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Learning: unconscious uptake or conscious effort.

Unconscious uptake and hypnotic trances

Learning by modelling or unconscious uptake as described is different from a hypnotic trance. Whereas most trances take a person’s attention inwards, modelling specifically requires the modeller’s attention to be external, so they can see, hear and feel everything unfolding in front of them and take it in directly. While not a hypnotic trance, this state is sometimes called an uptime trance, denoting full sensory attention to the outside world. External attention only uses sensory input through eyes, ears and body. Ideally there is no internal dialogue; minimally, internal dialogue is reduced to the best of your ability. There is no use of internal imagery or sound either. One of the most effective ways to reduce learning is to make internal images, sounds and dialogue during a presentation or lecture. Internal representations use up the input channels at the very time they need to be clear for input and the quality of learning is enhanced if they are kept to a minimum during the class. Understanding can be sought later, in private, over suitable course materials. , 

“Learning by modelling or unconscious uptake as described is different from a hypnotic trance”

Unconscious uptake is the kind of learning we advocate for becoming expert in the use and application of NLP. It facilitates natural acquisition of the patterns with the ability to use them to respond to others with appropriate questions and instructions. There is no requirement outside the classroom to adhere to a complete process if other patterns fit the conversation and context more closely. In the classroom, learning complete change processes has several functions. A complete process can be used like training wheels on a bicycle. It provides a framework to carry a subset of NLP patterns to which students need to be exposed. It provides an opportunity to work with others with sufficient constraints to allow students to practice the new piece with previously learned patterns, such as rapport, sensory acuity and calibration.

  • Rapport is the willing engagement of the other’s unconscious attention.
  • Sensory acuity is observation and listening for language patterns and non-verbal responses without attributing meaning.
  • Calibration is observation of patterns previously seen and heard in that individual and known to be associated with particular states and response potential for that person.

Unconscious uptake enables students to engage with patterns in different combinations as the course progresses, so they build up schemata or representations of increasing complexity as the course progresses. This creates a collection of known patterns which can be mixed and matched by the unconscious to suit different conversations and contexts and becomes more accessible with practice. In due course, the student acquires conscious understanding, often some time later.

“Unconscious uptake is the kind of learning we advocate for becoming expert in the use and application of NLP”

It takes trust in the trainers and the training organisation for students to be willing to engage in unconscious uptake. It often feels unfamiliar and does not provide immediate conscious feedback that one has acquired knowledge. To reduce the level of discomfort commonly associated with uncertainty before students discover that unconscious uptake is extremely effective, we provide them with the opportunity to discover that it works with minimal risk.

We advise prospective students to research carefully before enrolling, to assure themselves that we know what we are doing. In line with government policy, if they are not finding class useful, we allow anyone who wants to withdraw to do so before the second day of their next unit. We also provide students with reading material to which they can refer after learning a particular piece. Students who have completed a unit of study satisfactorily are invited to repeat that unit for a nominal fee at any time during the next two years if they want to review it. These measures are all designed to give students the assurance that they can take the time they need to familiarise themselves with unconscious input so they can give their full attention to learning. Then they can develop trust within themselves to learn that way. We also offer them reliable material to help facilitate conscious understanding after their experience, should they so wish.

Yet in this world full of diversity, (which makes it interesting) many people have been taught that conscious, deliberate learning and wanting immediate understanding is the right way to learn. The most extreme examples insist on taking notes, talking to themselves and visualising during presentations. They may ask very precise, literal questions that take their attention away from the patterns unfolding in front of them. By their very activity, they make a great effort, engage their conscious resources and miss the frames and patterns that make a new process memorable, effortlessly functional and ecological to use.

Ecology is preserving the client or subject’s long term wellbeing with reference to the contexts of their lives, relationships and circumstances which could be impacted by their outcomes with an exercise or change process.

People who espouse conscious mind learning, especially if they get results from it, say they are not learning if they are not taking notes and if they cannot have exercise instructions to read. They become agitated and naturally subject themselves to loud internal dialogue and intrusive internal images as they imagine wasting their opportunity and not learning. This response is precisely what stops them learning. If they can stay the course and attend externally, eventually they, too, discover that unconscious uptake works well in the context of NLP. It just takes a little longer at the beginning. Otherwise, these are people who leave training with a collection of notes and recipes and a limited capacity to work with NLP in their lives.

Conscious mind learning is used by the majority of people who have experienced formal education and it is the culturally accepted norm. Therefore it is not surprising that much of the material modelled by Bandler and Grinder has been written up in the form of techniques and scripts. When students attend exclusively and consciously to verbal instructions and specific comments and questions, the demonstrated piece is taken down verbatim and used in the exercise with the exact words in the same order as they were offered in the demonstration. When the words survive and the non-verbal elements in the communication are missed, a format is created. The format becomes the standard for general use. No one remembers it expressed patterns for a specific interaction and is not a complete model ready for generalisation.

“When the words survive and the non-verbal elements in the communication are missed, a format is created”

A prime example of an over specified NLP process for creating change is the Swish. It is variously described as a method or a technique and is normally presented as a recipe to be memorised or as a script to be read.

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NLP change processes; What you need to know

NLP change processes; technique or pattern?

Many practitioners focus on the acquisition and use of NLP techniques as examples of NLP change processes without an understanding and appreciation of the difference between a technique and a pattern. First we need to define NLP.

Bandler & Grinder’s Definition of NLP

Richard Bandler once defined NLP as “…an attitude of insatiable curiosity about human beings with a methodology that leaves behind it a trail of techniques…” Bandler, R., DeLozier, J., & Cameron-Bandler, L. (1981). Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Info-Medix.

Bandler, himself, does not use unchanging techniques when working with different people. He asks questions, observes non-verbal responses, listens to verbal and non-verbal responses and uses his body to communicate. He changes what he is doing to fit the other person’s ongoing shifts in behaviour as they unfold in front of him and he uses his own behaviour to facilitate the change. 

One of John Grinder’s definitions reads: “NLP is a meta-discipline which focuses on the discovery and coding of patterns which distinguish the most capable of the practitioners of some particular discipline (managerial practice, medical practice, sport, therapy…) from the average practitioner. These distinguishing patterns are the substance of NLP.” – John Grinder (The NLP Field Guide, Collingwood & Collingwood).

Grinder’s definitions of NLP suggest that applying NLP in daily life is attending to the patterns of organisation that produce excellence when expressed in the world. Bandler is attending to something similar.

“Applying NLP is attending to the patterns of organisation that produce excellence when expressed in the world.”

NLP Change Processes; The Difference Between Patterns & Techniques

When NLP change processes are performed by someone with refined pattern detection and utilisation skills, the consultant works in relationship and response to the responses of the client. Well trained and experienced consultants are not limited to using NLP formats in full, as they appreciate the patterns that frame different parts of a process. Each question or instruction is offered with intent to assist the client to think differently and more productively. Then the client can access, arrange and learn information about their matter, with a view to obtaining systemically satisfactory resolution.

An able NLP consultant’s skills include but are not limited to their sensory acuity, capacity to detect and recognise patterns in themselves and others and their ability to articulate questions, suggestions and requests in terms the other person’s conscious and unconscious minds can appreciate, follow and use. This presupposes that each change work conversation will be unique as the consultant and client communicate with each other and each of their responses is predicated on the previous delivery of the other person.

This approach is quite different from someone repeating a list of questions and instructions they have been told will shift a specific problem. However, Bandler’s choice of the word techniques had an unfortunate effect on the field of NLP training and on the large number of trainers who became comfortable with teaching techniques.

Most people who learn NLP do not have the opportunity to study with Bandler, Grinder, or the small handful of others who teach the patterns of excellence that frame an NLP syllabus.

Therefore the majority of students of NLP learn formatted procedures (techniques). The nature of techniques is such that a technician has learned to perform a particular technique when a specific criterion for using it is apparent. They do it the same way every time, regardless of differences in context, available materials or differing patterns of organisation of the person in front of them.

An NLP technique is a written version of a change process used in the NLP community, which probably came from patterns of excellence modelled or demonstrated by Bandler and or Grinder initially. A change process is an example of one or more patterns in action. The point about patterns is that if you can detect patterns unfolding in front of you, for example in a client’s comments and behaviour, you can respond with functional examples of patterns of excellence that mesh with what you are observing and lead the client’s own process towards a useful conclusion for them. This is personalised change work as opposed to formulaic work.

In its first iteration and certainly before becoming a technique, any change process would have been demonstrated by a practiced NLP trainer or consultant. It would have been that trainer’s expression of a combination of patterns of excellence used on a specific occasion with a particular individual. The change process would have been crafted from patterns of excellence held in the trainer’s neurology, either as a result of extended modelling of someone like Grinder or Bandler, or deriving from in depth training and practice in pattern detection and implementation.

The exact patterns used on any occasion would have been selected unconsciously from first principles. The selection would have been made in light of information gathered from the demonstration subject and the language and behaviour patterns of that specific person in that specific context. There would have been framing and metaphor preceding the change process, to set the scene and engage the subject’s unconscious mind.

Any observers or students would have been expected to model the trainer’s entire presentation, including non-verbal patterns and observations without taking notes, so they would acquire the underpinning unconscious skills and knowledge to work with NLP patterns from first principles.

To have made the shift from modelling and learning first principles into written formats and conventional learning, someone present at such a training program missed the point. They would have ignored the framing that proposed modelling the demonstrator and attended to the exact words only. They would have written the questions and instructions in the change process verbatim and later disseminated that writing as a literal format or technique. Then they passed that version on to others and the others applied it as written. 

A Recommended Way of Learning: Use Your Unconscious Mind

In the education system, people learn by attending consciously to the content of a lecture and taking copious notes. They read relevant material before and after a topic is presented and use conscious attention to engage with the material. If anyone suggested they silence their internal dialogue, open their peripheral vision and soak up the experience directly to the unconscious mind, they would be horrified. They would imagine that leaving a lecture with no notes and little conscious awareness of the material would place them at a severe disadvantage.

Unconscious uptake can feel as if one is not learning in the early stages. Yet the material is available for application, even though someone learning this way may not be able to find and access it consciously until some time has elapsed. When learning NLP this way, the evidence that learning is happening is in the practical exercises and future experiences when the student hears themselves say something that expresses a pattern learned in class.

“Unconscious uptake can feel as if one is not learning in the early stages.”

A student described the experience of using unconscious uptake in NLP training very clearly. She said she appreciated the framing and metaphors that carried the patterns without trying to understand them consciously. Then she modelled the demonstration, again without trying to record or understand consciously. When the exercise was given, she had no idea what to do, so she sat with her partner and allowed her unconscious mind to run the exercise. She found that she had all the right questions in a functional order to accommodate her partner’s responses and fulfil the intention for the exercise.

We teach a postgraduate program in NLP accredited within the Australian Qualifications Framework. Find out more about the 10250NAT Graduate Certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

(Note: If you would like to learn more about the New Code of NLP you can get a copy of  our latest Kindle book ‘AEGIS: Patterns for extending your reach in life, work & leisure’ by Jules Collingwood, NLP Trainer. For only $4.99 here).

By Jules Collingwood, NLP Trainer

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How the NLP Swish Pattern began

The NLP Swish Pattern

The NLP Swish pattern uses an individual’s own submodality changes at high speed to shift that person’s attention from the content they have to see, hear or feel each time they initiate an habitual act. The sensory representation of the memory of performing the start of their chosen behaviour shifts instantly into a highly attractive and dissociated representation of the person as they would like to be at some time after they have changed. This creates a shunt that diverts the person from the act they wanted to change before they do it.

  • Submodalities are the components of each representational system.
  • Representational systems are the systems of sight, hearing, feeling, taste and smell that we use to remember and imagine, creating trains of thought and emotions.
  • The senses are sight, hearing, feeling, taste and smell used in real time as we access external events.
  • Visual submodalities include size, brightness, location, distance, depth of field, focus, hue, rate of motion (think photoshop editing).
  • Auditory submodalities include location, volume, pitch, timbre, bandwidth, distortion, rate of motion (think sound mixing desk).
  • Kinaesthetic submodalities include temperature, pressure, location, rhythm, amplitude, moisture, volume, area, motion.

Submodalities provide and create the meaning we make of the content of our representations, (images, sounds and sensations) and the meaning of a representation changes when we alter the submodalities with which it is represented. A NLP Swish changes both the meaning and the content of representations attached to the act we want to change. For the purposes of using a Swish to break an habitual act, we use two analogue submodalities in representational systems of the person’s choice. These should be driver submodalities that change the intensity of the experience simultaneously with their direct action on the initial representation.

“Submodalities provide and create the meaning we make of the content of our representations”

  • Analogue submodalities alter in a continuous flow, increasing or decreasing in smooth increments, like the dimmer on a light switch or the volume control on a sound system.
  • Digital submodalities alter in discrete steps or have an on-off switch.
  • Driver submodalities alter the meaning or quality of the content of a representation while simultaneously altering additional qualities of the experience by changing at least one submodality in a different representational system. This change is linked to the change in the driver submodality.

The principle of the NLP Swish Pattern is to create an automated shift of the person’s attention to their highly motivating and self chosen representation of themselves in the future after the change.

The story of the Swish

Christina Hall is one of the founding owners of the Society of NLP and has been an NLP trainer since the early 1980s. She was working with Richard Bandler, the co-originator of NLP, as a blend of executive assistant and associate trainer. She also had a life partner called Peter, who played a central role in the development of the Swish.

“Christina Hall is one of the founding owners of the Society of NLP”

One evening, Christina was driving home from an NLP training seminar. Peter was with her in the car and they were discussing Bandler’s demonstrations. During the conversation, Peter experienced a sudden shift in his internal images and changed state. The new state was markedly resourceful and Christina’s attention was alerted. She asked Peter what he did and he described his experience as follows:

He had been thinking about something in life size, moving, associated images close in front of him. Suddenly the image shifted from its life size movie configuration and dropped down to his left side while it shrunk to a black dot at the bottom left of his field of vision. Simultaneously a (different) black dot rose up from the same place at the bottom left and enlarged and placed itself across Peter’s field of vision, where the previous image had been. This was a dissociated lifelike image of who he would be or how he would appear ideally, after making a change to the content he was first thinking about.

Christina took this information to Bandler and they experimented with it. In due course it became what is known as the Standard NLP Swish Pattern. It worked well for some people, notably those who include size, location and brightness in their analogue driver submodalities.

The swish created a shunt from the present state image with its unique components of the unwanted behaviour, directly to an idealised dissociated image of the person after the change is established. This produced a state that was sufficiently resourceful and different from the state associated with the habitual behaviour to break any link with the unwanted behaviour. As a shunt, any residual link would be broken each time the person was exposed to the initial stimulus.

Some people found it difficult to shrink an image and move it sideways while darkening it and others found it did nothing for them. These people use different driver submodalities. Bandler discovered that a large number of them work well using size and distance. For them, the initial associated image pulls away as if on a bungy cord, while shrinking down to become a dot in the far distance. Simultaneously, the desired state image starts from being a dot in the far distance and rushes forward, enlarging to occupy the position formerly held by the first image. This is known as the Distance NLP Swish Pattern.

Finally, for those who do not include any of these options in their own driver submodalities, or who prefer to work in the auditory or kinaesthetic representational systems, Bandler chunked up from the two formats above to describe the patterns that guide them. In the Designer NLP Swish Pattern, the individual subject’s use of submodalities is elicited and a swish is created for that person, using two of their own analogue driver submodalities. This is the most accurate description of the NLP Swish Pattern.

The Standard, Distance and Designer NLP Swish patterns are taught as part of the syllabus on our postgraduate qualification in NLP, the 10250NAT Graduate Certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

By Jules Collingwood, NLP Trainer

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Prerequisites for an effective Swish.

Christina Hall is one of the founding owners of the Society of NLP and has been an NLP trainer since the early 1980s. She was working with Richard Bandler, the co-originator of NLP, as a blend of executive assistant and associate trainer. She also had a life partner called Peter, who played a central role in the development of the Swish.

Teaching and Learning the Swish

Christina’s story is not well known in the NLP community. Most people learn the Standard Swish first, as a stand alone format. They learn to use the Distance Swish separately, to accommodate subjects who find it difficult to use the Standard Swish. At most, students may be told to ask which format a subject prefers and use that. The frame is generally restricted to presenting a pre-packed format of a standard or distance swish so that students can follow the recipe and get a result. In this impoverished model, students are not given the whole pattern, nor are they invited to begin the process with a submodality elicitation to establish their individual subjects’ own analogue driver submodalities.

In order to learn the Swish effectively and safely, with ecology for the subject, there are some essential frames and prerequisite skills and knowledge.

Prerequisite skills and knowledge:

  • Students should be competent in rapport, sensory acuity, calibration and the use of visual, auditory and kinaesthetic representational systems.
  • Students should be familiar with eliciting submodalities and submodality changes in visual, auditory and kinaesthetic representational systems.
  • Students should routinely check for ecology in all their work; that is ensure that any changes they propose to facilitate fit with the subject’s values, life style, choices and relationships.
  • Students should be competent in routinely applying first, third and second positions to facilitate high quality information gathering and support their calibration of subjects’ responses to questions and instructions.
  • Students should be able to elicit subjects’ outcomes and intentions for having the changes they want.
  • Students should be able to elicit sensory specific information from subjects about their normally unconscious thinking processes.

“In order to learn the Swish there are some essential frames and prerequisite skills and knowledge”

Frames:

  • The Swish is a submodality change process and therefore has no inherent ecology. You will need to provide an ecology frame and ecology checks throughout the process.
  • There is no information gathering process to establish outcomes, intentions and possible consequences of making a change using the Swish. You will need to gather sufficient information to ensure that the subject creates an ecological outcome that fits into a suitable intention frame.
  • The Swish works to stop unwanted behaviour in its tracks by creating a different representation and state. You will need to establish that any intentions the subject has for continuing the unwanted behaviour are incorporated into the change or satisfied by other means.
  • The Swish has no requirement for engaging the subject’s unconscious mind in the choice or creation of change. You will need to elicit engagement with the subject’s unconscious mind to approve and ratify their choices and possibly to contribute intentions and choices for the change.
  • The Swish is a process model.
  • It uses two analogue driver submodalities to reduce the present state representation while simultaneously using two analogue driver submodalities to bring in the desired state representation. Examples of analogue driver submodalities include, but are not limited to analogue shifts:
    • top to bottom,
    • icy cold to steaming hot,
    • dark to very bright,
    • barely discernible to heavy pressure,
    • nearly silent to very loud,
    • distant and barely there to close and very obvious,
    • from tiny to occupying all available space,
    • left to right.
  • The Swish can be performed using the same representational system for the present and desired state representations or two different representational systems, one each for the present and desired state representations. Alternatively it can be done using driver submodalities from two different representational systems for the present and/or desired state representations. On each occasion, use the combination that you have discovered fits best for the subject in front of you.
  • The present state representation is always associated and requires content which can only be present and is always present when the unwanted act is about to take place.
  • An associated representation is life like. It is as if you were there, in the scene, seeing, hearing and feeling live action.
  • The desired state representation is always clearly discernible and dissociated to keep it slightly in the future and therefore drawing the subject towards it.
  • A dissociated representation is like seeing an image with yourself in the image, hearing sound through a window and feeling yourself as an observer, not as a participant. It is like watching and listening to yourself in a video, seeing a photograph of yourself or hearing your voice recorded.
  • Every Swish is a Designer Swish. People have their own driver submodalities and some of these are analogue. Different people use different sublimates to make meaning of their experience. Therefore any submodality intervention requires eliciting that subject’s submodality applications before creating the change process.

When I teach the Swish, I use the frames above. I tell Christina’s story to provide the history and illustrate that the so-called Standard Swish is Peter’s Designer Swish. For teaching purposes, the visual system is graphically illustrative. Most people can see and shift their internal images with some facility, so I find a demonstration subject who can comfortably perform a Swish using visual submodalities.

I gather information from the subject and engage their unconscious resources until they know what they want to change (problem), what they want instead (outcome) and what having that would do for them (intention). I also establish what keeping the problem does for them (intention for doing it). The intentions we use may be intentions for intentions to make sure they are well formed and attractive to the subject.

A well formed intention is:

  • Self initiated; I want to be X, have, do or experience, not I want to have X done to me by others or I want to be.
  • Phrased in the positive; I want to be, have, do or experience, not I don’t want to experience.
  • For oneself; I want to be X, have, do or experience X, not I want someone else to be, do, have or experience.

It is acceptable to keep exploring higher levels of intention until the subject spontaneously offers one that is well formed and attractive to them. , That may be three or four levels up from the outcome. Even an ill formed and unpleasing intention has a higher intention which might be more useful.

The information gathering usually identifies potential changes to be made to set the subject up for the best quality results from the Swish. Given that the Swish only changes the desire to perform specific acts, additional work is often needed to safeguard the ecology and intentions associated with the desired change. When this is done, I give the subject frames for the Swish, (using visual submodalities if possible for the first demonstration) and elicit the subject’s analogue driver submodalities for use in the process. At this stage I would be ready to run the process, but for the reader, there are other questions to address first.

Creating a Designer Swish is one of the topics in the 10250NAT Graduate Certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming curriculum, the postgraduate qualification in NLP.

By Jules Collingwood, NLP Trainer

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Swish stories and formats

Running the Swish Successfully and Otherwise

Many people in the NLP community are willing to use the Swish as a stand alone process. They claim success using the Standard or Distance Swish by itself with a variety of habitual acts. Given the importance of protecting subjects’ higher level intentions and ecology, I wonder about the time frame in which some of these results hold up.

Here is an example of typical consequences of a stand alone Swish. During a short conversation with someone at their workplace, they mentioned that they bit their nails and had done since childhood. Was there a quick fix that would take less than 10 minutes? They were made aware of the lack of ecology but wanted to try it out. One Swish later, they stopped biting their nails. Three weeks later, the same person observed that since stopping biting their nails, they were aware of an uncomfortable state. The state went away if they brought their nails to their mouth. There was time to explore the state and do a full piece of work, so the person kept their nails and sorted out the underlying state.

Some years ago a student wanted to experiment using the Swish to find out if it was sufficient for him to stop smoking with no other intervention. This was an interesting idea. Usually, smoking is associated with lots of intentions for doing it, for stopping it and for participating in social and business milieux in which it does and does not take place. This is one topic where it is extremely useful to gather high quality information and make a systemic approach to change. The Swish can be an excellent end piece after everything else has been addressed.

The student who wanted to experiment chose the visual system for both representations. He chose separate images for a cigarette in the left hand, in the right hand, lit and unlit, in each case with the hand approaching his face. Then he ran the Swish separately for each image. He reported a few days later that for the first day he had been unable to extract a cigarette from a packet, but he still felt a strong desire to smoke. This is not surprising. When the student explored the rest of his own system and made changes with reference to smoking, he was able to give it up comfortably and congruently. He lost the physiological and state based desire, when the intentions for their presence were addressed. This complemented the initial Swish and he remains a willing and easy non-smoker.

Provided the Swish is used ecologically as part of a suite of interventions, it can be applied usefully to any unwanted recurring behaviour or state. It is best known for breaking unwanted habitual behaviour, but unwanted states can be construed as behaviour and will respond to a Swish. A Swish is a form of shunt, where one state is shunted directly to another, using representations with specific submodalities shifted at high speed. , 

“Provided the Swish is used ecologically it can be applied usefully to any unwanted recurring behaviour or state”

Some say the Swish supersedes the N-Step Reframe – Not So.

The N-Step Reframe used to be called 6 Step Reframing, but Grinder changed its name. This is Bostic and Grinder’s N-Step instructions from p. 155 of “Whispering in the Wind”.

Identify the behaviour(s) to be changed

  1. Establish a reliable involuntary signal system with the unconscious
  2. Confirm that there is a positive intention(s) behind the behaviour(s) to be changed
  3. Generate a set of alternatives as good or better than the original behaviour(s) in satisfying the positive intention(s)
  4. Get the unconscious to accept responsibility for implementation
  5. Ecological check

“The N-Step Reframe used to be called 6 Step Reframing, but Grinder changed its name”

There is a belief in the NLP community that anything the N-Step Reframe can address, the Swish can change more quickly and with less effort. They claim that the Swish supersedes the N-Step Reframe and is therefore the process of choice for that class of problems. To address these opinions:

  • The N-Step Reframe contains ecology, consultation with the unconscious mind, access to and use of intentions. It requires a large enough frame to address any systemic elements that impact the proposed change. All the essential elements for a high quality, lasting change are inside the process. Of course it takes longer than a stand alone Swish. This is the difference between a complete intervention and one piece of an intervention.
  • If the comparison is restricted to personal change, and the N-Step Reframe is compared with a Swish performed inside an ecological framework as above, you are comparing apples with apples. Then the choice can be, what best fits this client, now?
  • Within the personal change context, the N-Step Reframe can accommodate a greater range of topics for change than a stand alone Swish. So can a Swish inside an ecological framework.
  • The N-Step Reframe was developed by John Grinder, directly from his unconscious mind and first published in “Frogs into Princes”. The story of the N-Step Reframe is told in full in Bostic and Grinder, “Whispering in the Wind”. The Swish came later, but to supersede the N-Step Reframe it would have to fulfil all the same functions. The N-Step Reframe has many more applications than the Swish. It lends itself to the creative process, facilitating ideas and designs, to business and commerce, managing people and projects. The principles can be applied to organising thought, teaching and learning and to anything where it is useful to work at the level of intentions, which includes most of life.

“The N-Step Reframe contains ecology, consultation with the unconscious mind, access to and use of intentions”

Now that the framing for the Swish is in place, examples are given and common views are discussed, it is time to describe the Swish itself. This the model:

Instructions for using the Swish Pattern from First Principles (also known as the Designer Swish):

  1. Identify the behaviour to be changed
  2. Create an associated representation at the point of no return for commencing the behaviour
  3. Create a dissociated representation of the subject in their desired state
  4. Identify two analogue driver submodalities to intensify each representation
  5. Associate into the first representation
  6. Apply driver submodalities to reduce intensity of first representation to zero and…
  7. Simultaneously, apply driver submodalities to increase intensity of desired state representation to optimal intensity
  8. Return attention to the outside
  9. Repeat steps five to seven inclusive AT SPEED, two to five times, with a break between each cycle.
  10. Test and future pace.

Formats go into more detail and constrain the average user to following specific instructions, which may or may not suit the subject in front of them. The advanced user will be aware of the frames and extrapolate to the description above. They will routinely gather information and vary the details of the process to suit their subject.

Format for the Standard Swish:

  1. Identify the behaviour to be changed
  2. Create a large associated image at the point of no return for commencing the behaviour
  3. Create a large, close, dissociated image of the subject in their desired state
  4. Apply submodalities of size and brightness to intensify each image
  5. Associate into the first image
  6. Shrink, darken and move the first image down to one side until it is a black dot and…
  7. Simultaneously, from a black dot to the side, enlarge, brighten and move the desired state image to the centre of the visual field so it occupies the whole visual field while remaining dissociated
  8. Return attention to the outside
  9. Repeat steps five to seven inclusive AT SPEED, two to five times, with a break between each cycle.
  10. Test and future pace.

Format for the Distance Swish:

  1. Identify the behaviour to be changed
  2. Create a large associated image at the point of no return for commencing the behaviour
  3. Create a large, close, dissociated image of the subject in their desired state
  4. Apply submodalities of distance and brightness to intensify each image
  5. Associate into the first image
  6. Darken and move the first image far away until it is a black dot in the distance and…
  7. Simultaneously, from a black dot in the distance, enlarge, brighten and move the desired state image to the centre of the visual field so it occupies the whole visual field while remaining dissociated
  8. Return attention to the outside
  9. Repeat steps five to seven inclusive AT SPEED, two to five times, with a break between each cycle.
  10. Test and future pace.

A cautionary tale

Two of our graduates who attended our Trainers’ Training and became skilled trainers, decided to experience a different description of NLP. They each attended a second Trainers’ Training program with different organisations. Each of them, separately, reported the following event.

They were assessed on their training skills by Master Practitioners who were not trainers themselves. In each case, the Master Practitioner assessing ordered them to demonstrate a Standard Swish. Each candidate tried to find a demonstration subject for whom a Standard Swish would sit well. There were none in the available group. Each candidate framed his intention and found a subject who could work with a Swish in the visual system using other analogue driver submodalities. Each candidate presented his intention for using a Designer Swish in the visual system and explained, as if training a group, the ecology of his decision.

Each candidate was failed for not doing a Standard Swish. The Master Practitioners in question demonstrated a lack of awareness of the frames and context of the Swish, disregard for an ecological approach to demonstration subjects and an adherence to the content of procedures over utilisation of models that is deeply disappointing. Several years on, the two trainers remain confident in their own knowledge and do excellent work, one in NLP training and the other in arts and academic applications.

“The function of learning NLP is to apply flexible models in varied contexts”

The function of learning NLP is not to collect a sheaf of paper with single application formats on it. It is to learn to apply flexible models in varied contexts, while working from first principles. If you re-read the N-Step Reframe and the Swish Model descriptions, it will all make sense in light of the framing and recommendations for the rest of an intervention earlier in this e-book. That is the class of information that students need in order to learn to work from first principles. It takes longer than collecting formats, but is infinitely more lasting and rewarding for the future. Formats are like recipes. You can make one dish from each. First principles can be applied together or piecemeal in conversation, at work, in the bank or on a boat. First principles are learned through a combination of framing and exploring multiple patterns through their models. The hands on experience of using them is like having a new format for every subject. You choose.

By Jules Collingwood, NLP Trainer

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The beginner’s guide to working with the unconscious mind

Definition of the unconscious mind

In NLP we define the unconscious mind as representing those physiological and cognitive processes that occur outside of conscious awareness. Physiological processes include respiration, hormonal response, etc. Some examples of unconscious cognitive processes include dreaming, ideomotor responses, and learned unconscious competences such as letter recognition, word recognition and grammar processing involved in the skill of reading. Much of our perceptual processing is unconscious; there is an incredible amount of sensory processing that precedes conscious awareness.

“Unconscious mind: those physiological and cognitive processes that occur outside of conscious awareness.”

Creating change through NLP

Arrangements can be made with the unconscious mind to create changes in behaviour and states (including our emotions). These include such things as reviewing and sorting of patterns of experience that can be used to reduce pain, integrate new skills and develop new understandings; a few examples from a very rich set of possibilities. The processes developed in NLP for making these arrangements are, in my view, some of the most liberating applications yet developed.

Personal change takes place in a particular context. Context is when, where, with whom, and the overall conditions within which you have a problem or an outcome. It’s the context within which behaviour occurs that gives the behaviour meaning.

Using our conscious attention to define the context and the parameters in which we are considering having a change is a process called ‘framing’. This is a necessary prerequisite to involving the unconscious mind in accessing or developing resources for change.

John Grinder, in Whispering in the Wind, states that ‘… the unconscious is capable of enormously complex and creative acts when the proper framing and context have been established and the lead is released to the unconscious …This statement also applies to the contexts of personal change and performance, which can be construed as complex and creative acts.

Working with the unconscious – preparing the ground

There are additional patterns identified through NLP that can assist in negotiating between conscious and unconscious minds. One such pattern is arranging a formal involuntary signal system with the unconscious.

Our unconscious communicates, that is, gives us signals, in a variety of different ways. For many people these naturally occurring signals are framed as intuition, a loose term from our perspective. Sometimes the unconscious will communicate a pattern or learning for our conscious minds to attend to through a dream. A signal from the unconscious may be in the form of an image, a sound, a sensation or even a smell or a taste.

“A signal from the unconscious may be in the form of an image, a sound, a sensation or even a smell or a taste.”

The most reliable signals from our unconscious are involuntary responses. A thought may just pop into awareness out of the blue. A person may have an involuntary movement or other sensory response. Having a response that you can’t replicate consciously, supports an integrity in the system of conscious/unconscious communication. If your conscious attention knows when you get a signal from the unconscious, then by implication, it can attend to the communication.

“The most reliable signals from our unconscious are involuntary responses.”

It is useful to have an involuntary response for yes, an involuntary response for no and, for the more advanced student or client, an involuntary response for I don’t have enough information yet.

Having a formal signal system with the unconscious mind is just one example of a signal system. We have multiple signal systems with the unconscious mind already. An example is a class of experience that we have all had: knowing that something was ‘right’ for us, or conversely we just knew that something was definitely ‘not right’ for us. This type of signal, often felt somewhere in the mid-line of the body, is called a congruency signal in NLP. In a context with a proposed outcome you are either congruent or not, about the outcome. If a proposal seems and sounds fine on a conscious level, yet you are incongruent about it, I suggest that your unconscious mind is giving you a signal for you to attend to.

Our emotions are forms of communication from the unconscious mind. Exploring and working with the unconscious intent for a particular emotional response can lead to the development of new responses for that context.

“Our emotions are forms of communication from the unconscious mind.”

For some people, simply learning to use their conscious attention to be sensitive and responsive to the communication of their unconscious mind can make a world of difference. It is the first step to being able to engage the unconscious in promoting high performance, developing greater emotional choice, enhancing learning and other projects that you may create.

The roles of the conscious and unconscious minds

The unconscious mind has access to representations of experience that are often outside conscious awareness, yet the unconscious is relatively unorganised. The conscious mind is superb at organising informationthough poor, in comparison with the unconscious, in finding and accessing resources. When working with the unconscious mind to create change and the development of improved performance, or to propose projects in other contexts such as business, learning or family, we perform different tasks with the conscious and unconscious minds. The role of considering context, possible outcomes and framing is assigned to the conscious mind while the role of identifying resources to support the outcome is assigned to the unconscious mind.

Preparing the conscious mind for working with the unconscious

Before working with the unconscious mind, we begin by considering both the context within which we want a change , and the outcome and intentions we have for creating change. What is the intended result that we want to propose to the unconscious mind?

For the context under consideration, what do I want? How would I know if I had that result? What would I see, hear and feel as evidence of a desired change? What do I want that change for? What is my intention for having this change? If I had this change, what would be the flow-on consequences in my life?

Next, it is useful to have arranged some form of signal system with the unconscious mind, some involuntary response for yes and another involuntary response for no.

Now we are ready to make a proposal to the unconscious. In a comfortable relaxed state, having reviewed the prepared outcome and the context within which that outcome is desired, simply ask your unconscious mind: ‘Is this proposed outcome acceptable to you, my unconscious?’ If you get a yes response, simply invite your unconscious to begin the process of searching and sorting for ‘… all suitable resources to be applied in support of the outcome in that context’. If you get a no response, thank your unconscious and request that your unconscious please communicate the nature of the objection to that outcome, and/or propose back to conscious attention an alternative outcome for that context.

This is the beginning of a dialogue between conscious and unconscious minds in which a suitable outcome is selected, resources are arranged and a negotiation made.

That is the general framework for working in partnership with the unconscious mind to create change and healing. Within this specific application of NLP there are many strategies and refinements that can be used to facilitate communication and the development of an excellent relationship between conscious and unconscious minds.

(Note: If you would like to learn more about the New Code of NLP you can get a copy of  our latest Kindle book ‘AEGIS: Patterns for extending your reach in life, work & leisure’ by Jules Collingwood, NLP Trainer. For only $4.99 here).

By Chris Collingwood, NLP Trainer at INSPIRITIVE

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The most important development in the history of NLP

Some early developments in NLP

In the early 1980s the co-creator of NLP, Richard Bandler, and NLP developers Connirae and Steve Andreas, did significant work on developing the submodality model of NLP. Submodalities are the sensory elements that make up our representations.A visual image will have components such as shape, size, spatial location, colour and brightness. An auditory representation has component elements such spatial location, volume, tempo, rhythm and tone. A kinaesthetic representation includes such elements as location, area, intensity, temperature, rhythm and pressure. Our representations of our experiences have particular patterns of organisation in how they are coded. Changing the submodality coding changes our experience. For example, a belief can be recoded as a doubt (e.g. how we know that we do not know which way a coin will fall). The submodality model can be used to produce profound change, if used by a skilled exponent of NLP in conjunction with other NLP models.

(Note: If you would like to learn more about the New Code of NLP you can get a copy of  our latest Kindle book ‘AEGIS: Patterns for extending your reach in life, work & leisure’ by Jules Collingwood, NLP Trainer. For only $4.99 here).

Recent developments: the recoding of NLP – the new code

The most significant development in NLP in recent years has been the recoding of NLP. The reorganisation and articulation of the underlying principles of the field was undertaken by the co-creator of NLP, John Grinder, and partners Judith DeLozier in the 1980s and Carmen Bostic St Clair in the 1990s to the present time. This reorganisation is called the new code of NLP and is best represented in Bostic St Clair and Grinder’s book Whispering in the Wind. The new code has as its basis an explicit epistemology, the separation of NLP modelling from NLP applications, and recommendations for research methodology. There are a number of shifts in emphasis with the new code.

“The most significant development in NLP in recent years has been the recoding of NLP. “

The shift in emphasis with the new code

Grinder’s reorganisation of NLP into the new code represents a shift from an over-emphasis on conscious attention to a balanced relationship between the conscious and unconscious minds. Different roles are recognised and assigned to the conscious and the unconscious. The role of conscious attention is to gather and arrange information about situations for potential change. The role of the unconscious is to provide the resources for implementing change. Often, the unconscious defines what the change will be. Researchers are now discovering the benefits of harnessing the capabilities of the unconscious. In a recent study published in Science journal, cognitive psychologists found that major decisions are best made by the unconscious mind.

There is also a shift of focus from working with a behaviour to working with an influencer of behaviour: a person’s state of mind. When a person is assisted to achieve a state of high performance or resourcefulness, their unconscious mind is more able and more likely to develop a greater range and flexibility in their behaviour, especially for the context under consideration. The situation where they want change or healing to occur becomes part of the process.

“In the New Code NLP there is a shift of focus from working with behaviour to working with state.”

Many new code NLP processes for assisting the unconscious to create change involve guiding the individual in accessing highly resourceful states. This is one of the key patterns that occurs when hypnosis or other change modalities are used successfully by a clinician.

(Note: If you would like to learn more about the New Code of NLP you can get a copy of  our latest Kindle book ‘AEGIS: Patterns for extending your reach in life, work & leisure’ by Jules Collingwood, NLP Trainer. For only $4.99 here).

By Chris Collingwood, NLP Trainer

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The origins of NLP

The origins of NLP

The originators of NLP are Dr John Grinder, Richard Bandler and Frank Pucelik. NLP began with the modelling of a genius: Fritz Perls, the father of Gestalt therapy. When they began the project that led to the birth of NLP, Grinder was an assistant professor of linguistics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Bandler was an undergraduate psychology student. In the beginning, Bandler approached Grinder with a request to assist him in building an explicit model of the intuitive skills he had in doing Gestalt therapy. Bandler’s ability with Gestalt therapy was unconscious. He could get results with Gestalt but did not have an explicit model of how he did it. Therefore he could not pass on the skills of using Gestalt to others, with any guarantee of the quality of the skill transfer. Bandler had modelled Perls implicitly; that is, he acquired the ability to do Gestalt through an unconscious uptake of Perls’ patterns. Bandler had acquired his considerable skills in doing Gestalt while working for a publishing company. He reviewed hours of audio recordings of Fritz Perls working his psychotherapy magic with clients, to select appropriate material for transcribing for the last of Perls’ books.

The originators of NLP are Dr John Grinder, Richard Bandler and Frank Pucelik.”

Grinder’s background made him ideal for the task of modelling Bandler. Once he was unconsciously competent in Gestalt, he was able to achieve a similar result for clients with the same types of presenting problems in the same time frame as Bandler. He could then build an explicit model. As well as being fluent in a number of languages, Grinder’s academic specialty was an aspect of linguistics developed by Noam Chomsky called Transformational Grammar.

Grinder was successful. He was able get similar results to Bandler, and then he made explicit a number of language patterns of particular responses to particular forms in the speech of clients. These patterns were being used systematically and unconsciously by Bandler. Grinder, having modelled them, recognised these patterns as belonging to a particular class of language patterns in linguistics, and was able to extend the collection of patterns to include others from the same class. Bandler and Grinder then tested the patterns and formulated what became the first model of NLP: the Meta Model of Language.

“Bandler and Grinder then tested the patterns and formulated what became the first model of NLP: the Meta Model.”

(Note: If you would like to learn more about the New Code of NLP you can get a copy of  our latest Kindle book ‘AEGIS: Patterns for extending your reach in life, work & leisure’ by Jules Collingwood, NLP Trainer. For only $4.99 here).

The Meta Model, Representational Systems and the Milton Model

The Meta Model provides a method for obtaining high quality information from clients through responding to the form of the client’s language. The Meta Model has proven invaluable in other contexts too. These include such areas as business consulting, management and any other context where obtaining high quality information in human communication is critical. Bandler and Grinder then conducted other modelling projects and produced new models, including the representational system model, the eye accessing cue model, and the Milton model.

Briefly, the representational system model, another model of human communication, states that, as human beings, we represent our experience in the world with visual images, auditory representations and sensations (or kinaesthetic representations). In other words, we think in images, sounds and sensations, and these representations are often expressed in the choice of adjectives and verbs that we use. A person might say, ‘… my future looks unclear to me.’ This statement presupposes that the person has a visual representation of their future that lacks clarity. One way to work with this person would be to evoke resources in the visual system that may lead to clarity, e.g. ‘What resources would you need to develop possible futures clearly?’ A comment may have a predominance of auditory predicates: ‘I have a matter that I need to talk about.’ One possible response may be, ‘Tell me what you want to say.’ A person may use kinaesthetic predicates in a sentence: ‘I feel a need to shape the situation in a better way.’ A possible response could be, ‘Can you get in touch with what it would be like if you had the situation feeling just right?’

It is our representations of the world that provide our ‘maps’ for how we live our lives. With a working knowledge of representational systems and the processes of how people use their representations, we can assist others (and ourselves) in creating change. The specific sequences of representations or thought processes can be the difference between success and failure in some particular context of endeavour. It is useful to engage the unconscious mind in changing a pattern of thinking, or finding and developing a state of resourcefulness with useful patterns of representations.

“It is our representations of the world that provide our ‘maps’ for how we live our lives.”

The Milton model is a linguistic model of the language patterns used by the legendary psychiatrist, Milton H. Erickson MD, to do therapeutic hypnosis. Even though the Milton model comes from, and has application to, the world of therapy, many of the linguistic patterns of this model can be found in everyday communication. The advantage of the Milton model of NLP is that it provides a method for communicating with the unconscious mind.

(Note: If you would like to learn more about the New Code of NLP you can get a copy of  our latest Kindle book ‘AEGIS: Patterns for extending your reach in life, work & leisure’ by Jules Collingwood, NLP Trainer. For only $4.99 here).

By Chris Collingwood, NLP Trainer at INSPIRITIVE

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Introduction to NLP

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is an exciting new field of endeavour whose focus is studying and building models of human excellence. To begin with I will define NLP, give a brief history, summarise the key models that form the basis of the discipline and some of its applications. Then I shall describe how it can be usefully applied to working with the unconscious mind to produce change.

I will use a number of metaphors and analogies. Metaphor is one way to communicate with the unconscious mind. Note the internal responses that you have to stories, art and music. You may have had the experience of hearing stories that resonated and yet not understood their relevance consciously.

Anthropologists have a form of research called ‘participant observation’. When they enter into a culture, they experience that culture through full participation. They also step back and observe the patterns of behaviour of members of the culture, as well as their own patterns.

Anthropologists have long recognised that, in studying culture, and by default, patterns of human behaviour, behaviour must be studied in relationship to the framework within which it occurs (that is, context). Context and the framing of context are significant applications of NLP.

Before involving the unconscious mind in producing change, we, as agents of change (or participants in self-change) need to prepare the conditions for change to occur. One of our tasks is sorting and framing the context within which a problem is occurring, or some outcome is desired. Only then can we benefit fully, by engaging in the process of mining the rich resources available through the unconscious mind.

Thought Experiment: Pause for a moment and reflect on how you live your life. Note the environments that you inhabit and the circumstances of your life. And as you reflect on your experience, you might consider your dreams for the future. In terms of how you live your life and create your future, your behaviour is likely to be the most significant factor in your success. If you had some effective ways to change or enhance your behaviour, that would probably be useful for you.)

One major application of NLP provides a series of methods for changing behaviour, naturally and simply. Rather than attempting to change specific behaviours directly, NLP works best through involving our unconscious minds to create change. Among the NLP community, the unconscious is also known as ‘second attention’.2 Further into this chapter I will define the term ‘unconscious mind’ as used by Neuro- Linguistic Programmers, but first I want to define Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

What is Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)?

Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a relatively new field concerned with the patterns that guide how we live our lives, and our patterns of behaviour. Patterns include not only our observable actions in the world, but also our thinking processes and the organisation of our states of mind. This includes our emotions and how we use our attention with our senses. The focus of NLP as a discipline is finding and creating patterns to create and teach models of exceptional effectiveness. Neuro-Linguistic Programmers are interested in how highly skilled people do what they do. Notice the attention on how rather than why. We are interested in practical processes rather than historical justifications.

“NLP is a field concerned with our patterns of behaviour.”

NLP is classified as a behavioural sciencethough, it must be noted, it is distinct from other behavioural sciences, including psychology. The function of NLP is to build models of the behaviour of exceptional individuals or communities. In contrast, psychology studies behaviour in isolation; divorced from the context where it would occur. Witness for example, the research of ‘rat runners’ in the heyday of behavioural psychology, where experiments with rats were conducted in the artificially constructed context of the maze.

Historically, psychology has focused on a quantitative approach to research. It emphasised reductionism and statistical analysis, with the resulting linear descriptions of behaviour devoid of context. Often, results are described using the norm and deviation from the norm with descriptive statistics. Psychology, when applied subsequently as psychotherapy, with the intended outcome of personal change, often takes an analytical approach. This produces conscious understanding without necessarily effecting change for the client.

In contrast, in NLP the emphasis is on modelling the small percentage of high performers in a given population, with the most appropriate research methods being those used in another field that studies the human behaviour of language: linguistics.

(Note: If you would like to learn more about the New Code of NLP you can get a copy of  our latest Kindle book ‘AEGIS: Patterns for extending your reach in life, work & leisure’ by Jules Collingwood, NLP Trainer. For only $4.99 here).

The intellectual foundations of NLP

Through the influence of John Grinder (one of the originators), NLP finds its intellectual foundations in the following: Noam Chomsky’s Transformational Grammar from linguistics; Alan Turing and automata theory; the anthropologist Gregory Bateson’s work, especially with epistemology; and Russell and Whitehead’s work in logic. Interestingly, NLP shares much of its intellectual foundations with the field of cognitive science.

This emphasis on building models of the patterns of behaviour of high-performing individuals is the hallmark of NLP that primarily distinguishes it from other behavioural sciences.

NLP modelling is the process of representing the patterns of organisation of the specific skills and results of excellence of an exemplar. The evidence is that similar results occur within the same context and time frame as that demonstrated by the exemplar. It requires a tacit modelling phase of unconsciously taking up the skill, followed by a phase of building an explicit description.

NLP modelling is the core activity of NLP and is the basis for applications of NLP that exist currently. The ability to work well with one’s unconscious is necessary for NLP modelling.

Thought Experiment: Consider for a moment some of the people you have met who are absolutely exquisite at what they do. Select one of those people and run a short movie of that person doing what they do so well. Make the images large enough to see in detail what the expert is doing. Would you like to have a way to perform with a similar level of excellence to that of the expert?

There have been some superb models developed in NLP which apply specifically to assisting people in personal change related to life skills, business, sport, presentation and learning. These patterns and models involve the unconscious in producing change in behaviour and experience in the consciously defined context where change is desired.

A very important distinction

Another important distinction in understanding the field of NLP is the following set of categorisations:NLP modelling and NLP application, within which there is a further distinction for NLP training. NLP modelling is the heart of NLP from which new patterns are discovered and new models are created. NLP modelling is the core activity of the field. NLP applications are the products of the NLP modelling process and of design based on the creative combination of modelled patterns. NLP packages of patterns and models have been applied to psychotherapy, coaching, management, organisational development, presenting, sports performance, derivative trading and education, to name a few. The output of the NLP modelling process can be applied to any area of human endeavour. One major area of NLP application is personal change.

(Note: If you would like to learn more about the New Code of NLP you can get a copy of  our latest Kindle book ‘AEGIS: Patterns for extending your reach in life, work & leisure’ by Jules Collingwood, NLP Trainer. For only $4.99 here).

NLP is also an epistemology

Epistemology, a branch of philosophy, is the study of human knowledge: how we know what we know. The anthropologist, Gregory Bateson, makes a distinction between Epistemology with a capital E, the study of human knowing, and epistemology with a lower case e for individual and cultural epistemologies. Bateson goes further, with his view that Epistemology is rooted in the biological and is a branch of natural history, thus, “… the science that studies the process of human knowing”.As people, we cannot avoid having an epistemology. We all have some framework, generally unconscious, for organising how we know the world. An interesting question is, ‘How do you know what you know?’ As NLP is a field that has a methodology for building maps or models of human behaviour, it is an Epistemology.

“Epistemology, a branch of philosophy, is the study of human knowledge: how we know what we know.”

What is the relevance of this to people, especially those who want to create change? NLP provides a practical methodology for people to examine their own epistemology. Many of the problems that people experience have their roots in the individual’s process of knowing what they know. NLP provides patterns of organisation that can then be applied to create lasting change in what is often perceived to be an intractable problem. There are patterns of organisation that many of my clients and I have found ideal for facilitating work with the unconscious mind.

Orientation to patterning and modelling

Patterns are the stuff our lives are made of. There are patterns of culture, patterns in organisations, in families and of course individual patterns of behaviour. So, what is a pattern? A pattern is any repeating sequence of behaviour so that, when the first part of the sequence is observed, the second part of the sequence can be predicted. Before a cat pounces, it crouches down, the ears flatten and the tail waves. Then it pounces. Because we can predict that the cat is about to pounce by observing the particular movements of the crouch, we can say that we have detected a pattern.

“Patterns are the stuff our lives are made of.”

There are cues available in people’s non-verbal behaviour that are parts of sequences of behaviour. Learning to track these patterns of personal organisation is invaluable when assisting others in creating change. That is, we assist others in changing their patterns.

Thought Experiment: Pause again and reflect on whether you could review an interaction you had with someone, as if you were an outside observer, watching and listening to your behaviour as you related to the other person and they to you. You might begin to notice patterns of responses in both your own and the other’s non-verbal behaviour. Notice sequences of response that repeat over the course of the interaction: patterns. And with an awareness of patterns, there may be some that you would like to change. You might even find yourself imagining some alternative ways of responding.

In NLP, we attend to tracking and changing patterns rather than to the content of a person’s experience. If we track the pattern of how people do what they do, then we can assist them to change the behaviour. If the pattern is useful, we could emulate the pattern. Doing this is part of the process of modelling. In creating change at the unconscious level, a skilled consultant identifies particular patterns that make up a problem state, and they may identify useful patterns that would support the desired state. Then they intervene in some way to assist the client to change the patterns.

(Note: If you would like to learn more about the New Code of NLP you can get a copy of  our latest Kindle book ‘AEGIS: Patterns for extending your reach in life, work & leisure’ by Jules Collingwood, NLP Trainer. For only $4.99 here).

By Chris Collingwood, NLP Trainer at INSPIRITIVE

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An introductory guide to the New Code of NLP

NLP an Overview

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is an exciting new field of endeavour in the Behavioural Sciences. It focuses on detecting critical patterns of human behaviour including our observable actions in the world, our thinking processes and the organisation of our states of mind.

Patterns are what our lives are made of and consist of any repeating sequence of behaviour that, when the first part of the sequence is observed, the second part of the sequence can be predicted. For instance before a cat pounces it crouches down the ears flatten and the tail waves. Then it pounces. Because we can predict that the cat is about to pounce by observing the cat crouching we can say that we have detected a pattern.

“NLP focuses on detecting critical patterns of human behaviour.”

Patterns are everywhere. There are patterns in culture, patterns in organisations, patterns in families and of course individual patterns of behaviour.

By observing these patterns NLP consultants can then build models of expertise around them to capture and achieve excellence. The concept of a model is the core element or activity of NLP and the ability to work well with one’s unconscious is a mandatory prerequisite for NLP modelling.

To do this NLP consultants focus on how highly skilled exceptional people do what they do. Notice the attention is on how rather than why. The interest is purely in practical processes rather than historical justifications. Being able to detect how people do what they do creates possibilities and powerful leverage for achieving and excelling in personal and professional objectives through modelling.

An NLP model is a representation of an expert’s skill not a replication or duplication. There are always differences between an expert’s own skill and the resulting model. Just as the map is not the same as the territory it represents, a model of expertise is not the model’s approach to a skill; it is the skill itself [1].

Interestingly and a compelling endorsement of the power of modelling, a model that is fully integrated (embodied) by the end user often produces superior results to those produced by the original expert (who was modelled).

Given this it goes without saying that NLP’s methodology has been so successful and practical that many of its models have been incorporated into management training, coaching, psychotherapy, education, sports performance and personal development. Indeed if you have attended a recent management seminar or done some form of personal development it is highly likely that you have been exposed to a range of NLP techniques.

In summary NLP is an extremely powerful field of endeavour and can be applied to achieve excellence in both personal and professional life.

Classic Code NLP

Classic Code NLP (as it is now referred to) began in the mid 1970’s when Dr John Grinder and Richard Bandler began modelling Fritz Perls, the father of Gestalt therapy. When they began the project that led to the birth of Classic Code NLP, Grinder was an assistant professor of linguistics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Bandler was an under- graduate psychology student.

In the beginning, Bandler approached Grinder with a request to assist him in building an explicit model of the intuitive skills he had in applying Gestalt therapy. Bandler’s ability with Gestalt therapy was unconscious. He could get results with Gestalt but did not have an explicit model of how he achieved them. Grinder modelled Bandler tacitly while Bandler applied Gestalt therapy.

Tacit modelling involves mimicking the behaviour of a model while in a ‘know nothing’ state until you can reproduce the skill and get the same result as the model in a similar context within a similar timeframe [2].

Grinder used the patterns he had modelled later making them explicit from his own experience. After this Grinder and Bandler modelled other patterns from exemplars of human excellence in psychotherapy and published these. They became the first models of NLP [3].

An explicit model comprises the minimum number of patterns necessary and sufficient to reproduce similar outcomes in the same class of context as the exemplar who was modelled [4].

When Grinder and Bandler first joined forces, Bandler had modelled Fritz Perls’ language patterns inadvertently, while editing tape transcripts for a book. Bandler found he could get similarly effective results with change clients to those of Perls himself, in contrast to Perls’ alleged observation that his own students’ results fell short. Grinder modelled Bandler implicitly until he could replicate Bandler’s results. When Grinder was able to match Bandler’s performance to the same level and in the same time frame he moved to the explicit stage of modelling.

To make a model explicit the modeller has to identify all the patterns of thinking, observation and execution (behaviour) that contribute to the performance and exclude all the idiosyncratic elements (those elements that while present do not contribute to the performance).

Bandler and Grinder then began teaching NLP to the public with the assistance of their early students and NLP in the classic form has been taught for about 30 years. We now refer to this as Classic Code NLP. As with any field of endeavour the quality amongst trainers differs markedly depending on who trained them and over time a number of flaws have developed in the classic version of NLPs application and teaching.

Indeed for some NLP trainers the practice of training involves taking a recipe book approach where specific examples of previously modelled patterns are taught explicitly. The deployment of any particular pattern is made consciously with the usual constraints of conscious attention [5].

Concerned about feedback he was receiving regarding how NLP was being coded, practiced and taught within the NLP community Grinder responded by working with Judith DeLozier [6] in the first instance and later with Carmen Bostic St. Clair [7] to re-examine and update the Classic Code NLP. He and his partners developed a solution to the most significant problems in Classic Code NLP resulting in what we now call New Code NLP.

New Code NLP

New Code NLP is a reorganisation and recoding of the fundamentals of NLP and the main difference comes down to emphasis pure and simple.

Historically the application of Classic Code NLP was oriented towards the conscious manipulation of internal representations (visual images, sounds, and sensations). There was no formal engagement of the unconscious mind. An outcome was chosen in isolation and a process implemented to shift from the present state to the desired state.

If the outcome had unfortunate consequences to the person’s lifestyle, family or social system it became clearly apparent but only after the event.

“New Code NLP is a reorganisation and recoding of the fundamentals of NLP.”

Engaging the Unconscious has Benefits

It is useful to engage the unconscious mind when choosing outcomes and resources. The unconscious has access to a greater range of possibilities than the conscious mind. According to the cognitive scientist and linguist George Lakoff, 95% of our thought occurs outside conscious awareness [8]. The unconscious mind works with patterns, in metaphor and can consider multiple time frames, logical levels and perceptual positions. The unconscious mind has the capacity to imagine future scenarios and include likely consequences. It can deliver intents, solutions and many other resources to consciousness and carries information from all our experience.

When we engage the unconscious mind in forming outcomes and choosing resources the ensuing change respects the person’s ecology [9].

“According to linguist George Lakoff 95% of our thought occurs outside conscious awareness.”

In this context ecology considers the broader scope of possible consequences (benefits and costs) of any action including change. When we include consequences we can test resources before the change and ensure the entire well-being of the person and the systems in which they operate. Unfortunate consequences are identified early on before any action is taken so that the process can be altered to fit the needs of the person.

In the early days when Classic Code NLP was developed there was explicit reference to the unconscious mind but no formal means of engaging with it. This has been rectified in New Code NLP. Indeed it is an essential element of New Code NLP [10].

Emphasising State Rather Than Behaviour in NLP

New Code NLP attends to a person’s changing state instead of replacing one behaviour directly with a single, different behaviour. A change in state leads to a range of different naturally occurring behaviour. Instead of replacing one behaviour with another in a context, an appropriately framed context can be used to elicit a suitable state, which enables a range of possible appropriate behaviour to manifest. When the state is associated with the context the client can alter their behaviour spontaneously in response to the conditions they find there.

“New Code NLP attends to a person’s changing state instead of replacing one behaviour directly.”

Change processes with New Code NLP often use content-free high performance states. These can be associated with one or more contexts in cases where a client wants more choice or a specific outcome.

If I wanted to improve my performance when negotiating one way would be to review a specific example and mentally rehearse an alternative way of behaving. Alternatively I could use a new code process to develop a ‘content free’ high performance state which is then associated (linked) to the context for the negotiation. Having done this the next time I was in that context I would discover new behaviour that supported the process of negotiation. Through the high performance state I automatically generate the necessary behavioural resources to improve my performance in each future negotiation situation. Using appropriate states is a creative and generative approach to making productive and effective change

(Note: If you would like to learn more about the New Code of NLP you can get a copy of  our latest Kindle book ‘AEGIS: Patterns for extending your reach in life, work & leisure’ by Jules Collingwood, NLP Trainer. For only $4.99 here).

By Chris Collingwood, NLP Trainer at INSPIRITIVE.

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Notes:

[1] By discounting idiosyncratic elements in a model’s expertise, NLP models often produce even higher grades of performance.

[2] A ‘know nothing’ state is also known as a modelling state. It is a state in which analytical skills are put aside temporally so that the modeller can use their senses to attend to and take up the target skill without imposing prior knowledge or internal dialogue. This approach to modelling is similar to the way we all learned naturally as young children.

[3] See Bandler and Grinder’s The Structure of Magic Volumes 1 & 2, Patterns of the Hypnotic Technique of Milton H. Erickson MD. Volumes 1 & 2 (with DeLozier), Frogs into Princes, Trance-formations and Reframing.

[4] See Whispering in the Wind 2002 by Bostic St Clair and John Grinder. See the chapter explicating the criteria for modelling.

[5] Conscious attention at any one moment in time is limited to between 5 and 9 ‘chunks’ of information. See G.A.Miller’s paper “The Magical Number Seven Plus or Minus Two; Some limits on our capacity for processing information”.

[6] One of the first new code of NLP seminars was DeLozier and Grinder’s Prerequisites to Personal Genius, taught in San Francisco in 1986. The seminar was transcribed and edited into their book Turtles all the Way Down; Prerequisites to personal genius.

[7] See their book Whispering in the Wind (2002), which contains a major section on the New Code. The book examines NLP epistemology in depth and distinguishes between NLP modelling, NLP application and NLP training. This is a seminal book in the field and one of the most important NLP books written in recent years.

[8] See Philosophy in the Flesh; the Embodied Mind and its Challenge to Western Thought by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. Quoting Lakoff and Johnson “The cognitive unconscious is vast and intricately structured. It includes not only our automatic cognitive operations, but also all our implicit knowledge. All of our knowledge and beliefs are framed in terms of a conceptual system that resides mostly in the cognitive unconscious p.13″. Recent work in embodied cognition fits nicely with models in already developed in NLP and especially in New Code NLP.

[9] The study of the relationships and interactions between living organisms and their natural or developed environment.

[10] In most classic code training reference is made to the unconscious mind via the related field of Ericksonian Hypnosis. When this is the case methods for engaging the unconscious mind typically involve hypnosis. While the psychiatrist Milton H. Erickson’s work provided many essential patterns to NLP, his particular application has created an erroneous perception that NLP is a therapeutic modality. Thus most classic trained NLP practitioners can only work with a person’s unconscious mind using hypnotic methods. In the new code there are formal patterns for engaging unconscious processing without resorting to hypnotic trance. This enables people trained in the new code to apply the benefits of NLP to themselves, naturally and independently and to use it in contexts where a hypnotic style would not fit. One of the features of the new code is that it supports self-application of NLP patterning.