Today I got a very cool and important experience, which is making me think twice about my own future :D
Went to a very nice and inspiring place to do the talk on the 7 Secrets of Success, as taught by Shiva, 7000 years ago. Last time I did it, was one and a half year ago. I try not to repeat things the same way but keep improving the contents somehow. Although the 7 secrets are the same, the way I can explain them and the content surrounding each one, can always be improved. So, this time, I took my latest experiences with NLP and Psycho-Cybernetics and enriched a particular part of the talk with some new concepts and ideas.
Its quite natural that in these sessions – especially when we have a small and familiar group – people eventually express themselves a lot, and start talking about their own difficulties, challenges, pains, etc.
This time, because I specifically brought some concepts from NLP, I also talked about other kinds of mental blocks, traumas, bad memories, etc. This was a particularly sensitive subject to one person, who took the chance to express some pains about her life and the difficulties she was having.
There are always many ways to approach these problems and seek solutions. Some can take you a long time to have a really strong impact, others can be quite quick. So, as I decided to bring these topics, I took the responsibility of the situation and also offered to help this person out after the program was over.
And so I did. I took some extra time to go for a walk with this person just to try to understand a bit better what was causing so much pain.
In her own words, she had a very painful memory of a situation, which was triggered by some external events once in a while. This memory would cause some very strong feelings of anxiety and angst inside her . She would also feel a very “tight knot” in the throat, and then she would inevitably start crying.
After understanding the process that was happening inside her mind, I went trough 3 different NLP exercises to “cure” this behavior.
Took me about 10 minutes to run the whole thing and test it out in 2 different situations. In both scenarios the result was positive: she would start laughing at the problem when thinking about it, and – in her own words – “the most amazing thing is that this knot in my throat disappeared completely”.
What I found most amazing is that I am so new at this, and was able to help some one with it. Got me really inspired to actually do a proper NLP course to take these skills further :)
What I find really fascinating is the speed with which we can make this deep changes happen. And actually, from an NLP point of view, it makes sense! If you can get a trauma, phobia or whatever, in a matter of seconds, why should you need years of treatment and counselling to get rid of it? ;)
For the benefit of people who might be studying or researching NLP, I leave below a few more technical informations about the process I did. Other readers can safely skip this :)
The first thing I did was to identify what was the main representational system being used by the person. By using visual cues I got the idea she was basically using the auditory memory to retrieve the experience, and then a auditory digital before getting the angst feeling. Although the visual cues are quite standard, there are exceptions. So just to make sure, I confirmed with her verbally that she was using those representational systems, which she was.
As the feeling of angst seemed to be quite strong and perturbing her very much, I decided to take care of that first by analyzing the way the feeling was moving in the body and using the typical inversion.
After that was done, I moved to analyze the auditory experience:
– Where in your head can you hear that voice? In what position?
(took some time to reply as people are not used to these questions)
– here… but its very deep inside (puts hand tightly closed on the left ear)
(i moved in a 45º angle to her front and right – opposing the side of her memory – and walked away a few steps. then I spoke in a very low and far-away voice)
– can you move the voice to this position? forward and right, and very far away from you?
(she nodded yes)
I did a few more steps in these exercise to completely neutralize the bad auditory memory until I had a very positive response, which in this case was smile and laughter. I anchored it and then moved to the last step.
– Do you have any strong memory on the last time that a bad situation caused by this memory happened?
– Yes, very very strong memory. (visual cues now indicated an access to visual remembered)
– Is it like a picture or a movie?
– Yes it’s a movie, I can see it all happening
– How do you see it? Do you see yourself in there, like an actor? Or do you see it from your own eyes like you were there now?
– I see it from my own eyes, like I’m there now.
– Can you easily recall details from that scene? The surroundings, the colors, the smells?
– Yes, very easy, everything is very strong, I can see all the exact color that everyone was wearing at the time
As this seemed to be a very strong association, I used a double disassociation technique to “step out” of the drama and to create a different perspective from the scene. Afterwards, played with the submodalities of the movie to dilute its effect.
I felt that this would be enough to try out how we were doing so we associated with the scene again and using the anchor we created previously, we played the movie forward (at this point, black and white and circus-speed ;) )
The response was very positive.
Before finishing I talked a little bit more, with some inspiring and encouraging words about what we did, about the resources that she had inside, almost like doing a little bit of a reframing technique, but not quite the same. I used the anchor a few times to reinforce the positive state. It’s really important not to just to *replace* an unwanted behaviour with a better one. We don’t want to be robots and be “conditioned” to do things. What we want is to show people that they can make a different choice, in the same situations. So the negative path is still there, but now there is a positive path too.
To finalize we did 2 tests. In one, we went back to the recorded memory and tried to revive the past bad experience. Result: smiles and laughter.
In the 2nd test we simulated a possible future experience were the negative behavior could possibly happen again, but now, using the newly created resources (and the anchor!). Result: smiles and “relaxed”
What failed? I should have created an anchor for the initial negative state as that would allow me to do a tougher test in the end. But time was short.
Is this a long lasting change? I can’t tell… as it was done a bit fast, and I’m not very skilled (yet), I’m not sure if it will have the power to have a life-lasting effect. It also depends on the person itself and how she will deal with future situations. Actually this is important. This person was really willing and determined to find a solution and accept help. This is one pre-requisite to make change happen. If it does not come from within the person, you really can’t help her out. So in this case, it worked pretty well as she was very open to accept help and to change. I also *tested* her willingness to accept it by first asking her – in a jokingly manner – if I could “reformat” her brain. And she said “yes, please do”! :D