Annemiek van Helsdingen runs a programme on stress prevention in Holland which uses Clean in various ways.

She explained: “Though 10% of the Dutch labour force is currently suffering from burn-out, and 70% of all GP visits in Holland are stress-related, there is quite a taboo on stress. Everyone always says they are busy, but no one wants to say they suffer from stress. To most people it would feel like acknowledging that they are not up to their job, not being able to perform as they should.

“The aim of our programme is to help participants get aware of how ‘okay’ their life & work is at the moment, what role (excessive) stress plays in it, and what they can do to make it (even) better for themselves. Learning to handle stress is just part of developing personal effectiveness these days. So getting our participants to really look at themselves beyond all their ways of diminishing symptoms is our first serious challenge.

“In one exercise we start off by giving the metaphor of Road Runner (the cartoon) where the coyote very neatly shows the physical process of ‘burning out’. His job is to chase Road Runner, and his personal health is not taken into account at all. So he spends his life chasing and falling into the depth, scraping himself out again.

“We then use Clean Space to help our clients find out about aspects of stress for them, and their own risks of ‘burning out’.

“What we find is that this process, in addition to more analytical exercises, provides a lot of useful information for our participants, and that the experience has real impact. The Clean Space techniques definitely add to one of our main strengths: no participant escapes the message that stress is to be taken seriously. For our participants that results in a motivation from within to make necessary changes in their lives – which in turn is what makes our programme successful!”