Self Concept is something that is thought about in a great number of ways.  There are thousands of resources all over the internet all referencing different ways of influencing one's concept of themselves.  Whether it's a person's sense of their social self, spiritual self, sense of self reliance, etc... all these qualities are made of the same stuff.

We form our sense of self based on the internal representations that we hold inside our minds.  Think about it... if you were to think of your self image... what kind of picture would you see in your mind?  Is it a big  picture?  A small one?  Do you see yourself as if you are watching someone in a movie or do you see it through your own eyes?  There are so many different distinctions such as the ones described above the comprise the 'stuff' of your self concept.

The difference between a useful self concept and an unuseful on is really the difference between how one codes the differences between the two.  To influence change at the level of self concept is fairly simple to do so long as you have an effect model for how to do so.

Transforming Your Self by Steve Andreas is the culmination of a multi-year modeling project in which Steve set out to model the structure of self concept.

What I can say from Steve's work is that an amazing job!

If you ever said to yourself something to the effect of... that is just not something I can imagine myself doing... or that is just not who I am... if it's useful... and you really want to... by the time you are done reading this book you will be able to...

After reading this book and engaging in the thought experiments that Steve outlines you will be able not to only shift your self concept in a useful way but you will be able to assist others in doing the same.
  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.

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.

The life blood of the field of NLP is Modeling.  Though there does not seem to be very much of this taking place.  I'm guilty of this sin as well.  To my knowledge are there only a few well known trainers that teach the skill in depth.  There is a distinction that is drawn in the field between NLP Modeling and Analytical Modeling

With the exception of John Grinder all of the well known  trainers in NLP teach Analytical Modeling they include Steve Andreas, Robert Dilts, David Gordon and Jonathan Altfeld.  Each Modeling strategy has it's strengths and it's weakness and naturally some people are going to be better modelers with certain strategies than others. 

Steve Andreas' style of modeling from my estimation seems to make great use of Contrastive Analysis he has written articles on Modeling and NLP Modeling which are on his website.

Robert Dilts has written an entire book on Modeling in which he stress people focus on features and pattern detection.  A feature would be something like what metaprograms are being used, what body movements, submodalities, language patterns, etc... once features have been identified the modelers is to use Mill's methods in order to discern patterns.

David Gordon utilizes his experiential array in which all the features that one would search for are already given in a single easy to use format.  They are simple to compare and contrast from multiple patterns in order to create their resultant model.

Jonathan Altfeld who came to the field of NLP from the field of Artificial Intelligence.  He was able to map over some distinctions from his work in Knowledge Engineering along with some of Robert Dilts work in Sleight of Mouth in order to create a very interesting and useful method for Modeling people's thinking processes.  It's a very interesting and useful method of modeling indeed.

Grinder's method which is by far my favorite from what I can tell or at least what I have attempted to do when I've worked to model people.  What you do is identify your model.  Have them engage in their competency that you are there to model as they do that you are to simply remain open and to absorb what they are doing until the point where you build up intuitions about what they are doing. 

You then attempt to replicate what they are doing without any judgment other than did you replicate similar results in a similar context.  Once you have done this you then identify an intuition without judgment once again eliminate it from your performance to see if it makes a difference if it does add it again and notice what occurs to make sure it is in deed essential to the process. 

You continue through this subtraction process until you have cycled through all the pattern necessary in order to reproduce the models competence.  Final step is coding of the patterning into a model.

Modeling is really an exciting skill.  In my opinion the reason it isn't done more is that requires time and effort to accomplish.  It's not always a project that can be completed in a short period of time.  But it's worth it.

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