1. Move to a meta-position and listen for style or structure of someone's thinking (yours or another's). By directing our consciousness above the content level of the messages, we will (or can) begin to notice the various styles and processes that we and others use in thinking and communicating. Identify the operating Meta-programs by "going meta" and using the Meta-program list (Figure 8.1).
Keep going meta. Almost everybody has problems staying out of content, especially at first. When this happens, rest yourself comfortably in the knowledge that this indicates your humanity, not that you have something wrong with your meta-thinking skills! Most of us find content juicy. It easily captures our attention. Resist it with grace by floating above the content.
2. Evaliuite the effectiveness of that Meta-program given the content, context, or subject. Not all Meta-programs work equally well in all contexts. Music appreciation necessitates using ¿in auditory modality, whereas in art appreciation we need the visual modal itv.
Whenever wre run a "quality control" analysis, this by necessity calls on the Meta-program of sorting for differences— mismatching what doesn't fit. But that meta-program will not work very efficiently for bonding with a loved one!
3. Invite the person (yourself or another) to a Meta-position to run an ecologi/ check on the use of that Meta-program in that context. "How useful does it seem to you to use this Meta-program of Association when you think about traumatic memories?" "How effective does it make you to run an other-referent authority sort when you need to center yourself in your own values and beliefs?"
NLP Meta-Programs (Processing/Sorting Styles)
_General: gestalt; deductive thinker the big picture, general principles.
_ Specific: detail; inductive thinker—the specific details of something.
Sameness: what does it match and seem similar?
_Difference: how does it differ? Mow does it mismatch with what I
_Visual: pictures, movies, images.
_Auditory: sounds, volumes, tones, pitches.
_ Kinesthetic: sensations, feelings, movement, temperature, pressure.
_ Auditory digital: words, language, specific statements. Gustatory/olfactory: taste, smell.
Toward: future possibilities, values one feels drawn towards. Away From: past assurance. Dis-valucs that one feels repelled from.
Information Gathering Style:
_Sensors: uptime. Empiricism, pragmatism. Sensory-based information accessible by the senses.
_Intuitors: downtime. Visionary, rationalism, meanings, values, internal knowings.
_Judgers: wanting to make life and events adapt to oneself, to take charge.
_Perceivers: wanting to adjust and adapt to life and events, to float through.
_Options: alternatives, other ways to do things, choices; random.
_Procedures: the rules and steps for doing something the right way, sequential.
_Inactive: not acting much at all in response to something.
_Reflective: acting by reflecting, thinking, meditating on it.
_Active: taking action, jumping to do something.
Reference Frame: (Authority Sort):
_Self-referent (internal): referencing from what one thinks, f<s?ls, and wants oneself. _ Other-referent (external): referencing from what others think, feel and want.
Modal Operator (modus operandi)
_Necessity: must, should, have to. World of rules and constraints.
_Possibility: could, would, might, may, will. World of options, choices.
_Desire: want, desire. Mode of operating according to wants.
_Impossibility: can't, shouldn't, must not. World and mode of constraints.
_Choice: want, will, choose. Mode of personal choice and will.
Experience of Emotion/Body:
_Associated: emotionally experiencing the information, in state, first person.
_Dissociated: thinking about the information, second person, objective, computer mode.
Convincer Sort (Believability):
_Visual: looks right (observer).
_Auditory: sounds right (hearer).
_Kinesthetic: feels right (feeler).
_Auditory digital: makes sense (thinker).
_Experiential: experiencer (doer).
Preference Filter (primary interest):
_ People (who): enjoys people, wants to spend time with people.
_Place (where): sorts for environment.
_Object (what): thing and task oriented.
_Activity (how): sorts for achievement, accomplishment.
_Time (when): highly conscious of when.
_ Optimizing: does best one can and leaves it at that. Easy on self about errors.
_Perfectionism: demanding and pushing self to do better, never satisfied.
_Skepticism: refuses to set goals, disbelieves in its value.
Value Buying Sort:
_Convenience: ease, comfort.
_Time: speed, quickness.
Future: one of these days.
_In lime: random, spontaneous, lost in time.
_Through time: sequential, high level of awareness about time.
Extrovert recharges personal batteries socially, around people. _Introvert: recharges personal batteries by oneself.
Satir Stances (communication mode):
_Congruent: response fits with stimulus.
_Incongruent: response does not fit with stimulus.
_Polarity: response goes to the opposite pole, complete mismatch.
_Competitive: response tries to win.
_Meta: response takes meta-position and relates to or about the stimulus.
In this work we have only given a very brief description of the Meta-programs and the significance of the distinctions. Several books provide a much more thorough presentation. See James and Woodsmall (1988), Shelle Rose-Charvet (1995), Woodsmall and Woodsmall (1997), and Hall and Bodenhamer (1997). I (MH) have recently written a major work on Meta-programs with Dr. Bob Bodenhamer, Figuring Out People: Design Engineering Using Meta-Programs, and extended the list to fifty-one, and have included that list here.
Mela-Programs And Meta Meta-Programs
#1 Chunk Size General/Specific Detail/Global
»4 Information Gath.
#5 Epistemology Sort Sensors/lntiiilors
Frb Perceptual Categ. Mack- VVh itr/Contin uum
#7 Scenario I hinking
#9 Focus Quality
#10 Philosophical Direction Why/How Origins /Solutions
Reality Structure Sort Aristotelian/ Non-Aristotelian
»13 Emotional Coping
Passivity/Aggression/ Dissociated rt 14 Frame of Reference
Self Referent/Other Referen I
#15 Emotional State
#16 Somatic Responses
#17 Convincer/Believability Looks, Sounds, Feels Right Makes Sense
#18 Emotional Direction Uni-dirvctunwl/ Multi directional
^19 Emotional Exuberance Desurgency/Surgency Timidity/Boldness
#20 Motivation Direction Tou>urd/Aa<ay From Approach/Avoidance
#21 Conation Adaptation
#22 Adaptation fudging/Perceiving Controlling/Floating
#23 Modal Operators
#25 Adapting to Expectations
#26 Value Buying
#28 People Convincer Sort Distrusting/Rusting
#12 Communication Channel Sort
#29 Battery Rejuvenation Extiowrt/A »¡biverl/ Introvert
#30 Affiliation/Management independent/Team Player/Manager
#31 Communication Stance Blamer/Placator/Distncter/ Computer/Leveler
#32 General Response Congrufnt/lncmtgruent Competitiiv/Cooperative; Polarity/Mftu
#33 Somatic Response Aclizv/Rtjlnthv/hiith/Inactiiv
»34 Work Preference
Comparison Quanl ilalive/Qualitatwe
«36 Knowledge Source
#37 Completion/ Closure Clos u re/Non-Closure
#38 Social Presentation Shrewd-A rtfuI/Cmu ine-A rtless
#3^ Hierarchical Dominance Sort
Power/ Affiliation/ Achievement
«40 Values List of Values
«41 Temper to Instruction
Strong- Willed/Compliant n42 Self-Esteem High SFJIvto SF
#-51 Self-Confidence Specific Skills
Conflicted Incongruity/Integrated Harmony
¿4(> "Time" Tenses Pasl/Presenl/I'uture
«47 "Time" Experience In Time/Through Time
#44!" lime" Access Sequt.ti tial/Random
#49 F.go Strength Stable/Unstable
#50. Morality Strong/Weak Superego
#51 Causational Sorh CMuadess/Unatr CL/Multi-CE/ Personal CE/Extenwl
One common and very powerful way to use Vleta-programs involves asking questions that elicit a person's Meta-programs. In the following list, we have reproduced the elicitation questions from Figuring Out People (1997).
1. "When you pick up a book or think about attending a workshop, Chunk Sizr what do you pay attention to first—the big picture, book cover, _Global or specific details about its value?" _Specific
"If we decided to work together on a project, would you first want to know what we generally will do or would you prefer to hear about a lot of the specifics?"
2. "How do you run your brain'when ynu first attempt to Relationship Sort understand something new to you? Do you look first for _Matching/Same similarities and match up the new with what you already „Mismatching/
know? Or do you first check out the differences? Or do Differences you first do one pattern and then immediately do the other?"
3. "When you think about something or learn something new, which sensory channel do you prefer?"
4 & 5."When you listen to a speech or conversation, do you Episttnwlogy Sort fend to hear the specific data given or do you intuit what _Sensors/
the speaker must mean and/or intend?" "Do you want to hear Uptime proof and evidence since you take more interest in your Intuitors/
intuition about it?" "Which do you find more important Downtime —the actual or the possible?" "Upon what basis do you make most of your decisions—the practical or abstract possibilities?"
6 "When you think about things or make decisions, do you tend to operate in black-and-white categories or does your mind go to the steps and stages that lie in between? Which do you value most?"
7 "When you look at a problem, do you tend first to consider the worst case scenario or the best?...thc problems and difficulties or the opportunities and positive challenges?"
8. "As you begin to think about some of your mental constructs, your ideas of success and failure, of love and forgiveness, of relationships and work, of your personal qualities...do you find the representations of what you know permanent or unstable? I low can you tell?" "Think about something that you know without a doubt about yourself " "Now think of something that you know-but with doubts and questions..."
Attribution Slyle _Optimist _Pessimist
Durability Permeable _Impermeable
"When you think about the kind of places where you can study or read, can you do this everywhere or do you find that some places seem too noisy or have too many of some other stimuli?"" "Describe your favorite environment for concentrating on something?"
"How distractible do you find yourself generally in life?"
Focus Quality Screening Noti-Screening
'When you think about a subject (whether a problem or not), do you first think about causation, source, and origms (why), or do you think about use, function, direction, destiny (how)?"
"When you think about reality, do you tend to think about it as something permanent and solid made up of things or do you think of it as a dance of electrons, fluid, ever-changing, made up of processes?"
Philosophical Direction _Origins/ Why „Solutions/ How
Reality Structure Sort „Aristotelian- Static
"When you think about communicating with somebody. Communication Channel Sort what do you tend to give more importance to- What they _Verbal/ Digital say or how they say it?" "When you communicate, do _Non-Verbal/Analogue you pay more attention to the words and phrases tliat you _Balanced use or to your tone, tempt», volume, eye contact, etc.?" "When you hear someone say something that seems in congruent with how they express it, and you don't know which message to go with, which do you tend to favor as the more 'real' message?"
"When you feel threatened, or d\allenged, bv some stress... Emotional Coping do you immediately respond, on the emotional level, by wanting _Passivity to get away from it or to go at it?" Invite the person to tell you Aggressive about several specific instances when he or she faced a liigh stress situation Do you detect a "go at" or "go away from" response to it?
14. "Where do you put most of your attention or reference:
on yourself or on others (or something external to yourself)?"
h rame of Reference Self-Reference _Other-Reference
15. "Think about an event in a work situation that once gave Emotional Statr you trouble..." "What experience surmunding work would you _Associated say has given you the most pleasure or delight...?" "I low do _Dissociated you normally feel while at work?" "When you make a decision.
do you rely more on reason and logic or personal values or something else?"
16. "When you come into a new situation, do you usually act quickly after sizing it up or do you do a detailed study of all the consequences before acting?"
17. "What leads you to accept the believability of a tiling? Something about it looks right (V*), sound right (A1), mnkr-sense (Ad), feels right (K') to VOU7"
Cimvmcer Sort Looks Right Sounds Right Feels Right Makes Sense
18. "When you think about a time when you experienced an Emotional Directum emotional state (positive or negative), does that bleed over _Um-directional and affect some or all of your other emotional stales, or does _Multi-direclional it stay pretty focused so tliat it relates to its object?"
19. "When you think about a situation at work or in ynur personal affairs that seems risky or involving the public's eve. what thoughts-ond-feelings immediately come to mind?"
20. "What do you wont in a job (relationship, car, etc.)? What do you want to do with your lite?"
21. "Why did you choose your car?" (or job, town. etc.).
Motivation Direction Toward Values _Away From
22. "Do you like to live life spontaneously as the spirit moves you or according to a plan?" "Regarding doing a project together, would you prefer we first outline and plan it out in an orderly fashion or would you prefer to just begin to move into it and flexibly adjust to tilings as we go?"
23 "How did you get up this morning? What did you say to yourself just before you got up?"
24 "What would you find as reallv important in how you choose to spend your next two-week vacation?" "What kinds of things, people, activities, etc, would you want present for you to evaluate it as really great?" "Tell me about your favorite restaurant."
Ada plot ion Style Judging _Perveiving
25. "Tell me about a goal tluit you have set, and how did you go about making it come true?" "If you set a goal today to accomplish something of significance, how would you begin to work on it?"
26. "What do you tend to primarily concern yourself with—the price, convenience, lime, or quality, or some combination of these, when you consider making a purchase?"
Modal Operators _Necessity
Adapting to Expect. „Perfection „Optimizing Skepticism
27. "When you tliink about having and owning responsibility for something in a work situation or personal relationship, what thoughts and emotions occur to you?" "Has someone ever held you responsible for something that went wrong that felt very negative to you?" "What positive experiences can you remember about someone holding you responsible for something?"
28. "When you think about meeting someone new, do you immediately have a sense of trust and openness to the person, or thoughts and feelings of distnist. doubt, questions, jealousy, insecurity, etc.?"
29. "When you feel the need to recharge your batteries, do you prefer to do it alone or with Others?"
30. (i) "Do you know what vou need in order to feel and Affiliation Sort function more successfully at work?" _Independence
(ii) "Do you know what someone else needs in order to feel and leam Player function more successfully?" _Manager
(iii) "Do you find it easy or not to tell a person that?"
31 "How do you typically communicate m terms of placating, blaming, computing, distracting, and leveling?"
('.ommunication Statues _IJlamer
32. "When you come into a situation, how do you usually Central Response respond? Do you respond i) with a sense of feeling and acting in a _.Congruent congruent and harmonious way with your though ts-and-feelings or, _Tncongruent do you respond with a sense of not feeling or acting in a congruent „Competitive and harmonious way with your thoughts and feelings? _Cooperative
Do you respond ii) with a sense of cooperation with the subject „Polarity matter, or a feeling of disagreement? Or iii) do you prefer to _Meta go above the immediate context and have thoughts about the situation?
33- "When you come into a situation, do you usually act quickly after sizing it up or do you engage in a detailed study of all of the consequences, and then act, or how do you tend to typically respond?"
„Reflective „Both Inactive
34. "Tell me about a work situation (or environment) in which you felt the happiest, some one-time-event."
35. "IIow would you evaluate your work as of today?" "How would you evaluate tilings in your relationship?" "How- do you know the quality of your work? 'Upon what basis do you say that?"
W(?rA- Preference Tilings
"What source of knowledge do you consider authoritative and Knowl.Source most reliable?" 'Trom where would you gather reliable information _Modeling that you can trust?" "When you decide that you need to do „Conceptualizing something where do you get the information to do it fnim?" Experiencing
37. "If, in the process of studying something, you liad to break Closure ofl your study and leave it, would this settle well or feel „Closure verv disconcerting?" "When someone begins a story but doesn't Non-Closure complete it, how do you feel about that?" "When you get involved in a project, do you find yourself more interested m the beginning, middle, or end of the project?" "What part of a project do you enjoy most?"
38 "When you think about going out into a social group or out Social Present.
in public, how do you generally handle yourself? Do you really _Shrewd/Artful care about your social image and want to avoid any negative Genuine/ Artless impact on olhers so lhal they recognize your lad, politeness, social graces, etc.? Or do you not really care about any of that and just want "to be yourself," natural, forthright, direct transparent, etc.?"
39. "Evaluate your motives in interacting with olhers in / lurarthy Dominance terms ol your motivational preferences between Tower _Power
(dominance, competition, politics), Affiliation (relationship. Affiliation courtesy, cooperation) and Achievement (results, goals, objectives) _ Achievement and, using 100 points as your scale, distribute those hundred points among these three styles of handling "power."
40. "As you think about this X (a thing, person, event, experience, etc.), what do you evaluate as valuable, important, or significant about this?"
41. "Can someone 'tell' you something?" "How do you think and feel when you receive 'instructions? How well can you 'tell' or 'order' yourself to do something and you carry it out without a lot of internal resistance about it?"
Value Sort I ist Values
Temper to Instruction _Strong-Will
41 "Do you lliink of your value as a person as conditional or Self esteeming unconditional?" "When you esteem yourself as valuable. _Unconditional worthwhile, having dignity, etc., do you do it based upon something _Conditional or do you base it upon the fact of your humanity or that Cod made you in his image and likeness?"
43. "As you tliink about some ol the things that you can do well Self-confidence and that you know, without a doubt, you can do well and may even _High SC
take pride in your ability to do them welt make a list of those _Low SC
items " "How confident do you feel about your skill in doing these tilings?"
44. "How do you experience yourself in terms of your mind, emotions, body, roles?"
45. "When you think about how well or how poorly you live up to Self-integrity your ideals and in actualizing your ideal self, do you feel prellv _Conflicted integrated, congruent, doing a good job in living tnie to your values Integrated and visions or do you feel torn, conflicted, un-integrated, incongruent?"
46. "Where do you put most of your attention—on the past, present, or future? Or, have you developed an alemporal attitude so that you don't attend to time' at all?"
47. "Do you represent 'time' as coming into you and intersected with your body, or outside of yourself and body?"
48 "Do you represent 'time' as coming into you and intersected with your body, or outside of yourself and body?"
Time Fxpfrience In Time _lhrough lime lime Access Sequential _Random
49. "When you think about sum? difficulty arising in everyday F%o Strength Sort life, a disappointment, problem, frustrating difficulty that will Unstable block your progress, etc., what usually comes to mind'" "How do _Stable you typically respond to internal needs or external luirdships?"
50. "When you think about some misbehavior tlut you engage in. Morality Sort what thoughts-and-leelings come to you when you realize that _Weak Super-ego you had acted in an inappropriate way that violated legitimate Strong Super-ego values7" "When you think about messing up, doing something embarrassing, stupid, socially inept, etc., what thoughts-and-leelings come to mind?"
51. Ask any question that evokes some kind of causational presupposition. "When you think about what caused you to work at the job that you work at, how do you explain that?" "What brought the current situation of your life to exist as it does?" "What makes people behave as thev do?" "How did vour relationship get in that state?" "Why did you get divorced?"
#53 The Me ta-Prograins Change Pattern
Concept. Our Meta-programs do not come "written in stone." We can change them. In fact, in the normal process of growing and developing over our life span—we do change some of them. These stabilizing ways of thinking develop over time in various life contexts and become habitualized. So as we learn them, we can also unlearn them and develop more effective thinking styles.
Robbins (1986) says that one way to change a Meta-program involves "consciously deciding to do so." Yet most of us never give a thought to the mental software, and so we simply don't change it. This highlights the fact that we must first recognize and detect our operational system, and then use that awareness as an opportunity for making new choices.
Since Meta-programs inform our brain about what to delete—if we move toward values, then we delete awareness about what we move away from. If we sort for the details, we delete the big picture. By directing our awareness to what we normally delete, we can shift focus and change our operating systems. The following comes from Hall and Bodenhamer (1997).
1. Identify the Meta-program that currently governs your sorting, processing, and attending. Specifically identify when, where, and how you use this Meta-program that docs not serve you well. How does it undermine your effectiveness?
2. Describe fully the Meta-programs you would prefer to use as your default style of sorting in a given context. What meta-level processing would you prefer to "run your perceiving and valuing?" Specify when, where, and how you would like this Meta-program to govern your consciousness.
3. Try it out. Imaginatively adopt the new Meta-program and pretend to use it in sorting, perceiving, attending, etc. Notice how it seems, feels, works, etc., in described contexts where you think it would serve you better. It may seem a little "weird" at first, but consider its strangeness due simply to your unfamil-iarity with looking at the wrorld with that particular perceptual filter. Notice what feelings you experience while using this.
If you know someone who uses this Meta-program, explore with them their experience until you can lake second position to it. Then step into that position fully so that you can see the world out of that person's Meta-program eyes, hearing what he or she hears, self-talking as he or she engages in self-dialogue, and feeling what that person feels.
4. Run an ecology check on the Meta-program change. Go meta to an even higher level and consider wrhal this Meta-program will do to you and for you in terms of perception, valuing, believing, behaving, etc. What kind of a person would it make you? WQiat effect would it have on various aspects of your life?
5. Give yourself permission to install it for a period of time. Frequently, a person can "install" a Meta-program filter by granting oneself permission to use it. After you give yourself such permission, go inside and see if any part objects. If no, then future pace. 11' yes, then reframe using the objection.
For example, suppose you have typically used the other- referencing Meta-program (#14) and have given yourself permission to shift to self-referencing, yet, when you do, you hear an internal voice that sounds like your mother's voice in tone and tempo, "It's selfish to think about yourself. Don't be so selfish, you will lose all of your friends."
This voice objects on two accounts: selfishness and disapproval that leads to loneliness. So rephrase your permission to take these objections into account. "I give myself permission to see the world referencing centrally from myself—my values, beliefs, wants, etc., knowing that my values include loving, caring, and respecting others and that this will keep me balanced by considering the effect of my choices on others."
6. Future pace the Meta-program. using this Meta-program and comfortable and familiar.
Practice, in your imagination, do so until it begins to feel troubleshooting. If you have difficulty, then do this procedure on your Time-line. Float above yourself and your line to your meta Time-line, then float back along the line into your past until you come to one or several of the key experiences wherein you began using the old Meta-program.
Then ask yourself, "If you knew when you originally made the choice to operate front the other-referent (name the Meta-program you want to change), would that have been before, after, or during birth?
Use one of the lime-line processes to neutralize the old emotions, thoughts, beliefs, decisions, etc.: the visual-kines-thetic dissociation technique, decision destroyer pattern, etc. Once you have cleared out the old pattern, you can install the new Meta-program.
#54 Identifying And Disputing Cognitive Distortions
Concept. Another set of distinctions comes from Rational-Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT). Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck have specified thinking errors or cognitive distortions. These specific and unproductive ways of reasoning (at the process level) inevitably lead to problematic responses. We have made a list of the REBT cognitive distortions in Figure 8.3 with a brief description of each.
I he field of Cognitive-Behavioral psychology has devoted much attention and interest in specifying these cognitive distortions. The following list of cognitive distortions identifies thinking patterns similar in some ways to the Meta-programs and to the ill-formed-ness of thought in the Meta-model in Figure 8.3. Yet these differ in some significant ways. Ellis and Beck emphasized how these cognitive distortions create mapping blindness and dysfunction. Again, we do not plan to take the time here to fully explain each pattern, so we refer you to Ellis and Harper (1975) and Beck (1983) for fuller reading. We list them here as suggestive of other distinctions to make with regard to recognizing and challenging them when they contaminate our thinking processes.
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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.