Once I’m using Clean Language with clients, do I need a supervisor?

Introductory Articles

While Clean Language has its roots in psychotherapy, becoming a Clean facilitator does not make you a psychotherapist. Certified Clean Facilitators use their skills in a wide range of contexts: some are therapists or coaches who work with personal change, while others focus on research, education, or a wide variety of business applications.

If you are using Clean Language to help people make changes, it’s important to work within a strong ethical framework – which includes ensuring that you work within your competency, with client groups appropriate to your skills and experience. We strongly recommend that you become a member of a relevant association: they will have their own code of ethics, their own rules for the level of initial training and continuing professional development required, and their own supervision arrangements.

Many leading figures within the Clean Language community, including Wendy Sullivan, Penny Tompkins and James Lawley, are registered as psychotherapists with UKCP – the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy.  The UKCP is made up of 80 different ‘member organisations’ representing different ‘flavours’ of psychotherapy, and therapists who use mainly Clean Language are typically affiliated to the NLPtCA – the NeuroLinguistic Psychotherapy and Counselling Association. Members of UKCP and NLPtCA must have a supervisor, and there are specific rules about the number of hours of supervision per year. So, clients can be sure that Wendy Sullivan, Penny Tompkins and James Lawley are supervised.

Similarly within coaching, there are a number of membership bodies. Some members of the Clean community such as Paul Field are members of the Association for Coaching, others favour the International Coach Federation, some are members of both.

There are lots of official-sounding bodies out there, all with their own roles to play, and all with their unique advantages and disadvantages. There is lots of overlap between various bodies and one individual practitioner may be a member of several. For example Paul Field is also a member of the ACSB – the professional body for Sexological Bodyworkers.

(It’s worth noting that Clean Change Company trainings have been accepted for Continuing Professional Development credits by the NLPtCA, Association for Coaching and ICF, among other organisations.)

Wendy Sullivan, Penny Tompkins and James Lawley,  are among the Clean Language users who are available to act as supervisors for therapists. Paul Field is available to act as a supervisor for coaches.

Clean Language can itself be an excellent tool for supervision. Few supervisors will claim to stay completely ‘Clean’ throughout – it is generally held to part of the supervisor’s role to offer opinions and advice – but most will aim to stay ‘Cleanish’. They may combine Clean Language with other models: for example, Jackie Arnold (incidentally a founding board member of the UK ICF) uses it alongside her own model SUSTAIN and Peter Hawkins’ 7 Eyed Model.

Finding a supervisor can be as simple as emailing one of the individuals mentioned in this article. You can contact Wendy Sullivan or Paul Field on this website.

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