“Metaphor is perhaps one of man’s most fruitful potentialities. Its efficacy verges on magic, and it seems a tool for creation which God left inside His creatures when He made them.”

Jose Ortega y Gasset


Discover the ground-breaking* methodology that influential cognitive scientist and linguist Steven Pinker highlighted in The Stuff of Thought:

“A book on psychotherapy called Metaphors in Mind calls on therapists to work with their patients’ metaphors (like: “I have a sensitive radar for insults” or “I’m trapped behind a door”).”

*metaphor intended

Attend Clean Convergence 2021 and find out how YOU can use Clean Language and Symbolic Modeling to achieve better results with your clients or team members.

Due to the intensive nature of these trainings and one-on-one support you will receive,
these courses are limited to small group sizes to maintain quality and a high value learning environment.


Check Your Dates

2021 will have the easiest travel plans you’ve ever had to make…just get to your computer where ever you have an internet connection. It could be your office, your living room, or a local coffeehouse (if there is one open near you). The dates are spread out so make note of the dates of your chosen trainings.

Pre-Register For Your Workshops

We have three amazing workshops for your professional and personal development. The question is, will you choose one or all? We like to make it easy for you.

Registration is open.

Check it out!


Get Ready For Something Amazing

Clean Language and Symbolic Modeling are so unlike any other modality – so simple and refined yet requiring much practice to master with ease and fluidity.

This might be the very thing that sets you apart.

Be sure to update to the latest version of Zoom!

Because these workshops are virtual, we will meet on Zoom in real-time wherever you are in the world. Each workshop will run from 8 am to 12 Noon PST. Here are global hours for you to check against your schedule:

0800-1200 PST | 1100-1500 EST | 1600-2000 GMT | 1700-2100 CET |0000-0400 MYT | 0100-0500 JST

January 7-9, 2021

Advanced Symbolic Modeling Skills

New for 2021: Working with Emergence


Three half-days in January

Penny Tompkins and James Lawley take the lead on this workshop bringing over 25 years of experience and new material that will take your facilitation skills to the next level – enhancing and integrating your understanding and practice of Clean Language and Symbolic Modeling.

Symbolic Modeling Advanced Learning 2021 will focus on something really cool…we’re just not sure at this moment what it will be. No, wait…here it comes. Emergence! It just…came to me…emergently.

If you are following this training with the Self-Modeling Retreat, be ready for a treat and some deep personal/professional development.

Prerequisite: Clean Language Fundamentals or similar introductory course on Clean Language/Symbolic Modeling. Please email Sharon at info@cleanlanguagetraining.com if you have any concerns about your preparedness for this workshop.


Who are Penny Tompkins & James Lawley?

Penny Tompkins and James Lawley are world leaders in using David Grove’s Clean Language to reveal the intelligence contained in people’s embodied metaphors and how to model symbolically so clients discover how their system can evolve naturally.

They are co-developers of Symbolic Modeling and co-authors of Metaphors in Mind: Transformation through Symbolic Modeling. James is also a co-author of Insights in Space, the first comprehensive guide to using Clean Space. You can find more of their work here: cleanlanguage.co.uk

Who should take this class?

Any professional who is interested in working more fluidly with they systemic nature of individual and groups.

These advanced trainings with Penny and James were originally designed to help individuals who are using Symbolic Modeling and Clean Methodologies in their work to new levels of skill and refined ability.

If you are currently using Clean as a facilitation or model in your work, this is a must for your continued professional development. No where else in the world will you gain the intimate 3-day environment provided here with us in California.

What will we be learning and doing?

Drawing on 25 years of working as psychotherapists and coaches in business, education, organizations and research, Penny and James will present their latest ideas, insights and developments from the world of Clean.

It will be experiential, innovative and practical – and strategic rather than prescriptive thinking is encouraged.

This training will extend what you already know about working cleanly and help you apply some of the more subtle, behind-the-scenes thinking that guide Penny and James’ fluid and expert style.

How will this training work?

The learning happens in a number of ways, including demonstration and debrief, examples, coaching-in-the-moment, group facilitation of an individual client, and lots of facilitator-client activities.

As you refine how to calibrate and model what is happening with your client, you will notice the subtle clues in their responses to them selves, their material and their metaphors, and you will become more adept at facilitating them to work with what is essential.

Participants also find that engaging with their own inner landscape results in significant personal development.

A manual and reading materials will be provided prior to the workshop.

For 2021, this workshop will take place virtually via Zoom.

“Don’t let the casual, warm, family-like atmosphere fool you – there is some serious learning happening here.”

Lynn from California

January 16, 23  & 30, 2021

Self-Modeling & Personal Development Retreat

Work With The Best In The World!


Three Saturdays in January

Leading innovators in Symbolic Modeling, Penny Tompkins and James Lawley, from London, England are joined by Clean Language trainers Sharon Small and Gina Campbell for small group retreat held virtually from your own comfortable space where you can discover how your inner metaphor landscape can transform in wondrous ways. 

This self-modeling retreat is a must for anyone who loves this work or would like to experience exponential personal and professional growth.

This is a special opportunity to have a deeply personal experience of this work and self-model how your personal or professional desired outcomes can become a reality.

As an added interest to Clean Language facilitators, you will be able to observe others being facilitated, and time will be provided for you to ask Penny, James, Sharon, and Gina questions about their use of the Symbolic Modeling process.

 There is no prerequisite* for this program. All are welcome.


Who should come to this retreat?

If you want to be facilitated to work with a problem or personal development topic under the expert guidance of Penny and James in a beautiful and supportive group setting – this retreat is for you.

If you are also interested in learning about the process of Symbolic Modeling and Clean Language, this is your opportunity to watch Penny and James work with a range of landscapes and issues over three days. This is an excellent way to get a sense of just how varied individuals’ landscapes are, and how they transform and evolve in unique and surprising ways.

 Again, there is NO prerequisite for attending this retreat.

*except your early registration to ensure your space 🙂

What will I get?

This retreat emphasizes two types of modeling:

This year we will have both clients and dedicated modelers, those who would like to dig deep into learning the subtitles of the Symbolic Modeling methodology.

Clients will be facilitated over three 1/2-days to discover and interact with their inner metaphor landscape, self-model how it is organized, how it changes, and the effects that can have.

Client seats are limited due to the online nature of this retreat and our desire to give both the clients and modelers the best experience.

Modelers will have dedicated time to observe Penny, James, Sharon, or Gina facilitating, join the discussions, and model how they do what they do so elegantly.

On session two and three we will have a one hour pre-brief where we go into an aspect of facilitation more deeply using the example of observed sessions.

From either perspective, you will to learn more about:

  • How Clean facilitates subtle, gentle yet profound change.

  • How Clean works in areas other processes find difficult to reach.

  • How Clean allows people to develop themselves and to live in the world in a different way.

  • How Clean facilitation supports people to move past naive solutions and reveal a greater purpose.


Plus Optional...

  1. Observing professional experienced facilitation with Penny, James, Sharon, and Gina.
  2. Group discussion and Q & A about the process.
  3. Within the work undertaken by Penny and James, experienced Symbolic Modelers may be offered the opportunity to facilitate others (supervised by a certified Clean Facilitator).

What do people do after attending this retreat?

After, your new metaphors will guide you to continue to explore, deepen, mature and work with your own development. People report noticing delightful changes in their inner responses and outer behaviors.

Join us and share your story of change and success.

About the Trainers

Penny Tompkins and James Lawley are co-developers of Symbolic Modeling and leading authorities on the use of self-originated metaphor for personal and professional development.

Their book, Metaphors in Mind is a comprehensive guide to their approach which they demonstrate in a DVD, A Strange and Strong Sensation.


Sharon Small is the founder and CEO of Clean Language Institute, the author of two books about Clean Language. She has a varied history from Jungian Archetypal psychology, to studies in Shaman-ism, to working for over a decade at a nuclear power plant. She has been teaching and facilitating Clean models for over 13 years.


Gina Campbell is the owner of Mining Your Metaphors, a Clean Language training company. She is a professional counselor and author of multiple books on and about Clean Language and Symbolic Modeling.


Our aim is to facilitate you to see the repeating patterns in your life, to recognize how these patterns can change, and to trust in the subsequent unfolding of your desired outcomes.

“Because asking questions is so common, interviewers can be lulled into believing interviewing is unproblematic and requires little specialist knowledge.”

Paul Tosey, PhD (National Teaching Fellow and former Head of PhD Programmes for Surrey Business School)

February 5-6 & 19-20, 2021

Clean Language Interviewing with Sharon Small and James Lawley

Keep Your Stuff Out; Keep Their Stuff In


Four half-days in February

Join us as we investigate how the wording of interview questions can unintentionally bias answers, how ‘leading’ questions cast doubt on the authenticity of the data collected, and how you can avoid this by asking clean’ questions.

Click here to hear Sharon Small & James Lawley (r2018) talk about Clean Interviewing.

Sharon Small & James Lawley show how to use Clean Language questions and principles to “clean up” your interviews and increase the accuracy of the information you gather. Learn how the words you use can adversely affect an interviewee’s replies. Cause analysts, auditors, researchers, and anyone who needs to collect high-quality data from people will learn to keep more of their own stuff out and let more of the interviewee’s stuff in.

Why Clean Interviewing? 

The wording of interview questions can unintentionally bias answers, ‘leading’ questions can cast doubt on the authenticity of the data collected, but how would you know? Sharon Small and James Lawley will show you how you can avoid the pitfalls of interviewing by using ‘clean’ questions and a Cleanness Rating.

This intensely practical training is for researchers (academic and commercial), consultants, cause analysts, HR specialists, managers, in fact anyone who needs to gather high-quality information. Most interviewing methods teach one to use ‘open questions’. This is a good start and simply does not go far enough.

Open ended questions can be leading; closed questions, such as “Is there anything else?”, can leave a client open to answer with more lateral. It is not only about open and closed, it is also about inadvertently adding in our own biases through interpretation of presuppositions, working off of assumptions, using metaphorical language, or using other peoples top down models to interpret what is happening within an interview process.

Taking notice of your assumptions, biases, presuppositions, and metaphorical content will put you well on your way to clean-ing up your interviews and conversations with out having to be clever or tricky. By adding clean questions, you will gain rapport, help put your interviewee at ease, and make it easier for your interviewee to answer your questions.

You will also know where you are in your data collection process and stay accurate in your time-line. In essence you will be come a better modeler of information. As you know, each person is different and interviewing may be the most important skill in cause evaluations and data collection.

When poor information is gathered, less than accurate or desirable results will be be the result. It is our aim to provide you with a verifiable interview methodology where you can not only collect authentic data, but also check the rate of interviewer influence on that data.

This is a game changer.

Who is this training for? 
Are you?

  • Academic researcher
  • Research student
  • Marketing reseacher
  • Auditor
  • Cause analyst
  • Corrective actions specialist
  • Consultant
  • HR Professional
  • Manager
  • Business analyst
  • Quality improvement associate
  • Specification & requirements gatherer

This training is the thing that elevates your interview techniques allowing you to gather more authentic and honest information.

Would you like to have your company sponsor your participation?

This program has been supported by major corporations such a Boeing, Pacific Gas & Electric, Hydro One, Luminant, Seimans, and others.

What will I learn in Clean Language Interview Training?

The aim of this workshop is for you to learn and integrate the principles of Clean Interviewing and to develop your ability to design and frame clean questions during practice interviews.

You will learn how to interview using Clean Language questions and principle so your interviewees are given maximum opportunity to provide reliable information – uncontaminated by unintentional presuppositions, assumptions, and personal metaphors.

You will also learn a new process for validating the ‘cleanness’ of an interview and increasing the robustness of your methodology. This is the only interview method that can be validated on observable criteria outside of relative and subjective interpretation.

Each program is supported with:

  • Certified Clean Facilitators that actively use Clean Interviewing in their professions
  • High quality academic source materials for reference and further study if desired
  • An opportunity to interview on real contexts, not artificial scenario’s designed by trainers

How big are the groups for these trainings?

All of our courses are small group format allowing for a high-touch experience that is intended to let everyone participate fully and learn at their best.

This training is limited to 18 people.

The small group size allows time for developmental feedback towards your learning, exercises and application with others, and self-reflection.

Are there any prerequisites?

Although there is no prerequisite to attend Clean Interviewing, it is highly recommended that you have some familiarity with Clean Language questions and principles to maximize the value and applicability of this training.

This can be gained through:

About Your Trainers
Sharon Small

Sharon Small

The Clean Language Institute

Sharon is an independent researcher and internationally recognized clean language trainer and assessor. She has dedicated her mission to helping others gather good information so they can do great work.

With over 13 years of experience working in the nuclear industry, a degree in psychology and background in Jungian Archetypal psychology, Shaman-ism and NLP, Sharon brings a broad set of skills and experiences to her training rooms.

James Lawley

James Lawley

The Developing Company

James is a co-developer of Symbolic Modeling and a leading authority on the use of self-originated metaphor for personal and professional development.

James lives in the UK with his wife and co-developer, Penny Tompkins. He comes to the US annually where he and Penny join Sharon in California to provide advanced training in Clean Language, Symbolic Modeling and Clean Interviewing.

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