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Rare Chance & A Classic Process: The Resource Strategy

By June 17, 2010 One Comment

20 Max? A new and literally historical training opportunity.

You have a rare chance:  we are going to have the most intimate summer Practitioner training ever in our 30 year history this year.  While I might like to announce the biggest ever, for you this is a unique, unrepeatable opportunity.

We expect to have a maximum of 20 people in the Practitioner program and this means that in addition to all the other benefits you’ll receive, you’ll get an incredible amount of personal contact and interaction with your Trainers.

Yes, you can find smaller trainings, but not one of this quality.  We have our “A Team” of trainers scheduled.  We’re committed to maintaining the quality we’re known for, and we don’t compromise.

You will have three of our best Senior Trainers, known world wide for their intelligence, skill, caring, and ability:

Tom Best, Charles Faulkner, and Jan Prince will be your personal guides on your journey of learning and transformation this summer.  Featured on our famous “NLP Portable Practitioner Training” and on our video site here:  www.nlpco.com/nlp-video as well as in books, articles, and conferences you will see for yourself how much they have to offer you.

To keep my word I’ve limited this program to a maximum of 20 students. I can only allow eight more.  So if this could be the year for you, email us or hit the chat button on the site now so we can hold a place for you.

PS We’ve worked hard to make this a great vacation value for you.  You can’t beat getting lux lodging in a top ten resort area for just $40 a night!  And yes, you can leverage this deal to make it a special summer for your friends or family – just let us help you.

More info here:

Secret Masters Of NLP

Since in last week’s post we showed you a very simple example of how to use and benefit from association/disassociation.  So this week I  thought the example of a process using that phenomena would be appropriate.  This is a pretty deep and profound piece of work.

You see, in the beginning was the original team of NLP developers.  They explored, invented, described and developed to an amazing extent.  Obviously, everything developed since in NLP was based on their original work.

Leslie Cameron (Bandler) LeBeau, David Gordon, and Michael LeBeau are three of those original developers who built the foundations and fundamentals of NLP.  They developed such a great level of mastery in part due to the precision and depth of their work.  Part of their legacy was a little program from which I’ve excerpted this process.   In fact, if you simply learned thoroughly and competently what is in this program, you would be able to do more than 80% of the so-called “Practitioners” out there.

If you’ve had extensive training and really developed some mastery in NLP, you’ll learn a lot from the subtlety and multiple models embedded in this “simple” piece; it’s a very good example of a comprehensive process.

If you are just beginning, you’ll get a lot of enjoyment and some new ideas just from reading through the process.  Going through it with a knowledgeable friend will of course get you a whole lot more.

(4,258 words. Approx 17.5 minutes reading time)

The Resource Strategy

by Leslie LeBeau and David Gordon

1. INTRODUCTION

Often people can’t respond in resourceful, dynamic, and useful ways when they are caught up in a bad situation…

Lori’s boss was verbally abusive. Whenever she made the slightest error her boss would chew her out unmercifully in front of other employees. One day her boss inundated her with a torrent of abuse for something that was not her fault or responsibility. She was so stunned and embarrassed that she couldn’t respond. She was speechless. Unable to face such a situation again, she walked out the back door that day and never returned. Lori never regretted quitting, but she has always regretted that she couldn’t stay cool enough to respond to her boss’ tirade in a firm and effective manner. And she worries that it will happen again.

Willie is a college senior. He wants to go to graduate school and must take the Graduate Record Exam as an entrance requirement. Willie is very bright and knows everything he needs to know.. .and he is worried. Whenever he faces an important test he usually freezes up. Suddenly everything he knows so well seems packed away in ice and he has no ice pick. As the date of the exam approaches, Willie’s hope of attending graduate school is beginning to fade.

Nan has a career that involves frequent entertaining. For some people this might be a lot of fun, but whenever Nan had an important party to plan she became so overcome with anxiety that she couldn’t get effectively organized. She was in a frenzy up to the moment of the arrival of the first guests. Not surprisingly, she never enjoyed herself at these events.

At one time or another we have all gotten involved in arguments. Have you ever gotten into one where the tension escalated to the point where you got so frustrated you were suddenly at a loss

for words, just at the moment you needed them most? An hour later you cooled off and, of course, it was only then that you realized what you should have said.

Perhaps such hindsight was useful as a basis for regret, but little else.

Or perhaps a friend or associate made some suggestions to you about how you could change your behavior to good effect. You responded as though it were a personal attack and responded defensively.

It wasn’t until later that you could remember what your friend had to say, and to really hear it and consider it. That’s when you also got a good look at the way you responded to your friend. A basis

for regret once again.

And, as Willie knows from his test-taking anxiety, you don’t necessarily have to be involved with other people to get stuck in feelings that prevent you from thinking clearly and responding effectively.

Being suddenly overwhelmed with feelings that leave us uselessly fleeing or fighting is something that happens to all of us at times. Must those times continue to be a source of embarrassment, frustration,

and regret?

2. WHAT THE RESOURCE STRATEGY IS

All of the examples we offered above are of people being so fully involved in, and overwhelmed by, the unpleasant experience of a situation that the responsive resources they need and normally have are suddenly unavailable. There is a sequence of steps, however, that you can take yourself through which will ensure that you need never again be overwhelmed in that way. The sequence is called, “the Resource Strategy.”

The Resource Strategy provides a way of usefully dealing with situations where you get stuck in resourceless emotions, like anxiety, anger, or embarrassment, and are unable to respond appropriately and resourcefully. The strategy allows you to detach from these feelings, to step outside those unresourceful states, as if you were an observer, watching a movie. In an observer’s position, you can be more objective about the situation, and more resourceful about choosing appropriate responses. Once you have a variety of responses to choose from, you can step back into the situation with any one of those new responses, feeling more in control and experiencing more useful emotions, like capable, confident, or even curious.

The significance and effect of the resource strategy is based on the difference between being “associated” and “dissociated” with respect to the situation that is giving you trouble. To be associated is to be inside yourself, seeing, hearing, and feeling what you would actually see, hear and feel in the situation as it transpires. To be dissociated is to have your senses separated from, and outside of, yourself; you are observing yourself from the outside as you interact in the situation.

The Experience of Association and Dissociation

Let us give you an example of the difference between being dissociated and being associated:

Make a picture of yourself on a roller coaster, as if you’re watching a movie of yourself. See yourself in the first seat going up that first big hill and watch the car climb slowly up the hill. Watch as the car tips over the hump and you see yourself speeding down the track, your hair blowing, and hear the screams that you can see coming from your mouth.

Now, as the roller coaster car dips up from the bottom of the run and starts up again, enter your own body so that you can feel yourself sitting in that seat. You look up and see the greasy chain pulling you towards the top, hear the clanking of that chain, and feel the car pulling you higher and higher toward that peak. As you reach the peak, you can see all the way down, and as the car suddenly dips down the hill the wind hits you in the face and you feel your stomach rise as your body drops and you hear your own screams as you race towards the bottom.

Obviously there is a big difference between the two experiences. That difference is crucial. When you are watching yourself, as on a movie screen, seeing yourself in the picture, you are in a dissociated state. As such, you are not directly experiencing the feelings, sounds, sights, that are an integral part of the situation. This is the opposite of what we were doing when we did anchoring, the outcome was to associate into the experience; to re-experience all of the sensory stimuli that were present in the earlier situation, as if you were there again.

The Resource Strategy is based on dissociation. It is designed to detach you from all the sensory stimuli that are operating within the overwhelming situation-the stimuli that “hook” you-so that you have the time and space to think clearly and access the resources that will help you deal with the situation. In this way, your response can become a matter of choice, rather than a knee-jerk reaction.

3. THE DOORS THAT THE RESOURCE STRATEGY OPENS

The Resource Strategy, and the dissociation that it is built around, allows you to detach from the intensity of a situation. You are then free to access more appropriate responses. The strategy is useful, then, in almost any situation in which you find yourself kinesthetically overwhelmed and cut off from your ability to choose your responses.

All of the stories with which we opened this section are certainly examples of people who could use the dissociation offered by the Resource Strategy. For Lori it could yank her out of being inside her embarrassment and give her the perspective to rationally view the boss’ uncalled for behavior. Willie can detach from the anxiety producing importance of his exam and get down to simply answering the questions. And, similarly, Nan can shift to a perspective detached from the importance of the entertaining and, so, be free to enjoy the preparations.

On The Job

Working situations are often high pressure. Darryl had been terminated from two jobs in a row and was suffering an acute loss of self-esteem. He had finally set up a couple of job interviews, but was so demoralized that he was sure he would sound like a blithering idiot to the director of personnel_ Watching the interview from a dissociated state, however, allowed him to relax and access his ability to be poised and assertive in the interview. Later, he used the same technique to get perspective on the situations which had precipitated his being fired from the two previous jobs. As a result of what he learned, he subsequently responded more gracefully under pressure in similar on-the-job contexts.

A voice teacher came to us for therapy because she was stressed out from teaching. She loved singing and it was really important for her to teach well. But when it came time to demonstrate vocal techniques she would get so anxious about being accurate that she often hit sour notes. This was very distressing to her. Using -the Resource Strategy, we taught her to dissociate. From that perspective she realized how she could utilize her mistakes as teaching tools, having her students evaluate and analyze the errors. Once outside of the situation and free of the anxiety and embarrassment, she could see her mistakes as an opportunity to be an even more effective teacher. She really began to enjoy teaching again.

At Home

The Resource Strategy is also useful in personal relationships. Sharing life with another person on a daily basis can sometimes lead to rising tensions and arguments. Couples who find that their discussions deteriorate into bitter arguments can use this strategy to step outside their anger, detach from the intensity of the moment, and get amore objective perspective on the situation. Once dissociated, you have the breathing room to ask yourself, “What do I really want here? How can I change my response so that this situation is better for both of us?,” and then respond more effectively.

4. THE TECHNIQUE

The Resource Strategy is a technique we culled from people who are naturally adept at maintaining access to their resources, even when embroiled in stressful situations. After eliciting the strategy from many such individuals, we found that in its most effective form the strategy involves seven steps. Those

seven steps are:

THE RESOURCE STRATEGY

STEP 1. Establish the context which seems to rob you of your resources and prevents you from responding appropriately.

Identify the trigger (words, tone, analogue, place, etc..) for the unresourceful state. Identify a specific example.

STEP 2. Associate into the example at the point when you first realize you are having the undesired response.

STEP 3. Dissociate from the situation.

STEP 4. Identify the most appropriate response(s) for the “other you over there.” STEP 5. Re-associate back into the situation, taking with you the new responses. STEP 6. Future-pace.

STEP 7. Test using a different but similar context as the test.

This outline gives you an idea of the flow of the technique:

  • Specify the problem situation
  • Dissociate from it and make new behavioral choices
  • Step back into the problem situation with the new choices in hand
  • Solidify the change through rehearsal.

Before taking yourself through it, give yourself the luxury of a demonstration of the technique in action. Now is a good point to watch the videotaped segment demonstrating the Resource Strategy. As you watch it, be sure to notice the analogue differences you can see and hear in the subject as he switches from being associated to being dissociated.

STOP AND WATCH THE VIDEO)

While watching the demonstration you may have noticed Michael calibrating to his partner’s responses and using anchors to assist his partner in accessing the states of “on fire” and of resourcefulness. Calibration and anchoring are of obvious importance when taking someone else through this strategy.

But remember that calibration and anchoring can be just as important when using the technique with yourself. It is not enough to simply go through the steps. You must calibrate to your own responses, attending to whether or not you are fully dissociated, or associated, and to your readiness to proceed to the next step. As for anchoring, you learned in a previous section that you can anchor yourself. If you find that you have some difficulty getting back to either the associated or dissociated states, first establish strong anchors for yourself for those states, then proceed with the technique, using the anchors when you need them.

With these considerations in mind and the videotaped demonstration under your belt, now it is time to take yourself through the following exercise, which is a more detailed version of the Resource Strategy. Read through the entire strategy a couple of times before actually doing it, as it contains many suggestions about how to facilitate the process. Once you are familiar with it, the Step headings will be enough to prompt you through the strategy.

RESOURCE STRATEGY EXERCISE

STEP 1. Establish the context.

Search through your personal history and select a context in which you often find yourself in an unresourceful state (e.g., embarrassed, frustrated, stuck, overwhelmed, anxious, etc..)

Identify the trigger.

Determine just what it is that triggers this unresourceful state. For instance, it could be certain words (“you should have”), a particular tonality (“accusing”), analogue (“looks angry”), a person (“my boss”), a circumstance (“asking for something for myself”), etc. Knowing the trigger ensures that you will include it in your imagining of the problem situation so that the changes you make using this strategy will be tied to that trigger.

Identify a specific example.

Select one particular incident that exemplifies the kind of situation that in the past has left you resourceless.

STEP 2. Associate into the example.

Step back into the situation at the point when you first became unresourceful, that is, at the point of the “trigger.” Hear what you heard, see what you saw, and feel what you felt.

STEP 3. Dissociate from the situation.

Take a deep breath and, in your imagination, step out of yourself and back (or to the side, above, etc..), so that you can view yourself interacting in the situation. Watch and listen to that other you carefully. If, as you do this, you still find yourself somewhat emotionally inside the memory, you can dissociate yourself even further by putting more distance between the observer you and the acting you, or you can put the memory on a movie screen.

STEP 4. Identify the most appropriate response(s).

In order to prompt yourself, and to help maintain your dissociation as well, you can ask yourself, “What is the best response for [your name] to have in this situation?” However you frame the task to yourself, what is important at this point in the process is to sort through and select how the “you” you are watching could respond more appropriately in the situation. Keep yourself dissociated as you do this, and feel free to run through the problem situation as many times as you need to in order to try out various response choices.

STEP 5. Re-associate back into the situation, taking with you the new -responses.

Now that you have selected a new and more appropriate way of responding, you can step back into yourself in the situation and try it out. It is as important in this step to be fully associated into the scene as it was to be fully dissociated in the previous step, so be sure to access what you see, hear, and feel as you use your new response choice in that problem situation.

If you find that the new response does not give you the kind of experience you want, return to steps 3 and 4, and make a new behavioral choice.

You may want to generalize this ability to dissociate and access resources to other, similar situations. If so, repeat steps 1 through 5 as many times as you wish.

STEP 6. Future-pace.­

It is now time to attach this strategy to your future. Think of some time in the near future when you will be in a situation similar to the ones you have been working with in the previous steps. Once you have it identified, take yourself through steps 2, 3, 4 and 5, using this future context as the problem situation.

STEP 7. Test.

The real test of the effectiveness of what you have just done comes when you actually face that situation which has, in the past, overwhelmed you. There is one test worth making before that, however. You can test your work by simply thinking of a similar situation, either out of the past or in the future, and noticing your response.

If you find yourself slipping back into the unresourceful state, then you need to take yourself through the strategy step by step a few more times, until it becomes an automatic response to the situation.

If, when you test, you find yourself automatically going through the stages of the strategy, you will know that you have been thorough and are ready to once again face that situation in the real world.

Like all of the techniques included in this manual, this one bears repeating enough times that it becomes an automatic part of your repertoire of responses. It has much more to offer than just greater flexibility of response. The breathing space and objective perspective the Resource Strategy creates provides you with an opportunity to express yourself fully and congruently.

5. FREQUENT QUESTIONS ABOUT THE RESOURCE STRATEGY

Q: Does dissociation cut people out of their experience?

A: No, it just places them in a different “position” regarding their own experience. Q: In what kind of situations is it inappropriate to have a dissociated state?

A: There are some people who spend most of their time in a dissociated state. Dissociation is useful to you in negative situations, but it can impoverish your more pleasurable experiences. For example, can you imagine really enjoying a sexual experience while in a dissociated state? Yet there are people who engage in sexual activity in a dissociated state and, hot surprisingly, some of these people experience sexual dysfunction. If they aren’t associated into the experience, they aren’t feeling first hand what is happening to their bodies, hearing the sounds that go with lovemaking, seeing their partner’s face and body, smelling and tasting what’s there to smell and taste. If what they are doing is watching the interaction from a detached, observer’s position, it isn’t surprising that they don’t experience real sexual fulfillment and satisfaction. Any time an experience will be pleasurable or exciting is an appropriate time to be associated. This includes watching a performance or movie, or reading a book. Associating into these can draw you right into the experiences being portrayed, just as if you were there and a part of it.

Q: What if I don’t stay separate from the interaction that hooks me long enough to access appropriate responses?

A: You can help yourself maintain the dissociation by using your internal dialogue. Phrases such as, “See yourself there, as you sit here, observing” and “The interaction is over there; it’s happening over there,” are very effective in keeping you dissociated from the action. Other ways to insure dissociation include seeing yourself on a movie or TV screen, or seeing yourself at a great distance so that the picture is very small. You will find it difficult to get your feelings into such a small and distant picture.

Q: If you can actually have the experience of stepping out of the negative feelings of an unpleasant situation, why would you want to step back in?

A: The “negative” state is feedback that there is a situation in which you need to do something else. You’re stepping out to access resources, not to get into a numb state. When you step outside the experience you are stepping into a resource state that provides you with the opportunity to access an appropriate response to this demanding incident. Now that you know how to handle it, and know that you can, you’ll want to step back into the experience to carry out your new choices. In this way the unpleasant situation can become the source of satisfaction.

Q: What if I step back and it’s worse than ever?

A: Then step out once more to reassess the situation, gather your resources about you, and choose another, more effective response. Also, you often already know the kinds of situations that are set ups for negative and inappropriate responses. This technique allows you to identify those and choose more appropriate states in advance, so the next time you are exposed to that situation, you will have choices available to you as you go in.

Q: How do I know if I will really respond differently after going through this strategy?

A: The best way to know whether a change has actually taken place is to test your work behaviorally. After you have taken yourself through the technique and future paced successfully, ask a friend to treat you in the way that used to trigger your unresourcefulness. If you remain dissociated from the unresourceful state, you know it works. If you find that you slip back into being associated and unresourceful, you need to take yourself again through the strategy and either make sure that you are truly dissociated AND/OR that you make better choices in terms of how to respond appropriately in the problem situation.

Q: What about depression, rage, or other extremely intense emotions?

A: Really intense emotions, such as feeling paralyzed, terrified, or rage can be dealt with by another technique called “V-K Dissociation” (see Solutions, Chapter 12, for a description of this technique). The Resource Strategy is more useful for those times when you feel stuck, embarrassed, frustrated, overwhelmed, and so on.

6. FUTURE-PACE

In order to operate in the world effectively and powerfully we need to have choices about our responses to situations and events. The ability to dissociate from unresourceful internal states allows us to access resources to respond appropriately and congruently in a variety of situations.

By taking what you have learned here about the Resource Strategy and applying it in situations where you might otherwise be hooked into negative responses you will provide yourself with new choices about responding more effectively and powerfully.

But respond more effectively and powerfully where in your life? Find an example of a time when…

You felt completely stuck, or overwhelmed, or at a loss for what to do.

You were told that you were taking something too personally.

You felt on-the-spot while being questioned by a group or an individual, and made a hash of responding to those questions.

You had difficulty with some kind of confrontation.

You felt you were being rejected and you handled it poorly.

From the same memories, select one incident that you really wish would have gone differently. Go back in time to that incident, taking the Resource Strategy with you, and use it to change how you responded then. When satisfied with your change in response, start coming back up through time, towards the present, noticing how things would have been different if you had had the Resource Strategy to help you be effective and congruent in the world. When you get to the present, imagine how things might be different now.

That is how different it can be from now on…

7. RECAP OF RESOURCE STRATEGY

Operating in the world effectively means having choices about responding.

For each of us there are certain situations that seem to rob us of our usual response resources. These situations overwhelm us with feelings of guilt, or embarrassment, or anxiety, or frustration, and so on. We are so caught up in the kinesthetics of the- moment that perspective is lost.

At such times we are completely “associated” into the experience, that is, seeing, hearing, and feeling our ongoing experience directly through our senses. To be “dissociated” is to view yourself; detached and distant, watching and hearing yourself from an external perspective.

The Resource Strategy is a sequence of steps that restores response choices by dissociating you from an otherwise overwhelming situation enough to generate appropriate responses to that situation.

THE RESOURCE STRATEGY

STEP 1. Establish the context which seems to rob you of your resources and prevents you from responding appropriately.

Identify the trigger (words, tone, analogue, place, etc..) for the unresourceful state.

Identify a specific example.

STEP 2. Associate into the example at the point when you first realize you are having the undesired response.

STEP 3. Dissociate from the situation.

STEP 4. Identify the most appropriate response(s) for the “other you over there.”

STEP 5. Re-associate back into the situation, taking with you the new responses.

STEP 6. Future-pace.

STEP 7. Test using a different but similar context as the test.



Tom Dotz

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