Blog Reviews

Review: NLP II – The Next Generation

NLP II: The Next Generation
Enriching the Study of the Structure of Subjective Experience

by Robert Dilts and Judith DeLozier with Deborah Bacon Dilts

It has been a long time since NLP Volume 1 was published back in 1980 with its wonderful subtitle: the study of the structure of subjective experience. That’s 30 years in the development of NLP. Volume 1 is still one of the most prized NLP books that I have on my shelves and is the one that I took to have signed by the authors, Robert Dilts and Judith DeLozier, when I trained with them in Santa Cruz. The original volume was also authored by the two founders of NLP, John Grinder and Richard Bandler, and their absence from Volume II is as good a sign as any of the fragmentation that has taken place in the field of NLP since its founding. More than almost anyone else in the field, however, Robert Dilts has tried to keep the field of NLP coherent and up-to-date through his work at NLPU and his constant development and refinement of traditional NLP processes.
However, there is also no doubt that the absence of Grinder and Bandler is significant. As far as I understand, since the development of New Code Grinder  has placed the primary focus of NLP on modelling, particularly on unconscious modelling, and Bandler has led NLP and other techologies such as DHE much much deeper into hypnosis and into the use of submodalities at a very rich level. I am sure that others may have a better understanding than me of the current work of Grinder and Bandler, but what is clear is that NLP Volume II is the fullest statement and development of Robert Dilts’ and also Judith DeLozier’s ideas to date.
Dilts and DeLozier worked together on the Encylopedia of Sytemic NLP and NLP New Coding and after all the time and development on this project and others such as the trainings at NLPU, they note that

… the time had come to finally complete our commitment to a second volume. In our view, there was clearly something new to say. This book NLP II: The Next Generation is a result of that decision.

I have read a lot of Robert Dilts’ books recently and I have found this one to be among the best, certainly the most completete statement of his thinking especially his conception of NLP as focusing on three minds: cognitive, somatic, and field. His ability to generate models and back them up with processes is superb, and in this book he and the other authors have presented the broadest, most systemic, and possibly most explanatory view of NLP–one that could possibly eventually become the most influential model in the field of NLP, the study of the structure of subjective experience.

Cognitive Mind

Chapter 1 of the book examines the cognitive mind, in particular the new ways of thinking about the structure of subjective experience that have been elaborated since the first volume in 1980. These include Timelines, Perceptual Positions, and probably the best explanation to date of Dilts’ Neurological Levels model. However, what really stands out in Chapter 1 is the so-called Unified Field Model. This is a superb achievement in creating a powerful model which unifies different aspects of NLP such as timelines, perceptual positions, neurological levels, and metaprograms. Just these 28 pages which describe this model in detail would make the cost of this whole book worthwhile. The Unified Field Theory provides a way of understanding many older processes in NLP such as Change Personal History, New Behaviour Generator, and Reimprinting. It’s not necessary to know about this new theory to make the old processes work–it simply creates a much better understanding of exactly what is happening in the client’s subjective reality. The authors also call this model (or the total spaces in time and perspective that the model covers) the NLP Jungle Gym, and this is an apt name because it provides a remarkable three-dimensional virtual space in which a huge number of perspectives can be taken on any situation. The core presupposition of NLP is that the map is not the territory, and the NLP Jungle Gym provides us with one of the richest sets of maps that has yet been made available. This map is also shown to be highly useful in Generative NLP, where instead of the traditional approach of helping someone to solve a problematic issue, the NLP practitioner helps someone to really enrich something that they are already doing well.

Somatic Mind

Chapter 2 of the book focuses on the Somatic Mind, the representation of intelligence throughout the body (rather than the more traditional view of intelligence being located only in the brain). Recent research into neuroscience, children’s education, and psychology are all indicating strongly that the old maxim, a healthy mind in a healthy body, is excellent advice. The original formulation of NLP was primarily cognitive. Others in the field have already drawn close attention to the importance of the body (e.g. work on State Management by Bandler and Grinder’s work  in NLP New Code), but DeLozier and Dilts have taken it considerably further, noting that the body acts as a representational system and including motion in most NLP processes. They attempt to develop this idea of a body representational system through ideas such as somatic syntax, biofeedback, the representation of the body within the brain, and the presence of very significant clusters of neurons in both the human stomach and heart. There is no single model for Chapter 2 with the explanatory and exploratory power of the Unified Field Model presented in Chapter 1 for the Cognitive Mind, but the explanation of Somatic Mind in this book can potentially open up many possibilities and provide a useful framework for further research and development in the field of NLP.

Field Mind

Chapter 3 of the book examines what the authors call Field Mind which is defined as

a type of space or energy produced by relationships and interactions within a system of individuals. Central to this idea is the idea that relationship itself is a “third entity” generated between those involved, similar to the way that hydrogen and oxygen can combine to produce the third entity of water. The relationship becomes a container tha holds, processes, and evolves the thoughts, emotions and experiences of those involved.

The concept of Field Mind draws heavily on aikido, energy work, and the work of Stephen Gilligan in Generative Trance. While many of these concepts are not widely accepted and may be considered as pseudo-science by many, the authors do emphasize that the concept of Field is a ‘subjective’ understanding and does not need to be taken literally. In other words, if an experience in a person’s life can be improved in some way through the subjective perception of a field, then it does not necessarily matter whether that field can be measured in any ‘objective’ way. Chapter 3 does offer many convincing descriptions and exercises which help to show the value of the notion of Field, and while it is unlikely to become accepted as easily as the concept of Somatic Mind, it is a valuable idea that will be useful to many practitioners and their clients.

Applying Next Generation NLP

Chapter 4 completes the book with guidelines and exercises on how to interpret and apply the ideas in the first three chapters. It offers some very useful suggestions for NLP coaches, especially at the level of Identity. This brings the authors to the idea that Identity can be usefully seen to consist of two components, the ego and the soul. The ego focuses on survival, self-benefit, and ambition. The soul focuses on awakening, service, and connection. This idea is used to tie the ideas of the book together in a rather artistic and touching conclusion:

When our body (somatic mind) and our intellect (cognitive mind) connect like two dancers responding to the music of life (the field), then the soul has a vehicle for expression and we find ourselves more alive, with greater joy, more intuition, and we feel more at home in the world. Charisma, passion and presence emerge naturally when these two forces (ego and soul; vision and ambition) are aligned. Optimum performance comes when the ego is in the service of the soul.

Final Comments

This is one of the best Robert Dilts’ books in a long time and a good description of his current thinking, a systemic view of NLP which is recommended for reading and consideration by all serious NLP practitioners and researchers. It offers some very strong models which many people may not accept but which could potentially have a strong long-term influence on the future of NLP. By expressing these strong and sometimes controversial ideas in clear terms, this volume puts NLP on a more solid footing and provides a framework for future research and practice.

Other Stories

The Cinderella Communication Complex

Before we begin, I’d like to tell you a story because stories are wonderful for teaching, and wonderful for learning. In fact, research has shown that people learn 25% more when they relax before learning. And when I was growing up, my uncle used to tell me stories all the time, down by the sea, where the wind and the salt water would sometimes get in your eyes and make you blink. And blink again with the freshness and new feeling. Now he felt that stories were at the heart of communication, and he said that his grandfather told him the same stories. And his grandfather would always begin a story by saying, “Let your eyes grow sleepy now as you listen to this story that comes to us from a far off place now.”
And to really understand this story, you might want to really imagine it and the best way to do that is to just step into the relaxed feeling of letting your mind really flow with the story. So as you really enjoy that feeling, you might like to take the chance to relax even more so you can let your unconscious imagine the story really well and let yourself remember it at an even deeper level.
You know the story of Cinderella, don’t you. How it came to be that the Prince found Cinderella by placing the glass slipper on the foot of every woman in the city. And they lived happily ever after.
Or did they live happily ever after?
They got married in the winter, you know, and those first couple of months were wonderful as they gazed into each others eyes, listened to beautiful music together, held hands on their long walks, and talked late into the night.
When Spring came, they were discussing what to do for on one of the few free evenings that they didn’t have an official royal function.
So on this free night, the Prince said: “Cinderella, let’s go out to meet everyone and have some drinks under the cherry blossoms. There’ll be a great atmosphere down there tonight.” Later we’ll go dancing at the Undecided Fairy club and we’ll have a real ball.”
“Really?,” said Cinderella, doubtfully. “Actually, I was just hoping that we could just sit in and read this evening. I’m feeling a little tired. We could take a walk through the blossoms tomorrow – just the two of us. It’ll be lovely and peaceful then.”
“Hey, we’re going to have a great time,” he said. Come on, Cindy. What you really need is a good night out to energize you.”
And they just couldn’t seem to agree. So they had an argument, their first if the truth be told, and the truth is always told in fairy tales.
Spring drew to a close and the weather became warmer and warmer. And by summer, things were again fine between the loving couple. The weather was just glorious, so the King asked the Prince and Princess to host a great beach party for all the children of the country.
“Oh great”, said Cinderella. “We’ll have to order lots of buckets and spades. Let’s get the order in today to make sure that they arrive in plenty of time. And transportation – we’ll hire a team of buses to get them all down to the beach. Hmm, one last thing – oh yes, the weather. Can you talk to your fairy godmother and arrange some sun for the day?”
“Wait a minute, Cindy. Not so quick. This is a really interesting opportunity. Let’s think about all the possibilities for a while.”
They talked for a couple of minutes and Cinderella began to get hot and bothered. “Why can’t he just make a simple decision? We have to act now. It’s so simple and we just need to get to the point. Obviously, we just arrange some simple buckets and spades and set up a sandcastle building contest”
Meanwhile, the Prince was thinking, “why oh why can’t she see the big picture? This is such a wonderful opportunity for development for these children. There are so many possibilities and we really need to think through each one before we reach a decision.”
Within just a few minutes, they were screaming at each other, and then shouting all sorts of silly stuff that they had kept bottled up inside.
In early Autumn, they had again forgiven each other, but they didn’t quite understand the other’s point of view. It was worrying both of them quite a bit, especially now that they were trying to make an important decision together: choosing the location for the new palace. The real estate agent took them off to see the location and explained all the great features. The Prince was really impressed. It was on a great hill with a fine view. The rock was solid enough to be a strong foundation and there was no history of earthquakes in the area. They wandered around the site and the Prince was delighted. But Cinderella didn’t look quite so happy. Finally, she said, “yes, I know that it’s a very logical choice. Everything seems right, but it just doesn’t feel right.”
“Doesn’t feel right?! Here we are making the biggest purchase of our lives and you’re just worried about your feelings.”
“Exactly,” said Cinderella angrily. “We’re going to live here, so it has to feel exactly right.”
“It will feel right”, said the Prince. “Because all the right features are here. Just look around you and use your head.”
So they had their third argument, the biggest one yet.
But they didn’t quite understand how the other person was thinking. Everyone has arguments, but these seemed to go right to important issues that they needed to sort out.
When winter came to the land, they decided to plan their honeymoon. They had been so busy with royal duties and the wedding and officially opening statues of glass slippers that they hadn’t had time to go on a honeymoon.
“Where shall we go?”, asked the Prince cautiously. He was being careful tonight after all the arguments. He was going to let Cinderella have her way as much as possible. After all, she was the woman and the honeymoon would be more important to her.
“Oh, I don’t know”, answered Cinderella. How about just taking a couple of horses out and heading down south for a couple of weeks?
“What do you mean?” This is our honeymoon!,” stuttered the prince. We’ll have to book the hotels and arrange for the carriages and notify all the towns in advance so that the people can come out to wave at us.”
“We don’t need to worry about any of that stuff. Let’s just go with the flow. I don’t like to plan too much. It just gets in the way of having fun.”
“Gets in the way of having fun?! How can we possibly have fun if we don’t know what we’re going to be doing?”
Oh dear, yet another argument.
They say that you shouldn’t allow any communication strain in a relationship last more than a week without addressing, so they decided to call on the Wizard, a great counselor who could surely help them to save their marriage. After all, it would be embarrassing if they had to get a divorce after the fairy story books had already been written.
So off they went to the wizard’s den where the wizard asked them to tell him about the problems between them.
The Prince said: “Wizard, we need your help. She is just incomprehensible. Take out your wand. We need to change her into a normal person.”
“What”, cried Cinderella. “You want to change me. I’m the one who’s normal. You’re the crazy one. Wizard, get out your wand and change this man into something that I can understand, a frog, for example. ”
“Oh dear,” said the wizard. “I see that you two really do have some problems understanding each other.
And then he said something really strange, so out of the blue that it made them really curious about what he was trying to communicate.
Because communication can be strange sometimes, can’t it? Sometimes, we have real difficulty in understanding someone’s else view of the world.
For example, I read a funny story about teaching the other day.
There was a rather eccentric lecturer named John Moffit. John was known for his strong view about the role of the teacher. One of the other lecturers arrived at work on this particular morning and passed by the main lecture theatre on the way to his class. He happened to glance in, and saw John Moffit giving a most rousing lecture from the front of the room. John was gesturing enthusiastically, and eagerly writing on the board. But when the other lecturer looked around the lecture theatre, it was totally empty. A little concerned about John’s sanity, he decided to raise the matter gently at morning tea later on.
“John,” he observed “I saw you teaching over in the lecture theatre this morning.”
“Yeeees.” John replied with a wide smile.
“But John, I must say I noticed that there didn’t seem to be any students there.”
“Yes, thet’s right. No-one turned up this morning.”
“And I noticed,” the other man continued, “that you were still teaching.” He waited hoping for some simple explanation.
Sure enough, John replied “Yes, thet’s right. Well, they pay me to teach, and that’s what I was doing!”
“It was at this moment”, the other lecturer told me, “that you realize that teaching and learning are two separate things”.
And you realize that people’s attitudes to teaching and indeed their attitudes to the whole world are completely different. And that’s where Metaprograms come in. Because you’ll also notice when you look at people that some people are different in the same way. In other words, their differences show certain patterns. And these same differences are metaprograms, and I think they are very useful for thinking about teaching and learning, and in fact in all types of communication. You can think of metaprograms as strategies that we use to put our values into action. Because when we are trying to communicate, we are trying to open up communication channels, to engage in communication, not necessarily trying to persuade or accept another person’s values.
So the wizard said to Cinderella and the Prince: “I see that you two really do have some problems understanding each other.
And then he said something really strange, so out of the blue that it made them really curious about what he was trying to communicate.
Alright, both of you, please take off your shoes.”
“Our shoes?!”
“Yes, yes, quickly take off your shoes.”
Looking very confused, the Prince took off his great big black size 11 hunting boots and Cinderella took off her beautiful, dainty size 5 glass slippers.
“Now,” said the wizard. “Put on each others shoes.”
“What?”, said both of them together.
“They’re too big and horrible,” shouted Cinderella just as the Prince was shouting, “they’re much too small and dainty.”
“Quiet, both of you,” said the wizard sharply, “or I really will use my wand and change you both into pumpkins and eat you for my supper.”
So the Prince and Cinderella looked at each other worriedly and quickly put on each others shoes.
“Now,” said the wizard. “Walk around the large courtyard past the fountain and don’t even dream of coming back before you have finished.”
So the Prince got up and promptly fell over as his huge size 11 feet slipped out of the dainty glass slippers. And Cinderella landed down on the ground next to him as her tiny size 5 feet got lost in his big black size 11 hunting boots.
“Up, up, and out of my sight,” shouted the wizard, waving his wand and shouting out a strange incantation: “Tea-a-me-Ton-a-me, Got-a-be, Song”.
Seeing and hearing this, the Prince and Princess scurried out of the wizard’s den, half crawling, half walking, fully annoyed at the crazy old man.
“He’s mad, you know,” said the Prince. “We should never have gone to him. He’s gone and cast some crazy spell on us. I should have listened to my friends. They said he’s completely flipped since the territory war with the Fairy Godmother.”
“Oh shut up and leave her out of it.” said Cinderella. “Let’s get this over with. How on earth do you walk in these things? They are so ungainly. I never knew that you had such big feet. You must trip over yourself all the time.”
“Trip up? What are you talking about? I’m Prince Charming, you know. You didn’t notice me tripping up when we were dancing at the ball, did you?”
“Well no, I guess not,” said Cinderella.
“And how do you get around in these tiny things? They’re made of glass, you know. Aren’t you afraid of breaking them?”
“Of course not. They’re absolutely perfect for me. Just you be careful with them.”
“I am being careful, really careful”, said the Prince. “It’s funny. They seemed so odd to walk in at first, but it is becoming a little easier now.”
“Yes, you’re right”, answered Cinderella. It is funny that these boots aren’t quite as bad as they were before. With a couple of weeks of Sunday newspaper supplements stuffed in the toes, I could probably wear them comfortably enough. But of course, I wouldn’t want to.”
“No. That would be silly,” said the Prince, “but I do know how you can like these slippers. They are awfully pretty and they suit you.”
And as the couple walked around the courtyard, they talked more freely than they had done in months. It felt like they were actually communicating again and they even started to laugh at their own predicament.
And by the time, they came back around past the fountain, they were hobbling along hand in hand, laughing and giggling like two little garden gnomes.
“Hey wizard, we’re back”, called out the Prince when they turned the corner and saw him waiting at the door of his den, a peaceful look upon his old face.
The wizard gestured to them to sit down and poured them some tea.
“So you two seem to be getting on a little better.”
“Yes, what was that spell that you cast on us when we left?”, asked Cinderella. “It must have been very powerful to work so quickly.”
“Spell?”, asked the wizard. “I didn’t cast any spell on you. I just cast a spell to boil water for the tea. I can’t use my wand to bring you two back together. That would be a breach of ethics and the Merlin league would throw me out right away.”
“So what did you do,” asked Cinderella.
The wizard laughed and answered, “I just wanted you to remember the old saying: ‘You’ll never really understand someone until you walk in their shoes for a mile.”
The couple looked at each other in confusion while the wizard continued: “You two, more than anyone else in the country should have realized that. Cinderella, don’t you remember that your shoes were created by magic. They were created just for you. And my noble Prince, I thought you would have remembered how everyone has different feet. How many ladies did you try to put that same glass slipper onto?
“Oh hundreds and hundreds,”answered the Prince, “but Cinderella is unique. She’s completely unique. That’s why I love her so much.”
“And you’re unique, too, my great bigfooted Prince. How many other guys would have been so patient? You’re completely crazy, but I love you so much.”
And so the wizard showed them how they could understand each other and experience the world in a different way by wearing different shoes.
And just before they went off to live happily ever after, the Prince turned back and said to the wizard, “thank you so much wizard, you really do have powerful magic”.
“Of course I have magic,” snorted the wizard. “We all have magic in every word that we say. But everyone responds to that magic in their own unique way. You can be a wizard. Just learn the structure of magic.”

Other Stories

The Necklace

An exquisite necklace was displayed in a store for a long time because nobody seemed to notice and to want to buy it. While rearranging the exhibits, someone accidentally added a figure in front of the number representing its former price. And the jewelry was bought.

Other Stories

Educating the Donkey

The wiser the Mullah grew, the less food there was on his table. The more he taught the less he got.
Something had to be done to make both ends meet. Nasreddin thought that he could at least teach his donkey to eat less. So, he will spare some money.
Day after day, little by little, he would give the animal less and less barley.
The donkey did not seem to mind, on the contrary its temper improved, he became tame and slower, careful to keep on the road.
Seeing such good progress, Nasreddin went on with the diet until the donkey only had a handful of fodder and some water for the day. The villagers were impressed.
One morning the Hodja looked into the stable and run to see his neighbour, lamenting:
“Misfortune! Everything was going so well and now, just when I taught him not to eat at all, the donkey died.

Other Stories

The Mousetrap

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. “What food might this contain?” the mouse wondered. He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.
Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning: “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!”
The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said “Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it.”
The mouse turned to the pig and told him “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The pig sympathized, but said “I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers.”
The mouse turned to the cow and said “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The cow said “Wow, Mr. Mouse. I’m sorry for you, but it’s no skin off my nose.”
So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer’s mousetrap alone.
That very night a sound was heard throughout the house – like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer’s wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital and she returned home with a fever.
Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup’s main ingredient. But his wife’s sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig. The farmer’s wife did not get well; she died. So many! people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.
The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness. So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn’t concern you, remember: when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk. We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another. Each of us is a vital thread in another person’s tapestry.

Other Stories

The Two Frogs

Once upon a time there were two frogs who lived in a pond. It was a comfortable environment that they had gotten used to over time and they imagined that this would be their home for the rest of their lives. Everyday they would hop across the lily pads, catch flies, go for a dip, and bask in the sunlight. One day, however, it started to rain and this was followed by even harder rain in the days that followed. They sensed that this weather was leading to something dangerous and sure enough a massive storm came along which threatened this environment that they had gotten used to. And they realized that they had to leave the pond in search of some place new.
So they hopped through a forest which protected them from the storm while their hearts pitter-pattered with the uncertainty of where they would end up. Soon afterwards, and having traveled a long and difficult journey, the storm finally passed. They then found themselves in an unfamiliar environment and in front of them stood a bucket. Although they couldn’t see inside the bucket they were very curious and excited to know what was inside. Ignoring the possibility of any danger, they decided to jump inside to discover what this new environment contained.
Splash! They quickly found that they had landed inside a bucket filled with cream for it seems that a farmer who lived nearby had left the bucket outside. While the frogs had initially felt excited and curious to explore this new environment, they now found that they were trapped. Upon realizing their predicament they struggled to find a way to escape. They tried to rock the bucket from side to side to no avail. They tried to climb out, but slipped back into the cream. No matter what they tried, they remained trapped.
One of the frogs said to the other, “This is hopeless. We are trying everything possible, but nothing is working!” Soon after, he gave up, sank to the bottom, drowned, and alas rose to frog heaven. The second frog, however, was determined to find a way to escape and avoid the fate of his pessimistic friend. In his more optimistic way, he became determined to do whatever was possible to find a way out. He continued to kick and noticed that something magical was occurring. The cream was starting to harden. The harder he kicked the harder the cream became until it eventually transformed into butter. He then stood on top of the butter and hopped safely to the outside. He then hopped along to other environments much wiser and stronger having learned to look before leaping and lived a long and enjoyable life.

Blog Other

What is Coaching?

When you are thinking of taking on a Coach, whether it is for personal or business reasons, it’s good to know just how that Coach can specifically help you to achieve your goals more successfully. At Standing in Spirit, we take this idea seriously, so we have discussed the idea of Coaching in this short article.
Most professional Coaches today use NLP as an integral part of their work because time and time again, NLP has been proven to support the coaching relationship and to achieve results. NLP focuses on how you communicate with others and with yourself  and how you can change and enrich this communication to achieve the results and goals you want in your life. And, of course, to go further and uncover the goals that you haven’t even recognized yet because when you work with a professional Coach, you can begin to open up new doors and new perspectives that will change your life in positive ways that you haven’t even yet considered.
The presuppositions of NLP are the foundation of the relationship between the Coach and the Client. The central presupposition of NLP is that the map is not the territory. In other words, the way that we represent the world in our minds is not the same as the world itself. Another way to think of this is to understand that events don’t have meanings – we attach meanings to events. For example, if two company executives look at the same recession, one might see disaster yet the other might see huge potential. The event (the territory) is the same, but the interpretation (the map) is different. By working with a NLP Coach, you can quickly begin to identify the parts of your own maps that are holding you back from the success that you can truly attain. The motto of Standing in Spirit is “Let it Flow”, and by that we mean that we can help you to remove the limitations in your own maps of the world and let success flow to you much more easily. We’re not saying that you don’t have to work hard – you do – we’re just saying that it’s really important to establish the best maps of the world for directing that hard work in exactly the appropriate ways to achieve your goals. Isn’t it time that you let your hard work move things in exactly the right way – the best path through the most appropriate map?
NLP offers many coaching tools to help you to create and use the most appropriate maps that will allow you to perform at your very best, to effectively access all the resources that are available, and to achieve your goals much more quickly than you could have imagined.  NLP is fundamentally interested in the modeling of excellence and the tools of techniques of NLP Coaching are appropriate for everyone who is interested in improving performance, in areas as diverse as personal development, therapy, medical professions, teaching, sports, business, relationships and much more.
One of the best definitions of Coaching based on an NLP perspective is the one posited by Robert Dilts on the back cover of his book, From Coach to Awakener.

Coaching is the process of helping people and teams to perform at the peak of their abilities. It involves drawing out people’s strengths, helping them to bypass personal barriers and limits in order to achieve their personal bests, and facilitating them to function more effectively as members of a team.
Historically, coaching has been focused towards achieving improvement with respect to a specific behavioral performance. This involves promoting the development of that person’s behavioral competence through careful observation and feedback.
In recent years, the notion of coaching has taken on a more generalized and expanded meaning. Personal coaching, executive coaching, and life coaching provide support on a number of different levels: behaviors, capabilities, beliefs,values, identity and even spiritual. These new and more comprehensive forms of coaching–executive coaching and life coaching–can be referred to as capital “C” Coaching. Large “C” Coaching involves helping people effectively achieve outcomes on a range of level. We guide people to learn about new environments, for instance; coach them to improve specific behavioral competencies; teach them new cognitive capabilities; mentor empowering beliefs and values; sponsor growth at the identity level; and awaken people’s awareness of the larger system or field.

As Dilts’ definition shows, one of the strengths of NLP Coaching is that it takes place at many levels, and you will find yourself recognizing new resources and possibilities as you see your work and life at each level with these new perspectives. Combined with the power and potential of NLP, Coaching can traverse all of these levels easily and take you much further much more quickly than you had previously thought.
Peter Wrycza also describes the strengths of NLP for Coaching in the journal AnchorPoint:

When people ask, ‘What’s NLP?’ I now say, “It’s the most sophisticated approach to coaching there is.” And if they need more detail, I can explain how it is so: because it offers a powerful methodology for uncovering the structure of subjective experience, thereby helping us to model excellence in any field. And it uses the fruits of that modeling to draw on more of our inner resources, so that our Performance and our Alignment become and remain best friends, as we grow and develop.

And at Standing in Spirit, that is our goal – to provide Coaching and training that will let your performance be aligned in exactly the directions that will bring you the greatest success in your personal and working life, no matter how you define that success. But at Standing in Spirit we like to say it a little more simply: Let it Flow.

Blog Hypnosis

Review: Better Sleep Sooner

Better Sleep Sooner
by Aaron McLoughlin
Published by Rapid Inspired Change. Available from the publisher’s website.

As the title suggests, the purpose of this book is to help people to get a better quality of sleep in their lives. The author, Aaron McLoughlin, is from New Zealand and has worked in the field of hypnosis and NLP since 1996, experience that is clearly evident in this well-crafted book. The book offers a series of strategies over 8 chapters, and although it is quite a short read at 168 pages, McLoughlin has managed to squeeze in an awful lot of good ideas in a very clear way that will certainly help to achieve his aim of helping people to get better sleep sooner.
90% of adults experience insomnia at some point in their lives, but some get it chronically and it goes beyond being a nuisance to become a major disruption to a happy productive life. McLoughlin was a long-time member of that 90% and he draws strongly on his own personal experience in overcoming sleeplessness which he describes as follows:

The nights seemed never-ending. Lying in bed for what seemed like the entire night, fretting and worrying about sleep. Anxiety was the nightly ritual. Lying awake imagining the next day and how exhausted I would be having had no sleep. Imagining all the sleep I had missed. Horrendous anxiety feeding upon itself and generating more and more sleeplessness and intermittent feelings of depression.

If you see yourself in that description, then perhaps you need to read no further and can just go ahead and order the book, but for the sake of interest of the 10% of folks who always sleep perfectly I’ll give some more details of the book below!
Much of the book is written in rich hypnotic language and as you turn the pages, you may occasionally find yourself drifting off into a mild trance or even into that sleep that may have been eluding you until now. While this hypnotic language is present throughout, it is most obvious in the stoems which appear at the end of the chapter – texts which read like poetry and act as a way of learning the concepts of the chapter through hypnosis at an even deeper level. Here is a part of one of the stoems at the end of Chapter 2.

As I am reading
these comfortable words
that’s right…
I can continue to consider…
that the problem I have been having
is just a behaviour
which means of course
that as I continue to read effortlessly now
that’s right…
I can take a deep breath…

These stoems are an excellent way of presenting hypnotic inductions in written form. The formatting of these texts as poetry means that the reader naturally parses each line separately and gives it more time to sink in than would normally be given to prose. This style of presentation also accommodates the language of spoken hypnotic inductions including embedded suggestions, long or unfinished sentences connected by simple conjunctions, implied causatives, generalizations which must be completed appropriately by the reader, occasional non-grammatical clauses, and even clauses that appear illogical to the conscious mind yet act effectively on the unconscious mind. Stoems are by far the best way that I have seen of presenting hypnotic language on the written page, and the author has done an excellent job of using this form to reteach the material of each chapter to the unconscious mind.
After an introduction to the book in Chapter 1, Chapter 2 provides a classic NLP reframe, changing ‘insomnia’ from a nominalization back into a process – something that we do. The reader is shown that sleeplessness is not something that is being done to them, but rather something that they are doing themselves. Similarly, a reframe is used to separate identity from behaviour; the person is not an ‘insomniac’, rather they are doing something that is not helping them to sleep at an optimal level.
Chapter 3 continues in the mode of reframing and McLouglin also introduces what he calls the Fascination Principle: all symptoms can be seen as messages from the unconscious mind that we can interact with – if we maintain an open attitude of curiosity and are willing to respond appropriately to the message. It reminds me of one of my own favourite metaphors: a symptom is like a telephone call from the unconscious mind – you can let it keep ringing and annoying you, or you can listen to the message on the telephone and respond appropriately.
Chapter 4  explores emotions related to sleeplessness and notes that

Changing your mental state or perception with respect to your emotions is an important first step in resolving any emotion that may be fueling the sleeping problem.

It offers several useful techniques for gaining control of emotions including the Fascination Principle, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Self-Hypnosis, and Rewind the Day – all of which I tried out using the instructions specified in the book and found to be highly effective. In particular, if (like me) you are not yet familiar with EFT, McLouglin’s concise but complete instructions provide a  excellent primer.
Chapter 5 is the longest chapter in the book and contains eight useful reframes including my favourite one – “sleep is not the problem, rest is the key.” This chapter also makes nice subtle use of future pacing by having the reader imagine the time 15 minutes after they wake up, feeling fully rested. This refocusing from the problem to the solution is a perfect example of the NLP outcome frame. Like so many other problems that people face, when they can move beyond the problem to visualizing the possible solution, the unconscious mind starts marshalling the resources to make that future image come into reality.
Chapter 6 brings us to the core of the book and offers some more valuable strategies as well as a long well-constructed stoem. Chapter 7 brings us back from trance and chunks right down into the concrete details of the environment and behaviours that will support good sleep patterns. Chapter 8 completes the main body of the book with several long stoems that are again well-constructed. The appendices offer some very practical instructions on carrying out EFT, self-hypnosis, and power-napping. Any of these could have been easily expanded into whole chapters, but the author has wisely chosen instead to keep the book brief and to get to the points quickly – after all that leaves more time for the reader to just relax and sleep, doesn’t it?
Better Sleep Sooner is highly recommended for people who want to improve the quality of their sleep – and who doesn’t? Even for people who already sleep very well, that lucky 10%, they are likely to find this book useful in sleeping deeper and relaxing more in their waking lives. If one thing could be added to the book, I would suggest that the stoems could be recorded and included as a CD, or even as an mp3 download from the website. However, I am certainly willing to wait for that as I head off to drift into a deep deep sleep.
©2011 by Dr. Brian Cullen

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The Rose

Once upon a time, there was a rose that longed to meet some bees. Because as you know, roses and bees have a special relationship. But although the rose dreamed day and night about the bees, no bee ever came to see her or to rest upon her petals. Yet, the rose continued to dream, always in hope, that one day a bee would come to her. Even during the long nights, she imagined a sky-full of bees, all gazing down upon her, and some of those bees coming to kiss her. And it was perhaps only this hope that kept her alive and helped her to last until the next day when the sun came again and she opened up her beautiful blossoms.
On one of these nights, the moon (who had seen her longings for many a long night) spoke to her and said, “You must be so tired of waiting – would it not be easier for you to just give up?”
“Oh yes, I am so tired and so lonely,” said the Rose, “but I will keep trying and trying.”
The moon laughed in an unpleasant way and said, “Why bother?”
And the rose answered, “Because if I don’t remain open, I will simply fade away.”

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Recently, a designer did a couple of simple logo ideas for the new Standing in Spirit website. These are still rough, and all suggestions are welcome. Or if you have a good idea that captures the name of the company and the statement “Let it Flow”, please just let that creativity flow and share with us!