Having examined the NLP Model in chapter 2, you have just about everything you need to use the NLP transformation patterns that you will find in this book, "fust about," however, implies that you will need to add a couple more pieces before getting out your magic wand and using this book as a sourcebook of incantations for growth and change.
On previous pages, we introduced the concept of logical levels. This leads to a crucial distinction in human experience between content and process. Further, because this distinction plays such a crucial role in what follows, we thought it best to offer some additional explanations regarding it before turning you loose.
Content describes the what and the details. It refers to both the juicy details about what someone did, when, where, and with wThom, and also includes the boring details. It generally describes the primary (and sometimes the sole) place upon which most helping models focus.
Process, by way of contrast, refers to how something operates, to its structure. And, as a model about models, NLP adds a whole new and higher dimension—it focuses primarily on process.
In the area of content, people want to know detail upon detail of ¿ill the facets that make up an experience:
• When did that terrible thing happen to you?
In some therapies, practitioners even believe that if you go over and over and over the details enough—eventually people will get over the hurt. (Yes, they may eventually become desensitized to it, or just plain bored!) Of course, sometimes going over it again and again only reinforces the generalizations made in and from the traumatic event, thus reinforcing the problem. Every visit to the therapist only deepens the pit!
In NLP, we want to know about the process of an experience in terms of its structure, not specific details. Bandler has said, "Therapists are far too nosey—far too nosey." To discover the structure, we have to go niela, to a higher level, and, from that meta-position, look at the structure of the representations, the submodality qualities and distinctions, the conclusions and abstractions that the person made about the experience, etc. And this explains the power of this model to change things so quickly and thoroughly.
We can think of word processing on a computer as fairly comparable to human processing structure. Suppose you wanted to change a letter or document that you typed using a particular software for word processing. Now suppose you decided you didn't want the text to start on the first line of every page, but several lines down. How could you change that? You could go in and then, page after page, you could make that content change at each specific location in the document. Or, you could forget about the text itself, and instead go to a "Format Menu." Then from there you could type in a command that would, in effect, change the entire document for you. At this higher level, in one fell swoop, you would change everything. Working on the change in this way makes a transformation at a structural level.
Further, when we transform a program at a meta-level, we create pervasive, system-wide changes. NLP seeks to do precisely this regarding human texts that tell our stories and plot our futures.
In a later chapter we will introduce the NT.P Meta-programs. These higher level programs function in human consciousness much like an operating system functions in a computer. They run our style of perceiving, sorting for information, and processing data. When we change one of them, we often create pervasive change over our entire mind-body system.
The same tends to happen with these first NLP meta-patterns. We introduce them here because they exist as more than just specific transformation patterns. They essentially give us the ability to use this model and to apply the technology to a wide range of things. A therapist would need them in working with a client. So would a manager in working with and through the people in his or her organization. And so would a parent, a salesperson, or anyone working in the context of self or other people.
Where do we begin? Where should a therapist begin with a client? Or a manager with the people he/she oversees and manages? In NLP, we begin "with the end in mind"—with the outcome that we desire to attain. So we typically ask ourselves or another:
• "If you didn't have your difficulty, what would you like to have instead?"
• "Where do you want to go upon getting to your destination?"
Before introducing specific transformation patterns, we need to know what we, or other persons, want, what desired outcome we should go for. We begin then with the concept and the meta-pattem of well-formed objectives or outcomes. After that we will present other meta-patterns needed to engage someone in the transformational process itself.
#1 Wcll-h'ormed Outcomes
Concept. A primary characteristic of the cognitive-behavioral psychology model lies in its hands-on, experiential approach as well as its directness, Fhis contrasts with the indirect and non-directive style of Rogerian and Psychoanalytic schools. From Erickson's direct hypnotic approach, to the co-created directed-ness of Solution-focused Brief therapy, to the coaching style in NLP for "running your own brain," and the confrontational approach in REBT of arguing ¿igainst and training a person to stand up to irrational cognitive distortions, all of these models operate with an eye on the desired outcome.
In other words, these models of human functioning operate from a highly intentional state with a constant view of the objective or outcome. They focus on questioning such as:
• "What would you like to accomplish today?"
• "How can 1 assist you in dealing with this difficulty?"
• "If a miracle happened tonight, and tomorrow you didn't have the problem, how would you know?"
NLP offers a model for developing Well-Formed Outcomes. Inasmuch as this process functions as a pattern itself—we introduce it ¿is the first pattern, actually a mela-pattern. This pattern uses the criteria of well-formedness to create effective goals that motivate and empower because we have formed them well. We have structured them so that, by their very design and make-up, they pull us into our future, fit our criteria and the form for effective goal fulfilment.
On the surface, "setting goals" sounds like an easy and simple thing to do. Yet the fact that most people have great difficulty with goal-setting and goal fulfillment suggest otherwise. It suggests that the process of moving from one's present state to some desired state involves more complexity than appears on the surface.
In this pattern for Well-Formed Outcomes, we have identified the key factors that enable us to identify what we want and to organize our responses so that we can take definite and positive steps to make our desires and hopes real. This pattern also provides an informed way to work with someone in assisting and facilitating their process of attaining desired objectives. This pattern engages others (clients, customers, friends, children, etc.) in a response-able way by taking their words and concerns at face value and helping them to map their goals more intelligently.
Using this model as a map for designing goals with others enables us to bypass many of the problems that traditionally arise in helping situations. Namely, that some people:
• Don't really want to change
• Don't feel ready to change
Further, using these criteria, we can engage in goal-focused conversations in business, personal relationships, and therapy. This creates a new orientation for all involved—a solution-oriented focus.
1. State it in the positive. Specifically describe what you want. Avoid writing goals that describe what you do not want. "I do not want to be judgmental." Negation ("not") in the mind evokes what it seeks to negate. "Don't think about Elvis Presley." "Don't think about using your wisdom to live life more graciously." Rather, describe what you do want. "If you don't have this problem occurring, wrhat will you have occurring?" "If we had a video-recording of your goal, what would we see and hear?"
2. State what you can do—what lies within your area of control or response. If you write something like, "I want others to like me," you have not written anything that you can do. Consequently, that goal will disempower you! State tilings that you can initiate and maintain, things within your response-ableness. What specific actions could you take this week to cither reduce your difficulty or to eliminate it altogether? What one thing could you do today that would move you in that direction?
3. Contextualize. Define and emphasize the specific environment, context, and situation needed to reach your goal. Don't write, "I want to lose weight." State specifically how much weight you wish to lose, e.g., ten pounds within twro months. This gives your brain information about what to do! Identify the place, environment, relationship, time, space, etc., for this new way of thinking-feeling, behaving, talking, and so on. Finally, "Where don't you want this behavior?"
4. State in sensory based words. Describe specifically and precisely what someone would see, hear, and feel. Whenever you use an abstract or vague word, specify the behaviors that someone could video-tape. Not, "I want to become charismatic in relating to people" but, "I want to smile, warmly greet people with a handshake and use their name..." Asking for see-hear-feel language, over and over, eventually re-trains us to think in terms of behavioral evidences. This makes our goals more real and less abstract or vague.
5. State in bite-size steps and stages. Chunk the outcomes down to a size that becomes do-able. Otherwise the goal could become overwhelming. Not, "I will write a book" but, "I will write two pages every day." Not, "I will lose fifty pounds," but, "I will eat ten fewer bites per meal!"
6. Load up your description with resources. What resources will you need in order to make your dream a reality? More confidence in your ability to speak in public? Then write that as a sub-goal. As you think about living out this new objective in the next few weeks, what other resources do you need? What about assertiveness, resilience, confidence, the ability to look up information and check out things for yourself, reality testing, etc.?
7. Check for ecology. Does this goal fit in with all of your other goals, values, and overall functioning? Do any "parts" of self object to this desired outcome? Go inside and check to see if this goal is acceptable to all the parts of self.
8. Specify evidence for fulfillment. How will you know, in addition to the previous criteria, when you have reached your goal? Make sure you have specific evidence for this.
Using these criteria, either with self or with others, provides a way to quality-check our objectives. This enables us to form our desired outcomes so that we code and map them in a well-formed way about the future wre want to create. Smart goal-setting will take us where we desire to go.
#2 Pacing Or Matching Another's Model Of The World
Concept. Pacing or matching another's model of the world describes the second meta-pattern technique. "Pacing" refers to the process of matching another person's words, values, beliefs, posture, breathing, and other facets of ongoing experience.
Pacing or matching a person's behaviors describes the structure of what we call "empathy" or "rapport." In other words, as we enter into the other's conceptual mental-emotional world, and use their language, value words, frames of reference, etc., we take on their way of thinking and feeling about the world—their model of the world. We thereby take "second perceptual position," and this matches their "reality."
Reflecting back to another person his or her own map of reality communicates our understanding, confirmation, and empathy. Bandler and Grinder (1975, 1976) noted that most people use a favored representational system (VAK). As we listen for the predicates people use in these categories, and use them in our communications, we linguistically pace (or match) others' reality. This creates "a yellow brick road" right to their heart.
Formed ness In
• State it in the positive
• State in sensory-based words
• State in bite-size steps and stages
• Load up your description with resources
• Check for ecology
• Specify evidence for fulfillment
If someone says, "The way 1 see things right now, I can only see things getting worse and that makes me feel really bad...," we would use similar visual and emotional terms. To say, "I hear what you're saying" shifts to the auditor)' channel and fails to pace the person. To say, "It looks like things have turned dark in your world..." would fit.
Because pacing represents such powerful technology, you can find books devoted to creating rapport—learning how to improve your awareness of, calibration to, and reflection back of, the responses of another person.
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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.