and Milton Erickson's use of metaphor. In fact , a good accompanying book to Clean Language would be J Haleys "Uncommon Therapy" [ASIN:0393310310 Uncommon Therapy: Psychiatric Techniques of Milton H.Erickson, M.D.], his collection of Milton Ericksons' case studies in which some of these these techniques get their first airing (along with some strategic manipulation though so take care before going down this route it's addictive!).
Even NLP's Bandler and Grinder acknowledged Erickson! By suggesting that there are only clean language created techniques in clean language as an approach, Sullivan and Rees create a world where clean language has sprung from nowhere. I feel this is ungenerous. Putting these ideas in a wider context with other approaches would have helped rather than hindered the model. However Sullivan and Rees describe themselves as "specialist international trainers, psychotherapists, coach and coach supervisors , business consultants" etc and I acknowledge there is a need to create a "new" product to fulfil these roles successfully. Overall this IS a good introduction but you may still want to look wider than the sources used to put this interesting way to use words and metaphors into some context and also to be able to use the techniques effectively in more testing clinical and business situations.
Dave Hawkes . Senior Lecturer Mental Health.
Clean Language is an approach to soliciting information and facilitating discussion that recognises this central role of metaphors, helps us spot metaphors in other people's thoughts and our own ideas and makes those connections explicit. The premise of Clean Language is that such concious analysis of metaphors helps understand other people better. One particularly eye-opening aspect of this approach for me was how much my own metaphors and assumptions can cloud my understanding of clients' issues and situation. Clean Language provides a toolkit, through a set of twelve questions, that prevents polluting communication with our own metaphors, hence the title "Clean". Instead of introducing our own metaphors into the mix, Clean Language questions help people improve active listening.
Most of the examples in the book are about psychology, and helping people with psychological issues, but I've been able to translate many of those examples easily into software consulting. Since reading the book, I became a lot more attentive to the way others use metaphors and a lot more careful about driving the conversation with my own metaphors that could be easily misunderstood. This hardly makes it a life-changing experience, but anything that improves communication will surely be a useful toolkit for many people in the software industry. Business analysts, team leaders, process improvement coaches and consultants will probably benefit from this book the most.
I give the book four out of five stars. For all the good content, there is a bit too much repetition for my taste in the book. The example discussion sessions sometimes go on forever and I found myself skipping large portions of those parts.
The power of 'Clean Language: Revealing Metaphors And Opening Minds' is in it's simplicity and clarity.
It takes a reader step by step through a learning process - providing exercises and examples, taken from a variety of 'real life' contexts - that is so well structured that readers are able to learn the process and put it into practice without additional input.
It's also a valuable resource for experienced practitioners because it covers the spectrum, from basic to advanced techniques in the same clear, concise style.
I've seen newcomers begin to use Clean Language having read the book and practised the exercises, with no other external support. I've also see students arrive at a live training, having read the book beforehand, and make accelerated progress as facilitators because of it.
As a teacher and coach I can see that it's holds the kind of information that has the potential to transform the practice and effectiveness of educators and coaches around the globe and so it will make a valuable addition to anyone's professional reading list.
I can thoroughly recommend it!
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