nlp swish pattern

Tips to Make the NLP Swish Pattern Work

We’re doing a student webinar on the NLP swish pattern this week at the iNLP Center. This post is to outline the main points we’ll make.

What is the NLP Swish Pattern?

The swish pattern is an NLP visualization technique that became popular in the early days of NLP – late 1970’s. It’s used to retrain thought and feeling patterns around undesirable habits that happen on autopilot. Smoking, nail-biting, overeating, and chronic emotional reactions are appropriate candidates for the swish pattern.

What you didn’t know about the Swish Pattern

The swish pattern was born of modeling. Modeling is the practice of learning how someone does something well, breaking down the process, and teaching it to others. We often associate modeling with performance, like modeling someone’s basketball shot to improve our own.

The swish pattern is a model based on people who naturally overcome bad habits like those mentioned above. And this is one of the things I love about Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Modeling the success of others is 100% applicable to mental and emotional health – and all kinds of behaviors. You just need to find someone who gets the result you want.

For example, if you want to overcome a fear, you might benefit by studying the fear. Yet, you’re more likely to find a solution by modeling someone who has successfully overcome the same fear. With the swish pattern, NLP developers found people who had overcome bad habits and broke down their mental process. After filter out unnecessary elements, we have the swish.

The swish pattern directly reflects the thought process used by people who have overcome habits. It makes all the sense in the world to model those people and teach their strategy to others, right?

Making the Swish Pattern Work

If you’re enrolled in an NLP practitioner course, you have the steps to the swish. If you don’t have the steps, you’ll likely gain something from the following tips, regardless.

Before we get into it, you should also check out this article from the late and great NLP legend, Steve Andreas.

Key Elements of the Swish to NOT Screw Up:

1. Choose the right problem.

The swish is for automatic or unconscious habits, not vague feelings or unpredictable reactions. Nail biting is a great example. It’s a clear and concrete behavior that you do on autopilot. It’s typically done the same way every time and very difficult to stop once it becomes a habit.

Simple, concrete, habitual behaviors that you want to quit are ideal for the swish pattern.

 

 

obedient children nlp

#1 Language Tip to Encourage More Obedient Children

The classic parenting formula in psychology is love and limits.

Love your children and place limits on them. You must do both, according to psychologists. Love without limits – no rules or expectations – creates spoiled children. Placing limits on your children without loving them creates unloved, resentful children.

Both love and limits are necessary.

We’re not trying to replace the classic formula in this post. When it comes to implementing the limits side of the formula, there are certain ways to go about it that make a big difference. Awareness of your communication skills can be the difference between obedient children and confused, distracted, or even rebellious kids.

We’ll take our tips today from the field of Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP, an interpersonal communication model that’s popular in many fields. NLP was developed in the early 1970’s at the University of Santa Cruz. One of the originators, Dr. John Grinder, was a linguistics professor.

#1 Language Tip to Encourage Obedient Children

Here it is: State requests in the positive.

Stating requests in the negative may be the most common linguistic snafu we parents make. We all know what happens when you say, “Don’t think of the color blue.” You must think of blue in order to understand the request. It’s a self-sabotaging statement!

Still, we tell our kids all the time:

  • Stop yelling.
  • Don’t do that.
  • Don’t drop it!
  • Don’t run into the street!

I remember a particular lunch break during my NLP practitioner training. We were standing at a busy intersection, waiting for the crosswalk signal to let us cross the street. A three-year-old girl was flirting with the very edge of the curb, as if she wanted to step off into the street where cars were sweeping by.

Her mom screamed, “Don’t go into the street!” And can you guess what happened. The girl lifted her foot to step out there. Mom grabbed her up. And this little girl looked confused. I think she didn’t hear the “don’t” and was acting on “step into the street.”

When the girl was standing on her feet again, I said to her, “Your mom wants you to stay right where you are.”

Big deal. The girl would have been fine regardless, but I was learning these language patterns at the time and loved to practice. It worked!

Make a Positive Language Sandwich

To make your requests even more clear and persuasive, combine positive and negative statements to form a sandwich. The recipe goes like this:

  • Stand right here.
  • Don’t step off the curb.
  • Stay right where you are.

This way, you can tell your child what to do and what not to do, offering extra clarity. Ending with a positive statement keeps them properly focused.

  • Please speak quietly.
  • Don’t yell.
  • Use a soft voice, please.
  • Please clean your room.
  • Don’t play X-Box this morning.
  • You agreed to clean your first thing this morning. Please get started.

And so on.

In today’s distraction-prone, instant gratification world, we need to consciously promote emotional intelligence to our children. Making ourselves perfectly clear by sending positively-stated messages helps the effort along.