Do you find yourself talking to yourself in your own head a lot? …Perhaps entertaining two various opposing possibilities and cannot make a decision on way or the other?
It can be frustrating and debilitating to constantly seem to be arguing with yourself. It also takes a toll on a person’s confidence to not trust themselves to make clear and concise decisions.
Fritz Perls called this the top-dog-underdog internal debate. There seem to be only two choices, and they seem to be opposites.
This is the structure of doubt. What we want is the structure of calm confidence and faith. Yes?
The first question I would ask you is: What if there are more options you simply are not seeing yet? To use a metaphor from my mentor, Scott McFall, it’s like playing only two of the notes on a piano. But, there are all these other notes you could possibly be playing. It just didn’t occur to you, since you were trapped in the two-option battle in your mind.
For today, let’s play with resolving this internal “fight” or apparent two-option dichotemy – a very limiting feeling.
Let’s look at a good example for context. Let’s say someone wants to quit smoking. On one hand they know that “they should really quit the nasty habit,” but on the other hand they seem to “kinda like it.” And, they may not even know why they like it.
This leads us to an interesting concept: the subconscious mind always starts from a positive intention. To quote Scott McFall, “nobody really wakes up in the morning and says ‘I think I’ll go ahead and screw things up today.’” The subconscious mind is always trying to give us what it thinks we want.
So, what does that mean for our stop smoking client example?
It means that “somewhere in there” he or she has a hidden reason they like smoking. It could be to reduce stress. In the military, smoking is often the only time someone is allowed to take a break. Whatever the reason, this is known as secondary benefit or secondary gain.
In order to have the client successfully quit smoking now and keep the habit change, we must resolve this. It turns out that in NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming), we have a technique to do exactly this.
It is known as the “visual squash” – that’s a very scientific fancy word. But, in all sincerity, this technique is extraordinarily powerful, and many folks have quit smoking just from this technique alone.
I have personally used this technique on myself many dozens of times, on many different topics. It has caused me to be much more single-minded and integrated.
In short, the hypnotist/practitioner has the client access each of the two seemingly-conflicting states (the wanting to quit smoking and the “liking it”) and chooses a hand to anchor each to at the palms.
Having the client bring their hands up above eye level, the practitioner allows the client to bring the hands together “only as fast as his/her inner mind works out the details to have a new strategy to get both sets of benefits at the same time.”
The client is usually reminded that “there is really only one of you in there, isn’t there” and “really, you want to agree with yourself, right?” You might imagine that each “side of the story” is understanding the other. Rather than fighting each other, we are thanking the subconscious mind for doing the undesired behavior in the first place. The hands begin to move together in what’s known as an ideo-motor response. That’s a ten dollar word for that it happens automatically – like your heart pumps for you and how you breathe without thinking about it.
This should be done gradually. If they come together too fast, it is probably not a true ideo-motor response. (Although, it is possible to force the hands together if need be or if appropriate. That’s a conversation for another time.) The client may reach a point where the hands are almost together but pause or go slower. That is fine, it’s like the two “sides” are negotiating.
Eventually, when they come together, the client holds the hands tother for a few seconds to let the anchors collapse together in the autonomic nervous system. Whenever the human brain is presented with two options at once, it always picks the one that will work better, faster, and easier. Since, you have now created a new (perhaps “third”) state, the mind will use it from now on.
The beauty of this technique is that we are using both sides of the nervous system and causing a “working out of the details” across the corpus callosum – the part of the brain connecting the left and right hemispheres.
The hypnotist can then have the client bring the hands flat to their chest and imagine that they are stepping into or absorbing these new skill sets.
We are not asking anyone to “think” their way to success. Notice that the technique is very physical in nature.
Obviously, it is best to have a well-trained and seasoned professional work on you or teach you to to do this.