Clean Space for Individuals

“Cut doors and windows to make a room. Where the room isn't, there's room for you.” Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu, interpreted by Ursula K LeGuin

We talk about ‘looking at a problem from different angles’.  We speak of ‘coming at life from a whole new direction’.  We insist, ‘Well, that’s how it looks from where I’m standing!’ Yet if questioned on our choice of phrase, we would likely shrug: ‘It’s just a manner of speaking.’

Clinical psychologist and therapist David Grove wondered what might happen if we were to take phrases like these literally - and physically.  What if we were to physically move in three-dimensional space to gain an actual new perspective? Might we learn new information about ourselves and the world we create around us?

David experimented over several years with these ideas, which involved going to sea on a merchant ship for several weeks, learning to fly and facilitating countless sessions with groups and individuals - all to find out more about space and our place in it.  Along the way, the new disciplines of self-organisation, networks and emergence revealed previously unobserved patterns in the process of creativity and problem-solving using space.

All this work culminated in the process we now know as Clean Space.

And now you can learn this extraordinary - yet exquisitely simple - form of clean facilitation to encourage the conditions for creative emergence in individuals.

Who's it for?

  • Coaches, therapists, managers and anyone who wants to help others to think more creatively

  • Leaders who prefer to empower people rather than telling them what to do

  • Students of Clean Language and other clean approaches

  • People who need to generate new and creative ideas for problem solving

  • Anyone who enjoys learning new tools and different ways of thinking

What's involved?

The workshop starts ith the basic Clean Space process and how to adapt it to each individual. After a brief overview of David Grove's work in relation to space, we'll be straight into learning by doing, by moving.  We'll demonstrate the Clean Space process and show you how to facilitate it yourself.  Then you'll do it… and do it..., getting feedback as you go. We'll provide coaching in the moment and explore the learnings in the group. You'll leave with the skills and knowledge you need to start running individual Clean Space sessions with your own clients as well as how to design new Clean Space processes for different contexts.

During this 2-day workshop, you will:

  • Discover how to use space as your co-facilitator

  • Gain new insights into your own world using the Clean Space system

  • Facilitate deepening knowledge and make transformative changes

  • Help someone to emerge their inherent creativity with a minimum of interference from you

  • Learn to accept and even welcome the concept of ‘not-knowing’ - and not needing to know
"It is our imagination and creativity which will open the doors to progress. In the search for [greater] understanding ... we need tools that have not been part of our standard education and experience, tools that will open up the territory of our mind."
Joyce Wycott, author of "Mindmapping - Your Personal Guide to Exploring Creativity and Problem Solving"
"The problem is never how to get new innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get the old ones out. Every mind is a room packed with archaic furniture. Make an empty space in any corner of your mind, and creativity will instantly fill it."
Dee Hock, founder and former CEO of Visa.

Additional Information

James and Marian's book, Insights in Space, is required reading for this course. 

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Please purchase your copy here.


Photo gallery

Frequently asked questions

What is Clean Space?

Clean Space is a facilitation process that emerged out of David Grove's continued search for a way to facilitate clients effectively and efficiently to do the personal work they need to do with the least possible interference from a facilitator. 

In a Clean Space session, the facilitator invites the client to find different physical spaces (usually in a room, although it can be anywhere) to represent different aspects of their thinking. The client moves from space to space, pausing in each one to consider what they know there. In this way, they build up a network of connections between the many thoughts, feelings and ideas in their mind and body.

More detail

What participants say

"I was keen to experience Clean Space and I wasn't at all disappointed as my 'clean space landscape' quickly became psycho-active under Phil's expertly minimal guidance. The questions, which can seem illogical when taken out of context, make perfect sense when you are focusing on an issue which you care about. And it is tremendously valuing to have someone pay exquisite attention to what you say and how you say it."
Jenny Heath

"I used Clean Space to facilitate some Head Teachers - and they loved it! It enabled them to dig deeper into why some aspects of teaching practice were successful and revealed what was holding some teachers back from progressing further. Clean Space also gave them several insights into how space was used effectively (or not) in the classroom."
Jackie Arnold Executive Coach

"The training proved to be a rich space for conceptual learning, skills development and personal discovery. "
John Webber HR Manager

Upcoming events

Clean Space for Individuals

Saturday 30th November - Sunday 1st December 2019
Erlangen, nr. Nuremburg,
With James Lawley, Marian Way