Neuro-linguistic Programming Methods
There are several methods used for performing Neuro-linguistic Programming on an individual for obtaining insights into the psyche of the person in order to correct to modify certain patterns of behavior. These techniques are also used for Neuro-linguistic training for individuals who seek to bring about certain positive changes in their lives.
Neuro-linguistic Programming states that our perception of an experience depends not only on the external stimuli, but also on what our senses capture and our mind interprets employing our preset notions, beliefs, assumptions and value system. Thus, our response to the external stimuli or experience is dependent on this perceived image of the world, using the emotions, feelings and thoughts we go through during that event.
Neuro-linguistic Programming states that when we put an experience into words, the words are key indicators of the underlying thoughts and feelings that we experienced during that event. Therefore, by listening, questioning and understanding the language and choice of words used by an individual, we can create a highly structured model of his behavior and response. This model can then be analyzed to eliminate any problems faced by the individual. We can also model the positive or successful aspects of our behavior or those of another person, and reproduce that model and apply on our negative aspects in order to change or improve them.
A successful person exhibits a certain behavior, beliefs and line of thought. If we can model these inherent attributes of the success, and apply them in our day-to-day lives, any common individual can also reach their highest potential and zenith of success. There are several self-help books available that offer these techniques through Neuro-linguistic courses for self-starters.
The concept of map is an important aspect of Neuro-linguistic programming. A map is defined as the perception of an individual pertaining to the external world. As per the Neuro-linguistic courses, our language, body and mind interact with each other and reflect the underlying feelings and emotions. A map that is unrealistic and impoverished is due to undesirable set of beliefs, emotions and thoughts and usually is the cause for the individual’s problems. On the other hand, the map of a successful individual contains the right set of feelings, thoughts and values, which can then translate on to another individual to expect similar kind of results. By altering the individual’s map or internal portrait of the world, a certain behavior or positive attitude can be attained.
Several eclectic techniques can be used to bring about a change in the thinking, learning and communication skills of an individual. Some methods can include hypnosis as well. Some Neuro-linguistic Programming methods have been designed by heavy influence from techniques used in other fields as well.
One of the methods included in Neuro-linguistic training is anchoring. This method relies on the fact that individuals usually form an anchor or make an association between an emotional state of mind or a feeling and a sight, sound, smell or touch. Once an association has been made, every time an individual experiences that particular external stimulus, he will make a connection to the anchor, and remember that same feeling or thought. The unique stimulus is thus a trigger for a particular feeling or emotional state. Using anchoring technique, a therapist trained in Neuro-linguistic courses can deliberately create an anchor for a patient, and then trigger the particular unique stimulus to help the patient access desired emotions or a target state of mind. Anchoring technique is said to have been derived from the family therapy of Virginia Satir and incorporated in Neuro-linguistic programming.
Another method of Neuro-linguistic Programming uses the swish method where a train of thought of an individual is modified such than undesirable behavior can be converted to a desirable one. A visual cue is usually used to get rid of unwanted habits such as smoking, drinking, addiction, over eating etc. The brain is programmed to swish from a negative pattern of thought or a negative image to a positive one. Audible sounds are sometimes added to the visual image to enhance the effect of the method. For example, an individual thinks of a negative aspect that he wants to improve, and then picturize himself to have a positive quality. Every time he comes across the negative image, he will swish it into the positive one, eliminating his fears, addiction or worries.
Reframing Technique within Neuro-linguistic Training
Reframing is another technique included in Neuro-linguistic training. This technique strives to change the individual’s perception of an event and thereby changing the underlying meaning. A change in the meaning of an event will change the usual response of feelings and emotions, and the likely behavior.
The technique of reframing the language helps an individual look at the world with a whole new perspective, which brings about a whole new meaning to his life. The method of reframing is usually used in fairy tales, children’s stories, mythological stories, humor and other ingenious ways of story telling. An example of reframing technique would be that of Pollyanna who would occupy herself in “Glad Game” if she experienced and sadness in life. According to the story, Pollyanna would keep reminding herself of all the nice things she could accomplish and stop worrying about the things she had no control upon. The reframing technique is employed by several other therapies as well. Another manifestation of reframing technique is the six step reframing process, which is based on the idea that although behaviors can be undesirable or unproductive, the actual intention of the individual is usually respectable. This Neuro-linguistic Programming technique tries to identify this underlying intention behind a behavior using a staged process. The therapist can then find out the alternative and desirable behaviors that can fulfill the same intention.
One of the methods included in Neuro-linguistic training is a well formed outcome. This involves framing method where the client is asked to look at the desirable outcome, and then analyze its effect on the world and how feasible it is to achieve. The positive outcome that is identified by the client must be achievable and within the client’s capacity. The outcome must also include any positive effects that an undesirable behavior might have had, and must be applicable to all situations. In the next frame, the positive outcome is analyzed by considering its aftermath from every perspective in the life of the client and that in his relationships.
Importance of Parts Integration
Another technique included in Neuro-linguistic training is parts integration. This technique relies on the notion that our various personal characteristics are always in disagreement with each other. This eternal internal conflict is because of our diverse attitudes and perceptions of the external world. The technique of parts integration essentially tries to integrate the incongruent aspects of our personality by detecting the independent elements of the self and then tries to convert them into a state of harmony. The internal conflict can then be resolved and a state of peace and mental well being can then be achieved. Parts integration can be considered as derivation of the concept of parts from the family therapy. It also shares some relationship with the ego state treatment used in psychoanalysis.
Visual or Kinesthetic Dissociation, also known as VK/Dm is another technique included in Neuro-linguistic courses. As the name suggests, this technique is used to mitigate the undesirable set of emotions or feelings that are related to an event of the past. The past experience is recreated in the mind, and the patient will observe this scene from a distance as a mere bystander. The scene can be played like a motion picture, even in reverse sometimes, where the client tried to remove himself from the being involved in the entire scene. This dissociated state can help the client to eliminate any bad thoughts or feelings, since he is now playing the part of a spectator. The technique derives influence from several psychoanalysis methods such as spatial sorting by Fritz Perls, technique of changing history, or some aspects from Eriksonian technique.
Another method used in Neuro-linguistic courses is the metaphor technique. This technique is heavily influenced from the methods used by Bateson and some aspects from Eriksonian techniques. The technique primarily used the power of metaphors and anecdotes, in addition to the regular figure of speech patterns, in order to connect to the unconscious mind. The technique employs the Neuro-linguistic expertise used to work within the Milton model. The metaphor technique uses allegories to reach the unconscious mind and identify the inherent beliefs, assumptions, thoughts and values behind any undesirable behavior.
Other techniques of the Neuro-linguistic Programming use modeling methods such as meta model and Milton model. Another concept of Neuro-linguistic Programming is use of representational systems, which capture the experience and process it using our sensory functions. This representation of the experience can then be accessed through similar images, sounds or voices, which unleash the internal feelings and emotions present at the unconscious level. Sub modalities are the finer points of the visual, audio or other sensory information stored by the representational systems. These can be the actual brightness, volume, texture or direction of the sensory information captured.