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Nice post. I'm fascinated by the power of word over reality... or the perception of reality.

In fact, the act of naming seems to me to be a pretty powerful (and quite masculine) attempt at control which can be used to both good and disastrous effect. There's a pamphlet... excuse me, book I guess, called The Four Agreements which has some nice guidelines for living which includes the concept: Be Impeccable With Your Word. Good advice, no?

Great article diminished only by the fact that Milton Erickson's name is consistently misspelled, which is a shame considering the important of the man not only to the theme of the article but also to the development of modern hypnosis. If this can be corrected after posting the article, please do so!

I know a number of people who've been helped quite directly by NLP techniques. It's very interesting to talk to them before and after a session where they've been working on something, and then to come back to the topic (say) a year later - there appears to be a large initial shift, then even with little or no continued effort most of the shift remains. I quite like NLP as a set of techniques, because it is rooted in the practical. Yes, it's a rag-bag (or grab-bag) of techniques, with little or no theoretical linkage; but they work in reality, unlike some of the more fanciful theories. As a skeptic (small s for me please ;-) ) I rather like techniques that work, and will argue about the theory later!

Ref instruction and eschewing negation: this is also taught to teachers. I teach folk dance - I'm a caller. In a ceilidh / barn dance / whatever you want to call it, you are often dealing with over a hundred people, of all ages and intelligences, many of whom are under the influence of alcohol and most of whom have rarely or never done anything similar before. You have five minutes to teach them a social dance where if any one of them gets it wrong, they (mildly) inconvenience a group of 6-20 people. At this point, you *always* tell them what to do. "Go left. Left. LEFT!!Gentleman in the red top - the *other* left!" I learned this approach from my mother, a good caller and trained teacher. She says she was told this at teacher training college, and I was told the same thing when I trained to teach Microsoft certified courses. We both regularly get comments from the dancers that our instructions are unusually clear and easy to follow, and I think always stating the positive form of directions is a large part of that.

Greg: Ack! I had misspelled his name with two s's, and did a search and replace to correct this - only in the replacements, I misspelled his name without the 'c'! :o I have now corrected this and reposted. Thanks for pointing it out!

Corvus: I haven't heard of The Four Agreements before, but it intrigues me... I'll see if I can find a copy.

Peter: I used NLP on myself while I lived in London. At one point, to cure my craving for chocolate, I used NLP to substitute apples for chocolate... The result? A powerful craving for apples. :) I later had to undo the 'edit'.

I've never been formally trained to teach, so it's interesting to see this in the wider field, presumably from pragmatic roots. If you're calling next time A and I are visiting Manchester, we'd love to hear you in action!

Best wishes!

Leif in two s's, and no room for c
In what later anglicises oppositely.
(Answers on a postcard to :D )

Other phrases in the (mostly neo-con) political jargon:
Exploring for energy
Climate change
War on terror
Homeland security
Shock and awe
Spreading Democracy

Focusing on this small but currently important part of humankind's geo-political history, the Bush administration has consistently fouled up the tasks they have undertaken, but they remain ascendant because they keep winning the war of words.

[That last has a nice ring to it - the War of the Words!]

You refer, I presume, to the famous Norse Explorer whose name was Leifr Eiríksson in Old Norse, but is now rendered Leif Ericson. Apologies for cheating you out of the postcard. ;)

I tried to tread lightly on the politics in this piece, but the phrases you mention are interesting for many different reasons.

Note however that this political phenomena is not exactly new... the Democrats of the 1840s and 1850s used the phrase "Manifest Destiny" to justify the annexation of the Western States, for instance.

Best wishes!

Great post about hypnosis... ... it's now suggested that the subconscious mind's 'processing power' is a milion times more powerful than the conscious mind. Kind of frightening to think that the autopilot has been programmed by events usually beyond our control. Hypnosis and self hypnosis and even hypnosis recordings can change the way we think.. change your mind change your life :)

And if you're interested in children and their minds,you might check out this site - where parents learn to access their childs subconscious - while they sleep! Brainwashing??

Oh and the use of the word DON"T ! Agreed...
It's frightening to hear parents shouting.. don't CHASE the BALL onto the ROAD!!" (sometime too.. we don't -hehheh- always hear the first word of a sentence, especially when we're concentrating on something else.. like chasing a ball.

Or "don't run with scissors," (WALK when you are carrying scissors!) or "don't let go," (HOLD on tight!)

All the best!

David: thanks for the comments, and the link. I can see why people might think it frightening that the subconscious does the lions share of the work in "running our lives" but on the other hand, just how draining would it be to manage all the autonomic functions consciously? "Breath in, beat heart twice, push left left forward..." It would get old fast. :D

Not at all sure what to make about the link you posted... On the one hand, giving encouraging mantras to your kids while they sleep is a great idea - on the other hand, giving parents the capacity to mess with their kids unconsciousness is quite scary!

Best wishes!

Great Post! This Post gives me something to think about.

Thanks for the kind words, Johnathon! Giving people things to think about is something that I greatly enjoy. ;) Best wishes!

That's really interesting... I agree that the mind & hypnosis are powerful tools, but there's more truth behind it than people expect.

Winderful to read through this, I studied NLP, Hypnosis and Timeline therapy several years ago and they opened the door on the true power of words for me. Through that door many others became apparent and working with the unconscious and higher self through trance work became an area of real intrigue for me. Largely now I work through meditation, which essentially is self hypnosis, for doing a lot of this work. Though the basis of NLP and hypnosis via Ericksonian and Elman inductions has proved powerful in group situations.
Of additional note is the power of chants or mantras, Om Meditation being a powerful example. Through repetition of certain sounds, sometimes known as sacred sounds, a deep state of trance aimed at a particular state of being or development can be achieved. One from which profound results are possible.
Thanks again for such a great article! Namaste

Stephen: I've unpublished your other comments as I judged them to be largely an exercise of cross-linking your site. This one rather feels that way too, but I've left it up since it at least feels appropriate to the post it appears under, and at least it reads as if it was hand written rather than bot-generated.

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