This is an evolving collection of some favorite NLP Exercises, Processes, and those little Trainer Tips and Tricks to make your use of NLP more fluid, flexible, and natural!

While intended for people with some NLP training, all are welcome.

Except where noted, this material is from the world renowned “24 Day NLP Practitioner Trainer’s Manual” created by Steve and Connirae Andreas between 1981 and 1986 . This 325 page manual is the most complete and meticulously documented NLP training design. It was the basis for the majority of NLP training designs worldwide and established the standard for NLP Practioner skills, including a large number of processes no longer taught.

Have you ever felt like you wanted to go, but you felt like you wanted to stay? It’s not just an old Jimmey Durante song. It’s an example of a polarity: two clearly opposing positions or desires. The “Visual Squash” is the classic NLP process for resoliving such dilemmas. Enjoy!

You might like to read the story following the exercise instructions for an example of its use to gain a little familiarity with applications.


(trios, 10 minutes in each position)

Frame: Sorting Polarities is a very valuable first step toward clarifying the positive outcomes of each part of the person. After sorting a polarity into its two parts, the next step is to integrate the two by combining or integrating the anchors for the two sides, so that both outcomes can be considered simultaneously as the person searches for new behaviors to satisfy both outcomes. One way of accomplishing this integration is a technique called “the visual squash.” (Keep in mind that you are always integrating the outcomes of both sides, not the behaviors.)

Demonstrate (using someone whose polarity has already been cleanly sorted by the previous exercise.)

A guides B through the following sequence (Demonstrate):

1. Access and get outcome for side #1: “Put one polarity in the hand that’s appropriate, seeing what that part of you looks like, hearing its tone of voice, etc…. Do you realize how this part is valuable to you?”…(positive outcomes or functions). Or “Ask the part what its positive function is.” “Keep that part in that hand, as you turn to look at your other hand.”

2. Access and get outcome for side #2: Do the same with the other polarity in the other hand.

3. Mutual Appreciation of Outcomes: “Now look straight ahead, so you can see both hands. Watch both the two polarities as they turn to face each other. Ask each if it understands and appreciates the value of the other part. Have each polarity express some appreciation for the valuable function of the other polarity.”

4. Integration of polarities: (Here are several possible verbalizations–you won’t need them all.) “Now watch and listen to both these valuable parts of yourself, allowing your two hands to come together only as fast as those two parts can blend and integrate in ways most comfortable and useful to you…in such a way that neither part loses anything, retaining the usefulness and importance of both parts, each gaining from the other the qualities and capacities that are lacking in themselves, and present in the other.

You may be fascinated to observe some of the changes that occur in these two images as they start to come together…only as fast as they can comfortably assimilate these changes….

You may also be surprised by the image that is created when the two images finally join and become a single image as they melt into each other and take on each other’s capacities….

And notice what that new image looks like, because this new part represents a combination of abilities you’ve never had before…as such, this new part will have skills, and abilities, that you could never have guessed at, that you can enjoy,…new ways of accomplishing all of these important outcomes simultaneously….”

Notice when the client is done integrating, both by observing the hands move together, and the accompanying changes in facial expression, breathing posture, etc.

5. Associate with new integrated part: “When you’re ready, physically use your hands to take this part into yourself, and bring it into your body somehow, so that it becomes a part of you and all your behaviors, easily and readily available. As you do this, you may feel a surge of energy in your body as this part reunites with you….Take a few moments to appreciate and enjoy the qualities of this unique new part.”

6. Future-Pace: “Now think of the specific times and places where you want these integrated qualities and capacities to be fully at your disposal in the future….”

Discussion: The visual squash doesn’t decide between the two sides of a polarity, it integrates all the data and outcomes relevant to the issue. It’s like bringing all the parties in a dispute to the conference table within a cooperative frame. Some negotiation may still be required to arrive at an outcome that is satisfactory to both sides, or a decision about what to do that is endorsed by both sides.

The visual squash depends heavily on hypnotic language patterns, visualization, time, etc., to elicit a powerful response in the person. Just “going through the motions” won’t have much impact.

Caution: the word “compromise” presupposes that each side is losing something. If someone uses this word or another word that implies a loss for one or both sides, redescribe the process as a no-lose situation.

Avoid arguing about whether a no-lose solution is possible or not. The useful question is, “How do your presuppositions affect what happens?” If you assume each side needs to give up something and compromise, that will become true. If you presuppose that it is possible to find an outcome (and eventually a set of behaviors) satisfactory to both sides, usually that will be true.

If the person tries to integrate the two sides of a polarity at the level of the specific behaviors, it may be very difficult. (If a person tries to integrate the behaviors of living in the country and living in the city, you have the choice of a skyscraper in a field, or a farm in the middle of Manhattan.) You want to integrate the two parts and the outcomes that they have, not the specific ways the two parts try to accomplish their outcomes.

After the parts are integrated, then the person can begin a search for specific behaviors that can best satisfy all the outcomes of all the parts involved.


(Session with “Joe,” an advanced divinity student at an NLP Practitioner Training: This is a reconstruction of the untaped session.)

Problem: “I feel a compulsion to look at the skin magazines, and I can’t stop doing it. I work at an all-night place that sells these magazines, and I just feel a compulsion to go over and look at them. I’m worried that my boss will catch me sometime and I’ll get fired, but I can’t stop doing it. I’ve been in all kinds of therapy to try to stop this, and nothing has worked.”

A small group was attempting to do the visual squash with Joe. The group asked me to assist, saying they’d tried a number of things, and couldn’t get access to the part that “made him do it.” They had already asked Joe what looking at the magazines did for him. He said he didn’t know. They gave him a little bit of a thrill, but he also had other ways of getting sexual satisfaction. (He is married, and satisfied with his sex life.) He said he didn’t think there was anything useful in what he was doing. It was just a really bad part that made him do it, and he couldn’t stop himself. (The way Joe talked about this part made it obvious that the part was very strong, and very dissociated. It seemed the perfect thing for the visual squash. However, even the side of the polarity that the group thought they had accessed needed to be accessed in terms of its outcomes.)

CR: O.K. The way we’re going to gather more information about how Joe’s present behavior is useful to him, is by going to a less conscious level. Consciously he doesn’t have the information, so we’ll need to elicit the parts behaviorally. One way to do this is to begin the intervention.

Joe, what I’d like to have you do first is tell me in which of your two hands do you want to put the part that makes you go for the skin magazines?

Joe: My right hand. It’s over here.

CR: O.K. Now, as you hold out your right hand, that part of you can begin to form. It’s been an important part of you. So powerful that you haven’t been aware of its useful purpose consciously. And now as that part begins to take shape, tell me what you see.

Joe: I see myself looking at some magazines.

CR: Good, and really look at the details of that part. Notice the expression on his face, how he moves, etc. … (Joe is going through definite physiology shifts as he does this.) And when you can see that part of you really clearly, I want you to ask it what it does for you that’s positive when it makes you look at skin magazines….What does it reply?

Joe: I’m not getting any message at all.

CR: OK. I want you to continue to watch that part, as we give that part of you time to really sort out what it does for you that is useful by making you look at those magazines. It might review different situations and contexts in which it has made you do this, as it begins to fully recognize it’s important positive function….

And as your part does that, I want to tell you about another person who was a compulsive eater. And I’m sure it’s not going to be exactly the same for you, because each part has it’s own way of doing things. But I want to let this part of you know what I mean when I ask it about it’s positive function. This person who was a compulsive eater asked her part what it did for her, and it turned out that she had come from a military background, and had been raised in a very rigid way. The part of her that made her eat was a part that didn’t want her to just follow rules, but to be able to break away and do things in her own way. (As soon as I said this, Joe responded very strongly nonverbally.)

Joe: (emphatically) That’s it! This is a part that doesn’t want me to follow rules! It wants me to be my own person. I’m too concerned with what other people think, and my parents always wanted me to do the good and the right thing. . . . The part is nodding his head as I say this! He says that’s right.

CR: Great. And you can thank your part for the confirmation it just offered you. And thank it for being there, interested in assisting you in being your own person. That seems like a very worthwhile thing to have a part of you doing. Do you recognize that as something positive?

Joe: Well, I don’t like what it does.

CR: Of course not. You don’t like the behavior at all. But do you want to keep a part of you that wants you to be your own person?

Joe: Yes.

CR: Good. Let your part know that you fully agree with its purpose for you…. (Joe does this.)

And now, keeping this part in your right hand, shift your gaze to your other hand. How would you describe the part that goes here–the opposite of the part that made you look at skin magazines? This part may have something to do with following rules, with doing the right thing, or something like that.

Joe: Yes. (congruently) This part is the one that wanted to please my parents and everyone else.

CR: Give this part time to form clearly there in front of you–a part that wanted you to do the right thing, please your parents, and so on…. When you can see it clearly, ask this part what it does for you that’s positive and useful.

Joe: (in commanding tone of voice.) It gets me to do the right thing.

CR: Ask it what it wants for you that’s positive when it does that.

Joe: It wants other people to like me.

CR: So this is a part that wants you to have good relationships with other people? Is that what this part wants for you? (Here I intentionally change the way Joe has stated the purpose. I want to make the positive intention one that puts him in the role of “actor,” rather than “acted upon.” Since I’ve changed the way the positive intention is stated, I watch and listen to whether he congruently agrees with the restatement.)

Joe: Yes.

CR: It’s certainly useful to have a part around to do that for you. Now, thank this part for what it does for you…. Now, I want you to gradually shift your gaze to them middle, so that you can see both parts at once, one in each hand, and allow both hands to slowly come together only as fast as these two parts can integrate, keeping the important useful purposes of each, and joining together in such a way that each benefits from the other, losing nothing. And you may be surprised by exactly how they merge when your hands join, so I want you to take all the time you need for these parts to integrate at their own rate of speed. . .

(As Joe’s hands contacted each other and the parts joined, Joe showed dramatic physiological changes: he trembled, his face flushed repeatedly, he sweated quite a bit, etc. This was a good indication that a complete integration was going on, and I suggested that he remain there for as long as he liked, simply allowing the integration to complete itself.)

I then asked someone else in the group to do the last step (taking this integrated part into himself) when he was ready, that is, when the nonverbal changes that were going on had subsided and the integration was complete.

Later I suggested to Joe that as a new part, this part would probably continue the integration, trying out different behaviors, and if the part wanted more ways of accomplishing its purposes, it could alert Joe to the need to do six-step reframing to generate more choices.
In a follow-up report, Joe said someone he knew had helped him do the reframing, and he wasn’t having any difficulty with looking at skin magazines compulsively anymore. He still looked at the magazines at times, but he didn’t feel compelled to (or not to).

Getting (and staying!) Unstuck

In just a few lines we’re going to get to a powerfully simple process for jumping out of the experience of being stuck. First, tho, it’s vital that you are clear on association and disassociation as we use the terms in NLP processes and models.

You first may want to review the definitions found through the links above, and then take yourself through the following rehearsal. If you have a friend to read you the instructions, so much the better!


First, review an experience of the impact of dissociation:
1. Identify a pleasant experience and a mildly unpleasant experience from your past.
2. Explain what association and dissociation are. Draw a diagram on the board and use lots of appropriate hand gestures.
3. “Take a look at the image associated with each memory, and notice whether you are associated or dissociated in each one.
4. “Now, whichever way you did it spontaneously, reverse it, to discover the impact of association/dissociation.
If you were associated in the pleasant one, try stepping back and looking at the event as if it were a framed photo and you are dissociated from it. Notice how that affects your feelings of that memory.
If you were dissociated, try stepping forward into that experience and wrap it around you until you are associated, in order to notice what impact this shift has.
If you don’t like doing it the other way, feel free to go back to the way you like it as soon as you have experienced the shift long enough find out what it’s like.”
5. “What did you notice?”

Discussion: Point out that dissociation results in not having the feelings of being there. You may have different feelings of observing. “What makes most sense to do? Would you like to associate to everything? Dissociate to everything?” Everything is a skill, depending upon where and how you use it. Association is great for accessing resources, remembering pleasant experiences, making love, etc. Dissociation is great for thinking of unpleasant experiences, being able to view experience for its informational value, “being objective,” etc.
Imagine what life would be like if all your pleasant experiences you recalled dissociated, and all your unpleasant experiences you think about by jumping back into what happened? It’s a great way to get depressed, no matter how good your life “really” is.

Frame: Next you’re going to learn a procedure for going from a stuck state to having resources available. But to make sure you really get it, we’ll do it step by step. Dissociation is a key to this, so we’ll do dissociation first.

Dissociation: Calibration
(Trios: Instructions are written for A, who is programmer, working with B, who is client. C is meta person/observer. 5 minutes in each position.)

1. Elicit Dissociation. “What would you see if you could watch yourself from my point of view?” or “Imagine you’re in a movie theater and you see a picture of yourself as you look sitting here, up there on the screen.” Anchor this state with a touch on B’s shoulder. Calibrate to B’s dissociated state. (Be sure you are anchoring the client’s dissociating from the context he is in now.
2. Separator State. Distract to any neutral state.
3. Testing. Fire dissociation anchor. Watch for sensory based evidence of dissociated state in B.

Burnout prevention: Teach dissociation from others, so the person doesn’t feel all the unpleasant states that the client is in. When you need kinesthetic information about the client, associate with him only long enough (a few moments) to get this information, and then dissociate again. Since dissociation leaves K feelings behind, it’s a great way to break state. A few people whose “sense of self” is based largely on feelings may feel very strange and complain that “it isn’t me” when they are dissociated. It can be useful to frame this state as “an unfamiliar new resource” rather than “not me,” for these people.
Calibration: observable signs of dissociation: breathing shallower and higher in chest, head moves back and up a bit, shoulders higher and back, whiter skin color, muscle tone increases, less movement (stillness), lips thinner.
Utilize reference experiences: See yourself in the bathroom mirror; see yourself in a photograph; see yourself on videotape. “Can you see a picture/movie of yourself up on the wall (movie screen, as if you were in a movie theater)?”
Doing dissociation with someone who “can’t visualize.” Use other rep. systems: “Can you feel yourself float out of your body, or hear yourself speaking and moving over there?” Combine feeling and seeing: “Step outside your body and look back.” Use “as if” frame: “Pretend that you can see yourself over there.” Unspecified rep. system: “Can you get a sense of yourself over there?” “Slow down your auditory commentary. As you do this, your pictures will flash by a little more slowly, making it easier for you to see them. Always watch for postural shifts characteristic of dissociation for feedback. As long as the person accesses the state, it doesn’t matter if they’re conscious of it or not. Chunking. Start with a small part of the body “look at your hand, close your eyes and see an image of that hand, etc.” Gradually build up entire visual image, step by step.
Change physiology. Some postures are anchors for representational system primacy. Ex: hands over head and looking up; try to feel depressed. This posture keeps you visual because of eyes up and expanded chest, which are powerful physiological anchors for states other than being depressed, so it’s very hard to have strong feelings. In the same way you can physically mold someone into a “dissociation posture” and then instruct them to see themselves.

At this point, or before one of the following exercises, review the meta person instructions (p. 11), and ask them to begin to be more active in this role (within the constraints of respect for the programmer, and maintaining programmer in a resource state). Later in the training we will ask you to be even more thorough and demanding, as a courtesy to the programmer who wants to improve his/her skills and abilities.

Now, you’re ready to learn a very effective process that is a really useful safeguard for sticky situations!

(Same group of three; 5 minutes in each position)

(Note: This pattern is similar to the “Circle of Excellence,” in which the problem situation was chained into the resource anchored by the circle of excellence.)

First test the dissociation anchor that you created in the previous exercise. Be sure you have a good dissociation anchor. You may want to use the same subject for the demonstration, so you don’t have to repeat the first three steps.
4. Access a separator state in B.
5. Elicit a mild stuck state. “Think of a situation in which you get stuck.” (For the purpose of learning this pattern, do not choose a disastrous stuck state. After learning this pattern thoroughly you can deal with really unpleasant stuck states.)
6. Chain to dissociation. As soon as B begins to access the stuck state, fire the anchor for dissociation. Observe to confirm that B does access the dissociated state.
7. Access a Separator State in B.
8. Test. “Think of the stuck state.” Observe to confirm that B’s initial access of the stuck state automatically chains to the dissociated state.

Discussion: When a person is stuck, typically s/he is stuck in bad feelings. If you can get the person to a dissociated state, s/he will leave the bad feelings behind. A dissociated state “breaks” the stuck state, and is a very useful general resource state from which it is much easier to go to some other specific resource state. This is not an entire piece of work. Soon we’ll teach you how to go on to those other specific resource states.
Notice that formally this exercise is the same thing as the circle of excellence: It is chaining from a particular problem context to a resource, in this case dissociation.
Use an appropriate hand gesture to accompany your instruction: “See yourself over there….” The hand gesture is initially a lead, that will become a visual anchor.
This pattern presupposes that the stuck state is an associated state which is nearly always the case. It won’t be very useful if the person is already stuck in a dissociated state, and needs to go into an associated resource state.
Be sure your client keeps the same “stuck state” content when chaining to the dissociated state. In other words, when you are client, first you go into a “stuck state” (associated) and then you chain to seeing yourself in that stuck state. (You don’t see yourself in some other context.)

Stretch. (This is an alternate way to chain from stuck state to dissociation.)
4. Separator state.
5. Elicit a mild stuck state.
6. Chain to dissociation. As soon as the stuck state begins, calibrate to it as you physically spin B out of stuck state, and have B dissociate and look back at himself in that context. “Look at how that guy is stuck in that situation. Watch and listen to all the details of how Joe is stuck.” Observe to be sure of B’s dissociated state access.
7. Separator State.
8. Test. “Think about the stuck state.” Observe to be sure that the stuck state is accessed only briefly and then chains quickly and automatically to the dissociated state.
Caution: Some people find that the physical spinning is an intrusion into their personal space, and object to it.


This is perhaps the most thourough description anywhere of the uses, issues, and opportunities that abound in Six Step Reframing.

Backstory for Trainer:

The notes for this section are very extensive for the following reason: Reframing is a complex procedure, and there are many possible ways to deal with problems at any particular step. Trying to pack these all into one sequence is a formidable task. And if you succeed, you run the risk of having so much detail that you lose track of the “big picture.” This is even more likely to be a problem for participants who are learning this pattern for the first time. If you can do a clean demonstration and mention the main points (and only those “fine points” that came up in the demonstration) in the discussion that follows, participants will be better prepared to learn the pattern than if you try to stuff their brains with how to deal with all the possible problems that could arise. Save those for the discussion period after the exercise. Instruct assistants to be available to offer help whenever participants get stuck (since participants will not be prepared to deal with every eventuality).

Opening Frames/Presuppositions:

1. “You’ve already had experience with all the major elements of six step reframing in the last section. Six step reframing puts together all these chunks into one nice sequence. Since you’ve already learned the small pieces, it will be much easier for you to learn the sequence.”

2. Every symptom, no matter how bizarre, or strange or objectionable, has some important positive function. Tell several (brief) content stories about reframing as reference experiences for this difference between behavior and intent (function, outcome).
For example, SA’s client: woman with “pseudo endometriosis,” with abnormal periods, and high blood pressure. Her doctor said she needed a hysterectomy. The part that created those physical problems wanted her to have no more children, and to enjoy life and take care of herself more. (She was a “super mom” who took care of everyone else.) Once she got this message through reframing, she congruently decided not to have a child. A week later she went to see her doctor, and her blood pressure was back down to normal, her periods became normal, etc. Prior to this she had been overweight, and she wouldn’t consider having a child as long as she was overweight. When she lost weight, she started considering having a child, and then she got the “pseudo endometriosis,” as this part’s response, which was very effective in keeping her from having a child. The part’s intent was not to give her physical problems (behavior) but do whatever was necessary to keep her from having a child.
Many of the small chunks you have learned so far are very important and useful, but often don’t result in a complete piece of work. Six step reframing is a very complete method, with very wide applications. It’s an all purpose method for taking a symptom or problem, running it through a specific sequence, and resulting in having new choices. It’s also an excellent method to use with yourself after gaining some experience of doing it with others.

3. When doing six step reframing we use the idea of parts. We talk about the part that makes you smoke, even though you don’t want to, etc. We use the word “part” simply as a way of talking about a set of behaviors that go with smoking. It’s a convenient way to sort someone’s experience. We don’t mean that there is actually a part localized in your body somewhere. “Parts” are like “states.” There is a “part” of me a set of learned behaviors and responses that knows how to ski. This “part” is only fully active when I’m on the ski slope. When that part is active, it is evident in many nonverbal behavior shifts that can be observed externally as well as felt internally.

4. One advantage of six step reframing is that you don’t have to have conscious understanding in order to get change. We make use of an unconscious signal system to make shifts that would be difficult or impossible to make without it. This unconscious signal system is the only small chunk of six step reframing that you haven’t already had formally. (Alternative: you could teach unconscious signal systems earlier.)
The idea of an unconscious signal systems can sound very strange, and outside the realm of normal experience to people. But actually, we’re talking about something you all have had experience with already. For example, sometimes when I’m considering making a business deal with someone, I’ll get a strange feeling that something is wrong, but I can’t consciously verbalize what it is. Sometimes you meet someone new and your body relaxes, giving you a signal that you feel safe with this person. Sometimes when I’m working with a client, a “red flag” will go up in my mind, that signals “ecology problems” to me. That signal lets me know to pause, and check carefully for possible problems.
We all have a limited amount of ability to process information consciously, but the amount of information coming in that we respond to unconsciously all the time is phenomenal. Unconsciously we can process a lot of information very rapidly. One of the results of learning reframing is that people get better at using their unconscious abilities to rapidly process information and provide signals indicating that something needs to be consciously attended to. Unconscious and conscious become more of a team, instead of opponents in conflict.
Calibration to the observable evidence that a part is active allows you to communicate with a part even when your client can’t. Hypnotic “yes/no” finger signals are crude and artificial “special cases” of the nonverbal signals that all of us are broadcasting all the time.

Demonstrate: (Get nonverbal access to the part several times, and calibrate, prior to telling the client to “go inside and ask.” Do this conversationally, with metaphor, etc. before you officially begin. When you do reframing, your analogue marking and voice tone shifts will help the client keep this process sorted. Be sure to use a different voice tone and different postural analogue when talking to the part, than when talking to the client’s conscious mind.)
Reframing presupposes that there is a part that makes you do something and you don’t want to, or a part that stops you from something that you want to do. (There is something you do (X) and you can’t stop yourself, or something you want to do (Y), but something stops you.) Six step reframing works much better on the first class there’s a part that makes you do something, and you don’t want to. If they state their difficulty as the second class, find out if they can think of it in terms of the first. “So you want to Y, but something stops you? What do you do instead of Y?” Now you have the behavior (X) that something makes them do, and they don’t want to. (More under Discussion Step #1.) Keep in mind that reframing is not appropriate for simple skill acquisition (unless there is a part that gets in the way of learning). For this you need something like strategies or the new behavior generator, or practice. Don’t mention this at this point unless it comes up.

Step 1. Identify the behavior or response to be changed. “What shall we call this behavior that you do but don’t like?” (Make sure it’s a letter, a number, or a neutral name.) Separate part and behavior by saying, “The part that X’s,” not “The Xing part.”
To subject (The message is really to the part, to get rapport): “I want to be very clear about one of my assumptions. I assume that the part of you that X’s is important. If we were just to get rid of it, we would be doing you a great disservice.”

Step 2. Establish communication with the part responsible for X.
a. Ask part to communicate. “In a moment I’ll have you go inside and ask a question. All you do is ask the question, and then pay attention to what you see/hear/feel on the inside. The question is, `Will the part of me that makes me X communicate with me in consciousness, now?’ Your job is simply to notice what response you get.”
“It will communicate.”
“How do you know that?” (Don’t let people “mindread” their own parts. Find out what they saw, heard, or felt that they interpreted as a “yes” or “no” response.)
Thank the part for its response each time it communicates.
b. Test to be sure the signal is outside the person’s conscious control: “Can you produce the same exact signal, just by consciously trying?” If they can, back up to a. above.
c. Establish a “yes/no” meaning for the signal. “So that we will know exactly what that part wants to communicate, have it increase (in brightness, volume, intensity, etc.) if it means `Yes, it’s willing to communicate’ and decrease the signal if it means `No, I’m not willing to communicate’.”

Step 3. Separate the behavior (X) from the positive intention.
a. Communicate intent? “Ask the part that makes you X, `Are you willing to let me know your positive function(s) in consciousness?'” (There may actually be more than one function; there may be several positive functions.)
b. If part answers, “Yes.”
Provide intent. “Tell the part to go ahead and do so now.”
Intentions acceptable? “Do you want to have a part that fulfills these positive functions for you?” “Thank the part for the information and for doing these important things for you.” If it’s not acceptable, get meta outcome and try again.
b. If part answers, “No.”
Option 1. Describe frames within which the part may be willing to provide intent, and try again, until the part is willing to communicate its intent (see participant notes OBSTACLES/OPPORTUNITIES, P.11).
Option 2. “Even though this part won’t communicate its intent, are you willing to assume (even temporarily) that it has good intentions and that you’d agree with them if you knew them? This doesn’t mean that you like the behavior. I expect you will always dislike that, only that you assume good intent.” (If the person doesn’t know the positive intent consciously, be sure the person fully understands the distinction between intent and behavior.)
c. Conditional close. “Go inside and ask the part this question: `If there were ways that you thought would work at least as well as, or better than, Xing to accomplish your positive intention, would you be willing to try them out?'” If you get a `no’ answer here, there is a misunderstanding; back up to clarify.

Step 4. Access a creative part, and generate new behaviors acceptable to the part that generates the unwanted behavior (X). “Are you already aware of a creative part of yourself?” “Ask the part of you that has been making you X to go to your creative part, and communicate directly to the creative part what its positive function is. Your creative part can then begin to generate alternatives to accomplish that positive function. Some of these will be great, some lousy; some you may be consciously aware of, some you may not. The part that used to X will select only those that it considers at least as good as, or better than, Xing, and give you a `Yes’ signal each time it selects one. Have the part select new choices that are as immediate and as available as the old behavior. Continue until you get three `Yes’ signals.” If you are in good rapport, the process will begin as you talk. Pause periodically to give the person’s parts time to respond to your instructions. Some people will respond well to lots of verbal instructions; others will want very little. If your talking seems to distract them say as little as possible.

Step 5. Future Pace (and test). “Ask the part, `Are you willing to actually use (try out) these new alternatives, in the appropriate context, to find out how well they work?'” (The part has to consider the new behaviors in context in order to answer the question.)

Step 6. Ecological Check. “Ask this question on the inside, `Does any other part of me have any objections to any of my new choices?'”
If a part answers, “Yes.”
“How do you know that?” Sometimes people get signals of excitement at having new choices, and misread these as objections, so it’s important to find out. “Have the part that created these sensations increase the sensations if it objects, and decrease them if it has some other response.”
If this signal wasn’t an objection, ask the person to go inside and check again. It’s important to be thorough on this step. “If there are any objections, now is when we want to know about them, so go inside and ask if any other part has objections.”
When you have used an unconscious signal to confirm that there is an objection, thank the part that objects for bringing something of importance to your attention, recycle to step #3 with this new part and continue reframing until this part’s objection is satisfied.
Additional future pace: (optional) “Go inside and give the part of you that now has three new choices the opportunity of trying one of them out in the appropriate context, as kind of a dress rehearsal on the inside. You can either do this at the conscious or the unconscious level, or both. If you know the behaviors and want to do this consciously, that’s fine.”
What if client finds herself Xing again? You could decide NLP doesn’t work, or she’s really brain damaged, or alternatively, you can recognize that you are now in a much better position to do some further reframing. Before the part only used one behavior in a certain situation. That means it didn’t know much about what works and what doesn’t, because it only tried one thing. If that part has tried three new choices, it knows four times as much as before. Now it’s in a much better position to evaluate new possibilities accurately.
The most important part of 6 step reframing is not the three new choices that she now has. The most important part is reestablishing communication with unconscious parts and making a link between her creative part and the part that used to make her X. That means that the part that used the same choice, in a robot like way, in many situations, over and over again, now has access to her creative resources, so that if it ends up not liking one or more of those new choices, it can go back to the creative part for more choices. Building this connection is the most important part of reframing. If someone uses only one choice, you can bet that internally that part has been isolated from her creative resources. Now you have established a path for communication that can be used again and again, any time it’s needed.
Ask if anyone has any questions for the demonstration subject (defer other questions to the subsequent discussion). After dealing with those questions, thank the subject and let him/her rejoin the group. Break after this, or after a few general questions, (or later, only if demonstration was fast.)

Discussion: “Are there any urgent, general questions before I go over all of the steps carefully with you?”

Go over all steps in order. Discuss briefly the major points for each step. Defer most of the “what if’s” (especially the unlikely or esoteric ones) until after they’ve done it the first time. Too many details will hinder their learning the first time through the process, not help it! (The assistants are available for help if/when they get stuck.) Below are a lot of “what if’s” for you to use as information in responding to questions. Save most of them for discussion after the exercise.

1. Identify the Specific Behavior or Response to be changed.
Reframing is best for behaviors/responses that the person wants to stop doing, rather than for ones the person wants to start doing. “I get embarrassed around women and I don’t want to,” “I have headaches and I don’t want to,” “I smoke and I don’t want to,” etc.
If you start with wanting to do something, you’re much more likely to run into difficulty, because you’ve limited the choices at the outset. For example, if I want to get married, and something stops me, I’ve limited myself at the beginning to the choice of getting married. If you start with the part that makes him do something he wants to stop, then you end up with three new choices, without being limited as to what those choices are going to be ahead of time. Another reason is that the specific choice the person begins with may not be ecological. If you begin by thinking of what you do, but don’t want to, you have the most flexibility in generating new and ecological options.
If you get a request in the form, “I want to X, but something stops me,” ask if they can rephrase it in the other form, “I want to stop Xing, but I can’t.” For instance, if the person wants to be calm while public speaking, this can easily be rephrased as, “I want to stop being nervous while public speaking.”
Be as specific as you can. If you just access a part that stops you from having happiness in your life, that’s so general you’re not likely to get very useful new choices. The more specific you can be, the better it will work.
Be very careful to separate the part and its behavior, by saying, “the part that makes you smoke,” rather than “the smoking part.” If a part is “the smoking part,” then it has to smoke. “The part that makes you smoke” at least has a possibility of doing something else.

2. Establish Communication: Make sure you have a signal that is outside the person’s conscious control. The conscious mind has been fighting with this unconscious part, so you want to make sure you are getting answers from the unconscious part, not from their conscious mind. “Can you make exactly the same signals just by trying?” If they say, “Yes,” but the signal you observed looked unconscious to you, ask “Do you mean you could make it in exactly the same intensity (volume, tone, brightness, etc.) without going inside to the part, that you got when you went inside?” Often people can control their internal dialogue, but they may not be able to control the tonality of that voice, or their pictures, or their feelings. What someone can or can’t control will vary greatly from person to person. If they can duplicate the signal consciously, back up and ask for a different signal.
Use an unspecified verb such as “communicate.” Avoid rep. system specification such as, “Ask the part to show/tell you if it’s willing to communicate,” unless you already know how it prefers to communicate.
Q: Is it possible to think something is a signal, but it’s really just something that is there all the time, like the heartbeat? A: If you can get the heartbeat to increase and decrease in response to your questions, it will work fine as a signal, whether or not it was one to start with. You can turn anything into a signal. Hypnotists often turn finger movements into signals (even though people can consciously move their fingers). It’s easier if you use something as a signal that this part already knows how to vary. When the person communicates with an unconscious part, you should see a nonverbal state shift from when you are talking to the person’s conscious mind. If you don’t see a shift, you’re probably not accessing the part fully.
Q: How do you know if you can trust the signal? A: You can test to find out if she can reproduce it consciously. You can also calibrate to how she looks when she accesses the unconscious part. If she just gives me an answer without accessing this part, I will not trust her response. If she gets a nonverbal shift, and then acts surprised, that’s good confirmation that the first response was unexpected and unconscious. You can also watch for what goes along with `yes’ signals and `no’ signals. This gives you nonverbal confirmation for what she reports verbally.
Q: What if the signal is uncomfortable? A: a. You can ask for another signal. “Thank you very much for this unambiguous signal. I find this signal uncomfortable. So that I can fully pay attention to the messages you want to send, would you be willing to choose another signal.” b. You can ask for a decrease in intensity of the same signal. “All we need is enough intensity to get the message in a clear, unambiguous way.”
Q: What if you get a “no.” A: Since you’ve asked the question, “Will the part communicate with me in consciousness?” if you get a ‘no’ response, you can say, “That’s fine, there’s no need to communicate in consciousness. We can do this whole process at the unconscious level.” (Notice that reframing is set up so that it never matters whether you get a “yes” or a “no” response. The answers just tell you which direction to go, and what to do next.)
The question, “Will you communicate?” is so general, it’s like walking up to someone and asking “Will you tell me truthfully the answer to absolutely anything I ask about you?” The person will probably say “No.” There are many things that person would be willing to tell you, but not everything.
It’s like that with your parts. There may be some things they want to keep private, and other things they’d love to let you know, such as how you could be more respectful and appreciative of them.

3. Intent (Meta outcome). “Will you let me know your positive function in consciousness?” You don’t really care if you find out or not. What’s important is that you presuppose a distinction between the positive function and the behavior. If the part won’t let the person know in consciousness, you can give a few examples of behaviors and their positive intents, to make sure that they understand this distinction in their experience. Make sure they understand that the positive intention is something that they would agree with, if they knew it.
This is what you did in getting meta outcomes earlier, and in the agreement frame exercise last weekend. It’s also what you did with the two parts of a polarity before you did the visual squash.
Agreeing with the positive intent is a very powerful pace of the part that is generating the unwanted behavior. At this point you have agreement between conscious and unconscious minds.
Q: What if the intent is something they don’t like? A: You ask the part, “What is the intent of the intent?” Ex: One man’s part had the intent “I make him fail.” I asked for the outcome of failing, “What do you do for him by making him fail?” “I want him to succeed.” The part wanted him to succeed, and had him fail quickly so that he would stay out of situations where he might not succeed.

4. Access Creative Part and generate new behaviors.
Q: What if the person says, “No, I don’t have a creative part.” a. Use some other word besides “creative,” that has to do with doing things differently. “Do you have a resourceful part, or a part that plans?” “Do you have a part that figures things out?” b. You can create a creative part by accessing creative experiences, anchoring them, and stacking anchors.
The creative part generates new options, and the part you’re working with is in charge of choosing from among the alternatives the creative part generates only those that it believes will work as well as, or better than, what it’s doing now. Each time it selects a new behavior, it will give you an unconscious signal. It’s good to get this signal even if you’re getting the new options in consciousness. Otherwise, you could get confused between the ones the conscious mind likes, and the ones the part thinks would work well.
The new options should be as immediate and available as the old behavior. For example, if a person smokes in order to relax at work, jogging may relax him, but it’s not as immediately available to him at work, so it’s not an appropriate new choice.
Q: What if the creative part doesn’t come up with any ideas? A: I’ve never had that happen. By accessing a “creative” part, you have, by definition, accessed something that generates ideas. Usually it’s right there, ready, and immediately begins generating ideas.
Q: Does it have to be 3? A: Three is not a magic number. More is fine, unless the person is overwhelmed by too many. CR: I once had someone with too many choices that the part liked. I had it prioritize, and select three that it wanted to try out first, so that it wouldn’t be overwhelmed by indecision. Sometimes I’ve gone with only two choices, when they seemed really good. Once I had a person who got only two, and I wanted her to have more, so I said “Access another creative part that can help this creative part generate ideas,” and she instantly got several more possibilities. Words are simply ways to access different parts of a person that represent different capabilities. Do whatever accesses the appropriate response.

5. The future pace comes before the ecology check. In order to answer the question, the part needs to represent using a behavior, in context. This may bring objections to mind that other parts weren’t previously aware of. Once this part is happy with it’s new choices, and willing to try them out at appropriate times, then you go to the ecology check, to see if any other parts have objections.

6. Ecology Check: Be sure the client checks all channels. Do you see anything, hear anything, feel anything? Turn any signal into a yes/no signal. Find out if it’s actually objecting, or is some other response (excitement, another part wanting choices, etc.).
Once you have verified that a part is objecting, you have already established the yes/no meaning of the signal, so then you go on to step #3 to get the positive intent of the objecting part. Then you have three main choices: 1. You can adjust the three new alternatives so that the objecting part is satisfied, 2. You can keep the new choices constant, and give the objecting part three other ways of accomplishing its alternative, or 3. send the objecting part and the original part back to the creative part to generate ways to make both happy. The last method is a little safer, particularly if some of the new choices are not in consciousness. For example, what if one of the new choices is suicide. You generally don’t want to hold that constant! CR once had a client who had suicide as her new choice. The positive intent was “peace and calm; and suicide would probably have achieved that. CR didn’t have to object to this choice herself; she just asked the client to check internally for any objections, and her other parts did plenty of objecting! She held the positive intent (peace and calm) constant, and went for other ways to achieve it.
A variation on the third possibility is to have the original part and any objecting parts form a committee and select a “spokespart” to signal “Yes” only when the entire committee agrees (and to otherwise signal “No”). The committee then returns to the creative part for new choices that are acceptable to the whole committee.
Additional Future pace: After you have completed this process, and there are no objecting parts, you can also do an explicit future pace after the last ecological check. It’s seldom necessary, but it’s very easy to do and can’t hurt.

One important result of doing reframing with your clients, or with yourself, is that you get a nice internal shift. People start having a different attitude towards themselves that is much more positive and useful. They start treating themselves respectfully and appreciatively, rather than” getting on their own case.” Many times I’ve had clients comment on this change. This tends to happen, even if you don’t get some of the specific behavioral changes they asked for. People develop rapport with their unconscious, and begin to think of their symptoms as useful signals, rather than annoyances.

(trios, 30 40 minutes in each position.)

Frame: Do this exercise with someone you feel comfortable with, and in rapport with (but not someone you’re in a close relationship with), to make it easier the first time. We recommend that the first time you do this you choose a behavior to change that isn’t a “major issue” that you have been trying to change for years. Save that for later when the person working with you is more experienced. You’ll have lots of other chances to deal with major issues.
Reframing is different with each person. When you get unusual responses, and you’re not sure what to do, ask yourself “What might work to get the outcome of this step?” “What might I try?” before you call one of the assistants over. Find out if you can come up with something that will work. The worst that can happen is that you try something out and learn that it doesn’t work. Then you can call someone over.
Your handout has at least one possible way of wording each of these steps for you to fall back on. You don’t have to do it this way, but you do need to be precise and ask for exactly what you want. Any way you can accomplish the outcome of the step is fine.
Keep in mind as you do this exercise that this is the biggest chunk we’ve had you do so far. Feel free to look at your notes, be awkward if you need to, do whatever you need to do to go through the steps. I’ve been amazed at how much important change work people have accomplished, just reading notes and doing it awkwardly for the first time. (“If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly at first.”)
Tell participants that the simple outline below is in their notes (p. 3) so that participants can see all the steps at once.


1. Identify specific behavior (to be changed/stopped).

2. Establish communication with part (yes/no unconscious signal).

3. Separate behavior from positive intention (and get conscious and unconscious agreement about intention).

4. Access a creative part and generate new behaviors (acceptable to the part generating the old behavior).

5. Future Pace (or Contextualization).

6. Ecological Check.

Discussion: See “Common obstacles/ opportunities in Six step reframing” below for discussion points. Additional points follow. Don’t discuss all points if participants are getting overloaded, and make sure they have enough breaks.


(This list is not all inclusive; it is meant to stimulate your thinking of even more ways to deal with the following situations.)

Obstacles or objections are: 1) signals that you need to do something different, 2) opportunities for you to learn more about how this person is organized, 3) resources to be utilized in order to do really thorough work.

At any step you may get signals from interfering parts. First verify whether the signal actually indicates an objection. “If that response indicates `Yes, a part has an objection,’ have the signal increase, if it’s not an objection, have the signal decrease.” Next, defer the objecting part to Step 6: “I want to assure any and all parts that we will make no changes until their concerns have been taken into account and satisfied fully. I request that you carefully observe the negotiation taking place, and if you still have objections at the end, we will turn full attention and consideration to your needs until you are completely satisfied that the proposed changes will not interfere with your outcomes(s).”
The other possibility is that another part may interfere because it wants changes, too, and is impatient to get going! Again you need to find a way to defer this part until later. “I’m very glad that you (the part) are also interested in making changes. However, if we try to work with both parts at the same time, neither of you (the parts) will end up getting as fine a result as you deserve. Would you (the part giving an interfering signal) be willing to wait until (a specific time) to take care of your concern, so that we can give full attention to getting the outcome you want?”

Step 1. Make sure the identified “problem” is specified well enough. If you do reframing with “the part that prevents the person from having happiness in his life,” you are much less apt to get useful new choices than if you carefully specify the behavior to be changed. “I want to stop getting angry whenever someone questions my ability.”

Step 2. No response: The person says, “I don’t get any response. I don’t see, hear, or feel anything.”
a) This is usually an indication that you don’t have rapport with the part. Make several rapport moves, such as:
1. Tell the part that you appreciate that it has been doing something positive and useful, even if the client doesn’t.
2. “I want to be sure the part understands that I am not interested in taking away any choices. Reframing only offers the possibility of adding choices if the part decides this would be useful. But even then, the part will always have the option of continuing to use the behavior it now uses.”
3. “My role here is only that of consultant. The part that has been making you do X is the one that has the knowledge about this area of your life much more than I could ever have, and more than your conscious mind has and so this part will be the one to make any decisions as we go through this process.”
4. “Well, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ve been fighting and criticizing this part for years, and trying to get rid of it. If you did that to another person, he probably wouldn’t speak to you either. I want you to go inside and sincerely apologize to this part for not understanding that it has been trying to do something useful for you.”
b) Use some portion of the response they don’t like as a signal. “Think of the last time you X’d?” “How did you know you were doing it?” “Well, my shoulders got tense.” “Great. Ask that part increase tension in your shoulders for `yes’ and decrease tension for `no’.” You know that this is a response that part can create. (Often this is what you get for a signal, anyway. Since this is a response the part is good at making, you know you are dealing with the right part.)
c) “Nothing at all? That’s death. Check your pulse and then try again.”
d) The client may be so stuck and anchored into an unresourceful physical state that he has very little awareness of internal events. Ask client to do 15 “jumping jacks” or some other physical exercise to change state and activate physiology, before asking again.
e) Use a nonverbal signal that you can observe, but the client is not aware of.
Multiple signals: “I got lots of signals.” Different signals may all be signals from the same part, or different parts with different outcomes. Ask yes/no questions to determine which are which. If several are from the same part, choose the most involuntary signal, and defer any other objecting parts to step 6.

“Negative” response: “The part won’t communicate.” “How do you know that?” (Find out the sensory experience the person is having, and turn that into a yes/no signal.)
If the part responds “No, I won’t communicate,” this is itself a communication, actually a paradoxical communication. We presuppose that its meaning is “No, I won’t communicate content, but I’m willing to communicate this fact to you.”
Tell the client: “The question I just had you ask is so all inclusive, it’s a bit like walking up to someone and asking `Will you tell me the answer to absolutely anything I ask about you?’ Most of us would say, `No. There are some things I’d gladly tell you, though.’ This part also may be quite willing to tell you some things, while other things, for good reason, it wants to keep private.” (This sets you up for step 3, asking the part if it’s willing to reveal its positive intention.)

Once you have a clear involuntary signal, you can ask any question and get an unambiguous answer, as long as you phrase it as a yes/no question.

Step 3. The part won’t communicate it’s positive function:
a) Tell stories designed to interest the part in communicating the positive function. “Thank you for your response. I want that part to know I will respect its judgement about if and when to let your conscious mind know anything about it’s positive purpose for you. I also want it to know, in making its decision, that often when a person finds out consciously what a part has been doing for him/her, that person has a different response to the part and gives it some well deserved appreciation for what it has been doing. With this in mind, ask the part that question again.”
b) “Do you (the part) know what your positive function is what you are doing for him that if he knew, he would agree with?” The answer is almost always “yes.” (If the answer is “no” there may still be a function that the part has forgotten, or there may be no function.)
c) “What would have to happen so that (or “What could this person do so that…) you would be willing to communicate your positive intent?”
d) “This part knows you far better than I do. Sometimes when a person’s conscious mind has too much information, he becomes like a centipede trying to consciously figure out which of its legs to move next.”
e) “If some people’s conscious minds know too much, they meddle, and it becomes much more difficult for the part to carry out its functions.”
f) “There is no need for you to understand the positive intent consciously for us to go through the reframing process and generate new choices for this part. In fact, reframing often goes much more rapidly when the process occurs primarily at the unconscious level. I have had many clients who didn’t know what the positive intent was, and they didn’t even know what their new choices were, but they were surprised and delighted by new responses in the days after the reframing.”

“The part signals that its willing to let me know the positive intent, but I don’t get anything.” Use overlap. Particularly if the signal is kinesthetic, the part may not know how to use visual and auditory channels. Simple overlap will usually work: “Let that feeling become a sound, or an image, that represents the positive intention that part wants to communicate to you…”

The Conditional Close:
“If there were ways…” This is the “offer you can’t refuse.” If you get a “no,” there is some misunderstanding.
a) The part may think it has to give up the old behavior. You need to make it clear that you’re not interested in taking away anything. They will always have their old choice, you’re just talking about adding new choices to get exactly what they want, even better.
b) The part thinks it won’t be important anymore, or it won’t exist anymore. Reframe that it will be even more important and powerful when it has additional new choices, and it certainly will be necessary and vital as the part best suited to carrying out any new choices.
c) The part thinks you’re going to decide which new ways are better, and it won’t agree. Reassure the part that it is the one to decide. It knows most about this area of the person’s life, and is certainly far more capable than the person’s conscious mind, or you, or the creative part, to decide what would work better.

Step 4. No creative part: Ask “Do you have a part that plans (decides/forecasts/anticipates/tries out new things)?” Elicit experiences of “doing things differently” and stack anchors to assemble a creative part.
No signals indicating new alternatives:
a) “Ask the part, `Have you been receiving possible new choices from the creative part?'”
b) “Tell the part to communicate to the creative part what has been missing from the new ways it has been generating, and/or what needs to be there in the new ways to make them acceptable.”
c) If the part selects one or two new choices, but doesn’t get an acceptable third choice, have the person find another creative part to assist in the process of generating options, or instruct it to continue to search at the unconscious level until it finds a third choice.

Step 5. Future Pace: You will very seldom have any difficulties at this step. If you get a “No” answer here, it indicates some misunderstanding at some earlier step that resulted in inappropriate choices. Back up a step or two and find out what you missed (the part thinks it has to give up its old behavior, etc.).

Step 6. Objections: When there is an objection from another part you have several choices:
a) Adjust the three new alternatives so that the objecting part is satisfied.
b) Preserve the three new alternatives, but give the objecting part three new ways to get its outcome without interfering with the first three alternatives.
c) Have the original part and the part(s) with an objection form a committee, decide on a signal that indicates that all parts involved are saying “Yes”, and go to the creative part, communicate positive intents, and select only those new choices they all agree upon. This is the safest (most inclusive) choice.

Ending Frames:
Getting the three new choices is not the most important part of six step reframing. The most important part is making a link between the creative part and the part that used to make her X. She had a part that used the same choice, in a robot like way, in many situations, over and over again. Now it has access to her creative resources, so that if one or more of those new choices doesn’t work very well it can go back to the creative part to get more choices. If someone uses only one choice, you can bet that internally it’s been isolated from her creative resources. Now you have established a path for communication that can be used again and again, any time it’s needed.

Discussion: What if the client finds himself going back to the old response? This is an indication that your part tried out the new alternatives, and decided that it was wrong about them that the old behavior worked better to accomplish its positive function. It also means that at this point you are in a much better position to do some further reframing. Before doing reframing, your part used the same behavior over and over in that context. When you use the same behavior over and over, you don’t learn much. Your part has now tried out three other choices, and even though it’s not fully satisfied, it knows four times as much about what’s important in that situation, and what happens in that situation. This means your parts are now in a much better position to generate appropriate new options, and to evaluate new possibilities realistically.

Success/Failure Reframe: Those of you who were encountering a lot of obstacles and difficulties probably learned much more than those for whom the exercise went easily and smoothly, because you had an opportunity to try out many more possibilities, and find out more about what did and didn’t work for that particular person. Some clients, and some problems, are much more complex to deal with than others.
Discuss interesting problems or objections they encountered, and/or give some interesting examples you know about. Ex: CR worked with one woman who had an objection, then another, then another. After recycling with two objections, instead of having the third objecting part go back to the creative part, she asked to have all parts with any interest in this area, to gather together and form a group, get a spokespart, and deal with all the outcomes of all the parts at once. This woman wanted to get rid of a tumor. We have learned to expect that often serious health problems involve multiple parts with different outcomes, so we often do this at the beginning.
Keep in mind that the number of parts involved is just a matter of how the person chunks. They could chunk their experience so that all their behaviors in any way related to the health difficulty were labeled as one part, or they could think of each positive function as a separate part. I often suggest that the part may have multiple outcomes as a way of getting them to chunk at the level I want them to.
Hypnotic language patterns are very important in doing this pattern successfully. When doing reframing, you presuppose what you want to be sure happens, and ask questions about what doesn’t matter.
Also notice the verb tense shifts when referring to the “old” problem behavior, that are in your outline. As soon as the part and the person are ready, it’s helpful to speak about the problem behavior in the past tense. “The part that used to make you smoke,” etc. If you do this too soon, you just lose rapport, but after the part has new choices, it reinforces the change.
Q: This seems like TA, with parts and everything. A: TA and some other psychotherapies use the idea of parts. However TA decides ahead of time how everybody should be organized, and it just doesn’t fit for some people. TA decides everybody’s primary parts are parent, adult, and child. The adult doesn’t get to have any fun, only the child gets to. One advantage of the NLP way of doing it is that you respond to the way the client is already organized, and you only get the parts relevant to the change you’re making. When they say, “I can’t stop smoking,” they’re describing a division that they experience between their conscious desires and their unconscious behavior. You utilize that, rather than make them reorganize the way they think about it into different parts.
It’s not that we “really” have these divisions inside. Sometimes it’s convenient to talk as if we do. The “creative part” accesses those behaviors associated with generating new ideas. The part that made you smoke accesses the behaviors associated with smoking. The word “part” is a verbal anchor that helps you access something. This is just a model, not reality. If someone objects to the word parts, use some other word.
Q: What if the person’s conscious mind gets in the way? A: Give the conscious mind something else to do. “Have your conscious mind recall in full and vivid detail, a pleasant experience from your past, while we continue with reframing.” Or use junko logic to say that the more their conscious mind tries to interfere, the easier it will be for that part to make its desires known, and make the useful changes it wants.
Provide some examples of using reframing that made a difference so that the group will understand the range of behaviors and problems that this will work on, and begin to understand when it is appropriate. At the same time, you can be making other teaching points about how to deal with obstacles in reframing, and examples of the distinction between intent and behavior.
Ex: CR worked with a lady with a large tumor. The part creating the tumor wanted her to take care of herself more. She was the kind of person who was always taking care of other people. Having a tumor did work to get her to spend more time taking care of herself. In addition to the reframing, this woman made some diet changes, and her tumor did go away.
Ex: Connirae worked with a woman with endometriosis, did reframing, and it reorganized her life in many ways that this woman was delighted with. However, it didn’t take care of the endometriosis. Finally her doctor discovered she had a genetic deficiency of vitamin K. When she began taking vitamin K, her physical symptoms went away. We’re not saying that will cure everything, every time, but it can often make a difference, even with physical problems. It’s even possible that the vitamins wouldn’t have made as big a difference if she hadn’t done the reframing first. I did notice that her parts had some of the same positive intentions that often go along with health problems of this sort. They wanted her to do more for herself rather than put others first all the time. One of her new choices was that she was to go inside each morning to find out what her “inner parts” wanted for her that day, so she basically installed reframing in herself as an ongoing process.
With any physical problem, make sure that the person is also under a doctor’s supervision. It’s ecological for them to use all the resources available to them, NLP as well as Medical and you don’t want to get sued.
It is much more important to keep rapport with the unconscious part that causes the behavior, than with the person’s conscious mind.
Q: What if the part says it won’t communicate? A: You can ask a part “What would have to happen so that you would be willing, comfortable, safe, etc. and could go ahead with the reframing process?” CR: I asked this of a client once, and the part said it wanted her to sit under a table. It felt safer there. Then it was willing to communicate.
It’s very useful to have an external signal that you can see to confirm or disconfirm their internal signal. If you don’t see anything, make sure you know what they are using as a signal, and make sure that it is a sensory experience of some sort, and that the yes/no meaning of the signal is set up clearly. People typically misinterpret their parts. They get a great signal, and since it’s part of the behavior they don’t like, they assume it means “resistance.” So when he says, “It’s not willing to communicate,” or gives you some other conclusion, ask “How do you know that?” If he says, “Because I feel anxious,” you can say “It sounds to me like that part has picked a perfect signal. Thank the part for its response. Notice those sensations you are calling `anxious,’ and have the part increase those sensations if it means `yes,’ and decrease those sensations if it means `no.'”
You can also ask the part to amplify the observable signal: “I apologize for the fact that at my current level of sensory acuity I can’t observe any external manifestation of that internal signal. So that I can have a direct communication with you, and not have to rely on the client’s ability to notice and convey that signal, would you please amplify that signal in such a way that I can notice it?”
Q: What do you do when the hour is up and you’re in the middle of this process? A: Schedule so that you can extend your sessions if you need to. Alternatively, you can instruct the client to finish this in her dreams. Or, “fluff,” to make a graceful and ecological finish: “And I want you to thank each of your parts for their important and useful contributions here today, because you can appreciate that we’re already well along the way toward attaining the kind of mutual satisfaction that is so important,… and those parts can continue to (whatever still needs to be accomplished: accessing new choices and selecting from them in your dreams tonight, or whatever else is necessary.)” Be sure to specify when you want them to continue. You don’t want them to do it on the freeway as they drive home. Or, you can specify that their conscious mind can attend to all the necessary functions while they are driving home so that they are safe, while their unconscious parts work things out at the unconscious level without interfering with conscious activities. Or, you can schedule. “Thanks for the progress we have already made, and next week when we meet again, we will continue…” If it’s a new client, and he’s not familiar with reframing, you probably won’t get results by telling his unconscious to finish the reframing on its own. If he’s familiar with reframing, you can get him to do a lot on his own (and save him money).
Often when you’re dealing with substance abuse drugs, alcohol, smoking, over eating, etc., it’s a good idea to first use a visual squash or some other way of integrating the drug state and non drug state before doing reframing. Any time you have a significant dissociation, this is a good idea. By doing the visual squash, you make sure that when you reframe, both parts of the person are “at home.” Otherwise you run the risk of reframing only the part that comes in to your office that already wants to quit drinking, and miss the other one completely. You can get all the parts that you have access to to congruently agree to stop drinking, but miss the most important part.
John Zumbluskas has about 60% long term effectiveness with this method with alcoholics in 3 sessions. Alcoholics are a tough population, and the reframing success rate is much higher for many other problems. In John’s opinion the ones that don’t work are the ones with less motivation to change, and he didn’t get a good access of the drunk and sober parts for the preliminary integration. He says he is successful with almost everyone who seems really motivated. When you collapse anchors on this kind of thing, you often get extreme responses they often break out in a sweat, start jerking, squirming, flushing, etc. Any time you collapse anchors on two very separate parts, you usually get an intense reaction. (See Reframing, Chapter 5)
Think about what kind of a shift it makes if you start out thinking that your own responses are wrong or bad, and then shift to presupposing that everything you do has some useful purpose. You may not know what it is yet, but you can assume that your behaviors have some useful purpose. If you don’t know what the useful purpose is yet, you can find out. Whether you know what the positive intention is or not, you can go get better choices when you don’t like your present behavior.
What’s the alternative. If you really have bad parts, what can you do? You have to exorcise or get rid of parts. You can either think of your parts as having good intentions but poor choices of behavior sometimes, or as having bad intentions as well as behaviors, in which case it’s time for exorcism.
You can’t exorcise or get rid of parts very easily. There’s a lot of research to document this. When people try to extinguish behavior in rats, it’s very hard. It’s very hard to get rid of parts, but you can transform and change them easily.

Conflict Resolution with Couple Reframing

Couple Reframing is valuable for resolving conflict between any two people in an ongoing relationship, whether husband and wife, business partners, co-workers, or teammates. (more than two? Try two at a time first 😉

Selected from the NLP Comprehensive 24 Day Practitioner Trainer’s Manual ©1989 by Steve and Connirae Andreas.

Discussion: In working with couples or partners, it’s important to deal with the first move that generates an unuseful response. It may be that Joe comes home, doesn’t say anything to Sara, so she gets angry and yells, and then he feels bad. In this case it will be more useful to go after Sara’s response to Joe’s silence than to change Joe’s response to Sara’s yelling. In general, whenever an unuseful sequence of behavior occurs, you want to make your intervention as early in the sequence as you can, so that people can go directly into satisfying behaviors, rather than into unpleasant states before going into pleasant ones. To be really sure, you can deal with both, so that even if Sara still yells at Joe once in a while for other reasons, the couple won’t go back into a loop.
If the message received does equal message intended, but isn’t useful, you need to go for the meta-outcome of the message. For example, “My message is to tell her I think she’s a bitch.” “Yes, that’s the message I received.” “What do you hope to accomplish by telling her she’s a bitch?” “What will that do for you?”
This works best for situations where person A does something and person B thinks A has bad intentions, or is trying to insult B, etc., and B goes into an unpleasant and resourceless state.
If you find yourself going around in circles attempting to negotiate specific acceptable behaviors, or if the members start bickering, you need to back up to restate (or recreate) the agreement frame at the level of meta-outcomes, so that they return to joint problem-solving.
Q: What about when people project onto their husband or wife? A: If you accuse someone else of projecting, even if you’re right, you’re likely to lose rapport with them and not achieve your outcome. Keep in mind that the notion of projection is based on mind-reading on the part of the therapist. Maybe someone sees in others traits and qualities he really has in himself, but more often, people base their “hallucinations” about others on the way they have been treated in the past. For example, I may think my husband is angry every time he furrows his eyebrows, because in my family of origin, every time someone furrowed their eyebrows, it was a sign that they were about to start yelling. You’re more apt to accomplish something useful if you do something like couple reframing, rather than accuse someone of projecting, even if they are. (The same is true with other psychiatric labels.)
Giving Advice: There is a place for offering alternatives to your clients, but often when people start doing this, they forget about sensory acuity, and about getting a positive response from the other person. Task: Whenever you’re tempted to give advice, think, “How could I elicit this choice from him, (get him to think of it “spontaneously”) rather than telling him about it.”
Big Frame: People usually think about things much more narrowly than is possible. With all kinds of reframing and negotiation, the overall idea is to expand and loosen the ways people think about things, while respecting their outcomes and needs.

(15 minutes in each position, groups of four: Programmer, Meta-person, and two people in conflict. See Reframing, pp. 143-151 for more detail.)

Frame: Couple reframing is couple reanchoring plus the ecological considerations of the desired outcomes of both members. Feel free to use meta-outcomes, agreement frame, and conditional close as you do this.
Demonstrate: Get two people to role-play a couple: “Joe” and “Sara.” Programmer does the following with the “couple”:
1. Identify (or set up) a behavior that one member of the couple does, which gets an unuseful response from the other.
You can ask Sara (or Joe) to identify and instruct Joe (Sara) in some behavior that bothers her (him).
Pause in the demonstration to remind them of couple reanchoring and to point out the similarities and differences between that reanchoring format and this one: “Remember couple reanchoring? If we were doing that here, we would simply turn to Sara to identify, access, and anchor a resourceful state for her, and then test behaviorally, by asking Joe to repeat his stimulus behavior.” “That would get Sara her outcome, but it doesn’t consider or deal with Joe’s outcome at all. You can do much more complete and ecological work if you also consider Joe’s outcome in this communication.”
2. Identify and anchor the “message received.”
a. Have Joe produce the undesired behavior again. As soon as you see Sara responding unfavorably, anchor her response, and interrupt Joe’s behavior.
b. Ask Sara, “Are these feelings familiar?” (holding the anchor).
c. Ask Sara, “What is the message you get when he does X?”
3. Identify the message intended.
Turn to Joe and ask, “Is that what you intended by saying (doing) X in that way?”
a. If you get a “Yes” answer (for example, “Yes, I wanted to communicate to her that she’s stupid,”), ask Joe for his meta-outcome until you find one that is also acceptable to Sara.
b. You may get a “null set” answer: “I didn’t mean anything by that; it’s just a habit.” In this case you can simply do couple reanchoring, since Joe has no intention to take into account. If you want to stay with this format, you can expand the frame: “OK, your furrowing your brows has no meaning; what is overall intention in speaking to Sara right now?”
c. Usually you will get a “No” answer, “No, I didn’t mean that.” “Good, what message did you intend?” or “What response did you want to get?”
If you think that Sara is willing to receive this message, (You should be watching Sara as Joe states his intended message, to see if she responds well or not) go on to Step 4. If you see Sara respond badly, or you think she won’t want to receive this message, ask Joe for meta-outcomes until you find one that Sara does want to receive (by calibrating to her nonverbal response), or one that you think you can redefine so that Sara will want to receive it. (Go for meta-outcome until you get an intended message that is acceptable to both Joe and Sara.)
4. Get commitment to message intended, from both members.
“Joe, are you committed to getting your intended message across?” “Sara, is that a message you are interested in receiving?” (This is an example of the agreement frame.)
5. Find a way to make message received equal message intended:
a. Find it in the experience of Joe: “Have you ever gotten the response you want? What did you do then?”
b. Find it in the experience of Sara: “When has Joe gotten that message across? What did he do that worked?”
c. Select a model, or use “as if” frame to pretend you know how to get your intended message across, in order to identify a behavior. “What specific behavior would (might) work to communicate that intended message to you?”
6. Test and future-pace. Have Joe actually try out the new behavior to find out if it works satisfactorily. Particularly if the source of the new behavior is Sara, you need to find out if he understands behaviorally what she means. Adjust the behavior or search for another behavior until you find one that is satisfactory to Sara. (Be sure she responds congruently.) When you have tested a behavior that works, future-pace it in Joe’s imagination into the next likely opportunity.


(Using meta-outcomes and the conditional close)

An agreement frame creates a common or joint outcome that both parties in a conflict can agree to. People then feel safe that all their outcomes will be respected, and both can cooperate in working toward specifying the details of the joint outcome. An agreement frame transforms a fight into joint problem-solving.

(Groups of 4; 8 minutes in each position. A is negotiator/ therapist, B and C are in conflict, D is meta-person. Instructions are for A.)

Task: Utilizing meta-outcomes, get a “conditional close” that is acceptable to 2 (or more) people in conflict. You may want to form groups with other people in the same general occupation (therapy, business, sales, nursing, etc.), in order to work with contexts and situations that are directly relevant to your interests.
1. Specify a context in which you are negotiating between B and C.
2. Ask for the desired outcome and backtrack, for B; then for C. “What is it that you want?” (A & D calibrate to the nonverbal behavior that accompanies congruent agreement for B & C.)
3. Identify the meta-outcome and backtrack, for B, then for C. “What will that do for you?” Keep going for fluffier meta- outcomes until you get something from B that you observe C agreeing to, and vice-versa.
4. Calibration: A takes D aside and demonstrates behaviorally to D’s satisfaction what B and C will look like in agreement.
5. Find an agreement Frame. Find a common outcome such that when you restate it, both B and C agree: “So what you both want is…” Or A finds a linked outcome that B and C can congruently agree to: “So if B got X, and C was satisfied that Y would occur, you would both agree to that.” Test for previous calibration. D verifies that B and C demonstrate nonverbal agreement.
Ex: If one person wants “quality of products,” and the other wants “speed of expansion,” you can link outcomes by saying, “So you both want to expand production as fast as you can, while maintaining quality.” Alternatively, you can attribute a meta-outcome, and find out if both agree. “So my guess is that you both want to increase productivity, and maintain high quality, so that this company continues to be a leader in the field and increases its market share and economic position.”
Q: Are there irreconcilable differences? What if the husband wants to have a child, and the wife doesn’t? A: This is at the behavior level, not at the meta-outcome level. If you ask the husband, “What will this do for you?” you may get “create a family feeling,” “contribute to the development of the next generation,” etc. These outcomes can be accomplished without having a child of your own. If you ask for the meta-outcome of the wife’s objection it might be that she wants “freedom” to do other things. As long as having a child doesn’t restrict her “freedom” she may not object. Theoretically it’s always possible to find a resolution, even though it may not always be worth it to the people involved. They may decide that divorce is a better solution than dealing with their differences.

a. It’s important to take charge of the interaction, and interrupt whenever it is going nowhere useful. Put your body between them, turn their chairs to face away from each other, etc.
b. Unless you are interrupting, stand so that you can observe both B and C, in order to see how they respond to each other. When B is talking, watch to see how C responds; when C is talking, watch to see how B responds.
c. Useful standard lines when people are behaving in not-useful ways: “You don’t have to show me how you don’t get what you want,” or “You already know how to do this on your own; you don’t need my help to fight. Would you like some new ways of interacting?”
d. If the participants keep arguing and/or you think there may be “hidden agendas,” you can question the larger frame: that these two people have agreed to negotiate their differences. “Perhaps your differences are too great. Perhaps you should see a lawyer, split the sheets, sell the house, and work out alimony, etc….” “How do you want to divide the children–horizontally or vertically?” Suggesting that they split up will either get them very interested in working out their differences, or it will save you time trying to get them to stay together when they really want to split up and will frustrate your attempts to negotiate.
e. Attributing positive meta-outcomes to behavior (discussed previously in meaning reframing) can help the negotiation process greatly. Ex: Satir “Do you yell at the mailman, etc… So you only yell at people you love; your yelling is really your way of showing love.” Most people attribute negative meta-outcomes to the other person in a dispute. Reframing these can make a huge difference in their willingness to work things out.

Discussion: The agreement frame, like the conditional close, provides a frame within which negotiation can take place between two (or more) parties who have agreed to work together to find an outcome that satisfies the conditions of the frame. If, at any time, the two parties start acting like opponents, you can remind them of their agreement to work together to find a satisfactory solution, and this will eliminate much of the useless fighting and bickering, etc. that will otherwise occur between conflicting parties.

The conditional close is a way of finding out at the outset, “What are all the objections that I will have to deal with in this negotiation, and also provides a frame for finding a satisfactory solution that respects all these objections.”

When someone makes an objection, you can do a conditional close without having any idea if the objection can be satisfied or how you would satisfy it. The conditional close provides a frame within which objections can be identified, and later satisfied. As soon as the objections are satisfied, the sale is closed. The conditional close can be used to discover if there are other objections (which are likely to be more important than the ones you already know about). Use of the conditional close can also insure that you are talking to the right person about the right thing. When you get an objection like, “Well, I’d have to get my supervisor’s approval,” that tells you that you’re talking to the wrong person.

(trios, 5 minutes in each position.)

Instructions are for A to do with B. C is meta-person.
1. Think of a context in which you frequently make presentations, proposals or suggestions for new behavior.
2. “Set the stage,” and begin making the proposal to B.
3. B makes some objection (X).
4. Backtrack (pace) the objection, until you get both verbal and nonverbal agreement to this backtrack. (Watch for a physiological shift from disagreement to agreement.)
When pacing the objection, it will often help if you state some understanding of a likely (logical) meta-outcome related to the objection. “You’re concerned about the price you have to pay (objection): you probably have other needs and you don’t want to overextended yourself” (outcome). This will help in getting conditional agreement, and help flush out other objections. If you’re wrong about their outcome, most people will correct you, giving you useful information.
5. Make a conditional close. “So if I could demonstrate to your satisfaction that X would be taken care of, then you would be interested in this proposal, is that correct?”
6. Watch for physiological shifts in B indicating agreement. If you don’t get them, find out what other objections there are and recycle to step 4 above. When recycling, at Step 5 the conditional close must include all the objections you have elicited so far. “So if you were satisfied that X was taken care of, and that Y was met,…”

Alternative: After pacing the objection (Step 4) say, “Do you have any other concerns or objections that would need to be taken care of for you to be completely satisfied that this is a good proposal?” (This can avoid lots of recycling.)

Stretch: B thinks of one (or more) objections without stating them. A has to notice the incongruency and “smoke them out” by asking for them directly, or eliciting them indirectly with embedded questions, role-playing, metaphor, analogue marking, etc.

Changing What People Think – with Context Reframing

Change people’s attitudes? Change how they thought about any situation, event, or person? Changing what people think – of you, of a proposal, of a situation, even of an historical event. What will the power to do that with subtlety and ease, and even humor, allow you to have and do in your life? What possibilities can you already imagine opening up for you? (“More Fun” by the way is a completely adequate answer!)

One of the essential components of NLP, Reframing is the basis a number of specific processes. Reframing in the NLP world derives largely from modeling the work of Virginia Satir. You can find out more about Virginia’s amazing work, and see it demonstrated by Virginia herself on her videos.

Last week we explored Meaning Reframing: transforming meaning through simple frame games. This week you’ll get to play with changing meaning by Shifting Context. Not only is this another powerful way to get what you want, it’s also the basis for many forms of humor. So you may find yourself looking at jokes, and of course the biggest joke of all, in a new, lighter, more humorous vein.

So of course, having done your homework and played with Meaning Reframing last week, you’ll now be able to practice and enjoy Context Reframing – while keeping the differences clear! (if you somehow missed last week’s article, it’s right here)

CONTEXT REFRAMING – again, from the brilliant writing of Steve and Connirae Andreas in the NLP Comprehensive Practitioner Trainer’s Manual

Intro Example:
A father, complaining bitterly about how stubborn his daughter was. The therapist said, enthusiastically. “Wonderful! Do you realize what a priceless gift you have given her? Think how useful that will be when she’s out on a date with a young man with bad intentions!”
The punch line changes the context of the behavior (by changing your internal pictures). A behavior that is less-than-fine in one context becomes fine in another.

Presupposition: The meaning of any stimulus or event exists only in relationship to the context in which it occurs. Context reframing is most appropriate when someone makes a complaint in the form of “I’m too X,” or “He’s too Y.” When someone says, “He’s too pushy,” s/he is deleting the context: “…too pushy for what?” “…too pushy for whom?” “…too pushy for what outcome?”
The most general definition of context reframing is to place a stimulus, event, or behavior in a different “frame” or background in order to change its value.

One way to lead into context reframing is to ask the following question and get responses: If a small child is biting people, how can you stop him from doing it?

A: Bite back so he’d know how it feels on the receiving end. (To make this work, you’d need to be very fast, so that the child connects the two experiences. Since before a certain age kids aren’t able to shift referential index, this is really only an example of punishment. Problem: Kid could learn to bite others and then bite himself. (Story of man who wanted to house-train his dog, so every time his dog pooped in the house, the man pushed the dog’s nose in the poop, and threw him out the window. Pretty soon the dog would poop, stick his own nose in it, and then jump out the window.) Brains learn sequences of behavior.

A: Cattle prod or other punishment to bring about extinction. Rat psychologists have spent billions of people (and rat) hours demonstrating that extinction is slow, and always incomplete. And you create conflict: the original motivation to bite becomes opposed by the desire to avoid punishment. Each of these is expressed in corresponding, and opposing muscle tension. (Dr. Strangelove)

A: Distraction. Richard Bandler tells a story about distracting his friend with an injured thumb. When they went to the hospital emergency room, they refused to give his friend any painkiller, because he had needle marks on his arm and they thought he might be an addict. So Richard crossed his friend’s arms and covered the uninjured hand with his hands and kept his friend’s attention on the uninjured hand by exclaiming “Oh! It looks awful! Don’t look at it,” etc. Meanwhile, the surgeon was sewing up the injured hand which the friend didn’t notice. This works (it’s a kind of “break state”) but it’s a temporary method, and won’t necessarily create lasting learning.

Every behavior is appropriate in some context. Rather than fighting to extinguish a behavior, it’s much easier to (re)contextualize it. Much of growing up is learning how to contextualize behavior. Many kids go through a phase in which, for instance, everything is either a hammer or a “hammee.”

When you context reframe, you take a behavior you don’t like in one context, and ask “Where, when, or with whom, would this behavior be useful and appropriate?” Ex: Tell kids, “It’s fun to scream (pacing)…outside.”
This is much easier, because you don’t say, “No, biting is bad!” You say “Yes, it’s fun, and you can bite the pillow.” Rather than trying to stomp out a behavior, you redirect the behavior into a context where it’s good, or at least harmless. You can make a game out of biting a pillow along with the kid.

Every behavior is useful somewhere. Challenge the group to find a behavior they don’t think is useful anywhere. Make sure they separate the behavior from the context when they do this.
Ex: “I can’t think of any use for falling asleep while driving.” In this example, they’ve linked the behavior to the context. The behavior, falling asleep, is obviously useful elsewhere, but not in the context of driving.
Ex: “Pushing the nuclear button.” This is contextualized (which button, on which planet). You could go to the behavior uncontextualized (pushing buttons), or you could think of a larger context (no matter how unlikely), such as that there is a pestilence that’s going to get all humans anyway, but it would take 6 months of excruciating agony, so why not nuke ourselves and get it over with.
Ex: “I’m too crazy about desserts.” You can separate this into the compulsion and it’s object (context). Then say, “I’m sure there are other things you’re glad to have that kind of a compulsion about. What about a compulsion to learn?” Or, people with this kind of metabolism may do better in starvation conditions. Papago Indians: several thousand years of periodic starvation has selected for people who are overweight under “normal” conditions of modern society, and about 70% are diabetics. Recent experiments have demonstrated that diabetic rats live twice as long under starvation conditions, compared with normal controls.
Ex: “Self pity.” You can use it to get goodies from other people who respond to it.
Ex: “Introspection.” This is what kept Victor Frankl alive in a concentration camp. He went inside and created a rich and meaningful internal world to provide meaning in a very difficult external situation.
Contextualization means “use it here, for this purpose.” One guy goes inside, thinks of bizarre things, and comes back later, and he’s paid for being a physicist. Someone else does something very similar, and he’s locked up as a schizophrenic.

CONTEXT REFRAMING: Explicit Strategy for doing it with yourself (or with others): Do with entire group with any complaint in the form “I’m too X,” or “He’s too Y.” (Comparative deletion.)
1. See yourself (or someone else) doing X in the original problematic context. (Use Auditory digital/tonal and/or Kinesthetic proprioceptive/ tactile strategy for someone with visualization out of consciousness.)
2. Delete this context, and think of other contexts until you find one in which the behavior you don’t like (X) might be totally appropriate. Continue shifting the background until you find a context in which you congruently want this behavior.
3. Future-pace (anchor) the behavior into this new context.
4. (Optional) Back up to identify and anchor in a new behavior for the old context.

3. Ask the part that does X if it is willing to be your primary resource in just that (those) newly chosen context(s).
4. (Optional) Ask the part to select a new behavior to use in the original context.

There are two parts to using context reframing with someone else:
1. Thinking of a different context in which the person will probably respond differently to the same behavior, and
2. Eliciting that experience fully in the other person. Your goal is to elicit a compelling experience for him, using both the words you say and how you deliver them. Go for maximum response–pace and lead, use tonal anchors, personal expressiveness, etc.
There is no such thing as a “right” reframe. It’s only a question of which reframe works for that particular person. The answer to that question is in the reframee’s response. You may think of a wonderful reframe, but if it doesn’t get the response from the other person, just go on to another reframe. Keep in mind that a reframe which totally flops with one person may work wonderfully with someone else.
If you think of others’ complaints you have trouble dealing with, the responses of others in your group can help you.

(trios, 5 minutes in each position.)
1. A complains “He’s too Y.” or “I’m too X.”
2. B and C each think of a context reframe independently.
3. When B is ready, A repeats the complaint and B responds with the reframe. B & C observe A’s response (all systems). An important part of your task is to notice which reframes work and which ones don’t, and what observable nonverbal changes occur when a reframe works. Then A repeats his complaint again, and C delivers her reframe, while B plays the observer role.
4. Briefly share observations and responses. Don’t discuss them forever; quickly go on to try another complaint and reframe.
At the end of the exercise, we want you to have at least one example of a successful context reframe and a sensory-based description of the changes in A when the reframe worked.

Discussion: Context reframing is very useful as a general attitude in child-raising. In one sense your job as a parent is to continually help children (re)contextualize behaviors. It’s the child’s job to try out every behavior he or she can think of, and the parent’s job to assist the child in finding contexts where each behavior is useful. When a child does something obnoxious or difficult in one context, think about what other contexts it will be an asset in.
After successfully recontextualizing a problem behavior, you may need to create a new behavior for the original context, using the new behavior generator, “as if” frame, anchoring, or any other method you know.
Violence could be contextualized out of modern life by placing it only in movies of other times and places. (But currently TV is doing just the reverse!) Ex: John Z. told an angry client to put all his anger in an envelope, kept in John’s desk drawer. Whenever he wanted to get angry, he had to come and get out the envelope and open it up before he could get angry. It’s important to have a time frame after which this guy gets his envelope back. In between, program anger into appropriate contexts and give him other behaviors to substitute for anger in inappropriate contexts.
Q: If someone jumps on someone, knocks him down, and rolls him over and over, what is the meaning of that set of behaviors? Does it mean they just protected you from being shot, or put out your flaming clothes, or does it mean that this person is a criminal who just goes around doing these things to people? It depends on the context. If Hinkley had been hired by the CIA to kill Khadafy, he’d probably be a hero instead of a “nut.”
Ex: Wife who took too long to decide, which annoyed her husband. “So she’s very careful when she’s choosing something. Isn’t that a compliment to you that of all the men in the world, she chose you.”
Ex: “I’m too manipulative.” Being manipulative would be really useful if you ever need to mobilize people quickly, like if you need to get people out of a burning house.
The more information you have about the behavior and the context the person is complaining about, the easier it will be to deliver a reframe that fits this person’s model of the world. Context reframes are most useful for overgeneralization, to loosen the “all or none” way the person thinks about the behavior.

Nonverbal Responses to Effective Reframes:
Internal responses: “What changed in your experience when someone delivered an effective reframe to you?” (Lightness, relaxation, easier breathing, nicer picture content)
External responses: “What nonverbal shifts did you observe in others.” Often a flushing (reddening) of the skin, and relaxation. The “problem” elicits a sympathetic “fight or flight” response. When it is reframed as not a problem, you get a parasympathetic response of relaxation, etc.

Sequence: Sometimes it’s very useful to state the inverse of the complaint first. Point out the problems other people have because they don’t have what this person is complaining about. Therefore to be without this “problem” would be worse than having it. Example. Complaint: “I’m too quiet.” “I know a lot of people who are very outgoing and talkative. Sometimes they just seem to bulldoze others, and it’s obvious that they’re just “sounding off” and not listening at all. A quiet person is usually listening carefully to others. It’s really true, “Still waters run deep.”

Reverse pace: Start a reframe with “Thank God! I’m so glad you do that!” While they go inside to figure out what in the hell you mean, you can think of what to say next. (This is a favorite move of Carl Whittaker, the well-known family therapist.)

General Frame: We suggest that you pretend that you could cure anything with any pattern we teach, in order to stretch yourself and find out how much you can do with it. (Even if you think ahead of time that it won’t work.)

Changing The Meaning – And Protecting Yourself! – with Meaning Reframing

Reframing is one of the most significant models in NLP development. Meaning Reframing is a one of the fundamental forms or elements of all reframing processes, a way to create desirable changes in your self and in others. Realizing when someone is doing it to you can protect you from manipulation, whether in the personal sphere or in the public. Framing is gaining a lot of prominence today in media discussions of its use by politicians to ‘frame’ issues to limit and define discussions and policy. Here’s a way to begin to deepen your understanding and notice when someone else is attempting to limit or manipulate you by defining the ‘frame’ for you.

Changing What It Means: With NLP we have many ways of changing the meaning of an experiences and beliefs in ourselves and others, and just as important: protecting ourselves against the imposition of someone else’s values or beliefs!

One of the simplest and most subtle is through reframing the meaning of a statement, experience, or belief. It’s a simple means of doing conversational belief changes. Here is a fundamental explanation, example, and exercise you can have some fun with now!

From the NLP Comprehensive Practitioner Trainer’s Manual, Section 10:


A bunch of his Navy buddies decided to take a very inexperienced young man to see a burlesque show. They all sat down together and started to watch the show. When the woman had taken off most of her clothes, the young man suddenly got a terrified expression on his face, jumped up, and ran out into the street. His buddies ran after him, and found him still white-faced and shaking. When they asked him what was the matter, he said, “My mother always told me that if I looked at a naked woman I’d turn to stone, and it’s starting to happen!”

Meaning reframing is changing the meaning of a stimulus or event. You re-label or re-define–you use a different word or set of words so that the same behavior, event, feeling, etc. means something else. You are changing a complex equivalence. The connotations (verbal or nonverbal) of words can be used to elicit the appropriate response (even when the logical consequences don’t warrant it). Example: Leslie and woman upset about footprints on the carpet in the book Reframing. (pp. 5-7)

Example: “I’m gullible.” “It’s not that you’re gullible, you’re open to taking in ideas from others, which will keep you from getting stuck in old ways.”

Reframes don’t have to be positive! Sometimes you will want to “negatively” reframe a behavior that the person thinks is fine but is hurting self or others. Example: Unwarranted confidence can be reframed as overconfidence or delusion. Example: Woman who leaves things around the house. “That’s like a dog marking out his territory.”

Example: CR’s client who was dissatisfied with her sex life. She didn’t tell her boyfriend what she wanted sexually because she didn’t want to limit him. She didn’t want to force him to do anything. CR: “Have you ever given someone a gift just for the pleasure of doing something nice for them? (Yes) Did you realize that by not telling your boyfriend what makes you feel really good, you are limiting him, and keeping him from being able to please you? You’re forcing him to operate blindly, taking away the choice of giving you pleasure when he wants to.”

This switches the meaning of her behavior to be exactly what she doesn’t want to be doing. It reverses the presupposition that she starts with: “Telling = limiting,” changes to “Not telling = limiting.”
The purpose of reframing is to elicit a useful response, not to find “truth.” The assumption behind reframing is that no behavior in and of itself has a “correct” or “true” meaning. It’s your job to elicit more useful meanings for your clients.

Example: Boys in a coed class were being disruptive: Teacher said, “You know, I’ve noticed that if a class is all boys, they’re usually very well-behaved. But when they’re in a class with girls, they show off to be noticed.” Since the boys don’t want to admit they’re showing off, they’ll be quiet. Parallel Example: If teenagers (cross-sex) are hassling each other, say “He wouldn’t bother to give you such a bad time if he didn’t care about you.” Also: Giggling girls: “Let’s explore what the signs of insecurity are–giggling, etc.”
To get group participation, label silence as stupidity: “He who asks a question is a fool for 5 seconds; he who does not, is a fool forever.”

Meaning reframing is usually appropriate when someone uses a pejorative word–one “loaded” with negative evaluation, such as “lazy,” or “wishy-washy.” EXAMPLE: Virginia Satir and parts parties. “I’m really wishy washy. I just go along with what others want.” “You must pace really well.” “Stubborn” becomes “ability to stand up for yourself,” etc.

Example: Carl Whitaker reframe with separated mother who was over-involved with her teenage son. “So your second marriage (gesturing to son) worked out much better than your first one (gesturing to father).” Whitaker says, “People can agree with me, or they can disagree, but they can’t ignore me.”

Meaning Reframing: Explicit Strategy for doing this with others. Do this with any complaint in the form “Whenever X, I respond Y.” (Cause-effect) or, “X means Y.” (Complex equivalence)
Example: “Whenever someone criticizes me, I feel terrible.” (If someone criticizes me, that means I’m a bad person.)
1. Gather information: only enough to accurately represent the person’s response (Y) to the experience (X). What “meaning” does the person give to this experience?
2. Think of a Reframe: Ask yourself, “What else could this behavior/experience (X) mean?” Or, internally think of a larger or different frame, or an opposite frame that reverses the major presupposition, which would create a different meaning, and bring a different response. What is something about that event (X) (in that same context) that the person hasn’t noticed, and that might change his response?
3. Delivery: Pace and lead, use tonal anchors, personal expressiveness, etc.

(trios, 5 minutes in each position.)

1. A makes a complaint in the form of a cause-effect, “Whenever X, I respond Y,” or a complex equivalence, “X means Y.”
2. B and C each think of a meaning reframe independently.
3. When B is ready, A repeats the complaint, and B responds with her reframe. B and C observe A’s response (all systems) to determine whether the reframe worked or not, and what observable nonverbal responses occur when a reframe works. Then A repeats the complaint again, and C delivers his reframe while B plays the role of observer.
4. Briefly share observations and responses. Don’t discuss them forever; quickly go on to try another complaint and reframe.
Make sure they don’t spend much time gathering information about the meaning of the complaint. This exercise is to practice meaning reframes, so it’s preferable that they “wing it,” or “shoot from the hip.”
Complaint: “My boss always rejects my suggestions because he has preconceived ideas.” “Well, which is it? Does he have preconceived ideas, or does he reject you?”
Some reframes that don’t seem to work at the time, may plant seeds that grow and have an impact later. Example: Air Force psychiatrist. “Well, I pay an awful price for this job–but there’s the money and security, etc.” Steve said, “Well, I guess we each have our price.” The psychiatrist’s response was to closely examine his price, decide it was too high, and quit.

Reframes can also work against us.
Example: An aide was feeling really good one day, and a psychiatrist came along and said, “Well, often when people are feeling really good, that’s a sign that they’re avoiding a deep depression.”
Example: Connirae’s client who was worried about being a homosexual (he considered this a terrible thing). His psychiatrist had convinced him that since he had more male friends than female friends, he was gay. CR’s re-reframe: “Most men are concerned about being gay at some time in their lives, and that’s a sure sign that they’re normal.”

Tip O’ the Day: Flexibility Drill: Frame Wars!

With a couple of tolerant friends who understand at least a little about reframing play “frame wars:”

A makes a statement. B reframes the statement so as to make it mean something else (positive or negative). C reframes what B says, etc. Be as wild, weird, or mean as you can be, and don’t ask if your reframes have therapeutic value. The purpose of this exercise is to develop flexibility in your thinking, not to help someone else. As long as everyone stays within the larger frame of enjoyable learning, it can be worthwhile.


(by Richard Bandler; excerpted from the NLP Comprehensive Trainer Manual)

A great title from the original exemplar, this pattern is an example of the power of submodalities. It is especially useful for changing your feelings and getting and staying morivated to do tasks that you have congruently decided you want/need to accomplish, but don’t presently enjoy doing – like cleaning out the garage, balancing your checkbook or exercising regularly.

Choose carefully what you wish for, and be very careful of ecology with this pattern. You don’t want to install an intense desire to do random or silly things!

1. Compulsion picture: Get an associated picture of something you’re wildly compulsed to enjoy, for instance, chocolate (calibrate).
2. Task Picture: Get a dissociated picture of yourself doing something you have congruently decided you need/want to do (so you may as well enjoy it!).
3. Ecology Check: Is there any part of you that objects to your enjoying doing this task (that you have decided you need to do)? (Reframe objections by contextualizing, or choose a different task for the exercise.)
4. Godiva: a. Hold picture #2 in your mind, with picture #1 right behind it. Quickly open up a small hole in the center of picture #2, so that you can see picture #1 through this hole. Rapidly make the hole as big as you need to in order to get a full kinesthetic response to picture #1.
b. Now shrink that hole down fast, but only as fast as you can maintain that feeling response to picture #1.
Do this process as fast as you can, three to five more times. The outcome is to attach the feelings of picture #1 to picture #2.
5. Test: How do you feel when you look at picture #2? (calibrate)


Sensory Based Language and Hallucination: The “TAP” EXERCISE

(from the NLP Comprehensive Trainer Manual)

Frame: Next we want you to make a very clear distinction between sensory-based language and hallucination. Both kinds of language are very useful, but they are useful for very different things. This exercise trains you to discriminate between sensory-specific description and hallucinating internal states.

Exercise: (trios, 4 minutes each)

1. A faces B and describes B in sensory-specific terms for 1 minute: “You are wearing a light-blue sweater; you just raised your right hand about 6 inches; your eyes are looking at me,” etc. Sensory-based descriptions can always be confirmed by an independent observer.

C is meta-person who monitors A’s language and taps A lightly on the shoulder any time A uses non-sensory-based language. If A doesn’t know why C tapped, C tells A quickly. Example: “You said she ‘seemed angry,’ but angry is an internal state that you can’t observe.”

2. A now switches to hallucinating B’s internal states: “You’re uncomfortable; you’re wondering what I’ll say next; you’re glad you’re not in my shoes,” etc.

C continues as meta-person, this time tapping A lightly whenever s/he uses sensory-based language.

3. Switch back to sensory-based language for one minute.

Stretch: Think of a specific target state that you’d like to induce in B, such as humor, comfort, or relaxation, and use non-sensory-based language to induce that state in B. (You can give this task to A by whispering in his ear.)

4. Switch back to hallucination again for one minute.

Discussion: “What is sensory-based language good for?” “What is Hallucination good for?” Sensory-based language is useful for accurate, detailed communication about what is actually happening. It is good for inputting information about the present state or a specific desired state. Hallucination is useful for inducing a change in someone else’s state via hypnotic language patterns. When Milton Erickson says to a client, “Yes, I know that your unconscious mind has a great desire to change,” Milton doesn’t know that, and he knows that he doesn’t know that,…but pretty soon the client experiences it as a true statement!

When you are very clear about which kind of language you are using, you can know clearly when you are describing something that’s out there, and when you are describing something that you want to induce in someone else. Often people induce a state, but think they’re gathering information. Ex: Virginia Satir. “I’ve got a hunch….It feels to me like you may have a very unpleasant childhood memory tied up with this.” This can be a useful induction if you have a method for taking care of unpleasant childhood memories.

STATES OF EXCELLENCE – aka Circle of Excellence

This is the original format from our original Trainer Manual. It includes some of the background material used by the trainers such as framing, and frequently asked questions (with answers!).

Demonstration: “I need someone who wants a particular state of excellence to be more rampant in their life.”

1. Identify Excellent State: “What state of excellence would you like to have more places in your life?” “By ‘state of excellence’ I mean a state in which you have all your resources available to you in a way that allows you to act with full capability.”

2. Set up Circle of Excellence: “I’d like you to imagine a circle of excellence on the floor in front of you. What color is yours?”

3. Access Excellence and Anchor to Circle: “Think of a time when you were in this state in a way that was fully satisfying to you. When you feel it, step into the circle.” As soon as A can observe that B starts to access an excellent state, A motions B to step forward into the imagined circle on the floor. A and C (meta-person) make sure that a powerful state is fully accessed, and they both calibrate to this state.

4. Separator State: “Step back out of the circle.” (and distract with a neutral question if necessary to break state.).

5. Testing. “Now step back into the circle, and find out how fully it elicits those feelings.” A and C make sure that B re-accesses the excellent state fully and automatically (without conscious effort). “Step back out of the circle.” (separator state)

6. Desired Context. “From this point on, any time I tap you on the shoulder, I want you to step into the circle.” “Now think of a future situation, or a context, where you would like to have more of this particular “state of excellence.” (Note that this is not an instruction for B to associate into this “problem context.” If B does so, A can immediately tap B on the shoulder, so that B steps into the circle of excellence (step 7).

7. Chaining. “When I touch your shoulder, I want you to immediately step forward into that circle and recover that excellent state.” (pause) “How, specifically, might things go wrong in that future situation?” or “What will let you know it’s time to have these resources available?” As soon as B begins to access the “problem” state again, A touches B’s shoulder, the signal for B to step forward into the circle. A and C observe to be sure that B does quickly access the state of excellence.

8. Testing. Ask B to step back out of the circle, (separator state). Then ask B to say a little about the future situation in order to get B to think about it and access it. “Where will that future situation occur?” or “Who else will be there in that future situation,” etc. Or, ask “What happens now when you think of what used to go wrong?” Observe to be sure that B only briefly accesses the “problem” state and then automatically accesses the state of excellence. (You can also ask B to report his/her internal experience, but the nonverbal communication is much more important.)

Review: First ask for any questions for the demonstration subject. After taking those, thank the subject and excuse him/her. (Don’t keep the subject there while you talk to the group.) Then go through each of the steps in order, taking only questions about the step you’re on at the time.

Step 3: Keep anchor clean. If the person is in the circle and starts to access something “unexcellent,” pull them out of the circle. Don’t ask them “meta” questions “about” their experience while they’re in the circle.

Q: Do you let them think about the cues for a while and then go into circle? A: No. A major mistake is letting the person feel bad too long. As a client, if A doesn’t tap you on the shoulder soon enough, step forward into the circle anyway. This will a) be better for you, and b) be elegant feedback for the programmer about what is exactly the right moment. (If you try to tell them later, you won’t be able to specify it nearly as well as you can behaviorally at the time.)

Caution: There are many different kinds of states of excellence and some will be much more appropriate for a particular context, or set of behaviors than others. If the resource is inappropriate to the chosen context, the result will be unsatisfying even if all the steps are done perfectly.

Variation: First ask about a “problem” state, and calibrate. Then the person selects a resource state that is precisely tailored to this particular problem state. Access this state of excellence fully, and calibrate. Then chain person from “problem” state to resource state as before.

Discussion: This process creates a “chain” between two states, so that the “problem” state automatically leads into the state of excellence. It is a way of programming excellence wherever a person wants it. Formally, it is the same as future-pacing.

Q: What does the color of the circle have to do with it? A: Asking for color presupposes she sees it clearly. You presuppose everything you don’t want them to have choice about. You don’t ask “Can you see a circle.”

Q: What if it’s hard for them to see the circle? A: Shift rep. systems: Have them hear a tone. Any minor adjustment to make it easy for the person is useful.

Q: Do you do this with really intense problems? A: No, use the phobia method, which we’ll teach soon. When learning this method it’s best to use something that isn’t your worst, most devastating experience. For that, you want the person working with you to have lots of tools available, not just a few.

Q: What if I can’t see the cues that indicate the client is entering the negative state, so I don’t know when to push? A: Push early rather than late, or tell them to do it themselves, and you watch them. The only possible danger in this is that they might forget, so you still need to be there as backup.

Q: Can you do this with a group? A: Yes, but you can’t do individual feedback or tailoring very well, and you have to rely more on their abilities.

Keep in mind the general form. What you are doing is linking a resource to a context. It doesn’t matter if they are or aren’t aware of the circle later. The more the form becomes automated in your behavior, the more attention you can pay to the client’s responses.

When the client notices something is not going well, tell the programmer explicitly. Give feedback (in this situation, for this person). The meaning of your communication is the response you get.


One of the perennially popular and more readily understood models of NLP. Here is a simple and straightforward outline, taken from our Video “Changing Timelines” by Steve and Connirae Andreas.


A Structural Change pattern developed by
Connirae and Steve Andreas in 1984.

There are two major kinds of timeline processes:
a. Processes that utilize timelines such as Richard Bandler’s “Decision Destroyer” process.
b. Structural timeline change in which the shape and location of the timeline is changed.
This videotape demonstrates structural timeline change.


1. Simultaneously Access Past/Present/Future.
a. Pick a trivial everyday behavior that you have done in the past, you do now, and you’ll continue to do in the future.
b. Think about doing this behavior 5 years ago, 1 year ago, 1 week ago, right now, 1 week in the future, 1 year in the future, 5 years in the future. Imagine all of this simultaneously.

2. Notice Location. Where do you see each of these events? Next, you can get a sense of where the remainder of your timeline (tunnel, or pathway) is. Let the rest of your past, present, and future fill in where it belongs.

3. Notice Your Other Submodality Codings for Time. Notice the differences between past and future; recent past and long-ago past. Do the same for your future. Check for “kinks” in your timeline, or changes in size or color that make one portion of your timeline more visible or less visible.

4. Trade Timelines with the other members of your group.
a. First carefully notice your own timeline arrangement so you can go back to it when you are done.
b. Now “step in” to someone else’s way of coding time, or “pull it on you.” Notice how your state is different. Take this with you through several contexts in your life, noticing what it is like. What does this timeline arrangement allow you to do more easily? What does this timeline arrangement make difficult for you? Are any of your beliefs automatically different with this new timeline?
c. Go back to your own way of structuring time.


1. Advance Framing:
Be sure to frame what you are doing as an experiment. “You are trying out another way to code time, and if you have any objection to the new way, you can either make appropriate adjustments, or put your timeline back the way it was.” “This is only temporary, to find out if you find advantages in doing it differently.”

2. Changing the Timeline:
a. Make guesses about what timeline arrangement will achieve your (or your client’s) outcomes.
Guideline: Whatever is most noticeable (large and immediately in front of the person, etc.) will be responded to most fully.
Examples: If the person wants to become more future-oriented, make the future bigger, brighter, and more immediately in front of them. Let the past slide further to the side or behind the person.
If the person wants to become more present-oriented, let both past and future swing farther to the side, or move past behind the person and the future straight in front.
If the person confuses past and future, consider making more submodalities different, and check whether past and future are in the same location on part of the timeline.
b. Identify the positive outcomes from the old timeline arrangement.
c. Try out new timeline arrangements, making adjustments, making full use of hypnotic language patterns that presuppose that the change will occur spontaneously: “Allow it to move to the side,” etc.
d. Explore how to best accomplish all outcomes: You can use different timeline codings in different contexts. Or, find a way to achieve the positive outcomes of the old timeline on the new timeline arrangement.

Basic Guidelines for Timeline Changework:
— How is the person’s timeline structured now?
— How does the person want their life to be different?
— How can we rearrange the timeline to support their goals?

3. Future-Pacing:
When you have identified a new timeline arrangement that fully satisfies yourself (your client), have the person future-pace thoroughly: throughout the day, waking up the next morning with the same timeline, throughout the week, etc. Be sensitive to any objections, using them to adjust the timeline, or to identify the appropriate contexts for using this new timeline (where, when, with whom, etc.).

4. Program Future Adjustments:
Suggest that they may find themselves making additional modifications in the future, as they notice how this new arrangement works, and what might work even better. By saying this, the person knows how to continue this process whenever future events bring additional information and/or objections to their new timeline.

Since timelines are the basis of our experience of what is real, changing timelines can have profound and far-reaching effects. Carefully future-pace and check for ecology. If you do not find a timeline arrangement that is fully satisfactory to your client, put their timeline arrangement back the way it was when you started.

(c) 1992, Connirae & Steve Andreas

Additional Resources:

Changing Timelines Video./DVD
Heart of the Mind, by Connirae & Steve Andreas, Chapter 19.
Change Your Mind-and Keep the Change, by Steve & Connirae Andreas.
Demonstration & practice of these and other Timeline Processes are part of NLP Comprehensive’s Training programs.

The New Behavior Generator

This process is an old favorite of our Trainers and participants. It’s also easy to use by yourself without a coach or guide. I suggest you read through the instructions a few times first; you might even want to record them so that you can just play it back. Enjoy!

1. Recall a situation where you felt unresourceful (frustrated, confused, surprised, angry, frightened). Really be in the situation for a moment (1st position) seeing, hearing, and feeling what’s around you. Be aware of others and how they are responding.

2. Take a deep breath, and physically step back from the situation as if you were stepping out of “yourself over there” (3rd position). Shift your posture to express a resource state, then observe the situation as if you were watching a stage play of yourself.

3. Evaluate the situation and Select a model:

a.) “Think of someone else who can handle that kind of situation really well.”

b.) “See that person doing different behaviors in that troublesome context.”

c.) “Choose one of those behaviors that you think would be particularly appropriate for

you to learn to use in that context.”

4. See behavior in context. “See and hear yourself doing those effective behaviors in that context.”

5. Ecology Check

6. Associate: Step back into the situation with the new resources fully available to you. Experience it from the inside, hearing, seeing, and feeling yourself behave with all of your resources available.

7. Evaluate your new response. If it is not satisfactory, re-cycle to step 3 and choose a different resource and/or model or mentor that has the resources you need.

8. Future-pace: Rehearse for the future, by imagining a similar situation in which you want to have all your resources available.

Precision Meeting Model Frames

-a handy reminder checklist for every meeting

The Meeting Format


a. Establish the outcome: What do you want as a result?

b. Utilize the evidence procedure: How will you know when the outcome has been attained?

c. Create options: What will happen if…?

d. Determine membership (who is needed) with the agenda.


a. Establish rapport

b. State outcome frame and evidence frame

c. Get agreement on b.


a. Relevancy challenge

b. As-if frame

c. Backtrack frame

d. Ecology frame


a. Backtrack frame (summarize)

b. Check evidence frame

c. Next-step frame

And speaking of Rapport, here’s a quick little checklist:

Gaining Rapport:
Meet the Person(s) in their internal “Model of the World” as you match their external output by using these techniques.


small talk
matching key words and
matching ideas,
moods, opinions,
emotions, etc.
matching voice quality- tone, tempo, volume


mirroring body:
breathing, etc.
matching your behavior/
approaches to the
situation at hand


Whenever a client “resists,” it’s a statement about what you are doing, not about what they are doing. Out of all the ways that you have attempted to make contact and establish rapport, you have not yet found one that works. You need to be more flexible in the way you are presenting yourself, until you get the rapport response you want.

And a few words on words that reveal preferred representational systems and make pacing – and rapport – easier:

How Words Reveal Representational Systems

Visual – Auditory – Kinesthetic Examples


“I see what you are saying.”
“That looks good.”
“That idea isn’t clear.”
“I am hazy about that.”
“I went blank.”
“Let’s cast some light on the subject.”
“Get a new perspective.”
“I view it this way.”
“Looking back on it now, it appears differently.”
“An enlightening (insightful, colorful) example.”


“I hear you.”
“That rings a bell.”
“It sounds good to me.”
“Everything just suddenly clicked.”
“Listen to yourself.”
“That idea has been rattling around in my head.”
“Something tells me to be careful.”
“I can really tune in to what you’re saying.”


“It if feels right, do it.”
“Get a handle on it..”
“Do you grasp the basic concept?”
“Get in touch with yourself.”
“I have a solid understanding.”
“I am up against a wall.”
“Change your standpoint.”
“You are so insensitive.”
“I have a feeling you’re right.”
“I am boxed in a corner.”
“He is under my thumb.”
“They really put the screws to me.”

Guidelines to Detecting Someone’s Mental Map

-which can be extremely valuable when sorting out the objections in a meeting!

A. Pay attention to the following “clues”:

1. Listen carefully not just to the words, but to what’s presupposed or embedded behind the words. Listen for the highest-valued beliefs, criteria, values…

2. Especially listen for the COMPLAINTS, CRITICISMS, and OBJECTIONS raised. These will tell you a great deal about what is important to the other party.

3. Pay attention to CONTEXTUAL CUES (avoid stereotypes!). These are traits such as:
· Age
· Sex
· Race
· Occupation
· Position with company
· Physical appearance
· Personal belongings

4. Pay attention to the way the other party BEHAVES, REACTS, and DOES THINGS. Watch and listen for repeating patterns. This may become immediately apparent or may develop slowly over time.

B. Naturally introduce to the conversation the following kinds of questions:
· How did you decide to…?
· What makes that so important?
· What motivated you to…?
· What are your ideas or criticisms of…?
· What do you value in (a good employee)?
· What are your strategies for (dealing with the
differences in how people operate in the workplace)?
· How do you (delegate work to someone)?
· How do you (follow up on their progress)?
· How do you (determine if you are doing a good job)?
· What does a (motivated staff) mean to you?
· How is (X) more important than (Y)?

Except where noted otherwise all elements are drawn from NLP Comprehensive Training Manuals and handouts, copyright NLP Comprehensive, All Rights Reserved, 1989-2005

The Basis of NLP: The NLP Presuppositions

Here are some of the NLP Presuppositions with a personalized frame. Useful non-truths, acting from them opens doors to new understanding and behavoirs.

Experience has structure— “My experience has structure.”

The map is not the territory. — “My map is not the territory.”

Behind every behavior is a positive intention. — “I have a positive intention behind everything I do, think and imagine.”

Choice is better than no choice. — “Having choice is better for me than having no choice.”

People always make the best choices available to them. — “I always make the best choices available to me, given the information I have.”

The most flexible element in any system can control that system. — “The most flexible element in my world can control my world.”

Communication is redundant. — “I communicate with myself and others in all my representational systems”

The meaning of a communication is the response it elicits. — “The meaning of my communication is the response I get back, regardless of my intention.”

People work perfectly to produce the results they’re getting. — “I work perfectly to produce the results I’m getting.”

Every behavior is useful in some context. — “Every one of my behaviors is useful in some context.”

Anyone can do anything. — “I can model anything anyone else does.”

Chunking: small chunks to learn big stuff. — “I can learn big stuff by breaking it into small chunks.”

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly to start. “I can start right where I am.”

People already have all the resources they need. — “I already have all the resources I need to create the outcomes I want.”

There is no such thing as failure, only feedback. — “I never fail; I’m just getting feedback.”

The quality of our lives is determined by the quality of our communication. — “The quality of my life is determined by the quality of my communication.”

Mind and body are part of the same system and affect each other. — “My mind and body are part of the same system and affect each other.”

People are like map makers. — “I make maps of whatever I experience.”

People’s maps are made of pictures, sounds, feelings, tastes and smells. — “My maps are made of my pictures, sounds, feelings, tastes and smells.”

People respond to their maps of reality, not to reality. — “I respond to my maps of reality, not to reality.”

If you change your map. You’ll change your emotional state. — “If I change my map I’ll change my emotional state.”

Some maps are out of awareness. — “I am unaware of some of my maps.”

– The concept of personalizing NLP Presuppositions and this version thereof was created by Robert McDonald.