While many people choose to learn NLP due to its awesome persuasion skills, often people miss the point in being a certified NLP practitioner.
The idea behind NLP is the ability to get you to become a massive modeling machine. You learn, adapt and enhance your skill and knowledge further. Most people simply deem the NLP practitioner certificate as a qualification alone. In fact many people are touting NLP as the way to success.
While I don’t dispute it can help people with success, it has gotten sickening to see that there are people who use it like a magic silver bullet. Most of these people don’t even know what the entire system of NLP is in the first place. Hence, their methodology is skewed to one direction, causing students to be unable to use NLP beyond a narrow set of skills.
Becoming an NLP practitioner is about hunting down useful skill to improve one’s abilities and become more powerful in achieving results. But that’s half the story. You can also maximize the use of such tools to make a difference in the world.
I’ve seen highly inflexible and intolerant so-called NLP practitioners. Even at a crossroads of choices, some choose the safe path while being critical, nasty or even rude. I think the job of an NLP practitioner is to elevate the standard of flexibility in working with self first. If you can’t get yourself under control and check your own ability to open up, consider new possibilities and achieve new goals, then what’s the point of learning NLP?
Key point is this: keep within a learning group that is diverse and celebrates changes and improvements. Often, without this kind of culture, learning ceases while people think more of themselves than they really are. There is social myopia.
Expose yourself to more opportunities to manage yourself and your experiences. If this means getting yourself to do something uncomfortable, then do it. It will merely be a matter of time before it becomes the new norm and you can look back realizing you have learned and grown.
If all that NLP does is to do this, I think you would have added a lot of value to the world, starting from the people closest to you.
I’ve just started to develop a set of submodality protocols in order to enable trainees to go through processes that will yield more consistent results. In most NLP Practitioner trainings, I find that the quality control of the trainings themselves is poor, and an attempt needs to be made in order to develop trainings in a way that yields consistency not just of the trainer, but of the results generated by the processes espoused by NLP.
In NLP, preparation work about submodalities needs to be made for a variety of reasons. I find that if I jump into submodality interventions, I may not have much of a response because I’m dealing with an individual who has certain limitations explaining their model of the world verbally. A certain level of preparation needs to be done to talk an individual through the unconscious processes that are happening in the mind of the audience. I would encourage a series of three simple demonstrations.
- The first demonstration should be a “natural submodality disposition” test, just to show that submodalities are a natural thing to them, not something the practitioner put in their head. Tell the participant to think of two distinct items. I prefer to ask about something they like to do versus something they dislike doing. By asking them about the characteristics of the mental image, they can understand the submodalities a little better.
- The second demonstration is the “mind-body connection” test. Individuals who are experiencing NLP the first time may not be convinced about the shift. In the picture of dislike, I ask them to rate how bad they feel about it. If they are at level 5, I then test one or two driver submodalities to intensify the sense of dislike (e.g. “what happens when you remove the color from the picture, and make the movie go slower?”). This is to show the relationship between the mental image and emotional state. Do remember that some individuals do not respond very easily to the mental image.
- The third demonstration is the linkage of the submodality through triggers. This will show that submodalities are not a static element, but a dynamic element. I will ask them for a situation where they habitually did something, such as laze around instead of going to exercise. On one or two occasions they may have been able to exercise, and I want to know why they managed to do that. Often, it is because of the situation that triggered them. They may have seen someone running. They may have been told by their doctor to exercise or suffer consequences. Whatever the trigger, that is just ONE trigger. I’ll explain to a participant that a stable behavior is created through developing a series of triggers to lead to the same outcome.
Elicitation. This process requires the practitioner to know what kinds of questions to ask, but ultimately they need to know the Meta Model.
- Start off by eliciting a problem state. For instance, a problem state could be procrastination (one of the top favorites). Most practitioners will start by asking details about the submodalities right away. Don’t do that. You need to know a bit about the context. They procrastinate for various reasons (i.e. find out the root causes/context), and the procrastination may be caused by elements in the environment and therefore ecological. One such example would be where an individual is procrastinating because the reward structure encourages last minute bursts of sales. I know some companies have incentives in the last quarter that unconsciously encourage sales people to wait until that quarter before actually taking action.
- Once you know what the problem state is, you need to decide what the solution state is, and test it with your client. For instance, it is a common mistake for a practitioner to immediately assume that “motivation” is the answer to procrastination. Often, the solution state presents itself when you find out the root context or root cause. Sometimes, fear might be a better resource state to tap into. Sometimes, anger. Relaxation. Or humor. In the above case, it may appear that self-serving “fear” may be a better motivator than the others. I typically ask the client to test it out first before entering into the intervention stage.
- During the time of the intervention, you, as a practitioner, need to make a decision about the end outcome of the intervention. Do you want this habit that needs to be propagated? Or is it merely a way to disconnect an old behavior/habit?
- Examples of situations requiring propagation of new behavior: overly anxious people, suicidal thoughts, depressives, negative thinking, peak performance preparation.
- Examples of situations requiring disconnect an old habit: compulsions, phobias and fears, overeating/snacking, smoking.
- In the first case, you will need to utilize the submodality Swish Pattern to reinforce habitual patterns.
- In the second case, you will need to utilize other possible patterns such as the Compulsion Blowout Pattern or the Mapping Across process
- In certain occasions, where the individual does not appear to be resourceful enough to develop changes, there could be issues associated with the belief (a blocking belief) or other associated ecological issues.
Finally, as a practitioner, test your interventions. There are ways to test if the intervention will work and transfer in the long term. It is about enhancing motivation, developing a higher level of clarity of how to use the change in different moments of the future. This is commonly known as future pacing. One process you can use to integrate future pacing into your interventions is the Comparative Future Pacing technique.
This is a protocol to assist in measuring and understanding shifts that take place after any intervention, with the main goal of seeing how effective the intervention has been, and to what extent the client is able to experience a shift.
It is recommended that follow-up be done, as a change in representation can result in a series of other changes, which requires personal reflection and assessment as to whether additional changes are required and appropriate
Comparative Future Pacing
Step 1: Before the intervention, go into the future with the limiting belief or state. Experience what this future is like, name the experience that is felt (e.g. fear, anxiety, sadness) and rate the level of discomfort on a scale of 0 to 10. Anchor this future representation.
Step 2: Continue with the intervention. Remember to anchor the resourceful state after this intervention.
Step 3: Fire off the anchor and revisit the future situation. Experience what this future is and compare it with Step 1 on a scale of 0-10. The emotional state should have changed to an extent where the future state holds no experience ( level 0), or the nature of the state has changed (i.e. mapping has automatically taken place). If the change has not taken place, continue with the intervention until the representation of experience changes.
Future pacing is the process of representing a future moment and placing the end result of an intervention there. When you experience a change of state and visit the future in your mind, you can note if you are more resourceful in that moment or not. In most cases, a future pace paves the way for checking of ecology and possibly to refine the intervention.
See also: comparative future pacing