Belief Chaining

The ultimate purpose of the various Sleight of Mouth patterns is to linguistically help guide people through the states involved in the Belief Change Cycle. As a technique, the Belief Change Cycle does not necessarily require the use of language. The process can be done by simply establishing the locational anchors for each of the internal states and walking through them in the appropriate sequence. There are times, however, when a few well placed words, at the right time, can greatly facilitate the achievement of one of these states, or the movement from one to another (i.e., moving from 'wanting to believe' to becoming 'open to believe').

In addition to physiology, emotional responses, and internal representations and submodalities, language can exert a powerful influence on our internal states. The technique of Belief Chaining illustrates how some simple Sleight of Mouth patterns (Intention and Redefining) can be used to stimulate and support particular internal states, and strengthen the experience of being 'open to believe' and 'open to doubt'.

In NLP, the term "chaining" refers to a form of anchoring in which experiences are linked together in a particular sequence, leading from a starting state to a desired state. The key element in establishing an effective "chain" is the selection of the transition states chosen to link the problem state to the desired state. These transition states function as "stepping stones" to help the individual move more easily in the direction of the goal state. It is often difficult for a person to cross the gap between their current state and some desired state. Let's say, for example, a person is stuck in a state of frustration, and wants to be motivated to learn something new. It is difficult to just switch from frustration to motivation and would most likely create tension or conflict to attempt to force oneself from one to the other. Chaining would involve establishing two or three intermediate steps or states between frustration and motivation.

The most effective chains are those which incrementally pace and lead from the problem state to the desired state. If the problem state is negative and the desired state is positive, this would involve moving incrementally from the negative state to another state which is only somewhat negative; confusion, for example. From the somewhat negative state, a small but significant step can be made to a state that is slightly positive; let's say curiosity about what might happen next. It is then relatively simple to take a step from the somewhat positive state to the desired state of motivation. Of course, depending on the physiological and emotional distance between the present and desired states, more intermediate steps may need to be added.

Problem Transition Desired

State States State

Problem Transition Desired

State States State e.g.. Frustration e.g., Confusion e.g.. Curiosity Motivation to Learn

Pacing -► Leading e.g.. Frustration e.g., Confusion e.g.. Curiosity Motivation to Learn

Chaining States - From Frustration to Motivation

When selecting the states which are to be part of a chain, it is best if contiguous states have some degree of physiological, cognitive or emotional overlap. Frustration and confusion, for example, share some features. Likewise, confusion and curiosity overlap in relation to certain characteristics -they both involve uncertainty about an outcome, for example. Curiosity and motivation also have similarities in that they both involve wanting to go in a particular direction.

Contiguous States in a Chain Should Overlap to Some Degree

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