Solution Synthesis(TM): How it works

Recently I started to study more of Chaos Theory. Basically, chaos theory is about dynamic systems that appear chaotic but produce consistent patterns over time. I think human thought is exactly like that. What really struck me was when I developed the basis of Solution Synthesis in 2003, it hadn’t occurred to me that a counsellor’s questions can literally create a stable system in a client, or destabilize that system. In any case, this is a regular pattern – people usually go to a counsellor and either find themselves the same or completely different.

As I continued to explore NLP and it’s powerful language patterns (such as the Milton and Meta Model), what was isolated for us were patterns of language that appeared chaotic, but took on a very systemic whole. Today, I am also looking at those patterns to come up with a Language Pattern Valency model so that beginners in NLP and Ericksonian Hypnosis can actually create language patterns with much greater ease.

Solution Synthesis, when taken into the coaching environment is powerful. My basic theory is that people do not come to you at the start or end state as a coach. They always come to you in the middle somewhere. So, they are in flux, and not thinking right. Simply asking them questions about information they have fed you often leads to the solution. The synthesis of the solution, therefore, will never have to come from the counselor or coach. It will come from the client himself. It takes on an NLP assumption that everyone has the resources to achieve whatever they need.

From Chaos theory, I also came across this: Arnold’s Cat. 🙂

It’s apparent that using a transformation feature, that the original cat image was ‘sheared’, and after 300 iterations, the cat image reverted back to the original image:

“One of this map’s features is that image being apparently randomized by the transformation but returning to its original state after a number of steps. As can be seen in the picture to the right, the original image of the cat is sheared and then wrapped around in the first iteration of the transformation. After some iterations, the resulting image appears rather random or disordered, yet after further iterations the image appears to have further order—ghost-like images of the cat—and ultimately returns to the original image.” –

So you can see that implementing a human transformation (ironic, isn’t it that we are tranforming lives) eventually leads to an individual reaching their stable end point – their intended and desired outcome.

The use of the Meta Model, in this case, is extremely powerful – especially if you know how to use it without being adamant on changing someone for the better. All we need to do is focus on the outcome and begin our intervention, use the client’s observations and responses, and feed it back to them for further consideration. Take them into the meta position to process that feedback and notice what happens when the solution seems to come to light almost automatically.

Milton Model: Lost Performatives

In NLP training, we use the Milton Model to create unconscious effects. It is a powerful way to create unconcious communication for the purposes of embedding commands as well as suggesting ideas that others are more likely accept simply because of the nature of the Milton Model language patterns.

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A lost performative is a phrase where the originator of the statement is missing (i.e. lost performer). So whenever a statement such as “He’s such a goat you can’t communicate with him” is used, you can classify them as lost performatives. However, a statement such as “She never comes to meetings on time” is also classified as a lost performative. The statements are simply judgments without the judger.

Why Observe Lost Performatives

A lost performative indicates a belief pattern. This also provides enough “juice” to either begin the therapeutic approach, or to begin the modeling approach. If you hear a ‘problem’ statement such as “Everything is gone, we’re finished” you can engage the person from a therapeutic approach to uncover responsibility and direction.

If you hear a more empowering statement “Anybody can speak in public” you will want to expand on this and uncover the deep structure of the language to identify context, processes, and structure of experience.

Later, you can even install the empowering models into people who do not have them, creating a more resourceful individual overall.

"Psychological Healing" – Does It Work?

I’ve been a pretty big skeptic about so-called ‘healers’ and for the life of me, none of it would make sense. Recently, I investigated more stuff related to psychoneuroimmunologyBeware! Bomb girl and flame head (?), and realized that the process in PNI actually works the same way as the healing models in NLP.

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Is NLP about psychic healing? Heck no. But could it faciliate healing, psychic or otherwise? Heck yes!

When you think of healing, you may ignore the fact that health is a mind-body phenomenon. Whatever you can envisage in the mind, you are able to trigger in your body. A classic example would be this. Why is it that just thinking of something or someone can trigger off physiological responses in you? The memory of someone you are madly in love with can increase you heart rate, and trigger off neurochemical productions of serotonin and oxytocin.

If this is so powerful, why aren’t we manufacturing our own ‘good stuff’ in our brains?

As far as I know, the human system is based on the idea of homeostasis. If you have a relaxed environment, you will encounter a fairly balanced emotional state. If you are stressed out, you will find that there are moments where you encounter heightened states of arousal. This is due to the production of certain chemicals, particularly cortisol, in your body. If this stays in your body, though, your body will start to feel the strains from overexertion and excessive stress – burnout.

However, it is also interesting to note that the body has “memories” as well. Moments that were considered “traumatic” tend to lodge themselves in our body. The psychological ‘pain’ may not have been relieved based on the theory of the unconscious mind where difficult moments are ‘repressed‘ or suppressed to prevent the emotion from overcoming us. This still remains in our body. Sometimes, they manifest themselves in various events such as emotional outbursts and unexplainable physical symptoms of illness. Sometimes, the onset of cancers and heart disease are attributed to past ‘dis-ease’ emotionally.

PNI, psychic healing or whatever process of psychotherapeutic healing really is about release. Releasing old patterns of behavior and beliefs in a way that enable to journey forward to be lighter. In NLP, a technique known as parts integration (modelled from Gestalt Therapy) is commonly used to create psychological alignment within an individual. The idea that we are pulled apart by choices (a fragmented self) needs to move toward completion (the Gestalt – whole) leads one to stop ‘fighting’ internally and release a huge rush of energy and often ending with relief.

However, most people will also find that this kind of release requires attention to the surrounding environment. Did the healing process take into consideration other factors? Sometimes, because of systemic homeostasis, a problem acts as a benefit for a specific behavior (secondary gain). A person with long-term illness is cared for by family members who would have otherwise left the person. In a situation like this, a cure would lead to something detrimental — the leaving of family members — resulting in lonliness.

A good NLP practitioner will ensure that these changes and healings take care of the secondary gain issue and constantly help the individual in need develop a greater sense of resourcefulness over time.

Affirmations: How do they affect you?

I suppose you might have heard of the “Law Of Attraction” and stuff like that. My opinion? It basically boils back down to your thinking… which reminds me of the power of affirmation.

2008-05-11-001Creative Commons License photo credit: Alex // Berlin (Back to Berlin in 5Days)

An affirmation, in my view from NLP, is an internal sound. Depending on the emotional state that it generates, the internal experience of an inner sound (test this out – say something like ‘yay!’ as if you said it out loud in a room, but keep that silent in your mind, sending the sensation all through your body). If you said it right, you might probably feel lots of tingling sensations in your body. It’s like a time you wanted to shout out in joy, but you were not allowed to make loud noises.

In contrast, a negative thought sends similar ripples of feelings through your body. What this can do is reduce energy and build up tension in the body (which may be the reason for lots of muscular tension, headaches and the like), possibly leading up to disease and illness.

A lot of people simply use affirmations for the purposes of ‘positive thinking’. Well, if you want to benefit from affirmations, you have to deeply believe in the affirmation itself. In addition, since NLP allows you to control the effect of intensity in your submodalities, you should be able to increase the sensation associated with the submodalities. For instance, how about using your affirmations in a tone of voice that makes you feel really good? Perhaps you could even bring the image closer and make it a little brighter if that helps to amplify the feeling you have.

Affirmations in their original form are just statements. You simply “say” it (I’m feeling positive and full of energy). But if you said it in a strong place of belief, the effect is extremely different.

It’s also quite common for people to ignore the use of affirmations when they have a bad day. To me, it’s merely an indication that you haven’t readily ‘immunized’ yourself from negative experiences. In other words, the external triggers in your environment are still firing negative associations. You will need to learn how to use some strategies to get rid of that negative association, so that whenever you experience something negative, you could continue to affirm yourself and speak in a way that helps energize you rather than weaken you.

NLP Representational Systems

According to NLP theory, we have four major representational systems – visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and digital. A visual representational system means you prefer seeing over hearing or touching. Auditory, of course means discussing, talking or sounding things out. Kinesthetic relates to doing, moving and the like. and digital refers to sequential processes (e.g. a flowchart or standard operating procedures).

Identify your own preferences when you think of your favorite activities, the thoughts in your head, and basically come to awareness of how you get a sense of the world around you.

National Poverty Hearing: Oliver Letwin in listening modeCreative Commons License photo credit: cooperniall

The implications are tremendous. What if you could sell to a preferred representational system (PRS) and increase conversion rates? What if you could interrupt negative behaviors by jarring the PRS? What if you could identify a person’s PRS and use that to get them to enjoy something that isn’t within their PRS? 😉

To be sharp in assessing a person’s PRS, observe their behavior, including eye movements (will discuss this in another post), physiology, preferences for activity. Listen also to sensory words being used. Visuals tend to use “see, color, bright” words. Auditories use words like “hear, speak, harmonize”. Kinesthetics “feel, touch, weigh” their thoughts. HINT: these are definitely not exhaustive but you should listen to more people speaking so you can see patterns evolving over time. Get it? (hint, read the HINT).

Neuro Linguistic Programming: The Milton Model

The Milton Model is, in my opinion, the most important NLP element a human being can ever learn. It constitutes the ability to communicate with people at a level deeper than the conscious, and being aware of its effects.

The Milton model was developed by Bandler and Grinder after observing Milton Erickson’s language patterns. The basis of the Milton Model is the use of presuppositions in language. Instead of asking “will you meet me” you ask “what time are you meeting me”, and you’ll knowtice that the second statement is “loaded” with a certain assumption.

When I teach someone the use of the Milton Model, it really is to enhance their communicative capabilities. You then learn how NOT to use it. I love it when righting and speaking :D. But don’t use it the way some boring hypnotists do. Instead, use an effective tone of voice, conversationally weave it into your speech, and keep practicing the Milton Model until you know what they are by label and by example.

Here are some patterns:

  1. Lack of referential index
  2. Lost performative
  3. Cause & Effect
  4. Complex Equivalence
  5. Tag questions
  6. double binds
  7. conversational postulate
  8. comparative deletion
  9. Selectional Restriction Violation
  10. Ambiguity
  11. Unspecified verbs
  12. Modal Operators

There are more, but it would basically be impractical to give examples in just this one post because you might want to come back and practice your Milton Model competence on this blog itself. Again… and again… 😀

NLP Techniques: Public Speaking And Stage States

Public speaking is one of the things I do most. Every day, I have to speak on a stage somewhere in the world. Well, most days. And even if I’m not on stage, I have to deliver some presentation on a teleseminar.

Some people are afraid of public speaking only because they don’t know what they want to get from it. Personally, public speaking is for me a way of stress release, not a stress in itself. Very often, I pour out my thoughts, ideas and suggestions to people in my audience. They learn what to do and what NOT to do. It’s therapeutic for both parties, I think.

At the same time, it’s a misnomer for anyone to think that they should build ‘confidence’ in public speaking. Confidence is one of many states you can use to speak. Don’t tell me you’d read “Little Red Riding Hood” only in a confident tone of voice! You definitely need a variety of states.

Barack Obama In BerlinCreative Commons License photo credit: matt4077

Think of the  of your presentation. What emotional state do you want people to be in, and craft your sequence of emotional states accordingly.

Essentially, this means we need to thinkof the process by which we generate emotional states. It’s not difficult to do, but I sure wish I learnt it a long time ago.

You can learn about state management in other posts, and do remember to pick out things related to physiology as well as internal representations.

There’s also an interesting concept known as nested loops which, in brief are simply stories chained together in a specific sequence to achieve certain states in people. I’ll have an opportunity to discuss this in a teleseminar soon, because it poses interesting implications in the area of copywriting, stage presentations and persuasive communication.

Ask me any question by commenting!

NLP Techniques: Submodality Mapping

In identifying emotional states, we sometimes need to have control over the way we code our minds. Coding is done at a very unconscious level and I believe strongly that if you want to increase our mental awareness of this, you will need to learn NLP in a practical setting.

Here are some submodality differences:

You’ll probably notice that there are some submodality codes that are different, and based on the profile, we can simply make the depressed image Bright, and Associated. Notice the difference in the feeling you get simply by doing this.

The initial feeling you will get is that the sense of depression will typically get lifted. This is because you cannot code depression in this particular new way and still have it mean the same thing. The coding structure would be congruent with confidence instead.

These are just some examples of submodality coding. There are quite  number of other variables in submodalities that you can explore and consider experientially.


NLP Patterns: Submodality Shifts

This one will be short – I just wanted you to explore the differences in your mental image placement.

Through A Childs EyeCreative Commons License photo credit: DownTown Pictures

For instance, you might want to think about something you like to do and something you dislike to do, and put them side by side in your mind. What did your mind prefer to do? Did it put your mental image of like on the left? If so, think of something you need to do and put it in the place where you like to do.


Notice what happens.

Tell me how differently you feel as a result of doing this!

NLP Techniques: Rapport Building

NLP is very commonly associated with rapport building techniques. Well, let’s get some things right – rapport building techiniques were modelled in the therapeutic arena, but can be easily mapped across to other areas in life.

There are several areas to pay attention to. Rapport building is really a process of creating similarity. So, remember this mantra: increase similarities, reduce differences. To test if someone is in rapport with you, you simply need to make yourself slightly different (e.g. change your posture) and you will realize that others are actually “following” you.

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The Law Of Similarity is actually the main reason behind this. If you didn’t realize, our body is controlled by the same regions in the brain. If we carried similar postures, we would experience similar feelings and possibly even see similar mental images.

We can create similarity in the following areas:

  • Posture
  • Facial expression
  • Muscular tension
  • Gestures
  • Lower lip size
  • Facial blush
  • Eye movements
  • Tone of voice
  • vocal Inflectional patterns
  • Predicate patterns (sensory language)

Actually, each of these has a specific training approach to it. We all have representational systems (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) and we tend to interpret the world through our senses. Hence, we need to develop proper calibration skills in order to be better at observing people in order to build similarity in body language, tone of voice and the words we use.