NLP Practitioner Course
with Tom Mackay

Day 3 - Notes

Following on from Day One and Day Two of helping coach at the NLP Practitioner course, here are my notes from an action-packed Day Three.

Topics covered today: Sub-modalities, sub-modality belief change, NLP Swish Pattern.


Sub-modalities encode and give meaning to our internal representations.

All our inner thoughts are coded by sub-modalities.

We often store “good” memories in one way, and “bad” memories in another.

The DRIVER sub-modalities are the ones that make the big difference to the person. Size of picture and location of the memory are often drivers for people. (i.e. big picture to the left for good memories, small picture to the right for bad memories)

The more you practice sub-modalities, the better results you'll get.

When you elicit someone's sub-modalities, you want to ask them questions about their experience as quickly as possible, and not ask “leading” questions (i.e. “are you sure the picture isn't on the left?”)

You can use sub-modalities for any two individual experiences you want to change the impact of. They're particularly useful for “like to dislike”, however you can also do it for projects you want to get more motivated about, or any other two memories you'd like to play with. The closer the connection between the two memories, the better.

Like / Dislike Sub-modality Exercise:

1)Have your client think of something that they like, but wish they didn't (make sure it's not too broad – i.e. make it chocolate biscuits, not sugar; or red wine, not booze)

2)Ask them if it's ok to dislike this from now on? (Congruency / Ecology check)

3)Elicit the sub-modalities for the memory.

4)Break state.

5)Now, can they think of something similar, but which they really dislike?

6)Elicit the sub-modalities (more effective if the location of the memory is different)

7)Break state

8)Change the sub-modalities of the first memory to the sub-modalities of the second one. Lock the changes in place.

9)Break state.

10)Test: Now think about the food that you used to like, how do you feel differently about that now?

11)Future pace – imagine a situation in the future when you are offered this food. What's different?

Swish Pattern

This is good for dealing with unwanted feelings and actions that have an unconscious trigger i.e. nail biting. You can use the Swish Pattern in many different instances, for changing bad habits or for feeling more confident, for example.

It's designed to create a new momentum towards a new and compelling behaviour. These work by first identifying the trigger for the emotion or behaviour.

To find the trigger, ask “how do you know it is time to do X?” Find a picture of the trigger. You must be fully associated.

Next, you ask “what do you want instead?”. Now you make a picture of the desired behaviour.

We want to train your brain so that as soon as you see the trigger, you move to the new desired behaviour.

Swish Pattern Exercise:

1)Elicit present state. How do you know it's time to do X? Identify the trigger.

2)Break state

3)Elicit desired state. How would you like to feel / act instead? For this, do you have a pic? (if not, make one up) Make the image as compelling as possible. What would it feel like? Make it bigger and brighter. Dissociate so you see your body in the picture, looking totally resourceful.

4)Break state

5)Take the first picture, bring it up on screen

6)Introduce new picture, but leave it small and dark in the client's bottom left corner

7)“Swish” or “Whoosh” the small picture to explode and take the place of the big picture. Feel the feelings, see what you see. Use your hands to demonstrate the “swish”.

8)Clear the screen

9)Go again!

10)Clear the screen

11)Repeat 7-10 times

12)Test and future pace. “Try to get the first picture back” then “how do you feel different?”

Sub-modality & Beliefs

We have two kinds of beliefs: empowering beliefs, and disempowering beliefs. Beliefs can help us, or they can stop us from getting what we want. They govern what we do, achieve, how we act in relationships, and so much more.

A limiting decision is the start of a limiting belief. After that, we start to filter our experience to reinforce the belief! It acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy!

We can change our beliefs! This is one of Richard Bandler's favourite exercises.

This exercise helps you to change the meaning of a belief you hold. Interestingly, the things we doubt have a different sub-modality coding to things we truly believe. We can exploit this!

To do it, we take the sub-modality coding of a self-limiting belief, and then take the sub-modality coding of something you really doubt, and then change the sub-modalities of the self-limiting belief to the sub-modalities of doubt. This starts the process – a bit of doubt begins to creep in...

After that, you want to integrate a new belief! To do that, get the sub-modality coding of something you TOTALLY believe in, and swap the feelings of doubt to the sub-modalities of belief!

NB – if the limiting belief is to do with a lack of skill, you have to turn it into a process. i.e. If the person can't speak French, you don't install a belief that they can speak French, instead you install the capability for them to learn French.

11 stages:

1)What's the limiting belief (and what would you rather have)?

2)Elicit sub-modalities for the limiting belief. Break State.

3)What's a belief that you really doubt?

4)Elicit sub-modalities for the belief you doubt. Break State.

5)Change the sub-modalities of the limiting belief into the sub-modalities of the doubt belief.

6)Break state.

7)What's a belief that you truly believe in? Make it a positive belief.

8)Elicit sub-modalities for true belief. Break state.

9)Get the client to think of a new empowering belief they would like.

10)Change the sub-modalities of the empowering belief to the ones of the true belief.

11)Break state, test and future pace.

Today was an exercise-filled day, and several of the participants made powerful breakthroughs with problems that had been around for years.

I'm truly loving the power of NLP at the moment!

Tomorrow we're looking at language – keep an eye out for my notes.

NLP Practitioner Day One Notes

NLP Practitioner Day Two Notes

Personal Development Planet's NEW BLOG!

Personal Development Planet Home