How To Do What When

Magician Instructions

You now know what to do in terms of the various reframing patterns for transforming meaning. But do you know when to do it? When should you use a Mind-Line? With whom? Under what circumstances? Which mind-line format? How do you decide which one to use with whom?

Ah, the ol' application questions!

Recognize the Neuro-Linguistic Reality

When you offer someone (including yourself) a mind-line, you do so in order to play around with meaning attributions. In other words, you aim to change a mind, or at least to offer a person the possibility of another perspective. And in doing so, you enter into the realm of that person's Model of the World, his or her neuro-linguistic reality.

This raises several questions.

Do you have permission to do this?

Does the relationship bear this kind of interaction?

Do you need to seek permission first?

What results or consequences might you have to deal with if you offer the mind-line covertly?

Would you want someone do lay a mind-line on you if your roles were reversed?

Do you have permission within your own self to facilitate such a change in another human being?

Do you have the skill to do it with grace and elegance?

Establish A Clear Sense of the Relational Context

With whom do you want to challenge, question, extend, expand, deframe, or enhance their attributed meanings about something? The person or persons with whom you want to offer a mind-line establishes a context for you.

As you identify the relationship you have with this other person, then you can begin to address the following questions.

Do you have sufficient rapport and trust with this person? How do you know?

Presenting or delivering a mind-line involves leading, have you paced sufficiently to now lead? Have you proven yourself trustworthy, open, and respectful enough with this other person? (If you haven't, then the mind-line will tend to come across and be felt by the other as manipulative.)

Choosing the Right Mind-Line

Assuming that you have the skill, ability, knowledge, internal permission, rapport, trust, and respect with someone (including yourself!) to present the gift of a meaning transforming mind-line to magically touch the person with your neuro-linguistic wand — which one should you go for?

And, how can you figure that out?

Easy. Go back to the theoretical basis of the model (Chapter 4) and examine the directions of consciousness format. Then ask yourself such things as the following.

In what direction would I want to send this person's consciousness?

In what direction does this person want his or her consciousness sent?

What default program describes how and where this person now sends his or her brain?

Does the old neuro-linguistic program first need to be deframed?

Would a straightforward content reframing work best with this person?

What conceptual frames would most usefully outframe this person and give him or her a whole new and more resourceful frame-of-reference? If I use this particular mind-line pattern, what kind of response can I expect from this person? Next you will need to determine the person's frames and meta-frames. What directions has the person already sent his or her brain? What frames currently create problems or limitations for him or her? Has the person over-used one particularframe or direction? How has this created difficulties or limitations?

In choosing the right mind-line to use, explore the direction and frame which would counter-act the person's problematic frames. Does the person need the current frame deframed? Do they need the evidence they rely upon for the current belief to get counter-exampled?

What Effect Will Today's Circumstances Play?

Another governing influence involves today's events and circumstances. When we seek to use our magic wand can make a lot of difference. This leads to asking some of the following. Would now represent a good time to do this? Describe this person's current state. What things has this person had to deal with that might significantly effect the offering of a mind-line?

Mind-LiningW\th Balance

It never hurts, even after delivering a mind-line, to run an ecology check on the mind-line. How has this particular reframing pattern affected this person?

Along the same lines, it never hurts to continually check out your own frames and meta-frames, beliefs and values. Doing so enables us to take into account the frames that we will tend to project onto others.

Use the Present State/ Desired State Algorithm

The most basic NLP algorithm involves a frame-of-reference that considers the gap between present state and desired state. Dilts (1990) invented the S.C.O.R.E. model to incorporate this. Here Symptoms and Causes summarize the current undesired present state description—the problem space. Outcome and Effects of the outcome summarize the desired future state—the solution space. And Resources specifies the processes needed in order to bridge the gap.

The Nature of "Problems"

Robert Dilts has also explored the nature of "problems" from several points-of-view that offers some profound insights With regard to knowing when to do what. I noted this in Chapter Eleven of A Sourcebook of Magic (1998, previously entitled, "How to Do What When").

Simple—Complex. Briefly, sometimes the difficulty that we seek to address involves a simple Stimulus—>Response structure rather than a complex response having several or multiple layers. A phobia involves a simple anchored response; this leads to that. Low self-esteem, conversely, involves some complexity. It depends pot only upon what associations have gotten connected to what stimulus, but also the meaning, belief, value, etc. frames that the person puts this concept into.

We create a disorientation and therefore a chance to intervene usefully when we find the leverage point of the simple S—>R pattern or make it more complex. We do this, similarly when we reduce the complexity of a complicated problem so that we chunk it down to some simple but workable facet.

Stable—Unstable represents another set of distinctions. Does the difficulty come and go unpredictably, now here, now gone? Such instability in the problem means that we first have to stabilize the problem or some part of it before we can work with it. A stable problem means that we can count on it We can predict it, anticipate it, and set our watches by it To disrupt this, we will want to de-stabilize it.

How permeable or impermeable do we find the problem? If impermeable, then we will need to first deframe it with some maneuver


I Learning to negotiate all of these reframing patterns truly describes the art of mind-lining. Such conversational framing .emergesfrom conscious practice, and eventually habituates (as all things do in human neuro-linguistics) so that it becomes an unconscious competence.

And, how do we get there? "By practicing your chops," as Richard Bandler likes to say. Become a clinician and walk through ; each of the processes over and over and over until you not only know the names of the patterns and the questions to ask, but you begin to think in terms of transforming the human meaning attribution process.

The playful and deliberate mindfulness that you bring to bear upon the process of learning will eventually spring forth in a presence of mind while communicating. At that point, you can consider yourself a master of conversational reframing... and ready to rocketship yourself into Neuro-Linguisticspace.

Chapter 14

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