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Who was David Grove?

David Grove was born in New Zealand in December 1950. As a counselling psychologist, his early work was influenced by NLP, Eriksonian hypnosis, the people-centred approach of Carl Rogers and the inner child work of Charles Whitfield. He became interested in traumatic memories and phobias and while working with Vietnam War veterans he realised that some of them couldn’t remember particularly traumatic events, but they would still have feelings about them. While observing very carefully what was happening, he noticed that, “If I didn’t force people when they were talking they would naturally start using metaphor to describe their experience.”

David also became interested in the use of questions in therapy. He analysed the questions major therapists like Virginia Satir and Carl Rogers used and noticed they would often amplify or redefine what their clients said. David thought that this ‘robbed’ the client of some of their experience and so began to look for questions that would be free of any presuppositions. He found that questions which ‘interfered’ with the client’s experience the least were in fact the most effective in bringing about change. Clean Language was created as a means of questioning clients’ metaphors in a way that neither contaminated nor distorted them.

His research into metaphor and questions led to the publication of Resolving Traumatic Memories, by David Grove and Basil Panzer, which includes early formulations of the Clean Language questions.

Later, David became interested in working with space and developed another process called Clean Space, which is an even cleaner process than Clean Language. In the latter years of his life, he continued to work to reduce the influence of the therapist on the client and his study of emergence led to the development of yet another process called Emergent Knowledge.

David passed away in January 2008, aged 57 years, leaving us a fantastic legacy.

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