When we use NLP Techniques, otherwise known as NLP Patterns, or NLP Strategies it is because something is not working in our lives, or not working as well as we would like. We might find ourselves at some kind of impasse, or stuck situation. We want something else, or something better. Then we know to set out to build a bridge from old thoughts, states, feelings, beliefs, or behaviors to new ones. In NLP, we literally build a bridge in our neurology from where we are, to the place we want to be, or from the person we are to the person we want to be come. In NLP jargon, we say that we move from a Present State to a Desired State, or PS -> DS.
It is the PS -> DS direction that is at the heart of every NLP technique (of which there are at least hundreds). Never forget this formula!
As human beings, we are learning and adapting to changes all the time... We do so very well, in fact. Yet there are all times when we all feel stuck. We need new resources, a new view, a new outlook, a new idea, a token, more information, or advice, motivation or skills, etc. to move us along.
NLP techniques and patterns are simply documented and tested strategies that move us and our human neurology along in a stepwise manner, and in a positive direction.
To use an Engineering metaphor, no two bridges are exactly alike, but they all serve the same purpose. Good engineering requires a rigorous study of the terrain, and the load that the bridge must ultimately carry. Real human change engineering is also required when building neurological bridges that will carry the load they must in the future that we want to create.
The NLP bridges we build are all in the mind... which literally updates our neurology or neural networks, as old habits and ways of thinking and feeling are diminished, in favor of new neurological patterns. These new patterns are then reinforced or strengthened until they become habituated, or learned.
Fortunately, the NLP founders and active NLPers ever since have left a wake of NLP techniques as templates that have stood the test of time, are available online and in books, and new patterns are being modeled all the time by creative NLPers. I highly recommend Shlomo Vaknin's revised edition of The BIG Book of NLP. This book has most of the patterns ever invented and documented, and Shlomo does a great job explaining not only that they work, but how and why they work.
Everyone who lives a number of years, can learn new things, and speak a language has probably used some NLP strategy every day of their lives. And how do you know? You know that you are using NLP when what you are doing is working! That's the one criteria that permeates every NLP strategy. In NLP, we say that if something is not working, try something else!
You can buy the book above, or you can get some of those techniques here at Grass Roots NLP. We are always adding NLP techniques, patterns and strategies that you can freely use. Credit will be given whenever possible to those who have modeled these patterns originally, but we take liberty, (and so can you) of changing those patterns as needed to get the best results.
What Grass Roots NLP is all about is building a network of NLP Practitioners, who wish to improve their NLP skills in their own lives. One often forgotten aspect of NLP Practitioner is the practice that is involved. By consciously practicing strategies that work, these new programs can become unconscious and very efficient over time. We also try to make NLP practice as fun and useful as possible, because when it is enjoyable, practice does not feel like work. This is why children learn faster than adults. They do not know that learning is work, and so they do it naturally and unconsciously.
As you explore the NLP techniques in Shlomo's book, or on this site. Please feel as free as possible to comment on the patterns as you read and use them. We want to know how they work in your own practice!
Every bridge needs a strong foundation, and in building bridges to a better future through NLP we need to have a strong foundation of basic NLP patterns.
These NLP patterns are the foundation upon which the rest of the bridge will be built. You will see, hear, and use these patterns over, and over, and over, and over, and over again as you practice more advanced NLP patterns. These are the NLP patterns that touch neurological bedrock, so to speak. Learn these first, and learn them well. There is no cutting corners.
Much of the foundation for all NLP rests on our powers of perception, and on what we do with those perceptions. Light and shadow, rhythms, melodies and harmonies, feelings of all sorts, scents, flavors, textures and contours, figure and ground and movement serve as inputs into our mind, which then filters, distorts, and generalizes minute changes in perceptions as they update the maps of our minds. The sharper and more trained our perceptions become, the richer the world becomes, while muted or damaged perceptions lead to a very dull, experientially impoverished place.
Our human neurology is a fantastic perceptual instrument tuned and optimized to our world... and the essence of perception lies our ability to sense change from moment to moment. If our world did not change from moment to moment, there would be no perception... no news of change to our minds... the vital news that we depend on for all that we notice, for survival, and pleasure.
In NLP, we place a major emphasis on developing ever greater sensory acuity, also known as making distinctions, or becoming educated. But good NLP focuses less on academic knowledge, and more on utilizing and sharpening sensory acuity in real time. It's all about the noticing. It's about pattern detection, interpretation, and the meaning we make of it. NLP is about noticing something we did not notice before, or that was perhaps not noticed by anyone before. NLP is about paying attention, and lowering our perceptual thresholds to notice more and more... about less and less.
Speaking metaphorically, you can thing about sensory acuity as tuning our neurology to perceive a symphony, where we might only have heard a drone before. Sensory acuity is about tuning our neurology to see perceive explosion of color and movement where there was only a fog before. It's about tuning our neurology to perceive a way through where there was only a wall before.
1. Tune up your visual acuity
Re-acquaint yourself visually with something completely mundane, such as your car dashboard, or the contents of your most cluttered drawer, or with a stock chart, or with your partner. Do not assign words or meanings to anything you see.
2. Tune up your auditory acuity
Take some time to dedicate all your attention to your auditory channel in a crowded public place, or in complete solitude. Close your eyes, and begin to pick out discrete sound sources from around you and just notice the following.
3. Tune your kinesthetic acuity
Some people live in their heads, regarding their bodies as transportation for their heads. Other people never know true hunger, and so they are constantly eating, and are never really satisfied. Still other people rely on drugs to bring relief to symptoms they can't quite put their fingers on. Our body speaks to us all the time, yet we don't know how to listen. Take a moment to listen deeply and compassionately to your body. It really is your best friend.
Suffering two bouts of polio, Milton Erickson was dyslexic, color-blind, tone-deaf and confined to a wheelchair during much of his professional life, yet as a hypnotherapist he was able to compensate exquisitely, masterfully and artfully through continuous development of new distinctions in the people he observed. His ability to notice changes in his clients from moment to moment, as well as nuances in in his environment were legendary... but he had to work at it.
I suggest that you work on this pattern in all kinds of contexts for the rest of your life. It's in the noticing, that choices are born, and changes can be made.
Richard Bandler, John Grinder, and adapted by Craig Pinegar
Good NLP always starts with the question "what do you want"? Other disciplines say to "start with the end in mind", and in business, we also say "a problem well-defined is half-solved". If you want something, and you are clear about it, and ferociously committed to achieving it the odds are that you'll be successful in the end. NLP calls this kind of result a Well-Formed Outcome, which name came from NLP's linguistic roots. When outcomes are well formed, the journey is also much more enjoyable.
Of all the NLP patterns that exist, this is, perhaps, the first pattern to master in your own life, and with your clients. Most other patterns only support the achievement of this one.
As a coach, you will teach the client how to create future outcomes and create powerful motivational links to those outcomes. Your task will be to use good elicitation skills, to help the client become very clear, precise, motivated, and smart about achieving this outcome in the world of real people, and in real time.
1. State the outcome in the positive
Create a sense of expectancy and anticipation. "Consider it done!"
2. Identify whether you can get this outcome on your own, or only with the buy in of others
3. Identify When, Where, Who
5. Chunk the steps appropriately
4. Add Sensory-based evidence
You can work on submodality enhancement during this step if the sensory evidence is weak or foggy. "See what you will see, hear what you will hear, speak how you will speak, stand how you will stand".
6. Fortify yourself with the resources you'll need
You can go inside to elicit whether the client has the resources sufficient for the outcome, and create them if not.
7. Make the goal compelling
8. Check for ecology
If not, go inside to find out how the outcome can become more ecological.
Use this pattern in your own life, and get really, really good at it. Since the pattern takes some time to walk through, limit it's use to the really important goals in your life. An hour of planning for a 5-minute task is just not appropriate. But for the really big goals, an hour of planning will go a long way toward achieving your outcome. It is also appropriate on the big goals to review this pattern on a weekly and monthly basis as you progress toward your outcome.
Use this pattern for clients who want an important outcome, but are unclear on how to define that outcome, or how to get started or stay motivated. Use this pattern to teach how to correct course after launching, and how to anticipate navigate obstacles or resource shortfalls.
Michael Hall, and others.
They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery. When we pace matched the experience of another person, we honor them by joining them in the representation of their world.
Pacing, matching and mirroring are ways to gain fast and deep rapport with another person.
Successful salespeople understand this intuitively. Lovers do this instinctively, and any couple or group with a high degree of camaraderie assume the same postures, gestures, vocabulary, movements and rhythms of others in the group. In an intimate setting rapport can be gained through matching eye movements, postures, breathing, tone, nodding, and other rhythmic gestures.
People can connect by matching with each other at any of the Neurological Levels:
There are times when it is appropriate to break rapport for the purpose of moving on to another priority. This is most easily and tactfully done by introducing a mismatch into the process.
One of the easiest ways to mismatch is through physiology rather than through words. For example of two people were sitting down and talking and one suddenly stands up. That signals the end of the conversation. More subtle gestures would include leaning away from the person, pointing your feet toward the door, looking at your watch or changing the rate of your breathing and blinking.
On the phone, it's also possible to mismatch by changing your tone rate of speed or volume to be much different than that of the person you're talking to. All of these are ways to signal the coming end of a conversation without having to say so directly.
1. Take on the physiology similar to your partner
2. Match the other person's representational system preferences
3. Match the persons met or frames, values, and beliefs
4. Intentionally mismatch your partner
5. Regain rapport through matching
Repeat steps 1 through 3, until rapport is again established.
Use this pattern in conjunction with all other NLP patterns. Good NLP requires a state of rapport between client and coach. If rapport is ever lost during an NLP pattern, stop and regain rapport before continuing.
Use this pattern in your romantic endeavors, in your profession, and with family and friends, and notice how life's skids are greased just a little more.
Michael Hall, and others.
In NLP, "calibration" refers to using our sensory acuity to guage the mental and emotional state or mood of a person or audience. This ability sharpens with experience, and is a critical factor in the success of any NLP intervention, because when delivering a pattern, timing is everything.
There are many individual clues that our body gives off to reveal one's inner state at any time, including eye access cues, breathing patterns, perspiration, skin tone and color, not to mention posture, voice tone, hesitation in answering, etc. Each of these can be a study unto itself, but a seasoned NLP practitioner will take all of these cues together as a set and then identify areas of incongruence or inconsistency.
Not all signals from another person are of equal importance. What is most important in calibration is that you know if you are getting a positive (+) or negative (-) response. Yes means, I'm with you, please continue, this is working. No means, I'm resisting this, there is something you are missing, this is not working.
Besides calibrating a Yes or No response, here are some other kinds of Positive or Negative responses you can calibrate:
Calibrating Like vs. Dislike
Friend vs. Foe
Interesting vs. Non-interesting
In this pattern, we will simply calibrate the yes/no response of a partner, first verbally, and then non-verbally. Then switch.
1. Practice calibrating verbal yes/no responses
Ask 10 - 20 light questions, and be sure to keep them light. Choose questions whose yes/no answers will be spontaneous and quick.
2. Note physiological responses to verbal yes/no responses
During the elicitation, make mental notes of physiological shifts that occur concomitant to a yes or no.
3. Practice calibrating non-verbal yes/no responses
Now, repeat the 10 - 20 questions, or come up with a new set. This time, however, request that your partner only think of the yes or no response, but that they do not say yes or no aloud. Write down the yes or no response next to your question, and see how many you guess correct.
If you are playing this as a game, then switch partners and repeat.
Try this pattern at home, in your relationships, with your co-workers and clients. You do not need to announce that you are playing a game with them, but you will come to know when you are in agreement or disagreement regardless of what is being said outwardly.
Michael Hall, and others.
In doing change work that is NLP, it is critical before implementing any change that the change itself be ecological. We like to say don't fix what ain't broken. This is true in NLP and is common sense in life. Making a change can end up to be disastrous if we don't take time to step back and evaluate the impact of the change before making it. So in NLP we stress ecological checks before installing any new program.
An ecological check means stepping back from the proposed change to think about it in a disassociated way. We evaluate the future as though the change were made to see if there are any negative, harmful, or unnecessarily expensive results caused by its implementation. This gives us an opportunity to debug the new program before it is ever installed.
Whenever we engineer anything for human use, whether it be a new bridge, new biotechnology, a new software system, it is critical that we perform the necessary functional and stress testing before we put that new program into production. Neuro-linguistic programming is no different. We check to make sure that the program performs the desired function in the desired context, and it that it performs well.
A simple neuro-linguistic program that is designed to solve a specific persistent problem, such as allergies, can be tested against the introduction of an allergen, and then you'll know whether program will stand up in real life. In contrast, a more complex neuro-linguistic program that is designed to help someone change it deep-seated metaprogram requires more thorough testing in more contexts and more possible kinds of stresses before that program can be six should be installed. For example, moving from a victim mentality to an absolutely confident mentality needs to be tested in a variety of contexts where confidence will be required.
As we debug the new neuro-linguistic program we check for certain things:
1. Invite the person to take a step back
2. Invite a higher level evaluation
3. Step back further to evaluate your criteria for checking ecology
4. Explore the Cartesian Coordinates
Use this pattern in all kinds of change in your life and with clients. Use this in project planning, software engineering, organizational engineering, and human engineering. Good NLP patterns ALWAYS include ecology check. If any program proves to be un-ecological, stop while you are in the development phase and modify the program before you install it.
Richard Bandler, John Grinder, Michael Hall, and others.
There are certainly times when the same old response is appropriate. However, having more choices in a dynamic world is generally desirable, and very often highly prized. In NLP we presuppose that the meaning of our communication is the response we get. More often than not the intention economy and what we say will be understood somewhat differently than we intended it. So we often need multiple ways of saying or doing something in order to get a response that we want. If we keep trying the same thing over and over, and harder and harder, we can only expect the same results.
In NLP is critical that we operate out of the other person's model the world. That model of the world is only made known to us in bits and pieces as we are able to discern other world is represented in their model. Our understanding of another person's model improves with experience with the person. The person's model of the world shifts over time, as do the moods and states of the person we are working with. What works one day may not work the next. So because NLP is results-oriented, we need to be able to quickly shift our approach to match the current model moods and states of the person we are working with.
Our models of the world are gained through osmosis, since before birth. Even in utero, our neurology is taking in the information about the world and organizing it in terms of what is friendly, and what is dangerous. Through our years we subconsciously come to learn who we can trust or not. On through adolescence, our belief systems are forming, and all of this external input comes to form our internal map. The trouble is most people fail to ever recognize the difference between their internal map of the world and the real world on the outside. We come to confuse our beliefs with facts, and never question those beliefs. When beliefs are to longer questioned, then learning and change become retarded or stopped. The more we question our beliefs, or can guide another to do the same, the more we are able to recognize them as mental constructs only, which then allows us to develop richer flexibility in the world.
1. Identify areas in your life where more flexibility would be an asset
2. Take a step back and look at the situation in a disassociated way
3. Make contact with the states that support that flexibility
Just like a good stretch every morning helps your body to stay toned and fit, stretching your flexibility and responses are useful skill to have in everyday life, but especially in NLP work when going for a particular outcome. Try to be flexible in your romantic endeavors, not to gain dominance over your partner, but to keep things interesting and exciting. Try saying something in a brand-new way. Remember that the response you get will tell you whether the way you said it comes across to your partner the way you intended it. Keep trying new ways when saying I love you, or discussing chores, or telling about your day at work. Pay attention to accuse your partner is giving you at all times.
If you are in a sales job, and your prospect is looking at his watch, you have to try something new and fast. Watch for cues to determine whether what you are saying is moving them to closer or further away from the close.
In talking to yourself, try talking in a new tone of voice or from another perspective, while paying attention to the other signals you get in your mind and body, to see if the new way of talking motivates you in a stronger way.
Michael Hall, and others.
State Elicitation is one of the core skills of any NLP coach. In NLP, a state is more than I thought. A state involves thoughts, feelings and physiology, and covers the spectrum from deep relaxation to to high excitement, from acute pain to ecstatic pleasure, or from mental vertigo to flow. A good NLP practitioner needs to be able to "light up" the neurology, in order to disassociate an old state from an undesirable outcome, or to associate a new resourceful state to a new desired outcome.
Good neuro-linguistic programming does not happen through intellectual discussions about change. Real change only happens as a result of installing a new neuro-linguistic program in a receptive state. The new neurolinguistic program must be powerfully linked to resourceful states, just as any old unresourceful states must be de-linked. NLP must be experienced, not merely thought about. The role of a good NLP practitioner is to teach the client that they have choices about their states, and that they can enter resourceful states as required. Again, this teaching does not happen through discussion only, but through directly experiencing changes in states.
Here are some states that you may wish to evoke in yourself or client when you wish to move away from some compulsive behavior:
Here are some transitional or interruptive states that you may wish to evoke in yourself or client in order to interrupt an old program, and prepare for new learning:
And here are some resourceful states to which we would anchor new positive behaviors:
1. Bring yourself to an uptime state
2. Assist the person in accessing the state
3. Clarify the essential aspects of the state
4. Elicit the state in a congruent and precise manner
5. Give the elicited state time and space to emerge
6. Use vague language patterns in order to elicit a trans-derivational search
7. Watch and listen for and match the person's predicates
8. Use good downtime suggestions to light up the neurology
Use State Elicitation as part of almost any NLP intervention. Remember that it is an art, and not a science. Pay attention to the person in front of you as you ask for the state to come out!
Many persistent problems in relationships are caused by one or both partners becoming stuck in an un-resourceful state, leading to more and more problems caused by acting out of that state. With courage and skill the partners can learn that states can be changed rapidly and effectively, allowing better outcomes to flow out of that state. It is important to be able to go into a learning state when studying, a relaxed state at the end of the day, a pumped up state just before working out, a friendly state when meeting with the new client, a rational state when being sold, or a light trance when integrating new learnings.
Founders of NLP often asked "who is driving the bus", implying that each of us is responsible for controlling and directing our own states.
Michael Hall, and others.
State Inductions are used when an NLP coach wants to produce a neuro-chemical shift in the body-mind of the client. There are simply certain neurological states in which we get our best results. For example, there are times when we need to learn something, focus or concentrate on performing a complex task, relax or forgive someone, or get amped up and motivated for action. In these neurological states, excellence becomes possible.
In NLP, states are neurological conditions with distinct brain waves and chemistry at work. We can invoke or induce these states at will, if we only know how.
There are 3 common ways we access desired states to create them in ourselves:
States come and go all the time, like waves in the ocean. We are constantly shifting between states, and each state swells and ebbs like a wave. Sometimes states are experienced as distinct, and sometimes two or more states can co-exist, and amplify or cancel the effect of the others.
A master at inducing positive states in thousands of people at once is Tony Robbins. You may have heard help pumping up a crowd with shouts of "yes" and "aye". It really works, if you know how.
1. Be ready to catch the induced state as it occurs and anchor it when it peaks
Like a surfer trying to catch a good wave, be ready to watch for the induced state and anchor it with your client. Stay in the present. Stay in up-time awareness. You are outwardly focused on the physiology of your client. You are teaching the client how to do this for his or herself.
2. Elicit a time when the client felt the state strongly in the past
For this elicitation, remember to ask the questions briefly, and take the first response. Do not dwell on any one question too much. Watch for a physiological shift.
3. Amplify the intensity of the elicited state
When you start to notice a physiological shift, you know you have accessed the state. Now to make the state stronger and more distinct. Here are some ways to amplify high-energy states:
Here are some ways to amplify states of relaxation and learning:
4. Access the physiology of the amplified state
Remember that physiology is an important part of any state, and should be congruent with the inner state you are trying to induce. The mind and body should be on the same wavelength.
Ask the client to report the amplified state, and contrast it with the originally induced state.
6. Break state and repeat
Repeat the example steps 2 through 5 up to 3 times, each time getting faster and faster at accessing the new resourceful state.
Use State Induction patterns when inducing a resourceful state that you want to anchor in yourself or in a client.
Richard Bandler, Tony Robbins, Michael Hall, and others.
Breaking State, or applying a Break State is useful for times in life and in NLP work when we simply need to say "STOP!" because the present state is taking us nowhere, or in the wrong direction.
A Break State pattern is also used often to build repetition into an NLP intervention, where the client will learn by repeatedly getting into and out of a state. A Break State provides that repetition. And sometimes saying "stop" to an inappropriate state will work, but often not, because most states have a momentum of their own... like a flywheel on an engine. When is the last time you tried to ask a child to stop crying, or a person with depression to stop feeling that way? Were the results good?
So when we want to interrupt an unresourceful state in our selves or in a client, we need better tools. The best tools have an element of surprise, shock or unusualness to them. A child will almost always stop their crying if candy is presented to them out of the corner of their eye. Hearing a coin hit the ground will cause most people to pay attention if only for a second or two. Good humor is based on some kind of surprise in an otherwise predictable stream of words or circumstances.
Pattern interrupts or state breaks happen naturally around us all the time. Whenever we notice a very attractive person, or a very ugly person, even if we look at them through our peripheral vision, they captivate our attention. Seeing a bald eagle, or a fighter jet in the sky will distract most people, and so would the sound of screeching tires.
Notice as you go through the day how many times state interrupts occur, and then pay attention to what happens next. Do you go back to the previous state, or are you on to a different one entirely?
1. Name the current state
2. Introduce some surprise into the state, focusing on the submodalities that matter most
3. Deliver the interrupt
Use a Break State pattern whenever you need to to jar or deliver a mild shock to your consciousness or that of a client. When the conscious mind is momentarily distracted and trying to make sense of the surprise, can a new pattern be introduced.
Pattern interrupts can also be delivered during an NLP intervention, while repeating shifts from one state to another. This repetition trains the client to be able to interrupt themselves on cue, and move to the new, more resourceful state.
Richard Bandler, John Grinder, Michael Hall, and others.
In NLP, the process of anchoring is central to producing permanent change. We owe a debt to Ivan Pavlov, for making famous the notion that stimuli can lead to a certain behavioral response. Pavlov took dogs in a state of hunger, and rang a bell just before spraying meat powder into the dogs' mouths. After a few rounds, the dogs began to salivate at the sound even when there was no meat powder. NLP takes conditioning into the real human world, however. In NLP, an anchor is a certain precise stimulus delivered in a peak emotional state to link powerfully to an underlying meaning within our neurology.
Think of an anchor as a button that can be pushed by oneself or someone else any time we desire a certain response. Think of a certain voice that when you hear it can make your blood pressure rise. Think of a song that makes you remember your high school days. Think of a food that send you running to the bathroom. Think of the perfume reminds you of your first romance. These are all anchors, powerfully linked to a neurological meaning. These are the buttons. Once installed, those buttons are always available to be pushed. In order to uninstall an old button, or install a new button, we must be in a peak emotional state at the time, and at that moment the underlying meaning to which the button is linked must also be evoked.
When we choose an anchor to install, there are four characteristics that make that anchor a good choice:
The mnemonic of IPUT, can help you member these qualities.
1. Identify behavior, state, or response you want to access in the future, and a suitable anchor
2. Elicit the desired state
3. Calibrate the person in the state, and amplify it
4. Install the anchor
5. Break state and test the anchor
In your life you can using anchoring to reinforce excellent behavior. Whenever you catch yourself doing something great, amplify the great feelings and then fire off an anchor that you previously selected for its purity and uniqueness. This action will associate the anchor with the neurological meaning underlying those great feelings. Then, in the future when you need to access this state again, you can fire the anchor and it will be there for you.
Use the Anchoring pattern with your clients, during interventions when new state-dependent behaviors are being installed. This works great in relationships, when seeing their partners should evoke a good feeling. Having an anchor associated to a good feeling can put your client in a good state in a flash, whenever he or she needs it.
Richard Bandler, John Grinder, Michael Hall, and others.
In NLP, there is a powerful presupposition that at some level, every behavior has some positive intent behind it... even those behaviors that seem negative. Though many people outside of NLP might disagree philosophically with this presupposition, we stand by its power to deliver great results in change work, or in an arbitration setting between two parties. As we address problematic emotions and behaviors, we assume that they serve or have served some useful purpose, and so by learning what that positive intent is or was, we can find a better substitute motion or behavior that delivers that same intent.
In order to replace a negative emotion or behavior with a more positive one, we must first give it an audience, hear and honor it for its positive intent, and ask its permission to do something else instead. Once the positive intent is satisfied, then the negative emotion or behavior is no longer required in order to achieve it.
1. Identify and negative emotion or negative behavior
2. Find the part responsible for the negative behavior, and address it directly
(Remember that there are really no "parts", but there are aspects of our personalities that we can address as though they were distinct parts.)
4. Ask permission of that part to find a new way to achieve that highest intent
Use this pattern in your own life when trying to replace that nagging voice in your head with another voice is more soothing, encouraging and positive. Use this pattern to understand the positive intent of others who might have ignored, shamed, or otherwise harmed or hurt you. This does necessarily mean that those who might have gravely harmed you should not be prosecuted, but it will help your unconscious mind to reach a place of understanding, leading to forgiveness, so that you can move on with your life.
Use the Positive Intent pattern with your clients to help them understand that it's okay to find better ways to achieve a positive outcome. This pattern is great for diminishing guilt, self derision, and for helping to repair or improve relationships.
Use the Positive Intent pattern in negotiations when two parties cannot agree on the details, but may agree by chunking up to a higher level.
The Positive Intent pattern also works great with kids and teenagers, and is a life skill to be developed early and often.
Michael Hall, and others.
This section is dedicated to NLP Techniques and Patterns for helping us become more congruent and whole.
Not only do we sometimes have disagreements with others, but we also have disagreements with ourselves at certain times, and around certain topics, issues and desires. We can't seem to get any momentum on the things we really want. We spin our wheels in one place, unable to get ourselves unstuck.
Say hello to our "parts". Our parts are purely fictional, facets of our whole person, or more specifically, part of our emotional mind-body system. Still, "parts" are a useful metaphor that we easily understand, and commonly refer to in everyday conversations, such as:
Sound familiar? Did you notice all the "buts"? If you count more than a few buts in your own language, it's probably time to look inside for the incongruencies, so they can be heard, respected, and brought to agreement.
The good news is that it is also easier to resolve conflicting parts with NLP Techniques than you might think. When all of our "parts" are recruited, enrolled in support of a common motivation, and not stepping all over each other, life suddenly becomes easy. The following NLP patterns will help you find congruence in yourself, and make your life more whole:
You remember anchoring from the foundational NLP patterns, and now it's time to learn how to set two anchors (a negative and positive anchor) on a collision course with each other in order for the positive anchor to cancel out the negative one. The Collapsing Anchors pattern is useful when we observe two radically different states operating within us at the same time, interrupting each other, interfering with each other, or even worse, creating self-sabotage. Examples of opposing states would be:
Crashing these two opposing states into each other within the neurology creates a strange starburst of a reaction, resulting in temporary confusion, disorientation, or even light amnesia, after which the force of the negative state is consumed and digested by the positive state.
Personally I don't like the name "collapsing anchors", as much as I like to think of this pattern as negative state annihilation, because I think this is what's really happening inside neurology. Whatever you call this pattern (others call it "integrating anchors"), it really works, but don't try it until you first master setting anchors one at a time.
1. Access and anchor the negative state
2. Break state
3. Access and anchor the positive state
4. Break state again
5. Fire the negative and positive anchors simultaneously
6. Test the collapse of the negative anchor
7. Reinforce the positive anchor
Use the Collapsing Anchors pattern when you want to rid yourself or your client of unwanted thoughts or states that seem to arise at just the wrong time. When this pattern is done effectively, the negative state will just effortlessly melt into the anchored positive state all by itself.
John Grinder, and others.
The Parts Integration or Parts Negotiation pattern is useful for times when we hold conflicting values, each having a great importance within ourselves. Strong values or desired outcomes are backed by mental and emotional resources, such that when these conflicts happen a real internal struggle can ensue, and one part of ourselves can find itself at war with another. We feel like there is no way out of these dilemmas or conundrums except to let the parts go on fighting.
Occasional dilemmas are a part of life, but when these battles rage on for too long, it can become debilitating. Fortunately whether the conflict is occasional or constant, we can use this NLP pattern to arrive at a win-win or no-deal solution.
1. Identify the parts, and check for "yes" and "no" for each
2. Determine the desired outcomes and positive intentions of each part in turn
3. Engage the parts in understanding the interests of the other
4. Negotiate an agreement
5. Make a deal
6. Check for ecology
This pattern can be used whenever you pick up on emotionalized speech like "on the one hand..., and on the other hand... I can't decide, and I wind up hating myself!", or "I feel torn by this constant dilemma...!", or "that's the conundrum!" Use this pattern whenever you hear yourself or another using these speech patterns.
Remember that parts are not separate, but just different aspects of our one-self. The goal is always to bring more congruency into more contexts, even when some urges must wait their turn for expression.
Richard Bandler, John Grinder, and others.
The Six-Step Reframing Pattern indirectly engages the unconscious mind. When there is a shadowy part of you that you just can't put your finger on, but you know is behind some of your inappropriate behaviors, wouldn't it be great if you could just enter into dialogue with that part? If it could just show us a sign, then we could begin to understand it's purpose, and from there negotiate a peace.
During this process, we might never know the name or put a face to this unconscious part of us, but that should not stop us from being able to communicate with it. Think of this part as a kind of "dark knight" within you, which though it communicates obliquely via shadows, is really on your side if you can just discover and satisfy its higher intent. This is not unlike Batman, who must ally with Commissioner Gordon and DA Harvey Dent in pursuit of public safety and justice, is it not?
1. Identify a behavior that is causing you trouble
2. Establish communication with the part that triggers this behavior
3. Discover the positive intent of that part
4. Access creative resources
5. Broker a deal and commit the part to the more resourceful behavior
6. Check for ecology
There are parts of us that look out for us, but prefer to remain unnamed. They protect us, but in ways that are suboptimal. Try this whenever you struggle to name the part that manifests this behavior, but you want to seek its cooperation toward a better solution.
The Six-Step Reframing pattern is based on the metaphor of an unconscious "part". You must be very comfortable with this metaphor for this pattern to succeed. If you or the client feel awkward or confused about parts, then try something else.
Michael Hall, and others.
The Agreement Frame pattern is useful when two parties cannot agree on something. There are generally 4 strategies one can choose when dealing with disagreement:
There are certainly times when getting out, giving in, or taking over is the appropriate response, usually determined by whether the one's safety, or relationship or the outcome is the primary concern, and the other concerns are subordinated.
Going for win-win is the context where this NLP pattern is most effective, because the effort to walk through the pattern takes time and effort up front. When both parties decide the outcome and the relationship are both worth preserving, then it is worth their investment of time, effort and emotion.
When it is established that both parties must have a stake in a favorable outcome, then it is time to begin. Now let's revisit why disagreements happen in the first place... People operate from their frames, consisting of values, priorities or categories of things in the world. When these frames are misaligned and the two parties are too inflexible to see the matter through the frames of the other, then it is time to go meta... or rather assume a higher frame that encompasses the frames of the two parties.
As you walk through this pattern, it really helps to write down the answers you will get, so they are not lost sight of during the process.
1. Identify the present frames of both parties
2. Identify common themes or elements of both frames
3. Identify a higher-level meta-frame that encompasses both sets of frames
4. Use meta-level outcomes of both parties to create an even higher meta-frame
5. Frame the negotiation in terms of the meta-meta-frame
By now, if there is no common ground... DO NOT PROCEED! Check again to reconfirm that both parties want to resolve the issue, and establish common ground, then backtrack as necessary until a common frame is established. If it is clear to everyone where the common ground is, then proceed.
6. Confirm the agreements
Use the Agreement Frame pattern when the relationship and the outcomes are both too important to sacrifice either one. This works in business, marriages, and between friends.
Sometimes the process takes only a few minutes or hours... or it can go on for days or weeks whenever the stakes and complexity are high. Very complex issues require professional and often legal counsel.
Michael Hall, Stephen Covey, Dudley Lynch and others
Aligning Neurological Levels, or the Aligned Self Pattern is one of my very favorite NLP patterns, because it can be a whole intervention in itself. It is based on the work of Robert Dilts, who discovered that people operate at different levels at different times, and when these levels are out of alignment with each other, people not only feel stuck, they are perceptibly stuck.
Like the Circle of Excellence, this pattern works extremely well both with individuals and in groups. This pattern is good for both remedial and generative work.
1. Create 6 Spatial Anchors 1-Step Apart on the Floor
Lay down 6 cards or coins about 1 step apart on the floor extending out in front of the explorer.
Each one of the cards will be spatially anchored as follows:
2. Step Into the Environmental Spatial Anchor
3. Step Into the Behavioral Spatial Anchor
4. Step Into the Capabilities Spatial Anchor
5. Step Into the Values and Beliefs Spatial Anchor
6. Step Into the Identity Spatial Anchor
7. Step Into the Spiritual Spatial Anchor
8. Reinforce the Spiritual Spatial Anchor
9. Reinforce the Identity Spatial Anchor
10. Reinforce the Values and Beliefs Spatial Anchor
11. Reinforce the Capabilities Spatial Anchor
12. Reinforce the Behavioral Spatial Anchor
13. Reinforce the Environmental Spatial Anchor
Finally, take a last step forward, and bring all of these new resources, skills, powers into real-projected future places and times. See yourself doing everything fully congruent in these situations, notice what day and time it is, what you are wearing, who is present, and just feel great!
Align Neurological Levels as a great group introduction to NLP. This is also an excellent exercise to finish off a chain of NLP interventions, because it reinforces and integrates learnings covering the gamut across all levels of experience.
Do try this exercise, it comes highly recommended. NLP Comprehensive also favors this exercise during their integration week at the end of Practitioner training, and for good reason!
Of all aspects of life that Neuro-Linguistic Programming can assist with, helping to define and enhance our self-concept is among the most powerful. I personally love working with identity, because self expression is one of the strongest urges our experience. A change in identity has profound changes in all other areas and activities of life.
The clearer we become about who we are as individuals, the more naturally we stand out and simultaneously integrate with others in the world.
In life, we can evolve through stages of dependence, through independence, and then achieve inter-dependence as Stephen Covey says. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says growth and one's identity (self) is supported by a purposeful life filled with flowful experiences. Flow creates increasingly complex people that are at once more individuated and more integrated. Joseph Campbell's work tells that human life can be a journey wherein the hero of the story (one's self) progresses from a naive dependent individual through a series of adventures which define him or her. The hero then becomes a master of two worlds: the inner world, and the outer world being shaped by the inner and outer worlds, and shaping it in turn. Socrates urged us all to "know thyself". This is the ideal life.
When is the last time you have asked yourself a question like one of these:
Our identity is a fragile thing. It is constantly under threat of entropy and disintegration. One sure thing is that who we are is always changing. We are not the same person we were a day or a month or a year ago. We've changed in subtle or obvious ways. Sometimes who we are changes for the better, and sometimes for the worse. Thousands of books, movies and songs turn on this truth.
We often get stuck, or all twisted up, or sideways as our self concepts develop in less than optimal ways. Often we grow up to become what others want or expect us to be, wearing a mask as it were, and creating inner resistance. Other times, our concept of self is tamped down by critical voices coming from outside or inside ourselves. Abuse during childhood is a direct attack on the child's own self concept, which NLP techniques can help to redefine. At other times, we are simply not aware of our own possibilities, and NLP patterns can help here too.
This section presents proven NLP Techniques and Patterns that can help the individual define him or herself in new ways, strengthen and tune up one's already healthy self concept, or re-imprint a stunted childhood self-concept with a more empowered and resourceful one. Once we know who we are, why we are here, and have resources at our disposal to fully express ourselves, the details just seem to work themselves out, do they not? Let's get started...
Many times circumstances and emotions rule our lives precisely because we think that we are our circumstances and emotions. Outside of NLP, disidentification is a central theme to many spiritual and self-help movements. Eckhart Tolle points to identification with our problems as the source of all human suffering, and he may be right.
We are not our circumstances, nor are we our emotions. We are more than that. We are not our bodies, we are more than that too. The gist of this pattern is to reframe one’s thinking, so that we come to know experientially that we have a body, but we are not our body. We have circumstances, but we are not those circumstances. We have problems, but we are not our problems. We have emotions, but we are not our emotions. We have thoughts and experiences, but we are not those thoughts or experiences. At the core, we are the consciousness having all of these things, and while these things can change, our core remains safely untouched.
Separating our core identity from these aspects of experience is powerful. It is the beginning of wisdom and the start of a new life for someone who is completely identified with his or her illness, relationship, job, wealth, or story. It is also very scary when identification with these things is very strong. It can feel like part of their identity is being severed at first, and then the realization comes that what was severed was not their identity at all, but only a figment… a hallucination. This being said, realize that this pattern will be met with resistance by most Westerners, and Americans in particular. The Western mentality holds a deep fear of separating one’s identity from one’s thoughts and feelings. At worst, it seems like a kind of death, and at the very least a challenge to separate one’s identity from their thoughts, feelings, beliefs and story will make no sense at first.
1. Test willingness to accept higher core identity
Note: If they are not willing to go further, stop here. You may ask them to say more about their unwillingness, but do not continue with this pattern until they are ready to play.
2. Use linguistic patterns to start to dis-identify
3. Induce relaxation to strengthen the dis-identification
4. While in trance, separate self from circumstances and functions
5. Ask the brain to create a higher self
6. Strengthen the higher self as a permanent and ongoing entity
Use this pattern with yourself, a loved one or a client whose emotional overreactions to stress, loss or feelings of doom are overwhelming. They may feel like they are dying in the face of changing circumstances, health, wealth or relationships. Using this pattern can help them to explore and come to know for themselves that bad things can happen to them, but their core self will remain safe and secure. This pattern is particularly useful in cases where fanatic behavior is driven by identification with some cause.
Warning: Only do this pattern with their consent! It is not OK to delve into matters of identity against their will. If you try to do so, you will be met with overt or covert resistance, as the ego is fighting for its very existence.
Michael Hall, and others.