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Stressmanagement Techniques

Rid your life of unpleasant habits and negative thoughts. Enjoy responding to your environment calmly and in a balanced way and see challenges from different angles.

The Neurological Levels

You will find a description here of the 6 so-called "logical levels" according to Gregory Bateson and Robert Dilts. This model is used in NLP in various places, e.g. in goal work, team development, modeling and as a classification model for personality development.

Perceptual Positions 1-2-3

Described here are the positions of one’s own person, the interlocutor / client and the disassociated neutral observer in this conversation situation. Taking these three positions is very important for our behavioral and experiential flexibility. This model can be used very well in interpersonal conflicts.

Fast Phobias – Format

The Fast Phobia format is one of the best-known formats in the NLP. What exactly a phobia is and how the Fast Phobia format works are explained in two pages.

The Neurological Levels

The neurological levels according to Gregory Bateson / Robert Dilts.

Description of the various levels

  • Environment:Everything to which we react, the things around us and the people we encounter.
  • Behavior:Our actual actions.
  • Abilities/Capabilities:These are the groups or classes of habits, general skills and strategies that we use in our lives.
  • Beliefs and Values:These are the different guiding ideas that we believe to be true and use as the basis for our everyday actions. Beliefs and attitudes can include both authorizations (permissions) and restrictions (prohibitions).
  • Identity:This is my basic self-image: my deepest, core values and my task or mission in my life.
  • Family / Affiliation:On the one hand, this concerns our professional, family, social or whatever (perhaps also philosophical, religious) affiliation.
    This is the deepest level on which we view and implement the greatest metaphysical questions. Why are we here? What's the meaning of life? This spiritual level guides and shapes our lives and provides a foundation for our existence. Any change at this level has a profound impact on all levels. In a sense, it contains everything we do but is more than the sum of its parts.

Sample verbal statements on the logical levels:

Environment:
The noise in the room makes it difficult to write dictation.
Anchors can easily be placed during a group exercise.
"The cancer has afflicted me."

Behavior:
You did not spell well in this dictation.
You have anchored this person.
"Sometimes I just cannot keep myself healthy."

Abilities:
"You cannot spell well."
"You are capable of anchoring other people."
"I am unable to be in good shape."

Beliefs and Values:
"If you cannot spell, you'll never get by in school."
"Knowing how to anchor makes you an influential person."
"It's a wrong attitude to want to resist the inevitable."

Identity
"You are stupid, a learning-disabled child."
"You are a good NLP practitioner."
"I am a cancer victim."

Family / Affiliation:
"You belong to the learning disabled, the weak-talented."
"You are one of the best, the cream of NLP."
"You are one of many victims of cancer who suffer the same fate as you."

Adapted from: Joseph O´Connor & John Seymour, NLP: Gelungene Kommunikation und persönliche Entfaltung, Freiburg i. Breisgau 1992.

Examples of beliefs on the neurological

RestrictionsCausesMeanings
EnvironmentThe war ruined everything.Poverty at home means having a bad start in life.Nothing worth anything can come from slums.
BehaviorHe (never) hits anyone, because he himself was often beaten earlier.Those who drink ruin their health.Listening and knitting at the same time is impossible.
AbilitiesI cannot skate because I have never learned to skate.If one person can do something, others can learn it too.You cannot learn anything without practice.
ValuesHonesty is sacred to me because I myself was often lied to.Equality in a relationship means true partnership.Trust is not possible without openness.
IdentityI'm a failure because no one ever supported me.Fat people are jovial connoisseurs.As a welfare recipient I'm the lowest of the low.
SpiritualityShe believes in God because that’s what she learned.To believe is to be in harmony with yourself and the world.Without faith, you might as well shoot yourself.


Setting goals through the neurological levels according to Robert Dilts

I. Part: Lead the targeted goal through the neurological levels (NL)


  1. First carry out a short goal-setting exercise with A according to the known criteria (positive, achievable, contextualized, sensory-specific, ecological).
  2. From this point on, keep the "as-if-frame" for the entire exercise: "Suppose you have already reached your goal ..." and lead A through the entire NL levels in this state. Start with the level environment and go on from there step by step and anchor the respective situation with a space anchor and maybe with concepts or symbols.

    Should it be revealed that resources are still missing on one or more levels, go first to the next higher level and find there the resources that were missing at the previous level. Otherwise, just take note of the level where something is missing and save it for later.




Possible questions at the various levels:

Environment: Where are you here? Who is with you? What do you hear? What do you see? What do you taste? What do you smell?

Behavior: What are you doing here?

Abilities: How do you do what you are doing? How do you relate to others here? What special skills do you have here?

Beliefs and Values: What is important to you here? Why are you doing what you are doing? What do you believe in here? What motivates you? What do you think about yourself, others, your job, etc.?

Identity: What kind of self-understanding do you have here? How do you see yourself, who are you?

Family / Affiliation: Where do you belong? Is there here, on the professional, private, ideal, spiritual levels, something or someone or a group that you know you belong to? What task, what mission do you have?

Now go still another step further.

Your unconscious will send you another important piece of information at this point. It can be an idea, a picture, a symbol, a feeling or whatever. It is a special gift of your unconscious to you, for your goal. Take as much time there as you need to absorb it all in yourself.



II. Part: Gathering Resources


  1. Now go back through the levels and remember all the insights and resources you've already found along the way. Experience how each level has been enriched and intensified by the knowledge and your experience of others. Perceive the changes.
  2. If something is missing at any stage, go into dissociation and give resources from here (send it or set a resource anchor). Go back to that level and experience the change that has now come with the resources.
  3. Go on back to the environment level and remember your goal. Experience how your goal has become richer compared with at the beginning.


III. Part: Internalization and Completion


  1. Now go through all levels once again at your own pace. Take the time you need.
  2. Now go through the all the levels from top to bottom in a quick run without thinking. Get back to the starting position and see how your goal has become richer.
  3. Future Pace: When will you take the first steps towards the full realization of your goal?

Further reading:

  • The Neurological Clock of the Future


The Neurological Clock of the Future

The Neurological Clock of the Future

Summary of this format


  1. Determine goals:
    • Goals for personal development
    • Professional / Financial / Business Goals
    • Goals for relationships (family)
    • Health goals
    • Social and charitable goals
    • Goals for fun and games (luxury / leisure goals)
  2. Check the goals for well-formedness: (can be self-initiated, short feedback sheet, well contextualized, sensory specific, no negatives and no comparisons)
  3. Give the goals a timeframe: summarize at critical points in time.
  4. Find mentors as Master-Mind
  5. Neurological clock of the future
    • Current state
    • First critical point in time
    • Gather resources
    • Critics
    • Planners, Mentors as guides
    • In Mentor position one step back; in mentor position two steps forward and back to final integration back to the final integration. Anchor on the clock.
    • Second critical point in time, etc. ...
  6. Wise, old magician (the other Ecology Check)


Perceptual Positions 1-2-3

Perceptual Positions

Position 1

In this position you are completely in your own body, looking out of your own eyes and listening through your own ears. In this position one cannot distinguish between description and evaluation.

Position 2

This position is also described in NLP as a 'referential index shift'. In this process, you identify with someone else. You could say that here you perceive the world with the other’s senses. Here you have taken over the perception filters of the other person and also begin to sense the other person's physical feelings. This is one of the ways to perceive the intention behind the other's behavior. To the extent you can do that, you can dramatically improve your communication skills. This makes it possible to understand and address the other at deeper levels. This is also the basic modeling process.

Position 3

This is a higher logical level. Sometimes this position is also compared to that of a film director who looks at the situation from the outside calmly, has completely opened his sensory channels and is extremely flexible. An external observer or witness. Without judgement, purely descriptive. The third position is defined as a resource state in which the senses are most available to us, we have an optimum of flexibility for processing the information from the 1st and 2nd position. This position is well suited to review a film of a difficult situation and to improve one's own behavior and / or to install a new behavioral automatism for future situations.

It is very important for our behavioral and experiential flexibility that we are able to easily and suitably assume all three perceptual positions.

There is a 90-minute webinar film on this topic in our online academy with our trainer Joerg-Friedrich Gampper. You can watch this immediately in full length. Just click on the "to video" button to find out more.



Exercise for positions 1-2-3


  1. Remember a difficult situation with some person, with whom you have often found it more difficult to communicate than you imagine it should be.
  2. Go to position 1 and in an associated state, fully remember what you thought, said, saw, heard and felt.
  3. Then go to position 2 and see yourself from the outside with the eyes of the other person. Hear what you just said from the external perspective and see yourself as you look from the outside. Then say what B said and move as B moved. Get a feel for what it's like to BE person B!
  4. Then go to position 3 and look at the whole in a dissociated posture from the outside and describe the situation like a behavioral scientist or a Martian or similar. With your new insights on B and on the situation as a whole, go back to position 1 and change your behavior accordingly. Then continue to the 2nd position, etc. until you are satisfied with the situation.
  5. Now TEST the results in reality!
  6. The three positions should be marked on the floor as a circle!

Sometimes it may be necessary to introduce different resource states in addition to the third position and only then return to position 1. The programmer may additionally anchor the resource state taken outside the 3rd position.

Integration of perceptual positions

Many of the limitations and difficulties that people experience do not stem from being stuck in one of the three perceptual positions, but rather from the fact that our representational systems are distributed in different perceptual positions. This 'split' is the result of an attempt to solve a problem and sometimes becomes a permanent personal style. Integrating our perceptual positions results in increased personal congruence, allowing us to truly fully occupy all three positions and thereby take full advantage of each position, leading to greater insight and wisdom.



Part I


  1. Identify a difficult situation in which another person is involved.
  2. Elicit the current perceptual position and sketch it.

Visual: What exactly do you see? Do you see yourself and the other person or just the other person? Where exactly do you see this scene? From where or what perspective do you see the scene? Do you see it directly from your eyes or is your perspective slightly shifted? When the client sees himself and the others, then you can ask if the viewpoint is closer to the self or to the other. Do you see yourself and the others at eye level or lower or higher?

Auditory: What do you hear? Whose voices do you hear and where do they come from? From where exactly do you hear them? Are there inner or outer commentary voices? From where exactly do you hear this voice(s)? What exactly does the commentary voice say? Pay attention to personal pronouns: He, She, They, I, Me, You, We.

Kinesthetic: What exactly do you feel? Whose feelings are these? Where are the feelings localized? Are they neutral or resourceful observer feelings or are they in position 1 (self) or in position 2 (other)?



Part II


  1. Integration of observer position: If the client is predominantly in position 1, then the self-position can also be integrated first. Pay attention to how each instruction towards integration changes the state and / or causes spontaneous submodal shifts and how they affect the perception of the situation. In addition, one can also pay attention to changes in beliefs. How does your experience of this situation change when you have made that change in your perceptual position??

Visual: Now take a position from which you can see yourself and the others in such a way that both are at eye level and equidistant and look straight out of your eyes.

Auditory: Now hear the voices of yourself and the other person directly from the place they come from and hear the voices directly through your ears as observer. Let your commentary voice come from your vocal cords. Use the personal pronouns HE, SHE in your commentary. The comments should refer to the self and the other.

Kinesthetic:Let all feelings that are not observer feelings flow to where they belong. Ask your unconscious mind to let all feelings that do not belong to the observer flow to the self or the other. Support the client with auditory and visual anchors.

And now you can notice how new, resourceful feelings of the observer replace the old feelings. Have your self and the other changed, gained resources? What else has changed in your perception?

Fast Phobias - Format

This technique is one of the best known and perhaps most spectacular of NLP techniques. With this technique it is possible to eliminate phobias in minutes, often with 100% certainty and permanently.

Excursus: General information about phobias from the perspective of NLP

What is a phobia?

A strong, uncontrollable and inappropriate fearful reaction. The person even knows rationally that this fear is unfounded. To be able to have a phobia, someone must be able to create dramatic images internally and he must be associated with these images. This inner movie cannot be controlled once it has started.

The only way to shut it down is to turn off the external trigger, e.g. acrophobia (fear of heights), someone standing on the tower. If he is far enough away, he has no phobic reaction. Draw nearer. If a critical point is exceeded, the phobia can no longer be stopped. (e.g., mouse 50 meters away, or spider behind a glass wall).

In an elevator phobia, for example, the horror usually starts only a few meters before reaching the same distance. When the phobic reaction begins, it indicates that the safe distance has been violated. What the phobist most fears is experienced as an inner film. This inner film is often unconscious and associated. The phobic response is the bodily sensation, while inside the fear movie is running. The phobic is aware of the trigger and his physical reaction, but not the inner film. It is crucial to get the inner film under control. The phobic cannot do that automatically. A non-phobic has the meta-feeling - if it gets too uncomfortable, I stop the film. I could end this movie at any moment, e.g. you lean over a railing.

The inner film is an anchored reaction to the external trigger. When the anchor is fired, the inner film runs. Frequently, phobias are learned after something dramatic once happened.

Example: A child plays in the garden and puts an earthworm in his mouth. At that moment, the mother comes and screams hysterically.

Phobias can also be learned by observing others while being in position two, e.g. Shark phobics have never seen a shark live, but only seen "Jaws" in the cinema and has experienced the shock. A view of the sea then becomes the trigger for the fear of sharks, because that was the beginning of the film with the theme music in the background. Gradually, such fear is generalized to inland waters and swimming pools, until finally sharks are seen in the corridor.

The goal now is to regain control of the inner film in Fast Phobia format. This is done by:


  1. Teaching the client to dissociate (and run the movie in black and white).
  2. Running the film backwards, but associated (in color, that makes it more real).
  3. If you've done the Fast Phobia format two to three times and nothing happens, then the client has no phobia, but there is something else behind the fear.


Fast Phobia Format


  1. Ecology Check: Imagine that we are successful with this intervention. What would happen then?
  2. Now think of a situation in which you have reacted phobically. Think about it in such a way that there is a more or less strong reaction.
  3. Now go out of the state, close your eyes and imagine, you would see a black and white film of the same situation as you approach the critical situation slowly.
  4. At the critical point, let the INNER FILM run this time, all the way to the worst point.
  5. At the worst point, you now stop the movie, as if you stop a video and a still image appears.
  6. Now step into the movie (associated). You are in the situation right now and see the film now through your eyes with everything that can be seen in the situation. Now bring color into the picture.
  7. Now let the movie run back fast, until you are safe again; before the critical point. Open your eyes now.
  8. Repeat this format from 4.-6. three times and then test if you are still able to get a phobic response with the idea of 1. If so, go again through the format. If not, test the result in reality when you have an opportunity.