“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 (part 1) and in groups (part 2).
NB You can book the full workshop (Parts 1 and 2) here. Or if you have already completed Part 1 you can book Part 2 here.
See below for information about: the trainers, what's involved in each part, what participants have said and how to book.
James Lawley studied with David Grove for 12 years. As a result he co-developed Symbolic Modelling, co-authored "Metaphors in Mind" with his partner Penny Tompkins. Together they have a private psychotherapy and coaching practice and teach Symbolic Modelling to...
A highly skilled facilitator and trainer, Marian, who founded Clean Learning in 2001, has developed and delivered training across the world. She is the author of Clean Approaches for Coaches and co-author, with James Lawley, of Insights in Space.
We start on day 1 with 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. The first two days (part 1) will equip you 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.
On days 3 and 4 (part 2) we'll investigate how the principles of Clean Space translate into group situations. What do you need to take into account as you plan for a Group Clean Space session? And how can you manage the process as the group size increases? All will be revealed via live demonstrations, group discussion and an opportunity for you to have a go at group facilitation.
During these two 2-day workshops, 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
- Discover how to use the Clean Space process with groups of different types and sizes
This training is 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
"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.
James and Marian's book, Insights in Space, is required reading for this course.
Please purchase your copy here.
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.
What people 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."
"Clean Space gives valuable perspective – it’s simple and powerful. The workshop reminded me how important space is to me and I’ve discovered more about the impact of space on the quality of my thinking: in a dark, confined space it was easy to focus on a problem and feel overwhelmed, whereas outdoors I could expand my thinking. As a facilitator I learned that the less I have to do, the more of my attention is available to give to my client.
I will be bringing spatial perspectives more into my coaching sessions and I am also thinking about how to use ideas around space even more explicitly in my work… Watch this space!"
Felicity Dwyer Coach
"This workshop taught me how important space - and height - are for getting new perspectives on problems, and how even the simplest of questions can be very effective in bringing about change. I will be using Clean Space in my coaching and HR work and I will be putting more thought into where I hold meetings and where people sit in those meetings."
Gill Rudge Coach & HR Consultant
"I recently have run several Clean Space sessions with very positive client feedback. It's serious, fun, and often awe inspiring in it's impact."
Heather Executive Coach
"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
"Clean Language and Clean Space are quickest and most effective ways of helping to gain clarity of thought that I have come across in 30 years of marketing."
Lizz Clarke MD, Logical Creative Marketing (LCM)