In article <firstname.lastname@example.org> email@example.com (Stephen Robbins) writes:
It's not always quite that clear cut. But certainly in the NLP model, an outcome is only well-formed if it can be ``initiated and maintained by the subject.'' In other words, therapy or changework cannot help change things that are not under the subject's control (``environmental variables''). On the other hand, the objective of therapy is often to move things from the category of environmental variables to that of choice variables (or decision variables) in the client's model of the world.
For instance, a lot of people consider their responses to certain stimuli (such as being whistled at or hearing people criticize motorcycle riders) as being an environmental variable, a given. Such a client believes that their problem can only be solved when the world changes and since they have no way of causing the world to change, they go through life as victims, complaining. This is the structure of how to be a loser.
I was struck by this in hearing a woman's comments on some of the sexist attitudes she encountered among her male business colleagues: ``It really made me uncomfortable.'' Her words, and especially her tone of voice, really made it clear that she has a belief that it is the world's responsibility to see that she is comfortable. This is a loser's attitude, not because the woman was unreasonable (she was right --- what she was dealing with was unfair) but because she was putting her attention on the things which she (in this particular case) had no control over rather than on her own responses, which she was able to learn to control.
One sees this very commonly in couple therapy: A woman complains ``When my husband comes home from work, he just wants to sit and watch the news on television and have a beer and he doesn't want to listen to any of my problems, and it makes me feel very rejected.'' To her, feeling rejected because of her husband's behavior is a given, an environmental variable.
In NLP terms, it is a ``cause-effect Meta-model Violation'' to say that other people or other external factors cause one to feel a particular way.
Part of the job of an NLP therapist is to challenge that assumption, to show the client that it is possible to find ways of learning new responses to a problem stimulus.
HOWEVER, one can get carried away with the NLP point of view if one doesn't temper it with some common sense.
For instance, a woman says ``My boss stops by my desk at work all the time and fondles my breasts.'' Or a wife complains, ``My husband stabbed me with a kitchen knife. Last week he hit me with a hammer.''
In cases like these, a therapist would be a fool to say ``Let me teach you to have a more positive response to his behavior.'' In these cases, one needs to realize that the external situation is not an environmental variable: the secretary can be assertive in telling her boss to leave her alone or can file a sexual harrassment suit or can find another job. The wife can force her husband to get counselling and can get legal assistance or can leave. These may not necessarily be easy solutions, and NLP may not be much help in finding them, but nonetheless this is the only sensible approach.
>For example: start contrasting whistling with behaviors she DOESN'T
>find offensive. ``Does people coughing offend you?'' ``No.'' ... then I
>lead into a discussion of how coughing is different from whistling,
>and steer the discussion to the realm of how it's HER REACTION that
>is creating the difference.
Well, this is a standard NLP approach and the one I was trying to use with the woman who didn't like people complaining about motorcycle riders (see the article beginning this thread). But to suggest interventions in the abstract, without knowing the particular client, is really contrary to the spirit of NLP, at least as I was taught it.
One of the things that occurs to me is that the (hypothetical?) client in this particular case may attach a certain meaning to being whistled at and so one might want to start by changing the ``complex equivalence'' they attach to this experience. In other words, I would ask the client ``What does it mean to you when men whistle at you?'' If she answers, ``It means they think I'm a slut,'' then I would want to change that before I move on to Stever's approach.
Also, I would want to ask ``What resources would you need in order to feel okay when men whistle at you?'' Probably the reframing suggested in the previous paragraph would be necessary before the client could provide a useful answer to this question, but I would be looking for answers such as ``A feeling of personal power'' or ``Knowing that I am safe'' or ``A belief that I am a worthwhile person even when men see me only as a sex object.''
Then I would ask, ``What are contexts in your life in which you already have that resource?'' Then I would find a way of helping the client transfer the needed resource into the problem context.
There was a bit more to the question originally asked, though. To quote from the earlier article:
In article <KUCERA.94Sep13145215@rad.lhc> firstname.lastname@example.org
(Richard Kucera) writes:
>That said, here is my similar situation with appropriate substitutions:
>My partner was a woman incest survivor and she said it bugged her
>when people whistled at her. But I wasn't having much luck ....
To me, there's the suggestion here of a cause-effect belief to the effect that being an incest survivor causes a woman to be incapable of learning to be comfortable when people whistle at her. (``You shouldn't expect very much of me --- I'm an incest survivor, after all.'') To me, changing this belief would be much more important than dealing with the whistling. (And perhaps one needs to change this belief in the therapist before there is much hope that this therapist can offer this client much real constructive help.)
I would also want to know what other issues the client has which, in her model of the world, are connected with being an incest survivor. The presenting problem --- being whistled at by people --- might be one that she and I would agree to be the least of our priorities.
Trying to understanding learning by understanding schooling is rather like trying to understand sexuality by studying bordellos. -- Mary Catherine Bateson, Peripheral Visions
Oops! I left out the most important part, without which none of the rest of what I suggested is likely to work.
But first, let me emphasize again that suggesting hypothetical interventions for hypothetical clients can be a good way of explaining some of the ideas of NLP, but it's pretty much inherent in NLP that what one does with an actual client will often not follow pre-conceived notions but will depend on that particular client.
In article <Cw5ECz.EGB@news.Hawaii.Edu> (Lee Lady) writes:
>In article <email@example.com> firstname.lastname@example.org
> (Stephen Robbins) writes: <snip>
>>For example: start contrasting whistling with behaviors she DOESN'T
>>find offensive. ``Does people coughing offend you?'' ``No.'' ... then I
>>lead into a discussion of how coughing is different from whistling,
>>and steer the discussion to the realm of how it's HER REACTION that
>>is creating the difference.
>One of the things that occurs to me is that the (hypothetical?) client in
>this particular case may attach a certain meaning to being whistled at
>and so one might want to start by changing the ``complex equivalence'' they
>attach to this experience. In other words, I would ask the client ``What
>does it mean to you when men whistle at you?'' If she answers, ``It means
>they think I'm a slut,'' then I would want to change that before I move on
>to Stever's approach.
>Also, I would want to ask ``What resources would you need in order to feel
>okay when men whistle at you?'' Probably the reframing suggested in the
Actually, if one starts right off doing what Stever suggested and what I suggested, one is unlikely to get anywhere.
You have to start by finding the client right. This woman comes in thinking in terms of a blame frame: ``It's these people's fault, they shouldn't be whistling at me.'' If I immediately start trying to teach her how to change her response to the whistling, she is going to take that to mean that I consider her to blame and I will get lots of ``resistance.'' (``Why should I have to be the one to change? They're the ones that ought to stop whistling.'')
So it's essential that I start out by finding her right: namely, I agree that yes, I do see how being whistled at would be very difficult for her and furthermore it's very unfair that people who whistle at her either don't realize that or just don't care. I might even explore with her some of the hypothetical motives of people who whistle.
Only then, having established that blame is not an issue in contention between us, would I ask, ``Who do you want to be in control in this situation? Right now, the people who whistle at you are in control, because you can't make them stop. Do you want to keep things that way, or would you like to learn some ways of not paying any attention to their whistling so that you can be the one who controls how you feel?''
At that point, I would hope that she would be receptive to the sort of interventions that Stever and I have suggested.
Trying to understand learning by understanding schooling is rather like trying to understand sexuality by studying bordellos. -- Mary Catherine Bateson, Peripheral Visions