Who was David Grove?


David Grove, creator of Clean Language, came from New Zealand, and had European and Maori ancestry. He graduated with a BSc from the University of Canterbury, NZ in 1972, then studied Business Administration for a postgraduate degree. He had some contact with the world of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) and became interested in Ericksonian hypnosis, and then in 1983, completed a graduate degree in Counselling Psychotherapy at the State University of Minnesota, USA and began developing his unique style of therapy.

He focussed his attention on resolving traumatic memories: memories of childhood abuse or, in the case of Vietnam veterans, war. With Basil Panzer, he published a book, Resolving Traumatic Memories in 1989. He went on to work with over 40,000 people in workshops and healing retreats in the USA, Ireland, New Zealand and the UK, including at a retreat centre in Cumbria, and to present at a number of universities.

He felt it was important to honour and respect a person’s metaphors, and that the therapist’s role was to promote self-healing by facilitating a metaphorical journey, and so David Grove devised the Clean Language questions so as to  interfere with this process as little as possible. These aspects of David Grove’s Clean Language work were modelled and documented by Penny Tompkins and James Lawley in their book Metaphors in Mind (2000).

He was volatile and eccentric, and yet consistent in his search for effective healing methodologies to benefit therapeutic clients. In the last few years of his life Grove moved his focus to an exploration of the therapeutic effects of space, known as Clean Space, and became interested in the science of emergence and how its insights can be applied in therapeutic contexts. He was working on this with a number of leading NLP figures, particularly in the UK and in France. He died suddenly of a heart attack in the USA on January 8, 2008, aged 57, and is buried in New Zealand.

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