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NLP techniques

NLP is attitude and methodology from which have been developed a series of techniques. NLP is NOT a series of techniques, but they can be useful. I have decided to add a section on useful techniques that have been developed over the years; if you hvae any favourites, please let me know and we'll add them to share... Relying on techniques to create change encourages a certain presupposition that if the technique doesn’t work there is something “wrong” with the person you are trying to change, rather than the technique you are using. You are expecting the world to fit your change process, rather your change process fit the world, it removes flexibility in your behaviour. Techniques are not NLP, they are applications of the methodology of NLP, if you learn the methodology of NLP you can create your own techniques.

Compulsion blow-out

A compulsion blowout is a submodality pattern for intense behaviours and responses you feel forced to do. Many compulsions can be trivial and don't interfere with your life and energy, like having to straighten a crooked picture. It becomes a compulsion when you don't feel you have a choice to do the behavior.

Compulsions usually have four aspects:

  1. You represent an object, usually visually, but can also be auditory or kinesthetic. The video example below shows a kinesthetic representation.
  2. There is some kind of distortion in the submodalities. You don't represent it realistically. For example chocolate that is larger than normal.
  3. There is a feeling of compulsion - of having no choice.
  4. There is compulsive behaviour; you have to do something.


Compulsion Blowout Processes

Has there ever been something you really liked, a song you played repeatedly until one day you couldn't bear it?

We call the technique a "blowout" because that is what we do to the submodalities - we alter them so much that we can no longer represent the object in the same way. You break the connection between how you represent the thing and the kinesthetic response.


  • Finding the driving submodality - what change actually increases the feeling of compulsion? If you make the picture of the chocolate larger, is it more desirable? Does making it closer or more colorful make you want it more?
  • Do it quickly. This process works because there chemical changes in our bodies keep going like a moving car even though you have put on the brakes. It you do it slowly, it can actually increase the compulsion.
  • Do it in one direction only. Go from far to close and then stop for instance. A see saw type motion of far - close - far - close won't get the response over threshold.
  • You need to do an ecology check before you do the process. What will happen when you no longer have the compulsion? Does it satisfy something else? What behavior can you put in its place? When my sister and her husband gave up smoking, their communication suffered. Having a cigarette together was an important part of their relationship.
  • Make sure you contextualize the response - make it a specific thing. It would not be useful to blow out your compulsion to control for instance, rather that you are compulsed to read every email.

here is a video of Steve Andreas


Swish patterning

This is a simple yet powerful sub-modality exercise. It can be used to clear-up goal setting, over-come phobias, overcome limiting beliefs, compulsions and so much more.


  1. Have your partner: choose a compulsion you want to get rid of. Have them make a large, bright coloured image of the compulsion and set it aside for a moment.
  2. Think about what you would look like if you were already in control of your own destiny, and having all the choices you would want in your life. Make this image totally compelling. Add a compelling voice telling you how much you want to do this.
  3. Take the large bright compulsion image and put a dark image of your desired state in the lower left hand corner. Have the large bright picture suddenly get dark, as the small dark picture simultaneously springs up in size to replace it and gets very big and bright.
  4. Do this process very quickly five times in a row and make the sound ‘swish’ each time. Open your eyes for a second after each time through.
  5. now swap and you have a go.


the visual squash/parts intergration

The visual squash is a more advanced and quicker version of the classic “6-step reframe” and has largely replaced it. Use this when there are two or more parts in conflict with each other. It is based around deep trance (but without needing to “hypnotise” your client), submodality shifts and collapsing anchors.

This is one of my favourite NLP techniques. It can seem a little “odd” to people who have never experienced NLP before, asking them to hallucinate objects in the palm of their hands!

I find it an ideal process to use when some says something like “Well, on the one hand I really want to do it, but on the other, there is something holding me back.

  1. Identify the parts and separate them spatially and kinaesthetically have the client hold up their left hand and ask, what do you think of when you think about (the thing they want to do)?” Anchor the client with a touch in the palm of the left hand. “Take a moment to be with this”.
  2. Put the left hand down. Repeat with the behaviour that is holding them back, but use the right hand instead. Put the right hand down.
  3. Elicit the positive intention of each part. Have the client raise both hands at the same time. Chunk up to discover the positive intention of the positive intention. Fire each anchor as you ask for the positive intention of each.
  4. Sometimes, this is news to the client and if this is the case they are often more allied with one part than the other. In this circumstance, it is important to validate the other part.
  5. Chunk up to one positive intention. Develop the following themes: Each part needs the other. Each part can only get what it wants with the aid of the other part. Neither part has to give up anything – they can both get what they want This is not a compromise – each part gets 100% and that makes 200%.
  6. Integration. Use artfully vague language, in an appropriate tonality, to suggest that they allow their hands to come together as the two parts learn to integrate.
  7. Once the hands have come together then have your client bring the new learning inside, in a way that works for them.
  8. Future pace. “Just imagine what it will be like, now that these two parts have learned to be together.”