In article <1992Sep02.012615.12587@crash> firstname.lastname@example.org
(John Wiley) writes:
>Lee Lady writes:
>>I did learn two extremely simple little techniques.
>Yes, yes... Please tell us what they were. I realize these were things
>you use ``on yourself,'' but perhaps they'd be of interest to all of us?
The other little technique from my master practitioner training this summer which has been very valuable to me personally is the Robert Dilts version of the belief change pattern. I knew the traditional technique for changing beliefs using visualization (although I suppose that in principle one ought to be able to do it in the auditory or kinesthetic systems) and had been taken through it at least once. But it hadn't seemed to have much real impact on me. I think this was partly because of my usual difficulty in visualizing and partly for another reason that I'll mention below.
A ``belief'' for these purposes is a generalization about the world or (preferrably) about oneself. The beliefs that are especially suitable are the ones where a person says ``I know it's not true, but I still believe it.'' (A fascinating statement!)
Tim Hallbom and Suzi Smith (``Tim & Suzi'') taught us the Dilts pattern, which involves laying out pieces of paper in a circle on the floor and standing on them. They talked about going through the pattern themselves in airport terminals where it's easy to find open space. However even a small living room is quite large enough.
The sketchy description I will give of the process may or may not be adequate for you to use it on yourself or someone else. I'm leaving out a lot of the fine points and some of those fine points are important.
The labels on the pieces of paper on the floor are: 1) Current Belief (the one you want to change); 2) Open to Doubt; 3) Museum of Old Beliefs 4) New Belief; 5) Open to Believing; 6) Sacred Place. In addition, there should probably be a ``meta-position'' between 3) and 4) and I guess between 2) and 3). The meta-positions are simply spots where you pause to remember what's happened so far before you go on.
Start by identifying the belief you want to change and the one you want to replace it with. Think about the original belief and stand in position 1. Then step away and think about something which you are uncertain about, which you are willing to doubt. (For instance, I'm uncertain about whether I'll take some more NLP training next summer or not.) Then step on position 2 for a moment, taking time to fully experience what it's like to be uncertain. Imagine taking the belief you want to change into position 2 with you.
Step away again, take a moment to think about your belief again (it seems like maybe we moved back to position 1 for a moment at this point), and then stand next to position 3. Remember something you used to believe but very definitely don't believe now. (``I used to believe that I could eat as much as I want to and would never get fat.'') Then step onto the piece of paper at position 3, taking your undesired belief into position 3 and taking time to fully experience what it's like to no longer believe something that you used to believe. Once again step away. This time imagine leaving your present undesired belief in position 3 (``the Museum of Old Beliefs''). Take a moment to assess the process so far. Know that in the steps that follow you will no longer be carrying your old belief with you.
As you continue, position 4 is where you think about the new belief that you want to replace the undesired one. At position 5 you recall something which you are open to believing even though you're not really sure of it. (``I'm open to believing that some day I'll meet a woman who will make me want to get married again.'') And before stepping into position 6 you think of one of your firmest, most sacred convictions. (``I will never again accept a job that doesn't let me feel good about myself when I go home every day.'') Now think of the new belief you are installing with that same conviction.
After going around the circle once, repeat a second time.
At each of the positions of the circle, it's important to really experience the state that goes with that position. I think that one of the reasons why I didn't have much success when I went through the traditional submodalities belief pattern (aside from my usual problems with visualization techniques) is that when the practitioner asked me, for instance, ``Think of something you're doubtful about,'' I couldn't think of a damn thing. (Which is what usually happens with me when I'm an NLP client.) So he suggested ``How about whether it's going to rain this afternoon or not. Are you doubtful about that?'' This might be fine for a lot of people, but it's better to choose something that has real significance for you. Something that will really let you get into the experience of being in doubt.
Last summer Tim & Suzi explained the technique before lunch and we actually went through the exercise after lunch, so during lunch I had plenty of time to come up with a significant example for each step of the exercise.
It's important to note that the idea of the process is to replace an unwanted belief by a belief the subject would like to have. A lot of traditional approaches to changework -- most notably behavioral techniques -- think in terms of extinction of a behavior. But in NLP one of the basic rules is that the way to get rid of an undesirable behavior (or belief or emotional pattern or whatever) is to replace it by one which will be more attractive to the subject.
(Psychologists say things like ``It takes months to unlearn a habit.'' This is bullshit, if you replace the habit by a more desirable behavior. If you find a better way to drive to work, how many times does it take before you stop automatically turning down the old street? Not many!)
Tim & Suzi said it this way: ``You can't just remove an old belief, because you create a vacuum and something new will come rushing in to fill up that space.'' When you think of it, this statement represents a rather interesting subjective representation of the mental world. There's a suggestion that one's thoughts, beliefs (an memories) have a fluid quality, and that they are under some sort of pressure. (Of course one shouldn't make too much of one metaphor.)
When Robert McDonald arrived to teach the next segment of our training, he mentioned that he had asked one of the other trainers to take him through the pattern for a particular belief he wanted to change. Apparently some students expressed surprise that he, an NLP trainer, would still have problems he felt the need to work on. But for me the more surprising thing was that he still needed someone else to take him through the pattern. Or that Tim & Suzi still feel the need to lay down pieces of paper in airports.
Like most of the NLP techniques, it really helps to have an experienced person take you throught the pattern the first time so that you really get the idea of it. (Watching it on videotape is the second best alternative.) But it seems to me that once you've got the basic idea, it should be an easy process to do for yourself without any help.
In fact, it seems that for me, now that I've been taken through the pattern, walking around the circle is not longer necessary. All I need to do to change a belief is just to take myself through the steps mentally. I need to remember what each step feels like. (People who are more visual or auditory will undoubtedly find somewhat different things that work for them.)
I was in San Francisco after the training and had dinner with a friend of mine who is a hypnotherapist and sex surrogate. And she said to me, ``You know, Lee, you have this belief that blah blah blah.'' And the next day I thought about that she was right. And it occurred to me that it was stupid to go on having a belief like that when I'd just learned how to change beliefs. So I took myself through the pattern mentally right then (I was riding the bus at the time) and it worked perfectly.
It seems to me that this is true of a lot of the NLP techniques. Once you realize that a certain type of change is possible, you don't need the technique any more. If I need to have a certain resource state -- say confidence -- in a given context, all I have to remember is that my body knows how to feel confidence and the way to get that feeling is to remember a time when I was really confident and remember what that feeling is like. Then I just need to hang onto that feeling and imagine being in the problem context.
When we went through the technique this summer to change criteria [values], I was really annoyed with my partner in the exercise because he just said it was stupid and refused to do it. He said, ''If you want to change your criteria just do it; you don't need any technique.'' But afterwards, I decided that he was right. The really important part of the exercise is the realization that my criteria are not an ``environmental variable.'' Once I accept the possibility that I can change them, it's not that hard to figure out how to do it.