The goal here is not to overcome a particular problem, but rather to grow and evolve as a person; to become more of who you are and have come here to be. In fact, on of Stevens most popular classes is his yearly "Trance Camp", where many high-functioning professional come to spend time "becoming their next best selves". Over then next few column's I thought we would look at how Stephen defines and uses "generative trance" and how Robert Dilts defines and develops "generative change".
Hypnosis is poorly understood, even by those who do it, and, while John and Richard did an exceptional job of delineating Erickson's language patterns, they never put much effort in delineating how Erickson decided what to say They left that for people like O'Hanlon, Rosen, and Zeig. Some hypnotists use trance plus direct suggestion while others specialize in trance plus indirect sugges When I think back on the films of Erickson that I studied, Erickson tended to start by understanding his patient's present state and desired state, and also their personality, so that he could package his message in a form that would be easy for them to accept.
When we listen to "The Tomato Plant", Erickson knows that his patient, Joe, is a gardener, that he is in chronic pain, and that he wants comfort, and so Erickson weaves this wonderful trance-y tale of how a tomato plant can find comfort. When we listen to "Monde" we hear Erickson develop a "propulsion system" by associating a painful memory her being spanked with a hairbrush with her present state while he associates a joyous memory her chasing ducks as a child with her desired state.
In a hypnosis session dealing with TMJ, I anchored the sensation of my client's teeth touching and chained it to the feeling of relaxation in her jaw, which worked well in just two sessions. One question is, do we need trance at all? If we know the pattern, do we need to induce a trance to make the change? Michael Breen says he has yet to find anything normally associated with deep trance that he doesn't see people spontaneously doing in their normal waking state. Another concept in NLP is that of "state". State is an in-the-body feeling, rather than a mental or linguistic concept.
However, because there is no division in the mind-body, new states lead to new thoughts. Because different states trigger different neural circuits, a different state can mean a whole new way of thinking. To me, the foremost pro His answer to almost every problem is a more powerful state. Can't talk in public? Go skydiving and anchor that state of exhilaration. Want to change a belief? Walk on hot coals and you will know that you can do anything!
Many of us who took our training at this time learned lots of techniques about eliciting powerful states, anchoring states, stacking states, chaining states, and collapsing anchors. Even the walking belief change involves sets of spacial anchors.
This is truly the "Neuro" part of Neuro-linguistic Programming. This is also the least conversational. Although I will talk to you and use my voice tone for emphasis, mostly I am coaching you on how to stand, breath, and move to get your body to generate the purest, most powerful state it can. Tony used to illustrate this point by asking us to imagine that there was a depressed person on stage, and then ask us questions about how that person was standing, breathing, moving where there eyes were, and all sorts of other details. Then he would use contrast by asking us to imagine a happy, excited person instead, and asking us how they used their body differently than the depressed person.
This exercise taught us one of the most important concepts in NLP, that control of the body was a powerful road to controlling ones emotions. While all NLPers start with a present state and work toward a desired state, the variations as to how they do it are legion. This approach is different because all the therapist does is restate the present state and desired state from first- to third-person associated to dissociated and let the client's unconscious mind work out the necessary change. So the problem is not happening to you The technique is called an isomorphic metaphor.
Isomorphic means "of the same form". So the therapist tells the client a story about some other person much like the client who has a very similar problem. This character starts in some version of the client's present state, and goes through some unnamed transformation to end in the client's desired state.
It is then up to the client's unconscious mind to "translate" that unnamed transformation back into the client's real life and decide how to go about it for themselves. For children's therapists, this is a natural fit. The therapist tells the child a number of fairy tales, perhaps featuring talking rabbits, squirrels, fish, or whatever.
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Each story has the protagonist quickly winding up in the child's present state disguised by the fantasy setting , going through some adventure that allows them to solve their situation, and winding up in the similarly disguised desired state. But many therapists who treat adults use a similar technique.
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In fact, Rubin Battino wrote an excellent book called Metaphoria in which he outlined a number of ways metaphor can be used in therapy. In my youth, I had a bit of a crisis, feeling that I was working in the wrong industry I worked in the defense industry; developing more efficient ways to kill people. My hypnotherapist used a similar technique. After a brief conversation where he identified my present state, desired state, and several of my favorite literary characters, he had me lay down, put me in a light trance, and told me a pair of great adventures featuring Sherlock Holmes, and Conan the Barbarian.
The result was my accepting a transfer to the company's Aeronautical Operations division, where my daily focus was on maintaining a fleet of airliners that safely transported co-workers to various company sites, so that my day-to-day job was about preserving life, health and comfort, rather than enabling death and destruction.
The solution maintained my salary, seniority, retirement, and benefits, but allowed my to do something that fit better with my values. For the last couple months, we have been contrasting different people's application of the NLP technology. First we looked at Michael Breen, and how he uses a very conversational style, guided by the Meta-Model, to lead his client from present state to desired state.
He uses this style because his clients come from the business world, and he feels that it fits better with his client's expectations. We then looked at early Richard Bandler, and how he used submodalities to crea Richard had a bit more freedom, because he was working mostly with professional psychologists and was teaching them a radical new technology that was faster and simpler to learn than anything they knew.
Both of these approaches are still alive and well. Not only is there a whole association of psychologists who focus on Korzybski's original version of the Meta-Model as their therapeutic modality, but Dennis and Denise Chong wrote a series of books on how to combine Meta-Model and Hypnosis for pre-surgical non-chemical anesthesia.
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And much of the technique driven NLP style I originally learned was developed by people like Steve Andreas, who would study the submodalities of groups that shared the same complaint using those who had quickly gotten over the same complaint as a control , and then come up with a technique that would shift those particular submodalities in useful ways. Indeed, the old NLP Comprehensive conventions in Boulder one of the best places for people who had been trying new approaches all year to come and share their results.
I thought that, over the next few weeks, I might highlight some of the other, lesser known, approaches to using NLP technology. Once Richard has the participant back on track, he goes back to looking for the submodality driver. Woman: "A soon as you said that I saw something else completely; I thought of something else that happened today. Now, can you go up and look at that one and shrink it? Woman: "Yeah. Does it reduce the intensity of your belief? Startled Richard: "What happens when you shrink it all the way down to where the picture is just a dot?
Is it a big picture.
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Woman: "Oh! I'm in.
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Richard goes on to talk about the importance of finding all the submodality details before starting a piece of work and about ecology. Richard then finishes the Swish pattern for the woman. In the last of the interviews whose transcripts are printed in the book Magic in Action, Richard takes eight pages trying to get the participant to realize that emotions are not something that "just happen" or exist in a vacuum, but rather the end result of thought processes.
He uses eye accessing cues to understand how the participant is creating her emotions, which means that Richard, at that point in time, has more understanding of the woman's internal processes than the w The woman is convinced that the feeling of certainty IS the belief. Once Richard is able to get her to focus on her picture, it takes only a few more questions to teach her how to get control of her beliefs.
Richard: "One picture for each feeling? Hangs in this little wall. For this particular image. But it is dimensional. When you stop and think of a belief you have now that's now that strong. It takes four more pages to get her to refocus on the visual image. My purpose in using this example is to point out one of the greatest strengths of NLP: that as we become more aware of how specifically we think our habitual strategies we gain more control over our emotions.
When you are doing submodality elicitations or strategy elicitations for the twentieth time in your NLP Practitioner class, you become quite aware of just how you actually create not just your emotions, but your beliefs, values, and sense of self as well. Having ascertained that a distance Swish would be the best fit for this woman, Richard teaches her how to do it.
Richard: "Okay. Which one is which? Is the strong belief closer?
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Richard: "Do you want to continue to believe it is true? Push the picture back. Is that far enough? Now, as you push it back further, do you have growing doubts?
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