In my last post, How to Become Immune to Criticism, The NLP Way, I told the story of “Sophie”, a young lady in her late teens who was complaining about being criticized a lot. This post will make more sense if you read that post first.
I taught Sophie an NLP strategy from The Heart of the Mind by Connierae and Steve Andreas for transforming criticism into simple, useful information.
The first step was to have Sophie imagine seeing her future self (we called her Sophie 2) sitting in a chair in front of her. When Sophie saw “herself” she was experiencing a hypnotic phenomenon called dissociation.
One indirect, informal way to get someone into hypnosis is to have them produce a hypnotic phenomenon, like dissociation. The idea being that the has to go into hypnosis, however slightly, to do a hypnotic phenomenon like dissociation, or time distortion (over or underestimating the amount of time that has passed). Of course, Sophie’s little hypnotic state opened her unconscious to learning new emotional reactions to criticism.
Another reason for having Sophie dissociate is that it allows her to observe herself dealing with criticism without reacting to the criticism emotionally. Of course, that is an indirect suggestion to Sophie that she is able to handle any criticism in a calm and resourceful way.
Sophie 2’s first job was to imagine two TV screens popping up every time she was criticized. The left hand screen portrayed the criticism as simple information. This is another level of dissociation, making Sophie even more emotionally removed from the critical remarks that were made to Sophie 2.
The other screen held Sophie 2’s “understandings”, which is a way of acknowledging that Sophie’s opinions are of equal value as those of the person who is criticizing her. That is a nice way of indirectly enhancing Sophie’s sense of self worth.
The next steps were for Sophie 2 to learn a new method of handling the information from the criticism screen. That method has Sophie 2 responding to criticism in an reasonable and rational way. A strategy that many of us adults could use as well, of course.
The key to making the NLP criticism strategy Sophie 2’s automatic new response to criticism was a mental rehearsal of her new responses in similar situations. A critical point is that Sophie 2 did not just imagine her future self responding well to criticism, she practiced going through all the steps from turning the criticism into information, learning from that information, and then mentally practicing acting on the new information in the future.
The last step was to have Sophie imagine Sophie 2 melting back inside of her, which then automatically integrated all the new habits and responses into Sophie. And because of that integration, Sophie then responded to criticism just the same way Sophie 2 had learned to do.
Even a simple step by step NLP technique can include quite a bit of informal, indirect hypnosis and sophisticated unconscious learnings.