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What is Clean Language therapy? Does it work well for trauma?

Asked 10/8/2020 20:11 by Linda Willis
Dr. Diane Weiss, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Diane Weiss, M.D., M.P.H.

Answered 10/8/2020 20:16

Clean language was developed by psychologist David Grove and his wife, Cei more than 30 years ago. The accepted methods of treating trauma back then were to encourage patients to 'desensitize' by talking through their experiences. However, this often re-traumatized patients and instead listened to them describe their symptoms spontaneously in metaphor, for instance 'it feels like a ton of bricks', and found that exploring these metaphors alleviated their disorders. To encourage this process, we repeat patients' own exact words back to them and use a series of simple questions which carry the least possible influence from the therapist. Because this honors the patient's experience, ideas and values without contaminating them with those of the therapist, this technique is called 'Clean Language'. Its similar to Jung's approach in its use of symbols but a key difference is that the metaphor does not require interpretation, only exploration until it reaches a place of peace. Then the subject will find that phobias, internal struggles and limiting behavior patterns of years have disentangled and become integrated with the whole person.