Pal terns For Languaging Reality With Precision Clarity And Empowerment

How we talk about things, the language forms that wc use as we define, describe, and symbolize our experiences, powerfully affect how we experience life. They also crucially govern the quality of our experiences and our overall effectiveness.

What explains why language plays such a powerful and pervasive role in our lives? Why would our languaging have this kind of effect? What explains this? It occurs for several reasons, not the least of which involves the fact that, when we use language, we set frames of reference. Then those frames establish our "reality" (or models of the world, paradigms, world views, etc.).

The founder of General Semantics, Alfred Korzybski, an engineer by training, analyzed language and found that it functions in the human nervous system like a map or blueprint of reality. This means that, as a symbolic system, language itself can never exist as the territory itself; it never "is" the territory. It only represents and stands for the territory. Korzybski described this neurological mapping, which our brain and nervous system does, as "abstracting." In other words, to deal with the world, we abstract from it to create a facsimile of the world by which we then navigate our way through the world.

Our very nervous system does this to create various neurological maps—such as our sensory-based visual, auditory, and kinesthetic maps. After that, as we continue to abstract, we develop language as a true symbol system of the sensory representational maps. Now words "stiind for" ¿ind reference the earlier abstractions.

So what? If we do not deal with the world directly, but indirectly, through the mediation of various levels of mental mapping, then false-to-fact mapping and language structures will mislead us, mis-direct our energies, and prevent us from adjusting ourselves to reality. To describe a poor adjustment, Korzybski utilized the term "unsane." And Korzybski felt that the primary source of human unsanity arises due to the Aristotelian language structure that we have inherited over centuries and millennia. To address this deficiency, he wrote Science And Sanity (1933/1994) to present an entirely new, functional, dynamic and non-Aristotelian way to language things. This began what he later designated as neuro-linguistic training.

From Korzybski's beginning formulations, numerous writers have brought his language technologies (or "extensional devices") into popular awareness (S.I. Ilayakawa, Gregory Bateson, Noam Chomsky, Abraham Maslow, Karl Pribram, Jerome Bruner, etc.). Bandler and Grinder also tapped into the most fundamental General Semantic formula. In their first NJI.P book, The Structure Of Magic (1975), they quoted Korzybski:

A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness. ... If we reflect upon our languages, ire find that at best they must be considered only as maps. A word is not the object it represents; ami languages exhibit also this pectdiar self-reflex illness, that we can analyze languages In/ linguistic means. ... Antiquated map-language, by necessity, must lead us to semantic disasters, as it imposes and reflects its unnatural structure

As words are not the objects which they represent, structure, and structure alone, becomes the only link which connects our verbal processes with the empirical data. ...That languages all have some structure...we unconsciously read into the world the structure of the language we use

Talking Our Way To Sanity

What we call psychotherapy essentially involves a conversation. Via talking about our experiences (primary level or state) and about our mental maps of our experiences (meta-levels), we somehow come to experience therapeutic effects. We experience a clarifying of our mind, an expressing of our feelings, we engage in problem-solving, develop insights and understandings, experience a validation of our person, etc. Effective languaging does all of that, and more.

A century ago, Sigmund Freud's patient, Anna O., labeled the process of psychotherapy as "the talking cure." Since then therapeutic talk has taken a significant role in assisting people in recovering from distresses to live life more fully. Since George Miller and the Cognitive Psychological movement began (1956), we have also come to realize that we can heal people through language, but also that language can equally wound, hurt, damage, and traumatize people. Ellis and Beck popularized the power of cognitive distortions which show up in irrational language structures: must-ing, should-ing, awfulizing, catastrophizing, personalizing, emotionalizing, etc.

I\LP also initially focused on the power of therapeutic languaging. Bandler and Grinder observed two key figures in the therapy field (Fritz Perls and Virginia Satir) who "just said words" and who communicated exquisitely both verbally and non-verbally, thereby making what seemed like "magic" happen. From the way these therapeutic wizards talked and interacted with people, their clients developed new understandings, their emotions became healthier and more vigorous, and their behaviors and actions became more effective in moving them toward their desired outcomes.

As Bandler and Grinder analyzed and modeled the language behavior of these and other highly successful therapists, they developed the Meta-model of language in therapy, codified in their books, 77ic Structure Of Magic, Volume I & 11 (1975 and 1976). Here they developed twelve linguistic distinctions which they used to indicate how a person's language shows ill-formedness. As they modeled the therapeutic wizards, they noted the linguistic distinctions that they paid attention to, and responded to, in their clients as they told their stories. These wizards also seemed to have a way of "challenging" these distortions, generalizations, and deletions so that it assisted the client in recovering valuable information and mapping out more accurate and precise understandings.

The Meta-model simply summarized the key patterns in Satir's and Perls' way of interacting therapeutically with their clients. It highlighted the linguistic structures they chose to address and offered specific questions that they used to challenge the person's way of mapping. These questions about the person's experience and way of languaging it enabled the person to "go back in" to their internal references to thereby re-map their understandings in more useful and accurate ways. By re-connecting the person to his or her remembered experience, a context was provided for them to create a more complete and enhancing map. Doing this, people found their cognitive mental worlds expanded, which then transformed their emotions and behaviors.

While language and language use obviously play an essential role in psychotherapy, languaging plays just as central a role in business, personal relationships, negotiating, health, law, education, etc.

The patterns in this chapter summarize the linguistic patterns of NLP. Here you will find "the structure of magic" (Bandler and Grinder, 1975), and some of "the secrets of magic" (Hall, 1998). This language technology enables us to bring more accuracy and precision to our mental mapping. It empowers us to become more professional and conscious in our use of language. And it provides us with enhanced ways to language ourselves and others.

#47 The Meta-Modeling Pattern

Concept. When we speak, we produce what the old Transformational Grammar model of linguistics (Chomsky, 1965) calls "Surface Structure" statements. Such statements have transformed our "meaning" from numerous prior abstractions (called the Deep Structure). I his refers to a fuller linguistic and neurological model of our awarenesses.

Korzybski (1933/1994) earlier established General Semantics founded on making a basic distinction between map and territory. He also identified the processes by which wre "abstract" from the territory of the world via our neurological mechanisms and then internalize those abstractions (neurologically) into our very nervous system. From there we abstract again and again, summarizing, deleting, generalizing, distorting, etc., until we create, first, neurological maps and, later, linguistic maps of reality. Out of this understanding of human neurological information processing (or mapping) developed an understanding of how to enable all of us to better use and handle our map-making skills.

Conceptually, we then begin with the understanding that we often experience problems and distress not because the world lacks richness of resources or opportunities, but because our maps do. Yet we so often either don't know this or forget it. What we say about the world, our experiences, the events that occur, seem so "real" and obvious. How could they exist as anything else?

Korzybski referred to this as "identifying." The first unsane form of identifying occurs when we forget that all of our "thoughts," representations, words, etc., only exist as symbols—symbols of some territory, and not the territory. Yet in our language use, we can so easily and so quickly forget this.

With the Meta-model, we start with the map of the world presented to us. We listen to the Surface Structure statements, and then enter into that world by exploring and questioning from the attitude of curiosity, interest, and respect. We begin by pacing the person so that he or she will feel validated and understood. This elicits "trust," rapport, and transformation. As we then converse, asking questions of specificity, this process co-creates a state of under-standing and encourages the other to expand his or her individual maps.

Meta-modeling (as a verb) refers to the process of listening and then questioning another's map (or one's own, if applied to oneself). This process elicits the places of ill-formedness in our maps and simultaneously evokes an expansion of our models. When used in "therapy," most people never notice the Meta-modeling. It just seems like "talk." Most get so caught up in content, they seldom notice the structure of language.

The following twelve distinctions present the Meta-model of language. They do so using the three map-making processes: deletion, generalization and distortion, thus highlighting the fact that we make our models of the world by leaving characteristics out (deletion), by summarizing or generalizing features (generalization), and by altering/distorting other features (distortion).

Tite Meta-Model Of Language

Patterns/Distinctions Responses/Challenges


1. Unspecified Nouns or Referential Index (simple deletions):

They don't listen to roe. Who specifically doesn't listen to you?

He said thai she was mean. Who specifically said that?

What did he mean by 'mean'?

2. Unspecified Relations (comparative deletions):

She's a better person. Better than whom?

Better at what? Compared to whom, what? Given what criteria?

3. Unspecified Referential Index:

He rejected me. Who specifically rejected you?

People push me around. Who specifically pushes you?

4. Unspecified Verbs:

She rejected mc. How specifically did she reject you?

1 fell really manipulated. Manipulated in what way and how?

5. Nominalizations (hidden or smothered verbs, ambiguous words): Let's improve our communication. Whose communicating do you mean?

How would you like to communicate? What state did you wake up in Use Co-ordinates to index:

this morning? Specifically what?, when?, who?, where?, which?, how?, etc.

De-nominalizc the i\ominalizalion to recover the hidden verb.


6. Universal Qualifiers (allness, generalizations that exclude exceptions):

She never listens to me. Never?

What would happen if she did?

7. Modal Operators (operational modes of being):

(necessity, possibility, impossibility, desire).

I have to take care of her. What would happen if you did?

1 can't tell him the truth. What wouldn't happen if you didn't?

...Or what? What would happen if you did?

8. Lost Performative (Art evaluative statement with the speaker deleted or unowned):

It''s bad to lx> inconsistent. Who evaluates it as bad?

According to what standard? How do you determine tliis label of "badness?"


9. Mind Reading (meaning attributions and cause-effect assumptions about others):

You don't like me... How do you know I don't like you?

What evidence leads you to tiiat conclusion?

10. Cause—Effect (causational statements of relations between events, stimulus-response beliefs):

You make me sad. I Tow docs my behavior cause you to feel sad?

Counter example: Do you always ¿eel sad when 1 do tills?

How specifically does this work?

11. Complex Equivalence (the "is" of identity, identifications):

She's always yelling at me; How docs her yelling mean she doesn't she doesn't like me. like you?

Can you recall a time when you yelled at someone you liked?

He's a loser when it comes to business, How do you create tliis equation in an he just lacks business sense. absolute way between these things?

12. Presuppositions (silent assumptions):

If my husband knew how much This statement presupposes that she

I .suffered, he wouldn't do that. suffers, tiiat hor husband's behavior causes her suffering, that he lacks knowledge about her suffering, that his intentions would shili if he knew.

How do you choose to suffer?

How is he reacting?

How do you know he doesn't know?

The Pattern

1. Listen for iI ¡-formed ness or vagueness in representation. As you listen for the surface sentence statements, cue yourself to stay in sensory awareness. Do this by noticing if the words themselves permit you to see, hear, feel, taste and smell the referents. Continually track over directly from the words to creating your own internal representations. Do this without adding anything to the words. As you do, continue to ask yourself:

When I track over, do I have a complete understanding of the person's referents and meanings?

Have they left something out? (Deletion) What? Unspecified nouns, verbs, relations, etc.? If so, inquire.

Continue also to check for other problems (generalizations and distortions.)

Have they generalized something so that it lacks specifics? Have they distorted some process so that I don't know how it works (cause-effect), what it means or how it came to mean that (complex equivalence), have they information about another person (mind-reading), etc.?

To Mela-model, a person has to stay in sensory awareness and not project their own meanings, references, definitions, etc., onto the other person's words. To do this, adopt a "no-nothing" frame of reference.

2. Challenge the ill-formedness. Any time you don't know what the person has reference to or how a mental map works, inquire about it.

"How do you represent this 'rejection?'" "Where did you get that information?" "Does it always work that way?" "WTtat have you presupposed?"

Learn and utilize the Meta-model questions that call for more specificity, precision, and clarity.

3. Continue checking for areas ofunclarity and asking for more precision until you have a sufficient adequate representation of the other's meanings.

For the newest development regarding the Meta-model, see '¡'lie Secrets Of Magic (1998). This work surveys the twenty-five year history of the Meta-model regarding its evolution and development. It also adds nine new distinctions from General Semantics, refers to current developments in the field of linguistics and to the effect of the demise of Transformational/Generative Grammar on the Meta-model, and much more.

Hypnosis Plain and Simple

Hypnosis Plain and Simple

These techniques will work for stage hypnosis or hypnotherapy, however, they are taught here for information purposes only. After reading this book you will have the knowledge and ability necessary to hypnotise people, but please do not practice hypnosis without first undergoing more intensive study.

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