I've been studying the field of psychology and personal development for over a decade.  My experience is that when many get involved they do so under many preconceived notions.  It was through a lot of trial and error, success and failure, that I finally learned what was what and what is wrong when it comes to working with people.

One of the things that I decided to do was to put on paper some of the things that I wish I would have known going in when I first decided to study human behavior and creating change.  This book is a series of metaphors that each highlight a theme that I have discovered as being important when acting as an Agent of Change.
For years I have heard of Dave Dobson referred to as another Milton Erickson.  Though I had never seen footage of him in action.  Enclosed here is a youtube clip of him giving an interview about his work that he refers to as Other Than Conscious Communication. 

What’s so interesting about Guru’s is that often that people project on to them favorable attributes while simultaneously overlooking the unfavorable ones.  The following clip is an interesting demonstration by Jorgen Rasmussen.

Jorgen in 2008 published a book called, ‘Provocative Hypnosis’ for some people his approach is too wild to ever consider though regardless of how one might feel about his approach he offer two things that I find valuable 1.) he has a very different perspective on change work 2.) he not above trying anything out once if it means results for the client.  The guy is honest and tells you what he thinks whether you agree with him or not.

Who's your guru? Tony Robbins, Richard Bandler Et Al? from Wayne Marsh on Vimeo.

  Just the other day I was teaching the forgiveness pattern (as modeled by Steve and Connirae Andreas) to a group of students and what was normally a pattern that I pull off seamlessly was something that seemed not to go well from almost the start.  I had explained the concept of submodalities and had taken the group through a couple exercises designed to give them some familiarity with the model.  At this point in time everything was going good.  Everybody was able to notice a difference in their experiences as they practiced adjusting submodalities.  I then began to ask for demonstration subject after explaining the forgiveness pattern so that the students could see it in action.

The demonstration subject that volunteered was someone I had worked with in the past.  We had some difficulty last time we worked together but still managed to pull off the pattern still nonetheless so I figured no problem.  I began the demonstration with asking them to think about a person that they were angry/still resentful about but whom they would like to forgive.  After that I asked them to identify someone that they had forgiven sometime in their past.  I then proceeded to run a contrastive analysis of submodality distinctions.  With the exception of location in the visual modality apparently every distinction was the same between the person they resented and the person they had forgiven.

When it came to auditory distinctions there were a few differences in submodalities but nothing that made any significant difference in his experience.  The interesting thing about when I was running the contrastive analysis throughout the demonstration when I was asking the subject to compare the differences between the two experiences was that they kept responding that they were the same.  It didn’t matter for the most part what the distinction was they kept answer that they were the same.  Part of me wondered if they were even looking for differences.

Eventually I exhausted all of the visual and auditory distinctions that I could think of while only having identified two differences.  By this point I was wondering if I was eliciting the distinctions incorrectly or something.  I had made it to the kinesthetic modality.  They were able to distinguish between only a few submodality differences there.  Anger was experienced as a warm body sensation on one side of their body and forgiveness was experienced as a cool body sensation on the other side.  When I asked them to move over the sensations from the side of the body that was anger to the forgiveness side just to see what would happen they said that their anger just more intense almost like rage.  This was truly an interesting demonstration indeed.

After telling them to go ahead and allowing the sensations to go back to the way they were.  Based on previous experience with this person I already knew that visual location of images was extremely effective submodality distinction for them.  So I cycled back into their visual submodality distinctions and had them shift the location of the visual representation of anger into forgiveness.  The subject reported immediate relief.  I had them move the image back to where it originally was in their experience.  I then proceeded to an ecology question.  I asked him if he had any objections to feeling forgiveness for the person in question.  To that response I received vague generalizations about their moral code and how the other objections they were experiencing had to do with their ego and super ego.

These types of objections prove to be interesting challenges because they are so vague that they have to be broken down into something meaningful.  At least to me they do because based on their responses I had no clue what they were talking about.  I found that the more specific I made them get the more resistance I ran into when attempting to reframe their objections.  This was an interesting turn of events for me because this entire time I was suppose to be giving a demonstration on the ease at which one can reach forgiveness using this pattern.  Part of me thought that given the turn of events that I had thoroughly confused everyone in the group.

By this time I had figured that any educational value of what I was teaching was lost and in good conscience I did not feel justified in opening up the proverbial can of worms with this person and then ending the demonstration.  Plus I thought that might set a bad example for the group.  So I made a judgment call and dropped the pattern in question and proceeded to engage in alternative information gathering and interventions in order to assist the subject.  What ended up working was taking them through 1st, 2nd and 3rd position with regard to the situation in question.

So for example I would have from 1st position take inventory of what resources that he was lacking in the situation in question and then add them.  I would then have him check to see if that was enough to resolve the situation to his satisfaction.  It wasn’t so I had him keep adding resources until there was a point of diminishing returns.  From that point I had him jump into 2nd position (the other person’s perspective) to detect what resources that they might be deficient.  I then had him add resources to that person’s experience.  From there I had him jump back and forth from 1st to 2nd position and vice versa adding resources to each perceptual position until the point where they felt that both individuals had the resources that they needed. 

Towards the end of this new exercise I had them just to 3rd position (observer perspective) where they would then add any resources that they felt both individuals in the situation might have been lacking.  I finished off the exercise by having them just from 1st to 2nd to 3rd position and detecting whether or not anybody from any of those perspectives needed any resources added to their experience.  I then had them clear their mind and imagine they were talking to the person in question and to notice their response.  They stated that they felt resourceful and were able to forgive them.  Given all the trouble I had to deal with during this demonstration I wanted to make certain that there wasn’t anything else that needed to be done.

So I had them go into multiple past experiences and to notice what they noticed.  Every time without fail they said that they felt resourceful in a way that they didn’t think was possible.  I then had them think of multiple times in the future one after the other in which the person might do something that in the past would send them into a rage.  They reported back that they felt calm and relaxed.  I then future paced them through as many different scenarios as I could think of.  I told them to go back into their experience and to really do their best to feel horrible.

 I implored them to please do everything in their power to make that piece of work that we had just done fail.  But alas to no avail they could only succeed in feeling good.  This situation reminded me of a good lesson.  When what you are doing isn’t working then do something else.  So in a way I guess I’m pretty thankful that the demonstration that I did failed.  I think this is why I encourage so many people to fail as often as they can.  I learn a lot more from my failures than my successes.

I met a woman the other day at a networking event, an older woman.  I think she may have been nice I don’t really know I really couldn’t get past the front she was throwing up.  Met and introduced myself told her what I do to that she replied that she helps teach people to be millionaires and billionaires.  She further went on to say what she does is cool and that she loves it.  She said that she likes to work with people that want to live in palaces and have beach homes.  Her preference is not to work with people that are complacent with just living in a house in the suburbs.  She was looking for people that just want to retire.

I told her that I would love to have a house in the suburbs and as far as retirement goes what would I do with all that free time.  I’d rather spend my time seeing clients and doing things I enjoy and that furthermore I hope to see clients for as long as I possibly can.  I asked her if there was any area of her life that she would like better.  To that she replied, ‘every area of my life is awesome, wonderful.’  First of all when I hear that I assume the other person is lying.  I mean they may be telling the truth but most of the time not.  I can think of at least one area of my life or at the very least an aspect of my experience that I would love to improve.  For example sometimes walking to the mailbox is kind of boring.  I would love to spice that up a bit.

That notwithstanding she could have been telling the truth and I would have believed her if it weren’t for the fact that she was so incongruent when she responded to the question that I asked.  When she replied to me I noticed immediately a cracking in her voice where there wasn’t one before.  Out of my peripheral I noticed her body began to shift and wobble in the same way people do when they aren’t really certain about what they are saying.  From there she stopped looking at me directly whereas a second ago she was.  To me something was not right about our interaction.  I prodded her more about what she does and how it makes her feel.  Her answers were, ‘I feel wonderful.  Amazing.’  She said the organization that she was working for taught her the power of her thoughts and how they control her reality.  And to that I asked her, ‘What specifically have they taught you?  What do you know how to do now that you didn’t before?’

Her response to me was more about how wonderful her life was and how amazing she felt.  But her words didn’t match what her non-verbals were saying.  She was talking about feeling amazing when clearly she was in distress.  It was very sad to see someone so incongruent about how they were feeling.  I actually felt really bad for her.  To me it’s heart breaking to see people that their only crime is wanting to improve their lives but they get sucked in by the brainwashers that work in the field of self help.  They tell people about all the types of beliefs that they should have about themselves.  They give them all kinds of clichés and slogans to rattle off.  They convince them to reject how they currently feel in reality and to replace it with nonsense about how they should feel.  Heart breaking.

What’s even worse though is that deep down these people have to know what they are doing isn’t working.  Yet they persist ever vigilant.  I ask myself, ‘Are these people incredibly resilient and have amazing perseverance or are they just plain stupid?’  I’m going to have to reflect on this question more before I make up my mind.  No matter what you do if deep down you know it’s not creating for you the results you want let alone deserve.  There is no shame in telling yourself that the emperor has no clothes.

Throughout life we develop and shed thousands of beliefs.  Most of the time people do this in a haphazard way.  Of the beliefs that we do acquire for the most part they serve us.  However there are beliefs that we do pick up that in possibly one or more contexts they do not serve us.  NLP offers individuals various step by step processes by which they may take themselves/others through in order to assist them in detecting and changing beliefs that they may have about themselves or anything else for that matter from something that may limit them in some way into an empowering resource in their lives.

Included in the clip below is a demonstration by NLP Trainer Terry Elston of a Submodality Pattern that was developed by Co-Founder of NLP Richard Bandler that allows a person to change their beliefs quickly and easily.  Keep in mind while watching this demonstration that this is only one of many methods that one may employ in order to accomplish this change.  Enjoy!

Milton Erickson used to use behavioral metaphors as a means of priming clients for change.  One example that I can think of is in a book by Jeffrey Zeig during a teaching seminar Erickson pulled out a pencil with a little head on it with long purple hair and he held it between his hands.  He said to the group people come to me looking like this and then they leave looking like this (as he began to rub his hands together and the head began spinning in circles).

Robert Dilts or John Grinder I can’t remember which one of the two said it but one of them said that when they went to visit Erickson that he had a topsy tervy book.  It was a book that you could look at holding it one way and it looked one way and then when you flipped it upside down the image would shift and he would have people look at this book as he talk of how things sometimes look one way and other times shift in perspective.

One time when priming someone to do go into a trance as part of an induction Erickson asked a client to take a paper and a pen and to write their name.  So they did it.  He then asked them to write their name backwards.  So they after some effort did that too.  He then asked them to write it upside down. They did that.  He then had them do the all the same tasks with their opposite hand.  All those tasks were about preparing the client to do something different.

This is a common pattern throughout Erickson’s work.  To use behavioral actions as behavioral metaphors for what he is priming his clients to do.  Danie Beaulieu is an interesting woman that I had the opportunity to meet at Steve Andreas’ AMT 2010.  She does impact therapy so she is not really a NLP’er however she is one of the most elegant people that I have ever come across at creating these types of behavioral metaphors when working with clients.  I would recommend everyone look closely at her work and the work of Erickson further to see what gems they can gleam.

Today I did a hypnotic induction with a member of a study group that I’m looking to grow.  The gist of the induction was that every time the subject would breathe out I would utter a single word.  On one exhale I would say the word, ‘Relax’ and then I would on the next breath say, ‘Deeper’.  I alternated back and forth between these two phrases as a means of demonstrating how easily a person may induce an altered state of consciousness.  The actual induction itself only took a mere minutes maybe at most four and was not more complex that alternating between those two words and timing them with the person’s breathing.

I know when I first started studying Hypnosis that I thought inducing altered states was something that required great skill.  In fact I remember having an incredible about of anxiety over whether or not I would be able to actually pull of the task or not.  Pacing someone’s breathing is something that is commonly taught as a means of teaching rapport.  In my experiences I have never been able pull off using pacing of breathing patterns with my rate of speed in dialogue during normal conversation in order to build rapport.  However in the context of inducing a ‘trance state’ I’ve been able to accomplish this task many times before.

It all seems to come down to context.  Some things are permissible in one place are not in others.  The ease with which a person can induce an altered state seems to rely as much on what a person is doing to elicit it as it does where and when they are attempting to accomplish this task.  Something that is extremely effective in one area can be utterly useless in another.

Tony Robbins in my opinion is the Bruce Lee of NLP.  What I mean by that is that just as Bruce Lee didn't create the Martial Arts of Kung Fu for that matter he did do a lot to introduce them to the general public.  Tony has done much to fill this role.  The entire personal development industry, personal coaching, etc... would not be what it currently is without his influence for better or for worse. 

It was from reading his first book, Unlimited Power that I first got into studying NLP.  Sure I had heard of Hypnosis before but I had never heard of individuals such as Milton Erickson.  So with that in mind I credit him with much.  I will say this though the Tony Robbins of the 1980's and 1990's I never really much cared for.  The Tony of present day... I like him a lot.  He just seems more real to me.  That's just my preference.

Just real quick before I end this post I would like to draw your attention to Tony's use of language for state elicitation in this clip.


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