Whispering In The Wind
by Carmen Bostic St. Clair and John Grinder


A Comparison between the Classic Code and Six StepReframing


It is instructiveto compare these flaws with the structure of Six Step Reframing. To ensure thatthe reader's mental map is aligned with those of the authors, we offer ananalysis of Six Step Reframing. 

Six Step Reframing


 1. identify thebehavior(s) to be changed

 2. establish a reliableinvoluntary signal system with the

 3. confirm that there isa positive intention (s) behind the
   ehavior(s) to be changed

 4. generate a set ofalternatives as good or better than the
   original behavior(s) in satisfying thepositive intention(s)

 5. get the unconsciousto accept responsibility for

 6. ecological check


Step 1 is simply toverify that the client has identified some behavior that is concrete enough toapply the remainder of the patterning to. Note that no information about thedesired state is elicited.


In step 2 the agent ofchange arranges the essential process that makes the rest of the patternactually work. It is a respectful interactive dialogue within the clientwhereby he or she uses internal dialogue (talking to themselves) to present aseries of prompts consisting of frames and questions to which he or she willthen passively await the responses from the unconscious. It is the involuntarynature of these responsesphysiological responses thatcannot be reproduced by the conscious mindthat ensuresthat the pattern is not some arbitrary self-serving delusional and ultimatelyfutile exercise.


The initial frames thatthe client presents to their unconscious acknowledges the conscious desire ofthe client (obviously prompted by the practitioner) to involve his or herunconscious intimately in the change process. While there are many variationson how specifically the process of actually establishing the signal system canbe accomplished, the simplest and most transparent is to present to theunconscious in the form of internal dialog the following question, 

 Will you (referring tohis or her own unconscious) communicate with me?


After presenting thisquestion, the client is instructed by the practitioner to wait passively withtheir attention focused on their kinesthetic system (body sensations) to detectthe response from the unconscious. When a change in sensation arrives, theclient simply validates its arrival (a touch on the portion of the body wherethe sensation occurred and a thank you (delivered through internal dialogue).The client next engages in a procedure to determine what the signal representsafter all, a body sensation is simply a sensation. Thedisambiguation procedure to determine whether the signal means yes or no as ananswer to the original question posed, proceeds simply by presenting thefollowing statement to their unconscious (again using internal dialogue),


 If the signal justoffered means yes, please repeat it.


The subsequent use offraming (explaining the need for a no signal in a frame and then requestingone) will yield the negative involuntary counterpart.


Now comes the criticalstep. Requesting that the unconscious remain inactive, the client is instructedby the practitioner to reproduce each of the signals, yes and no, consciouslythat is, without entering into an altered state. If the clientproves incapable of consciously reproducing the signals offered by theunconsciousthat is, the signal(s) is involuntary, thenstep 2 is accomplished. If the client succeeds in reproducing one or the otherof the two signalsthe signal is voluntary and theclient is instructed through the use of framing to request of the unconsciousalternative signal(s) which are then subjected to the voluntary/involuntarytest, until involuntary signals are achieved.


This, then, is anexample of a much more general procedure,

diagrammaticallypresented below:




This process literally positions the unconscious in an appropriate way
one of the essential corrections to the classic code formats mentioned previously. Hopefully it also suggests to the trained NLP practitioner an entire generativeclass of formats to directly involve the unconscious in the change process. Theprocedure carries a number of advantages. One obvious one is that theunconscious is superior in its competency for accessing the long term andglobal effects of some particular change with respect to consequences.Consciousness with its limitation of 7 ±2 chunks of information is ill-equippedto make such evaluations.


One less obvious advantage is to compare any pattern with this procedure (in whatever variant)with direct hypnosis. Hypnosis, especially in its deeper forms, typicallyimplies a severe disassociation between conscious and unconscious. Indeed, oneof the indicators that hypnosis is the treatment of choice is when the agent ofchange is presented with a client who is so filled with conscious requirementsfor understanding; has beliefs about the impossibility of change... that theagent of change determines these behaviors will greatly impede the client'sability to make changes. Thus, through hypnotic techniques that bypass theclient's conscious mind entirely and therefore the obstacles that clients'conscious activities represent, a skillfulhypnotist can stimulate the clients unconscious to make rapid and deep changein spite of such conscious patterns.


Please note, however,one of the ethical commitments of well-trained NLP practitioners is a sort ofmental gymnastic whereby the practitioner makes a note any dis-associations sheinduces in her clients and ensures in the clean up phas at the end of thesession that all such disassociations are reversedthat is, some corresponding association technique is required tore-integrate the portions of the client disassociated as part of the changeprocess. Clearly hypnosis itself is disassociative in this sense, as consciousnesstypically plays no part in its application. Thus the hypnotist must accept theresponsibility of making arrangements for a reintegration of consciousness andunconsciousness as part of the clean up ater a giece of work.


In steps 2 through 6 ofthe reframing pattern, all of which involved the use of this involuntary signalsystem, the client will be alternating between a “normal” state ofconsciousness (communicating with the practitioner) and an altered state ofconsciousness (usually a light to medium trance state).


Thus, we regard thisclass of procedures (the shifting altered state of the client during steps 26) as congruent with the position that Erickson held at the end ofhis career. When asked the following question,


 How deep an alteredstate should a hypnotist strive for with his clients?


Erickson replied,


 Only as deep asnecessary to achieve the therapeutic goals desired


In fact as we willexplicate subsequently, the inclusion of some form of this involuntary signalsystem allows the conversion of any of the classic code patterning into newcode in the sense of significantly correcting the flaws created by Grinder andBandler in their original work together.


Steps 3 and 4 defineconceptually the heart of reframing, and while they are best accomplished intwo discrete moves, we will discuss them together here. The strategy is toidentify what the positive intention behind the behavior to be changed is (step3) and subsequently to generate a new set, namely, the set of behaviors thatwill satisfy this positive intention (step 4).


We present an example toassist the reader in appreciating how specifically this strategy (to identifypositive intention and develop alternatives) works. Remember that in practice,it is typical that the practitioner will not know what the content of thechange being effected issecret therapy, one of the distinguishingadvantages of NLP applications as applied by the agent of change tothe change process. Indeed, while the client will know what the change beingmade is (as a result of having accomplished step #1)in many cases he or she will not know consciously what the positiveintention(s) behind the behavior to be changed is; nor will such a client consciouslyknow what the new behaviors that will replace original behavior areuntil such time as they actually enter the contexts where the formerbehavior used to occur. It is only at that point that they will discover whatnew behaviors were that were unconsciously selected to satisfy the positiveintention.

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