Kate Smith, attended our Clean Language: Core Skills course last year with Sue Sharp and Tamsin Hartley. Tamsin caught up with her recently…
So Kate, what kind of experience did you have on that training?
It was more enriching and absorbing than I thought it would be. And it was quite challenging - there’s a lot think about! But because it was such a supportive environment in which to be challenged, that it was OK. The way it was structured made it possible to ask for help and keep going.
Having a break between the two modules (the first module was in May and the second in July) was really good because we all practised with one another in between, and we were all so much stronger when we came back. It had time to embed itself really well.
And what difference has it made in your everyday life?
One of the things that’s been quite interesting is that it’s made it easier for me to stop talking – and I talk a lot less at people.
And what difference does that make?
It’s difficult to say because it’s different in different situations. If I’m trying to have a difficult conversation with somebody – like if I’m trying to take something back in a shop - I can just say, “I want to bring this back because it’s broken,” and I don’t feel I have to keep talking. That’s about being confident to have a quiet space that doesn’t have words in. I’m not quite sure how that’s related to the Core Skills but it’s definitely something I’ve started doing since then.
And I remember you saying that you were noticing metaphors differently, that your children use for example.
Yes, we’ve had some good ones come out. I’m now much more aware of when they’re using a metaphor. And I think I’m getting better at bringing those out more subtly – instead of going “Aha! And when it’s like … what would you like to have happen?”
And what difference does it make, noticing it more?
It means it’s possible to respond more responsively or authentically to the individual that I’m relating to because I can switch off my idea of what it’s like for them and listen to their idea.
And then what happens?
It’s easier to find a response, or an action, or an inaction that meets their needs better, I think. Within the peer supporting work that I do, it’s been particularly apparent that it opens up a dialogue that is much more weighted towards the person I’m supporting – rather than my agenda as a peer supporter.
What would you tell someone who is thinking of taking this course?
Do it now!
I would recommend it, even if you’re not sure what’s going to happen as a result of it. Something will happen because it’s quite a profound process to go through. I was surprised by how deeply it moved me and made me think. It was actually very reflective for me – I don’t’ know if that’s the case for everybody.
Do it, and don’t worry about whether you even know why you’re doing it – whether you know what it’s going to lead to – whether it’s a progression.
I think it’s something that everybody should do.
And is there anything else?
I’m looking forward to doing more. And I’m particularly looking forward to doing more with Tamsin and Sue because I really enjoyed the dynamic of learning that you created. It was very safe – you created a very safe space to do something new.
(Extract from Interview with Kate Smith October 2015, by Tamsin Hartley)