Clean Language

What is Clean Language?

At first glance, Clean Language comprises a specific set of remarkably simple questions like: What do you know about …? Is there anything else …? Simple as they may seem, these questions were formulated by counselling psychologist, David Grove, with rigorous precision in his quest to enable his clients to self-discover the resolution to their mental and behavioural difficulties (often the result of traumatic experiences) Here are some key aspects that distinguish a Clean language conversation:

Neutrally Open

  • On a spectrum of closed to open questions, Clean Language lies at the far end of open, designed to create the conditions that can enable the other person to express themselves freely. While, all questions influence in some way, Clean questions minimise the scope of that influence. 

Clean Listening

  • Asking Clean Language questions changes the quality of your listening. By paying exquisite attention, you are able to accurately repeat your client’s words and keep track of the structure & purpose of the conversation ( as defined by the cient).

Exploring Metaphor

  • A Clean facilitator takes his/her client’s metaphors literally. So if someone says “I want to get back on track” the questioner might direct attention by asking Clean questions to find out more about the “track” that that person want to get back onto.  


  • Clean facilitators presuppose that their clients have all the resources they need to resolve their own challenges (as they perceive them) and that the indicators for direction required to do so will emerge through the client’s own discoveries. 


  • As the client, the effect of hearing your own exact words being offered back together with another Clean question, provides an invitation to clarify & develop your thoughts and words in a safe supportive environment.

By using Clean Language in this way, you can begin to understand another person’s inner world from their perspective. At the same time, he/she feels deeply understood.

The benefits of a Clean Language approach include the fact that you can:

  • build bridges easily, as others soon experience being heard & respected
  • gather high quality information so as to understand and address his/her needs
  • set the scene for stimulating internally motivated actions for moving forward
  • open the door to others understanding your perspective and explanation  

For example, managers who have learnt Clean Language on our courses, find that by asking  Clean Language questions they are able to give their staff the respect, the space and the time that enables them to resolve issues they had previously found stressful. And as their staff become more engaged, productive and fulfilled, managers learn to trust and step back.

Imagine what Clean Language approach can do with your colleagues and loved ones alike?