Metaphor and Clean Language

We use metaphor easily and naturally to communicate complex ideas, and to understand other people's ideas.

For example, great speeches and written work tend to contain powerful and memorable metaphors.

Shakespeare's metaphor 'All the world's a stage' is a particularly notable example.

Advertisers too have discovered that metaphors move us in a way that goes straight to the heart - or to the wallet - because metaphors are such a powerful vehicle for conveying meanings.

Metaphors are also extremely common in our everyday speech.

Research (Gibbs, Raymond W Jr., 'Categorization and metaphor understanding', Psychological Review 99[3]) has shown that we use up to six metaphors per minute in English, mostly unconsciously and unnoticed. This is because metaphors underpin our thinking, and bubble to the surface in the words we use. Metaphors are a natural language of the mind, particularly the unconscious mind.

Clean Language uses the casual metaphors that occur naturally in speech to reveal the hidden depths of our thought processes.

Clean Language brings thoughts we have not been conscious of into our awareness, where they can be shared and enjoyed - and understood.

Metaphors are doors to deeper understanding - of self and others. Clean Language provides the key for unlocking the metaphors.

Clean Language techniques help to translate unconscious feelings into conscious awareness (for oneself and/or between people).

This significant feature of Clean Language has many practical applications, for example:

1. Have you ever had a hunch or instinct about something important, but been unable to explain it or convince people around you? Using Clean Language questions can develop that 'message from your subconscious' into more detailed thoughts, so turning your 'gut feeling' into something really useful.

2. Clean Language can greatly enhance communication within groups. While metaphors may often seem to be shared (e.g., 'We're a winning team') the details of each person's metaphors are unique. Scratch the surface using Clean Language and you'll discover the surprises behind a person's words - for example, is the metaphorical team a football team, a Formula 1 team, or a quiz team? A 'team' - with all that the word implies - means different things to different people. When everyone in a group is enabled to share their metaphors, a new level of joint understanding and focus can emerge.

3. Clean Language can be used to discover people's motivations at quite a profound level. People's metaphors reveal their values, and drive their behaviour. If a person works at their best when they are like a striker in a football team, their focus may well be on 'scoring goals' in any way possible, perhaps by bending the rules. Another person may think of themselves as a member of the pit crew in Formula 1 and pay more attention to combining speed and precision in their work. A third may feel more like a quiz team member, placing a high value on knowing the facts. In this respect Clean Language can help us to deal with different personality types, without requiring great knowledge of personality theory itself.

4. Using Clean Language to explore a person's own metaphors creates a bridge between the conscious and unconscious minds, enhancing self-awareness and self-understanding. This is a powerful aid towards helping people achieve a desired change, for example during the coaching process. Becoming aware of the metaphors around a difficulty encourages a different kind of thinking, which can lead to transformation.


As part of my training as a Clean Language Coach, I am offering HUGELY DISCOUNTED sessions to anyone who feels they might benefit from experiencing a unique coaching experience.

Clean Language is unique in so many ways. It is all about your ‘stuff’ – completely client focused and facilitates personal change at a deep and lasting level (see below for more information).


Exploring a ‘state’ (how you would like to feel e.g. ‘calm’, ‘relaxed’, ‘focused’, ‘motivated’. Do you want to feel more of a particular ‘state’ on the sports field or golf course, at work, in a particular relationship, as a parent, etc.

Exploring behaviour, habits and patterns that you repeat and that do not work for you e.g. eating habits, arguing, self sabotage (like ‘giving up’).

Explore a problem – have insight so that you can become unstuck.

Gain clarity about a difficult decision.

Business – developing a brand/logo, ethos, mission statement.

If you are interested, please contact me on 07779 209152 or email me at If you have a friend that might be interested, please share!

I am already a qualified coach, behavioural profiling analyst and NLP Practitioner (amongst other things!).

The offer is for March and April and is £30 for an hour (50% DISCOUNT).