Vol. 34 – August 28, 2005

Ericksonian Hypnotic Language Patterns

Reverse Meta Model
In NLP the “meta model” is Bandler and Grinder’s name for the wellformedness conditions of the surface structure of the English language*. (*See their book “The Structure of Magic.”) In Hypnosis we sometimes chose to deliberately violate these wellformedness conditions (“reversing the meta model”) in order to be purposefully and artfully vague.

Pattern 34. Unspecified Adjectives

“Feel that special feeling.”

“Special?” How specifically is it special? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Is it special because of it’s rarity? Are you saying “special” because it’s sinfully wonderful but you can’t say that?

No one knows. But your client will chose something special. In fact, if you’re doing a group induction everyone will feel something “special” and it might well be different for everyone, and yet they all feel as though you are talking directly to their experience.

Some other unspecified adjectives: (it is arguable that most adjectives are somewhat unspecific. Even if a person said “that was fantastic chile,” We wouldn’t really know exactly how good it was. Some are, however, more unspecified than others. Tonality will play a big role in the meaning communicated.)

  • fine (Melissa saw it in fine detail.)
  • memorable (They had a memorable evening.)
  • interesting (Helen had an interesting experience.)
  • challenging (Joel had a challenging teacher.)
  • fun (Annie sent a fun memo.)

You get the idea. Your being nonspecific does two things for you: 1. Your client will need to resolve the confusion that is engendered and 2. you will not be inadvertently speaking contrary to their experience.

Now go out there and practice with people. And have fun.
See you next week.