NLP Strategy Model
The events that have happened to us in the past cannot be changed, but we can control the way we represent them in our internal representation of the memory. By changing the internal representation of the memory, we can change our emotions and the feelings we have about the event. This in turn will change our reaction in case a similar event happens again. Thus, we can be in more control of our feelings and begin to take charge of our own life rather than living and being depressed about the past.
We use representational systems, eye accessing cues and sub-modalities of our internal pictures, to structure our individual experiences. We sequence the events in the various representational systems to generate correct behaviour and thoughts. This sequence of internal and external thoughts leading to a specific result is known in NLP terms as strategies.
Our consciousness remembers different moments in our life and in many different locations. It activates our memories so that we vicariously travel to another place and time, where we feel strong and familiar emotions. We code our thoughts in terms of the sensory system and sub-modality qualities and are able to visualize, hear or feel the emotions of the experience. Every experience and behaviour has a structure, and the reason behind every behaviour is the code used to store the pieces of subjectivity. When we track down our consciousness, we realize that when we bring an experience back to our consciousness, we begin to activate the senses that were used to originally interpret the experience.
Neuro-linguistic Programming uses the strategy model to track down the movement and flow of our consciousness, so that we can add and mix the different ingredients of the internal representational systems such as emotions, thought, thinking style and personality to recreate all our experiences.
The strategy model is derived from the Test Operate Test Exit (TOTE) model developed by psychologists Galanter, Miller and Pribham. The TOTE model is actually a more complete elaboration of the old Stimulus Response (S-R) model.
The Stimulus Response (S-R) model tries to explain human behaviour exclusively in terms of conditioning. A stimulus generates a response, is the basic concept behind this model. As per Pavlov and his dogs.
The Test Operate Test Exit (TOTE) model was a cognitive revolution to the S-R model, stating that the mind cannot be a simple switch but an elaborate map control room with a tentative, cognitive-like map of the environment. This tentative map shows the direction and environmental relationship in order to determine the final response. The TOTE model gives a flowchart, which consists of “Operating” on the stimulus of the internal map and altering it, “Testing” for congruence or incongruence, and “Exiting” if desirable result is attained. This flowchart usually executes below the threshold of consciousness.
The NLP Strategy Model
Using this mental strategy of the TOTE model, the Neuro-linguistic Programming cofounders Bandler and Grinder, along with Dilts and DeLozier formulated the Neuro-linguistic Programming Strategy model in 1980. They enhanced and enriched the TOTE model by including pieces of subjectivity such as sub-modalities, sensory rep systems, eye accessing cues and linguistic predicates. Using these subjective pieces, the unconscious strategy can be released by anchoring the elements, reframing their meaning, and designing and installing the strategy. The strategy model is a comprehensive model for modelling excellence.
In order to determine how our brain creates an experience requires many skills. To determine the strategy used by the brain to produce results, we need to first identify the strategy and elicit it. We then need the ability to interrupt or alter the strategy, and then design new strategies or redesign existing ones. Finally, we need to install the strategy and utilize it in a different context. In order to unpack a strategy, we need to be aware of its existence using our consciousness.
In order to perform strategy elicitation we need to take the following steps:
1. Establish a positive frame for rapport by praising the client on his accomplishments
2. Access the state by helping the person associate with the state completely. This can be done by taking the client back in time where the behaviour happens naturally, or using natural anchors of positions for reproducing a portion of the context.
3. Intensify the state by helping the client see, hear and feel the strategy
4. Explore how the state was carried out using questioning techniques, so that the client explains in words or actions
5. Calibrate to the client’s internal state using his external cues, body posture, language constructs and understanding how they sequence the representation
6. Tell the client to exaggerate a portion of the strategy, in order to bring out other hidden portions.
7. Remain in a Meta state for the content, as structure is more important.
By eliciting resourceful experiences such as motivation, creativity, decision, confidence, conviction, dedication, memory etc we can achieve excellence.
NLP Designing Strategies
Some Neuro-linguistic Programming strategies are not very resourceful and can even cause us harm. By redesigning these strategies, we can change their internal representation system components. Strategizing enables the brain to move in a productive direction. It involves organizing the representational components in a certain order in order to create a desirable outcome. The strategizing skill is more important than intelligence for achieving excellence.
How We Can Master Our Thinking
When we understand the steps involved in a strategy that lies in between the original stimulus and the corresponding behaviour, we can control our way of thinking and responding to any situation. We will then have more choices and more control on our actions. By tracking down what the brain does, we can understand which modalities are used, resources required and response styles. We understand in NLP that our responses can be congruent or incongruent, hidden or Meta, passive or aggressive, delayed or immediate.
Using the Neuro-linguistic Programming strategy model, we can design custom strategies for achieving desirable outcomes. Strategy design involves creating a desired outcome, restructuring inefficient strategies, troubleshooting, limiting general strategies, changing context of strategies and using appropriate tests. Using strategy design, a well-formed strategy can be formed.
For example when we need to redesign a strategy for a person afraid of public speaking, we add a step in the strategy where the person accesses the states of comfort, relaxation, self-humour etc. We need to include cues, context and decision points in the design to control the Neuro-linguistic processes. We can also use strategies for modelling, where if a strategy is working and produces desired outcome, we can model it and use the model for some other aspect that needs to be changed.
A well-formed strategy requires the following information:
1. Type of information required and for which representation system.
2. Required tests, generalizations, distinctions and associations for processing the information
3. Specific operations and outputs necessary for achieving outcome
4. Most effective sequence for test and operation
5. A precise representation of the desired outcome
6. Synchronization with the ecology
7. Utilization of Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic aspects of the representation system
Neuro-linguistic Programming strategies can be used to transform our daily obstacles into valuable resources, and expanding our behavioural capacity and choices in life.
We can understand the strategies used by others and use this information to construct our communication. We can then build a strong rapport with the person, simply by understanding their sequence of thinking, deciding and perceiving. For example, if a person is in the habit of having an inner talk before making a decision, we can approach this person by matching this decision-making strategy. We can organize our communication in such a way that we give opportunity for inner retrospection, making the conversation congruent to the person’s model. This will create a good rapport, and the person is likely to make a decision in our favour.
Neuro-linguistic Programming strategies can be installed in a number of ways, primarily by using anchoring. We can anchor a strategy using vicarious experiences, creating altered states and experiences, or rehearsing strategy pieces such as gestures, dialogues or facial expressions. After installation, the Neuro-linguistic Programming strategy can operate in a natural and automatic manner, as our integral unit with one step flowing into the other. The steps involved for strategy installation are
1. Using anchoring for strategy installation by anchoring a state or a representation using contextual stimuli, and walking the person through the different steps of the strategy sequence.
2. Using instructions in the form of words to create new representational steps of the strategy
3. Rehearsing the new procedure of doing things using hands on practice until the person is confident and comfortable with the new strategy and its triggers.
4. Using game playing for rehearsal by putting more emphasis on the form rather than the content of past experiences
5. Rehearsing synaesthesia patterns by installing sequences of the rep systems which is independent of content
6. Interrupting undesirable strategies by overloading with excess information or blocking accessing cues.
We can apply Neuro-linguistic Programming strategies in all walks of life, by packaging our conversations to mirror the individual’s thought processes and strategies. When we fit our communication to suit the Neuro-linguistic model of others, we can better manage, lead, communicate, relate and understand others, increasing our own effectiveness and excellence.