Vol. 30 – July 31, 2005

Ericksonian Hypnotic Language Patterns

Reverse Meta Model patterns, continued.
In NLP the “meta model” is Richard Bandler’s and John Grinder’s name for the wellformedness conditions of the surface structure of the English language*. (*- for more on this see their book “Structure of Magic.”) In Hypnosis we sometimes chose to deliberately violate these wellformedness conditions in order to be purposely and artfully vague. We’re calling this purposeful vagueness “reversing the meta model.”

Remember: “The client must always be specific. The Practitioner? Never.”

Pattern 30. Lost Performative
“Lost Performatives” are evaluative statements (good vrs. bad) in which the person doing the evaluating is missing from the sentence. A natural Meta-model response would be “Says who?”

As a meta model example, if someone said, “It’s good to eat breakfast.” You might respond, “Really? Who says so?” or “According to whom?”

For our purposes as hypno-guides, when we reverse the meta model and purposefully violate the rules, we can say things like, “That’s right, trance does feel good.” The client is left to challenge the statement (“Who says trance feels good? Let me see the data supporting your claim.”) but they usually won’t. Therefore they are accepting your suggestion, expressed in the form of a presupposition.

“It’s so nice to relax, let go and let someone else do the talking for a while.”

“It’s not imperative to keep your eyes open, and you can close them, now.”

Or in a business or sales situation (you see, I haven’t forgotten you), you could say something like, “It’s good to feel secure in your new car.”

It’s best to practice your own patterns to really own these skills. I’d strongly suggest you stop, write out several of your own that you could use this week, and use them. Use them with your clients, of course, and also throughout your everyday activities, with co-workers, friends, news boys (It’s good to stay off the grass), etc. And listen for the meta model violations in other people’s language. It’s fun!

See you next week.