Friday, October 17, 2008

Neurolinguistic Programming: The Meta Model

Neurolinguistic Programming is a great tool box. In this series I will be sharing several tools out of this broad metaphorical tool box to empower you. (I have shared one personal tool already, the Swish technique, I will later share the kinesthetic equivalent of this, if that doesn't make sense, it will in the future post.)

We will be looking at the Meta Model first, why? Because people who know the Meta Model are practically unable to be bullshitted. Semantic Illusion will be destroyed forever. Evolving beyond BS starts with being mindful about language.

Adapted from material by Roger Ellerton and Chris Howard. Thanks guys.
The Meta Model provides us as critical thinkers, truth seekers, conspiracy researchers, coaches, therapists, family members, friends, bosses... etc with a set of questions which serve two purposes:
1) To assist a person we are helping (for instance an NLP client) to move from the surface structure of his communication to an understanding of his deep structure -- unconscious beliefs, values, decisions. This is not about finding the right answers but having a better understanding of your client’s model of the world.
2) To ask ourselves questions (not necessarily confronting the subject) and see through anyone's bs wether in politics, media, advertising, teachers, gurus, alternative & conspiracy researchers, etc. If you study this model for a while you will truly understand that "most politicians say a lot but mean very little," and "advertising is deception", etc. Though most of the examples below are therapist-client orientated, the perceptive reader can see how they can apply it beyond that.
If you think you need more examples to understand it better, do some research first on google, if you're not succesful let me know and I will illustrate with more examples how we can apply this in other situations.

Origin of the Meta Model
John Grinder and Richard Bandler developed the Meta Model by modeling two very successful therapists, Fritz Perls and Virginia Satir, who got extraordinary results from their clients by having them be more specific in what they expressed. That is, by using certain types of questions to gather information (gain understanding of the client’s deep structure). Grinder and Bandler observed that in moving from the deep structure to the surface structure, people unconsciously:
* Delete: We only present some of the information available at the deep structure.
* Generalize: We may make general statements about what we believe, how we see others, our values, etc. We ignore possible exceptions or special conditions.
* Distort: We may choose to over simplify or fanaticize about what is possible or what has happened.
What is the Meta Model Good for?
Gaining specificity, gathering info, assisting people in enrichening their reality maps, seeing through BS, the structure of nitpicking :p

To recover the information missing as a result of deletions, generalizations and distortions, Grinder and Bandler identified 12 different patterns with corresponding questions and called this the Meta Model. The Meta Model is about being more specific (chunking down) to get a better understanding of the person’s model of the world. All human communication has the potential to be ambiguous. The purpose of the questions is to cut through this ambiguity, which may cause problems, and to access the missing information for both the client and the coach, i.e. to gain a better understanding of the client’s deep structure and to make better sense of the communication.

Although based on the work of two therapists, the Meta Model has much wider application -- wherever two or more people are engaged in communicating -- at work, at play, within the family, etc.

It also helps to cut through the Bullshit language of politicians, after studying this model a little bit, you will completely why politicians are full shit and why advertising isn't meant to help you.

Once mastered, the Meta Model is a powerful and useful tool. However, it does take practice to master the questioning process and the process must be undertaken with a high degree of rapport -- the client must feel safe and not pressured. Before asking any of my clients, students, colleagues, family members, etc. the Meta Model questions, I make sure that they are comfortable in my presence, have a feeling of safety and I ask them the following: “May I ask you a question?” If they respond ‘no’, then I do not pursue it and listen to the presuppositions in what they are saying to get a clearer understanding of their model of the world.

Meta Model
Simple Deletion: Something is left out.

I'm uncomfortable: About who or what are you uncomfortable about?
He never listens to me: Who/Never?
I am mad: About What?

Lack of Referential Index: The person(s) or object to which the statement refers is unspecified or not clear.

They don't listen to me: Who specifically doesn't?
They rejected my business proposal: Who rejected what exactly?

Comparative deletions: A comparison is made and it is unclear as to what is being compared. The sentence will contain words such as: Better, best, good, worst, more, less, most, least.

She's a better person: Better than whom, she's the best: Compared to whom?
This approach is better: Compared to what or whom?
Your training is expensive (lol, funny NLP'ers): Compared to what? To the price of the problem?

Unspecified verb: In this case, it is not clear how something was done.

He rejected me: Retrieve the missing info, How/Who specifically?
They rejected my business proposal: How/Who specifically?

Nominalization: A process has been turned into a “thing”. Nominalizations are nouns, yet you cannot physically touch them or put them in the trunk of your car. Examples of nominalizations are: communication, relationship, leadership, respect, truth, freedom, depression, love, etc. Our task here is to ask a question so that the process can be rediscovered. Take the noun and turn it back to a verb.

There's no communication here: Who's not communicating what to whom? How would you like to communicate?
My relationship is terrible: What's terrible about the way you're relating?
The communication in our family is poor: How would you like us to communicate? Notice that there is also a "comparative deletion" and we could also ask "Poor compared to what?"

Universal quantifier: Universal quantifiers are typically words such as: all, every, never, always, only, everyone, everything, no one, etc. (generalizations which are mostly not true -> understatement, hello! :p)

She never listens to me: Never? Not once? (exaggeration) What would happen if she did?
Nobody likes me: Nobody? Not one person?
My boss never gives me credit for what I do: Never? or: Has there ever been a time when your boss has given you credit?

Mobile Operator of Necessity: Modal Operators of Necessity include words such as should, shouldn't, must, must not, have to, need to, it is necessary.

I have to take care of..., I have to go to school: What would happen if you did/didn't - expands their model of the world aka reality tunnel.

Model Operator of Possibility: Modal Operators of Possibility include words such as can, can't, will, won't, may, may not, possible, impossible. The key is to challenge the limitation.

I can’t do this now, I can't tell him the truth: What would happen if you did, what prevents you?

Mindread: The speaker claims to know what another person believes, feels, or thinks.

You don't like me: How do you know I don't like you?
You always feel that way, you're angry: How do you know (specifically)?
My boss is not pleased with my work: how do you know? How specifically do you know your boss is not pleased with your work?

Lost Performative: Value judgments are made and it is not clear who has made the judgment.

It's bad to be inconsistent: Who says that? How do you know?
It's a good thing to ... : According to whom? Why?
This is the right way to get ahead in this company: According to whom? How do you know this is the right way?

Cause & Effect: The speaker establishes a cause-effect relationship between two events or actions. Common constructions include: if.. then, because, makes, compels, causes.

You make me sad: How does what I'm doing specifically cause you to choose to feel sad?
He makes me angry: How does what he's doing choose you to feel angry?
When you look at me that way, I feel unimportant: How does the way I look at you cause you to choose to feel unimportant? (you could use a counter example)

Complex Equivalent: In this situation two experiences are interpreted as being synonymous. These two experiences could be joined by words such as: therefore, means, implies. Challenge them on it. How does one thing, mean the other thing, or give a counterexample:

You have no respect for my time cause you're late: How does being late have anything to dow ith respect, have you ever been late and respected somebody, have you ever been on time and disrespected somebody?
She doesn't like me, she's always yelling at me: How does her yelling at you mean that she doesn't like you? Have you ever yelled at someone you liked? Have you ever not yelled at someone and hated them?
My boss walked into his office without saying ‘good morning’, therefore he is not pleased with my work: How does not saying ‘good morning’ mean that your boss is not pleased with your work? or: Have you ever been preoccupied by family or business pressures and forgot to say ‘good morning’ to your co-workers?

Presuppositions: Some part of the sentence presupposes or implies the existence (or non-existence) of something, person, etc. while not explicitly stating it. This kind of sentence presupposes that you do not * something. If you try to answer this question directly, you will be digging an even deeper hole for yourself.

If he knew how muchI suffered he wouldn't do that: How do you choose to suffer? How do you know he doesn't know? How do you know he wouldn't do that if he knew?
When will you demonstrate leadership for your team?: What leads you to believe that I do not demonstrate leadership? or: How is it that I do not demonstrate leadership?

'How' instead of 'Why'
The questions in the Meta Model do not have any ‘why’ questions. When you ask someone a ‘why’ question, often they feel they have to defend what they have said or done, make excuses or rationalize their behaviour. On the other hand, if you expressed the question as a 'how' question, then you get a better understanding of the process used by your client and thus more information and understanding.

Adapted from material by Roger Ellerton and Chris Howard. Thanks guys.

1 comment:

dedroidify said...

Loved this comment from myspace:

Constant Stream Thinking: It involves continuous questioning or "hows" without stopping to figure out the "why". Eventually the question essentially becomes the answer.
'Developped' by

Gotta love myspace reformatting :p