In article <1994May26.firstname.lastname@example.org> email@example.com
(Al Black) writes:
> ... From what I've
>read (not much and dated) NLP used in a clinical treatment is just one
>application of a set of broad propositions about human
>behaviour/thought. (Lee, Andrew, or Stever correct me if I'm wrong...
I think there are lots of key ideas in NLP that NLPers have never really thought through systematically and that academic psychologists are going to have to identify for themselves. One of these, in my opinion, is the key role that the concept of self plays in human psychology. This is something that intigues me, because from any rational point of view it seems that there is no such entity as a Self. And yet over and over again in NLP one sees that the concept of self plays a really key role in people's behavior, thoughts, and feelings.
The thing is, a human being experiences himself as both a subject and an object in his world. NLP talks about association/dissociation (using the terms a little differently than their standard usage in clinical psychology). To say that one ``associates into'' a (remembered or imagined) experience is to say that one is the subject in the experience, one sees (and hears and feels) it from the first person point of view.
To say that one ``dissociates from'' the experience means that one experiences oneself as an object in the experience, one sees (and hears and feels) it from a third person point of view. (I've noticed some academic psychologists using the term ``screen memory'' or ``screen image'' to describe this.)
This association/dissociation idea seems to be extremely powerful. For instance, in the phobia cure it seems to be essential that the person doesn't just imagine the phobic stimulus, but instead sees himself from a third person point of view (``third postion,'' in current NLP jargon) confronting the stimulus. (I would guess that the behavioral therapists never discovered this because the very concept of self and awareness of self is to alien to behaviorism.)
Another example is the New Behavior Generator. Suppose, say, I want to learn to jitterbug. So I start out by watching other people jitterbug. When I've learned the images for jitterbugging fairly well, then I imagine watching an especially good jitterbugger. Then I change the image (``the movie,'' a NLPer would usually say) by substituting an image of myself doing exactly the same moves. Then, as a third step (which I suspect is often not necessary) I ``associate into'' the image, so that now I imagine what it will actually feel like (and look like, and sound like) to be jitterbugging. The claim is that this is a very fast way of learning a physical skill. (A lot of athletic programs now use this as part of their training.)
(A lot of people have trouble visualizing themselves. My experience is that it's not so important that the image one creates looks a lot like oneself, it's only important for the subject to know that the person imagined is himself.)
It seems to me that asking why this works is a very profound question for scientific psychology (and would certainly have many applications on the clinical side).
Another form of dissociation is the ``separation of self from behavior'' (or ``separation of intent from behavior'') that underlies Six-step Reframing. To start with, there is a dissociation in that the subject is led to think not in terms of changing himself, but only in terms of changing some behavior he has. It's a little bit like, in medicine, the difference between a patient saying ``I'm sick'' and saying ``I have a problem with my liver.'' In the second case, the patient has dissociated (in a certain sense) his liver, saying essentially ``There's not a problem with me, it's only a problem with my liver.''
I've always thought that this is one reason that NLP talks about the brain so much, rather than the mind. It's a way of encouraging the subject to think ``It's not me that needs to be changed, it's just the way my brain is functioning.'' I've also thought that this was one reason why NLP so consistently uses the term ``kinesthetic'' as a substitute for ``emotional.'' ``It's not that I am angry, it's just that my body is generating certain intense sensations.''
In Six-step Reframing, one then proceeds to a further dissociation by identifying a ``part'' of oneself that does the undesired behavior and talking to that part. The attitude is ``It's not me that does this behavior I don't like, it's just this part of me.''
(I noticed some time ago that Ivan Goldberg suggested that techniques such as Six-step Reframing can create Multiple Personality Disorder. Nothing in my NLP experience suggests that this is the case. But all my NLP teachers emphasized that one of the important outcomes for Six-step Reframing is to have the subject accept and in fact value the (often originally unwanted and sometimes hated) part and that at the end of the process the subject should be instructed to integrate the part back into the total self.)