Stuart’s Clean Adventure: OK to be Gay

Stuart Clark

I attended Adventures in Clean for several reasons…

  • I have done lots of work with Clean Learning and Training Attention and most of this has centred around Systemic Modelling which uses Clean Language quite conversationally and I wanted to experience it being used as a psychotherapeutic tool.
  • I'd been doing quite a bit of self-development with Caitlin Walker and Shaun Hotchkiss and I thought it would be a good idea to experience working with different facilitators.
  • I had a specific subject I wanted to explore, which was about being OK with being gay, and I thought that working on this topic in front of others would be very congruent with my desired outcome.
  • I already knew the environment where the weekend was being be held and have always experienced it – and the five facilitators – as warm, caring, loving and safe. I knew I could be anything I wanted to be and that I would be safe.

Although I couldn’t help but notice what was happening with other people and observe how the facilitators were working, I was there completely for my own self-development. I had set myself a developmental task to go first - and I also thought this might be useful for other people because I understood the process. My first session was with Shaun, who was actually just the right person to work with my initial disclosure, “I want to be OK with being gay.” He gave me a big smile and was unbelievably loving and caring; he made everything seem OK and possible.

My next session was with Penny Tompkins and this built on the first one; it was as though I was sorting everything out in front of me. Then I worked with Penny and James Lawley together. I had about 20 binds or more; my whole landscape was a landscape of binds. James focused on one aspect and asked me, “What do you want?” I kept saying, “I don’t know” and repeating the bind. He was pushing me to say what I wanted, and eventually I got to the point where I realised it is OK to want the things I want in life, and that it is OK to have contradictions.

The main question I had was about “knowing”. “How will I know it will be like that when I leave the weekend?” I realised it was possible to know things like this. Penny asked me if I knew I was gay and I remember saying, “Other than that I’m alive, it’s the most certain thing I’ve ever known in my life.”

After the session with Penny and James I had mega-energy bursting out of me and I went running up the hill near Caitlin’s house. Then I was serene and calm for the rest of the weekend. I went on the Whirly Gig and spent time contemplating and adjusting to what I knew now.

Since Adventures in Clean things have been different. For example, I went to a focus group last night, with people I had never met before. Something came up which prompted me to tell a story about being gay, so I shared it with the rest of the group. In the past I wouldn’t have done that. Now it is OK to be myself in front of other people. 

Tags: clean language, systemic modelling, psychotherapy, adventures in clean, caitlin walker, penny tompkins, james lawley, shaun hotchkiss, whirlygig, gay

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About the author

Stuart Clark

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After spending 25 years in business operations, leadership and management, Stuart Clark decided to change his career path and to focus on his belief that everyone can work together from a position of ‘I’m OK; you’re OK’ and the idea of producing results that benefit everybody. Stuart believes in detecting patterns in organisations and people and, in turn, working towards sustainable solutions and outcomes. He loves to use Systemic Modelling, the language of curiosity and exquisite listening to create transformational change. Stuart is a Level 5 accredited Business Coach and Mentor with the Institute of Leadership & Management, a Practitioner in Neuro Linguistic Programming and a certified Clean Language Facilitator. He coaches individuals using Clean Language , Symbolic Modelling and Clean Space - and groups using Systemic Modelling. He has also worked as a coach and supervisor for Genius Within, coaching people with neuro diverse conditions including dyslexia, multiple sclerosis and brain injuries. Stuart runs the London Clean Modelling Group with Lucy Walker.

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