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.
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.

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!

All throughout life people have experiences that they go through that changes the course of their lives or at the very least influences them greatly.  I can think about experiences that I had during my youth that shaped my interest to enter the field of personal development.  Some people the type of careers they grow to take on or the type hobbies that they become avid fans of can all be traced back to one magical moment.  From there when the seeds of that experience have been planted a person will tend to move through the world gathering more experiences and organizing them in ways that fit within the framework of the original experience.  Perhaps they go to the doctor and they do something wonderful to help them.  From that point on a person can decide that they want to do they same type of thing for other people that doctor did for them.

A person can also go through an experience that seems to have a ripple effect that affects their lives in a negative way.   The experience of a trauma would be an example of this.  Say a person was bitten by a dog or beaten by a loved one and that experience left a very distinct impression on the person involved.  In many cases this situation will serve as a self organizing attractor for the person’s perception to seek out other experiences to match their understanding of the world.  In the example of a person that was bitten by a dog.  The next time in their life that they might come across another dog they could be terrified and because of that earlier trauma they are unconsciously searching for behaviors that other dogs might be manifesting in order to validate their current implicit understanding of that animal.  A woman that is beaten by men can consciously know that not all men are like that however at an unconscious level because of that previous experience they can’t help but to be scared.

The Decision Destroyer is a pattern created by Co-Founder of NLP, Richard Bandler and is based on the case study by Milton H. Erickson, MD.  You can find more information about the case in the book, ‘The February Man’.  Essentially what Erickson does in this case study is to great a series of what he would sometimes referred to as ‘positive traumas’ and place them before a ‘negative trauma’ so that by virtue of having that previous experience when the person in their mind’s re-experienced the negative trauma that it no longer affected in the same way.  Recently when I taught this pattern at a study group that I was hosting I was able to assist the demonstration subject with being able to overcome a fear of something that she had been avoiding for over a month quickly and easily.

This pattern is a beautifully elegant and simple means of creating resource experiences for people so as to allow them to overcome previously limiting experiences.  Below is a clip of a demonstration by Steve Andreas a long time developer in the field of NLP.  In this clip he is working with a woman that no experience working with the pattern.  He demonstrates how easily it is assist someone in making a change using this pattern.  For a copy of the DVD please check his website.

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.

 I’ve been working in the field of NLP and Hypnosis some time now.  And I’ve come across the phenomena of arm catalepsy in my experience it’s really only good for four things initiating a trance, deepening it, reinitiating and acting as some sort of symbolic representation to be defined by the hypnotist and the client.  I’ve practiced attaining this particular phenomena on a great deal of people and this has only solidified my understanding that every hypnotic induction is one of cooperation.  I’ve walked up on numerous people at the bars, pubs, restaurants, casinos, and grocery stores of Las Vegas and have tested attaining Arm Catalepsy with them. 

Typically I will say something such as, “ I want you to extend your hand and then to pull it away and at the same time but not before after that I want you to just let it float up into the air and just continue to hold it there… and really just continue to hold it there.”  Most of the time without much fuss full rigidity of the arm can be attained.  I’ve found though that through the years the better you get at attaining arm catalepsy with clients the better you get at handshake interrupts because they are pretty much the same thing.  A good handshake can give a person a great deal of information about how much rapport they have with a client.  Do they squeeze your hand do they let go, do they thrust forward or pull back.  Typically when working with clients I’m looking for an ambiguity of movement when shaking their hand.

The other day I was doing a trance induction on a friend (when people think you’re a hypnotist there is always a line to be hypnotized).  To me experiences such as these gives a person an opportunity to practice skills that they don't always get to try out.  It’s been a long time since I’ve induced a ‘formal trance’.  So for fun I thought I would start with hand levitation just to see what would happen.  I let them decide which hand they wanted to allow defy gravity and to allow to float seamlessly into the air.

They chose their right hand and we sat there and watched with amazement at how their hand was lifting without any effort on their part.  I’m always amazed when I watch a good hand levitation it always just seems so magical to me.  Now I’ve seen many hypnotists elicit arm catalepsy from clients but I have never seen them make anything more than an arbitrary use of this phenomena.  My thinking when ever eliciting something from someone is how many different ways can I use this.  I know that I don’t think of every way to use it but it at least gives me some different options that I wasn’t thinking about before.

As I sat there watching their hand levitate I began to think about instances and scenarios in my own life where I was fairly stiff and rigid in my thinking or in my responses to a particular situation.  I began to think of this arm catalepsy as an example of rigid thinking or as a rigid response to a particular situation.  I told my friend a story about how in certain situations in one’s life they can have rigid ways of thinking or relating to a particular situation and that they can feel the great deal of tension in the same way that they can feel it in their arm.  I further went on to elaborate as to how that when someone tenses themselves in too rigid of a matter that they can begin to feel fatigue.

I further went on to explain to him that sometimes the best thing to do is to relax one’s arm and to notice the type of comfort and relaxation that they can experience in that situation.  I continued to explain to him about how certain things in life can be reflections of other things and that people can use learnings that they acquire from one situation to another in the most useful way to themselves.  Then I told them to go ahead and to head out of trance while he made a full wealth of the recollections of all the implications of my statements and that I was sure that he would understand what I was referring to.

I’m noticing that as I continue to develop my own style of working with people that there are a lot of things that I used to do that I’m failing to do any longer.  In the past I was very patterns driven.  Everything I did was within pre-ordained NLP patterning.  When I was working with people I was constantly looking to see what patterns I could fit them into.  Are they a person that I can run a change personal history pattern on?  Maybe reimprinting?  They look like parts integration person to me.  Stuff like that.  That was me in the beginning.

As I progressed in my experience I was constantly very outcome orientated.  Meaning everything I did was for a specific purpose.  Most of the time I was constantly looking to do something very specific when working with myself or a client.  Am I changing a belief here?  Am I trying to integrate some anchors?  What am I attempting to do?  That was my thinking.

Now, I’m progressing through much trial and error to exploration.  Producing specific results is not something that drives me in my work anymore.  Yes, can I and will I when working with someone produce a result, absolutely.  And at the same time you can only do something the same way so many times without variation.  The field of NLP and Hypnosis as robust as they might be and with as many different styles and personalities is only so big.

At some point in order to keep growing one’s skills they have to put themselves into a position where they are exploring phenomena and taking note of what occurs as they do.  That’s where they are going to continue to build their skill.  Playing with things like Amnesia and how many different ways can a person can use it.  How many different ways does it manifest?  What can you get people to forget and in what ways?  How specifically can you get someone to forget one aspect of one thing?  As well as how in general can you get them to forget something as well?  And what type of mixes of in between can you create as well?

I’ve studied a lot of work of Milton Erickson the one thing that really impresses me about him.  His collected papers those aren’t about his successes they are about his experiments and his explorations during his work.  There were a lot of things that occurred in his work that he had no idea would occur however he did have some sort of idea that something would occur.

And ultimately I think that is where people are going to build their skill.  Through exploration and experimentation.  As much as people love to go to courses and purchase new CDs and DVDs and things of that nature your real growth in your skills will not be from those things.  It will be from those times that you were messing around to see what you could do only to find out that you did something that you would never have thought of.  I think we need more of that in general.

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