Hypnotic Conversations – a quick look inside the book

By now, you will have some idea why the Hypnotic Conversations approach is different from so-called ‘conversational’ Hypnosis.

If you’re still on the fence about whether you should get the book, I’m going to make it easy for you to make a decision.

I’m going to give you a peek at what is inside:

First, I begin with an introduction to Hypnosis. I don’t believe in boring you with unnecessary fluff, so there’s no ‘history of Hypnosis’ in there.

Instead, I show you what the existing types of Hypnosis have in common, bust some myths – including some faulty logic held by many hypnotists – and show you how it’s possible to use Hypnosis effectively in any area of your life.

In the next part of the book, you get into the structure of hypnosis. You’ve seen the structure in broad strokes in video 5 (The Truth About Trances). I go into detail on each element of creating a hypnotic state conversationally, so that when you’ve mastered that part, you’ll have a hypnotic conversation rather than a trance.

I cover creating good suggestions and how to use stories/metaphors. Did I mention that there are exercises which help you build up your skills piece-by-piece?

The third part of the book deals with learning powerful Hypnotic language patterns – you’ve had a taste of this in video 7 (Practicing Hypnotic Language) so if you’re really into hypnotic language, you’ll be delighted to use this section to develop your hypnotic abilities. There are 18 skill-builder exercises for you in this part alone.

The fourth part of the book deals with creating advanced structures. Half of this covers methods for creating action-at-a-distance suggestions in ordinary language. You met one of these on video 9 (Suggestion at a Distance) and you’ll meet four more in detail here.

The second half of this advanced section covers advanced patterns in metaphor – that’s storytelling to you and me. You’ll learn what needs to go into a story to make it compelling and memorable. You’ll be able to identify these elements in movies, books and TV shows – and in the news too.

You will also learn how stories themselves can be used a units within larger structures. If you’re into hypnosis or NLP, you might be thinking “Nested loops.” They’re just a small part of this, being only one of three bigger structures you’ll meet, but I do show you how and why they work, as well as when to use them – conversationally. Read this part thoroughly and you’ll realise that most people don’t do these advanced structures justice. You’ll be able to, though, if you master the basics and put the practice in before attempting anything in this section.

The final part of the book strips away all the complexity – by stripping away all the language – leaving you with a variety of effective methods for non-verbal suggestion. Combine this skill-set with your new appreciation of trance and Hypnotic language… it’s powerful – you get the idea.

If you really want to master everyday Hypnosis, or be led through the Hypnotic process in detail, with plenty of examples and practical exercises, get my book Hypnotic Conversations: The Secret Structure Behind Everyday Hypnosis.

It’s time to step into a new Hypnotic world. There is no better time than right now. Excited? Then dive right in. You’ll love it.

Suggestion at a distance – create precise post-hypnotic effects with a light touch.

Post-hypnotic suggestion is spooky. It’s one part of hypnosis that conjures up all kinds of weird and edgy connotations, with Manchurian Candidate styled overtones.

In formal hypnotic settings, it’s actually really easy. You just make a suggestion that something will happen at a later time and place, or that an action will be triggered by a specific set of circumstances. Here are some examples:

Hypnotherapy:
“When you wake up tomorrow, you will feel vibrant and full of ideas…”

Stage Hypnosis:
“When I say ‘where’s your leprechaun?’ you will instantly see a leprechaun in the audience and try to catch it…”

What place do post-hypnotic suggestions have outside a formal setting?

Interestingly, several types of suggestion-at-a-distance are already in conversational use. I describe five of them in my book, Hypnotic Conversations. Let’s look at one of them here.

Inoculation

Often you know something is likely to occur to a person later on and if they are left a completely free choice, they might interpret it negatively.

This form of ‘suggestion at a distance’ is specifically designed to disarm in advance any negative interpretations they may make.

For example, when learning a new skill, it’s inevitable that you may fail some of the time. We all do this when trying out something new. However, some people may interpret this to mean that they are ‘a failure’ and the consequences are that they will stop learning before they can make a breakthrough.

You can inoculate for this by suggesting a more useful interpretation in advance. For example, you might suggest “each time you fail, you’re learning more and are building a solid basis for total success.”

You can also inoculate for other things which can get in the way, such as doubt. “At a particular point in this process, you might have some doubts. That’s absolutely natural and it only means you are moving closer to complete certainty.”

Now you’ve set it up to make positive results inevitable. If they have no doubts, that’s ok. If they have doubts, it means they’re moving towards having no doubts. In either case, the result you will get is the one you want.

The great thing about inoculation is that you can look at any stumbling blocks in advance and suggest they mean something positive which keeps the process on track.

Effective salespeople do this. Good teachers do this. Now you can do it too.

If you want to know more about hypnotic suggestions, or to be led through the hypnotic process in detail, with plenty of examples and practical exercises, get my book Hypnotic Conversations: The Secret Structure Behind Everyday Hypnosis.

Or if you still need more – see the next video, which gives you a peek inside the Hypnotic Conversations book .

Hypnotic Storytelling – The Secret Keys to the Unconscious Self

Stories have a unique power in our lives. Just think about the number of stories you experience in your everyday life.

  • Stories we tell others
  • Stories others tell us
  • Stories in the news
  • Stories in books, movies and TV shows
  • Jokes
  • Advertising and sales pitches
  • Dreams

It should be clear that human beings are natural storytellers. Stories are so natural to us that it’s important to use them in hypnotic conversations.

There is a part of your mind which creates stories from your past experiences. It takes the facts which stand out the most for you and builds them into a plausible narrative. This is the story of your life.

In the words of Hollywood screenwriter Robert McKee:

“Storytelling is the creative demonstration of truth. A story is the living proof of an idea, the conversion of idea to action.”

Stories can capture a person’s attention, activate their imagination and create a change in their state of mind. However, stories can do much more than this.

When you think about the stories which make up your life, remember that this story isn’t true or false – it’s just a story which fits the facts you are aware of.

If you changed one of those stories, it would change your life.

The stories we use to describe everyday events convey a multitude of assumptions about how we perceive the world around us. For example:

  • “it’s just a roll of the dice”

Conveys random chance, no control over the outcome.

  • “he’s keeping his cards close to his chest”

Conveys secrecy, control and an underlying strategy.

When you compare these two phrases, they might describe the same world, but they express very different attitudes to it. For example, the first is reactive, the second is proactive.

Again, neither story is right or wrong. They just have different implications. The story you choose determines the implications you or another person will experience. The effect is extremely potent.
But won’t the reality of the situation overrule our story? Not often. To explain why, I first need to tell you about what I call ‘tiger theories’.

Once I read a story about a man in the jungle who had just made contact with a lost tribe. He was trying to impress the Head Man of the tribe, so he showed him his jeep.

When the Head Man asked how it worked, the explorer started to talk about pistons, engines and valves. The Head Man understood none of this and wasn’t impressed.

So the explorer instead told him that there was a tiger in the box at the front of the machine.
“If you turn this”, he said, pointing to the ignition key, “it twists the tiger’s ear and you will hear him roar”. He turned the key and sure enough, there was a roaring noise from the front of the jeep.
“If you push this with your foot”, he said, pointing to the accelerator, “it pokes the tiger with a stick and he will run forward.” He pushed the pedal and the jeep moved forward.

“If you push this other pedal”, he said, pointing to the brake, “it pulls back on a rope around the tiger’s neck and slows him down again”. He pushed the brake and the vehicle slowed.

“This wheel is connected to ropes on the tiger’s front legs”, he told the Head Man about the steering wheel. “Turning the wheel pulls the tiger in that direction.” He demonstrated the steering.
Knowing this, the Head Man was very impressed and now knew how to operate the explorer’s jeep.

This is what I call a ‘tiger theory’ – a story that is useful because it fits the available facts. However, fitting the facts well or being useful does not make it true, though we often behave as though it does.

Think about something we take for granted – think about gravity. The observable fact is this: things fall downwards. However, there is a story about how gravity works which has changed many times over the centuries. The story fits the observable facts. It even uses math. It certainly is useful, but is it true?

The trick is this: every time we observe something new that doesn’t fit the current story, we change the story. That is why the story changes and develops. Think about what would have happened if the Head Man had looked into the jeep’s engine compartment – the tiger story wouldn’t fit the observable facts and a new story would be needed to make sense of the jeep.

Now, what about the stories which make up your life? If you focus on different aspects of your experience, or if new facts come to light, the story changes – and so do you.

This process is at the very heart of all change and that’s why hypnotic storytelling is a secret key to the unconscious self.

If you want to know more about hypnotic storytelling, or to be led through the hypnotic process in detail, with plenty of examples and practical exercises, get my book Hypnotic Conversations: The Secret Structure Behind Everyday Hypnosis.

Or if you want to know even more first, then watch my next video – Suggestion at a distance – create precise post-hypnotic effects with a light touch.

The best way to practice Hypnotic language without wanting to slam your head in a door

Let’s face it – practicing something new can be really dull. Like playing scales while learning a musical instrument, sometimes repetition is the key. Repetition can help you to internalise the learning, allowing you to make the knowledge your own. This is also true of learning hypnotic language patterns.

However, until you really own it, the practice can be frustrating and dreary.

But practice doesn’t have to be boring, if you know how.

With hypnosis, it helps to break the information into categories, so you can immediately understand the purpose of each piece. From there, you can place the learning in context and it will stick more easily.

So, for those of you at home who are frustrated by trying to get fluent at hypnotic language patterns, I’m going to give you a helping hand. Ready?

Hypnotic language streamlines into three categories: Time, Space and Reality.

Here’s the idea – when you do hypnosis, you’re trying to create a reality (just like Steve Jobs’ “reality distortion field”). You make things real by using a kind of code for real experiences.

Remember that the world is made up of space and time – four dimensions. So words and phrases which create or manipulate time and space are hypnotic. There are other aspects of reality which don’t relate so closely to time and space, so these go into a third category.

So much for the theory, let’s do an example from each category.

Time: Starting and stopping
In life, things begin and end. They start, continue then they stop. Some things build and intensify after they begin, or diminish and fade before they cease.

All of these words express the changes that can happen within the flow of your experience and if you want to create a change, it makes sense to use words like these.

Examples of use in context:

  • Excitement: “you may start to feel a growing excitement as you think about all the possibilities”
  • Relaxation: “when you stop and think about relaxation, where do you feel it first?”

Exercise: How to lead using starting and stopping

  • Decide what experience do you want to lead the person into.
  • What is the other person experiencing now?
  • What does the other person need to start experiencing?
  • What does the other person need to stop experiencing?
  • Have a conversation with this understanding in mind.

Space: Direction
We use direction to describe so many of our experiences and an awareness of this can greatly improve the way you work with a person’s existing stories and metaphors.

For example, we can raise or lower our standards. We can feel ‘down’ or ‘up’. We can pick up an idea, or drop it. People can be ‘on a high’ or may be experiencing a ‘low point’ in their lives. Our performance can take a leap forward, or we can backslide instead.

You’ve probably noticed that all these directions come in pairs of opposites, so we can use changes of direction to change awareness, shift states of mind and alter perspectives too.

Examples of use in context:

  • Choice: “I can’t go back there.” “What would happen if you went forward instead? Where would that lead?”
  • Sales: “The price is too high.” “I can give you something cheaper if you’re prepared to lower your expectations…”

Exercise: How to practice using direction

  • Decide what experience do you want to lead the person into.
  • What way do the directions in their metaphors keep them from that experience?
  • How can you change their ‘directions’ to move them towards that experience?
  • Construct a set of questions that make use of that knowledge to create that experience.

BONUS: Direction can link with and accelerate ‘starting and stopping’ to some extent.

  • start to raise your skill level”
  • begin to move forward positively”

Reality: Automatic
When we do hypnosis, it’s useful to make certain actions or thoughts happen by themselves. The easiest way to create this often involves making the subject ‘a passive observer of themselves’.

This is easier to achieve than it may seem, and it’s a great way to make suggestions easier for your hypnotic subject to act upon.

Examples of use in context:

  • Choice: “…you might notice how certain new choices and possibilities arise…”
  • Creativity: “…you may find yourself coming up with better alternatives…”
  • Sales: “have you ever noticed how some decisions just seem to make themselves?”

Exercise: How to practice using Automatic words

  • Decide what experience do you want to lead the person into.
  • Which will need to happen automatically to start experiencing that?
  • Have a conversation with this understanding in mind.

I’m sure you can see how much fun it can be to learn hypnotic language this way.

If you want to know more about hypnotic language, or to be led through the hypnotic process in detail, with plenty of examples and practical exercises, get my book Hypnotic Conversations: The Secret Structure Behind Everyday Hypnosis.

Or if you want to know even more first, then watch my next video – Hypnotic Storytelling – The secret keys to the unconscious self.

The Truth about Trances – how to create a complete hypnotic experience in just three acts

Now that you know about the structure behind hypnosis, it’s time to look at creating quality.

How do you create a complete hypnotic experience?

Like any good story, trances – first-rate trances, that is – come in three parts.

Beginning, middle and… end, right? Wrong.

There are three stages each and every effective trance experience goes through. Here we go.

First comes the Induction and Deepener. Wait – isn’t that two stages? Not really. A definition might help:

An Induction is: The process of taking someone from a “normal waking state” to a “trance state”.

A Deepener is exactly what it sounds like – it just amps up the trance, so these two are really part of the same stage.

More importantly, what is a “normal waking state” and what is a “trance state?” There is a lot of debate about these definitions, which is part of the mystification and general flim-flam behind hypnosis.

The truth is, your normal waking state can vary – happy, sad, focused, distracted, energetic, relaxed – I’m sure you get the idea. What hypnotists tend to mean when using this term is that a person’s attention flits around and is largely focused on the outside and in the here-and-now.

By contrast, a trance state is used to describe an experience where a person’s attention is more singular and is largely focused on the inside and on some other time and place. Beyond that, the trance state can vary greatly in its energy, focus and emotional content – just like the so-called waking state.

An induction is anything which joins the dots between these two experiences, focusing a person on the inside and out of the here-and-now. It’s not complicated, but it requires some skill. Hypnotists tend to use suggestions and stories to achieve this.

Hypnotic Conversations involve attention to 5 key markers that allow you to easily tailor your induction. The process is much simpler that you might imagine, when you know how.

The next stage of hypnosis is called the Main Intervention. It’s the process of enacting your hypnotic purpose while the subject is in a “trance” state. In short, it’s the part where the main business of the hypnosis takes place.

Of course, what actually happens here can vary immensely depending on the purpose of your trance.

For example, if the purpose of your trance is to teach, this is where the learning takes place. Or if your purpose is to persuade, this is where you will reframe perceptions and create bias towards desired outcomes. In hypnotherapy, this is the point in the process where the therapeutic change happens.

All these purposes are easier to enact in trance – focused on the inside, in a time and place of your choosing. The structure in this phase can be simple or it may be complex. Suggestions and stories are effective tools here too. (The next video covers a way of making effective suggestions, while video 8 introduces hypnotic storytelling).

More advanced hypnotic structures may be put to work in the main intervention too.

Finally, you must Test & Re-Orient the hypnotic subject. I covered this to some extent in the previous video (Hypnosis in a nutshell), but it’s useful to recap here. In this stage, you check the change has worked correctly and return the subject back into a “normal state of awareness.”

How do you know the intervention has been successful? Just test the result to make sure it’s in line with the purpose of the trance. That’s all. Not too much of the desired result or too little. No side effects either – that’s just carelessness which requires correction. Check your work, if you want to get really good at hypnosis.

Then bring them back to the here-and-now. As I said before, the route you take and the speed at which you do this will matter. The results can vary, creating differing effects including ‘trance amnesia’. The way you re-orient the subject can also affect whether results are seen in the real world or merely during the trance itself.

Naturally, this is just an outline of the process, though it will guide you effectively. When you practice the specifics of each piece, you can be hypnotic whenever you want.

I walk you through the process in detail, with plenty of examples and practical exercises in my book Hypnotic Conversations: The Secret Structure Behind Everyday Hypnosis.

Or if you want to know even more first, then watch my next video – Smart pacing – an easy alternative to boring your hypnotic subject into trance.

Hypnosis in a nutshell – How to use Hypnotic Conversations for any purpose

Relax, I’m not going to bore you with the usual structure of hypnosis, where you hear about language patterns, pace and lead, matching and so on until you’re ready to throw your laptop out the window.

Instead I’m going to show you something useful. It’s time to look at the structure behind hypnosis.

This is the ‘big picture’ of hypnosis and in many ways it’s the whole picture. Master this and all the rest is just details.

Here we go…

In the previous video I talked about how important it is to understand that all hypnosis is a strictly purpose-driven activity.

Purpose sets the ‘rules’ and keeps us on course throughout the hypnotic process, so any successful hypnosis starts right there.

Now traditional hypnotists don’t need to think about purpose – a hypnotherapist will always be doing therapeutic change and a stage hypnotist will always seek to entertain.

So when we broaden out the applications of hypnosis into non-standard categories, it makes sense to consider purpose first.

You might want to entertain, create change, influence, inform, cause learning, build a creative mindset, or any of 1001 other hypnotic purposes.

Then you need to start an interaction with the hypnotic subject – the sort of interaction that is appropriate to the context, the person and the purpose.

I’m not going to get any more specific at this point, because the scope for hypnotic interaction is immensely broad.

For example, if the interaction is verbal, it could involve a conversation or a presentation. People can have a conversation about almost anything, embracing any mood or viewpoint.

All of these can become hypnotic, by following this structure in a specific way.

The next thing you need to do, within that interaction, is to make some suggestions. A suggestion is anything (verbal or non-verbal) which guides the subject in the direction which fulfils your hypnotic purpose. A lot of suggestions can lead to a lot of nudges in the right direction.

How do you know that you’re moving them in the right direction though?

You must pay attention to feedback. Classical hypnotists rely mainly on non-verbal feedback – shifts in body language that let them know what’s going on.

For our purposes, feedback can be verbal or non-verbal. For example, good salesmen notice ‘buying signals’ in their clients’ behaviour and also get spoken feedback which lets them know if they’re taking the sales interaction in the right direction.

Teachers should be attuned to feedback which tells them whether the students are ‘getting it’ or not.

This is true of every hypnotic interaction – there’s always feedback to help you course-correct towards achieving your hypnotic purpose.

You need to know when to stop though – a vital piece of the puzzle is knowing when you’ve actually achieved your purpose.

This seems like a no-brainer, but I think some people must truly have no brain. I’ve encountered salesmen who keep going after they’ve made the sale and teachers who keep harping on long after they’ve made their point. It spoils the experience for the person on the receiving end.

Those last three pieces: suggestion – feedback – are we there yet? comprise a thing called the hypnotic feedback loop.

Feedback allows you to adjust the suggestions until you’re doing something that works. Then you must keep doing that or something else until you achieve your hypnotic purpose.

You must keep going around and around this loop until you achieve your purpose.

Just keep going?

Really?

Yes. If you’re making suggestions, noticing feedback and checking whether you’re there yet, the only way to fail is if you stop trying.

There are various shades of success and failure – and I’ll go through those with you in detail in Hypnotic Conversations.

Now when you finally achieve your hypnotic purpose, you need to ‘re-orient’ the subject.

What does that mean exactly?

If you want to achieve something lasting, you must make it real for them.

  • In a sales version of re-orientation, you take them to make the purchase.
  • In a learning context, you ask them to tell or show you what they’ve learned.
  • In an influence situation, you create the means for them to follow through on their decision.

What do all of these examples have in common? In re-orientation, you build a bridge between the hypnotic interaction and the subject’s ‘real’ world.

That also involves returning them to an ordinary state of awareness in some way. How you do that can vary – and different methods have very different effects.

Of course, this is just an outline. Some practice at the specifics of each step will allow you to be hypnotic in just about any situation.

I walk you through the process in detail, with plenty of examples and practical exercises in my book Hypnotic Conversations: The Secret Structure Behind Everyday Hypnosis.

Or if you want to know even more first, then watch my next video – The Truth about Trances – how to create a complete hypnotic experience in just three acts.

The Truth at the Heart of the Myth of Secret Hypnotic Language

What’s so important about hypnotic language? If you browse the internet for info, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there are special words and phrases which compel others to do what you want.

There are a lot of myths about hypnosis, but this is something of a biggie – and even some hypnotists buy into this one!

Let’s look at the facts:

• There are special words and phrases used by hypnotists
• It’s possible to hypnotise people without using any words at all

In that case, what do the so-called ‘hypnotic words’ actually do?

Hypnotic language makes it easier to achieve certain effects in the hypnotic process.

By itself, with no hypnotic process in place behind it, it doesn’t do anything in particular.

It’s the icing on the cake, not the substance of the cake itself. But like little kids in Mom’s kitchen, the icing tastes so good – much better than the cake itself.

That’s why we hear so much about hypnotic language – and so little about the hypnotic process.

There are three other reasons hypnotic language is so popular:

  • it’s “high tech” and makes you feel clever
  • It’s the easiest bit of hypnosis to get across in a book
  • you can give it away without actually giving away any ‘hypnotic secrets’

Where did it come from anyway?

The main source of hypnotic language is Milton Erickson – and the models of his language created by Bandler, Grinder, Haley and a whole host of other folks who studied his ground-breaking approach.

Before Erickson, hypnotists believed that it was necessary to put the hypnotic subject into a special state of mind where they will do what you tell them to.

In that way of thinking, anyone who doesn’t follow your direct commands is resistant to hypnosis.

Erickson’s approach to hypnosis is a way of circumventing that resistance. By artful use of language, he made suggestions while generally avoiding direct commands.

No direct commands? No resistance. Simple and effective.

For example, one pattern in language that Milton Erickson used is called an ’embedded command’.
An embedded command is a phrase within a conversation which acts as a hypnotic instruction because it is subtly highlighted – usually by a variation in voice tone.

When your voice tone goes up at the end of a phrase, it sounds like a question. If the tone is level, that is a statement. When the tone drops at the end, it sounds like a command.

Embedded commands are usually “marked out” by using the tone pattern of a command for that phrase.

Simple, yes? High-tech sneaky stuff? You can understand the appeal.

However, most people that attempt to use embedded commands completely misunderstand how they work.

Many people just issue commands instead of embedding them subtly:

  1. I’d like you to feel very relaxed
  2. Relax only as deeply as you’re comfortable doing that.

The first example above is just a command. It isn’t embedded in anything. You might as well say “I’d like you to give me your money“. Not going to happen.

In the second example, the surface meaning is to relax only as deeply as their sense of comfort will allow. The command is essentially to feel comfortable relaxing deeply.

It’s interpreted only by the unconscious mind because it isn’t explicit.

Secondly, many people think single suggestions will work:

  1. What’s it like when you begin to relax?
  2. What do you think of when your mind decides to let go of all tension? You might decide to relax only as deeply as you’re comfortable doing that, because you know deep down inside that it’s okay.

In the first example, the command “begin to relax” is hidden within a question. But, it’s only one suggestion.

In the second example there are four suggestions, all of which move the subject in a similar direction. They act as a second level of communication and set up a sub-context for the unconscious mind to follow.

And it works really well as a form of hypnotic suggestion when used artfully and with skill. It does take some practice to make this approach your own. Consequently, the two misuses of this technique I’ve shown you are usually a result of laziness or poor understanding of the purpose of the tool.

These are examples drawn from a “formal” hypnotic context. And it is possible to use these patterns of suggestion in a more “conversational” context.

Now you can see how this stuff comes across as clever ‘high tech’ hypnotic language.

The icing on that cake tastes good, doesn’t it? What would you do though, if you cut into a cake and found out it was just a hollow shell?

What about the rest of it then? Is hypnosis just a case of putting together vast streams of hidden commands?

Not really. As I said earlier, hypnosis is a set of behaviours, guided by a few simple principles. When you know the rules, you can learn to do hypnosis in any context – piece by piece.

If you’ve fallen in love with embedded commands, just remember – however effective they can be, it’s hard work when compared to the methods I show you in my book – Hypnotic Conversations: The Secret Structure Behind Everyday Hypnosis.

Or if you want to know more first, watch my next video on How to get started with conversational hypnosis.

The Problem with Polarity Thinking – Part 2

In the first part of this piece, I described how thinking in polarities can limit your thinking. It’s actually a hypnotic structure in language based on the word or. Choices are artificially limited: “should we do X or Y?” limits you to just two choices instead of the entire field of possibility.

Polarity combines with this structure to force a choice between absolutes: “should we do it: yes or no?” There are many more of these binary choices presented to us every day, forcing black and white decisions in a world with many more colourful choices.

Good/Bad

Good/Evil

Right/Wrong

Guilty/Innocent

For us/Against us

Enemy/Friend

and on it goes.

To de-hypnotise yourself from these polarities, you first need to be aware of them as they occur. Then move beyond those limited choices. After all, if it’s not right and it’s not wrong – then what is it?

If you don’t see any other choices, then that’s a good indicator you have a mental ‘blind spot’ or a gap in information on your mental map.

A good way to fill in such gaps and remove blind spots of this sort is to collide the polarities using an NLP technique called the visual squash. Here’s how it works:

Exercise: Closing gaps with the visual squash.

  1. Identify the two ideas or polarities you want to integrate.
  2. Hold your arms out in front of you, hands apart, palms facing up.
  3. Imagine one of the ideas in your left hand. Does it have a colour, shape, sound, texture, temperature or weight? Make it as real as possible.
  4. Imagine the other idea in your right hand. Does it have a colour, shape, sound, texture, temperature or weight?
  5. Understanding that at a higher level everything is one, allow your hands to move closer to each other only as quickly as your unconscious can bring those concepts together.
  6. Imagine a line of communication between the two, connecting them as they continue to move closer.
  7. When the two concepts meet/combine, you might have a flash of inspiration, opening up new possibilities, or the two ideas might just seem to work better together. Or you may not be conscious of the specifics of the change and the connection will become apparent later.

After doing this exercise, often you will find a spectrum of options instead of just two poles, opening up a world of greater choice.

Sometimes the process will ‘collapse’ the duality – especially if the two elements are true opposites. This is also a beneficial result because it allows you to see choices elsewhere, rather than just between the two extremes you started with. The only way to know what this can add to your choices is to do the process and find out for yourself.

Is polarity thinking good or bad? Now you know a better question to ask yourself.