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Эффективность Моделирующей Психотерапии (36) How to Ruin the Swish Pattern: “Let me count the ways”
metanymous wrote in metapractice

How to Ruin the Swish Pattern: “Let me count the ways”

The disastrous state of NLP training. Steve Andreas—with even more valuable input from Connirae than usual


I’ve spent the last 35 years of my professional life — and much of my personal life — learning, developing, and training high quality NLP. Recently I saw a video in which someone was teaching the swish pattern in a way that greatly weakened it. Looking around a bit, I found 16 videos of the swish online. I was dismayed to find that none of them taught it as originally presented, and all but one made the same very fundamental mistake, as well as many others. The fundamental mistake is equivalent to replacing the engine in a Lamborghini with a hamster wheel. Other mistakes are like putting wagon wheels on it.

These mistakes show not only a widespread lack of ability to learn and follow the steps of the pattern, but also a lack of understanding of the principles underlying each step. In this article, I’ll review the 16 videos (which provide you with sensory-based experience) and point out the mistakes. I hope this can add to the understanding not only of what to do, but why to do it, which is essential to the field’s integrity and progress. But first, a little history.

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Alex of TherapyTips.tv

This video contains one real gem of information. Unfortunately it is skipped over so fast it’s easy to miss. It’s this: for procrastination, one of the most powerful resource states you can bring to your client is the feeling of completion. Nobody likes doing their taxes (or their homework as in this case), but we all enjoy the feeling of having mailed our tax return off to the IRS and knowing we are done till next year.

--I can easily agree with all that — changing the scope of time to elicit a useful state. Another key piece is to be able to chunk down the task into small enough pieces, and to have that good feeling of completion after each chunk is done, so that there are motivating rewards all along the way. If they only get the good feeling at the end of the entire task, it won’t work nearly as well.

This feeling of completion creates the new self-image of being a person who ‘gets things done’ so that you can enjoy the feeling of being free.

This is all ways a great starting point when using the swish for overcoming procrastination strategies.

--The nice feeling of completion is great, but it doesn’t necessarily result in a change in identity. It can remain simply a useful learned behavior unless the client generalizes to “I’m someone who can get things done.” All of us have behaviors (both good and bad) that are not part of our identity. A client may use a change in behavior to conclude that they now have a different identity, but you can’t depend on it. If you assume that will happen, you (and your client) will often be disappointed. For how to work with many different aspects of self-concept, see my book, Transforming Your Self.

Ved Prakash – Programyourmind.org

I have to say the Caribbean or maybe Pacific background music does not add value to the quality of this video! I was unable to watch the whole thing, sorry Ved!

Terry Elston – NLPworld.co.uk

This is a demo from a seminar. Again, for me it’s a very clean demo of the Coaching Pattern rather than a swish. Terry doesn’t use a trigger picture or an outcome (self-image) picture, but rather attaches the client’s (Rachael) resource state to the ‘trigger’ by ‘stealing anchors’.

Terry discusses the importance of attaching the resource precisely at the trigger point, rather than when the client has already dropped into their negative state. He gives a good demo of rewinding the client’s story, although for me he did not actually identify the trigger point (meaning an external event that lets Rachael know it’s time for her to book her train and hotel). The trigger becomes ‘six o’clock’, rather than “I look at my watch and realize it’s six o’clock”.

Terry does give a good demonstration of ‘stealing anchors’ by mirroring Rachael’s physiology in her resource state. It’s worth watching this demo for that alone.

Keith Livingston – hypnosis101.com

This is a very short (2.40) description of the swish. As such it is a brief overview and will not add much to your understanding of the swish, if you have watched all the other videos so far.


It is my belief that NLP is a living, evolving discipline. The co-founders of NLP continue to develop their own techniques as do the those that I admire most in the field, such as Tony Robbins and John Overdurf. The moment we say “NLP is this and only this, so that is not NLP”, we remove the creative spark, the ‘attitude of wanton experimentation’ that created NLP in the first place.

--That is chunking way up from “The swish is this and only this” which was my focus. Knowing how to do a swish correctly doesn’t prevent anyone from “wanton experimentation.” Neither does it prevent someone from proposing a new pattern, or a change in how the swish is done. But none of those is a swish, any more than a rabbit is a robin.

The moment we say “the swish is this and only this, so that is not a swish” we limit our ability to ‘dance’ with the client, and the dance is where we find the magic of change.

--That is not a logical conclusion. You can dance with a client all you want to, or experiment wantonly all day long. But if you are communicating with someone else, and you say you did a swish, it would be nice to know that you both agree about what that means. If you order a chocolate cake from a bakery, you probably would expect that it had chocolate in it (not carob!).

Please do study other practitioners who are courageous enough to post their material publicly. Notice what they do well and absorb that. Notice the mistakes they make and avoid them. Focus on the true aim of this wonderful art, which is becoming more of the person you were born to be.

--That is all well and good, but how does the average person “Notice what they do well and absorb that. Notice the mistakes they make and avoid them”? I may be a much slower learner than most, but I needed a lot of examples of both good and bad pointed out to me, along with some rationale for why something was useful or not useful. Sometimes learning what is a mistake is far more important than what to do correctly.

--People often learn most easily from contrast — red looks much redder when it is next to green, for instance. Contrasting what to do with what to avoid clarifies both. That is why I wrote my original post, and why I have taken the time to respond to Shawn’s post. I hope this exchange of understandings has been useful, or at least identified interesting questions to be explored further.

Again, thanks to Shawn for his thoughtful post.

Edited at 2016-08-20 08:15 am (UTC)

the ongoing dialogue between Shawn Carson and Steve Andreas

A further response in the ongoing dialogue between Shawn Carson and Steve Andreas

21 Oct Posted by: Steve Andreas in: Articles

A further response in the ongoing dialogue between Shawn Carson and Steve Andreas, regarding the HNLP Meta Pattern, (including comments from Connirae Andreas) (round 5b)