Tag Archive for presupposition

Presupposition#12: Every behavior is useful in some context

To obtain healing, growth and success we don’t have to get rid of our so-called “bad” behaviours. Rather, acquiring more behavioral choices that provide more options for more useful responses in all areas of our lives.

If a behavior does not work, it is useful to re-contextualize it than to fight against it, resist it, or make it wrong.

As children we learned one way of doing everything. The supposed “right” way to survive. As we grow the information we have may not make sense for the situations we experience. This may be due to the fact that when we were taught the information we were taught we were children and didn’t have the experience to what we were learning. The information we learned became patterns in our lives and were useful until they weren’t. Which is when they become emotionally painful. That’s when we need to update our system. The most effective tool in updating and adding to this patterning is NLP.

The best way to have your brain choose a new option is to make the new option more positive than the intended positive out come currently available to your brain. But in order to offer a choice, some versions of NLP say to eliminate those painful memories entirely because they don’t hold useful information. This is how Therapeutic NLP is different from traditional or formulaic NLP. I believe all information we have is useful and needed. If I don’t include it, acknowledge it, and make it ok, you as my client can’t make any changes in your system because I can’t be in full rapport with you.

And, I know that if I offer the brain a better option, rather than subtract, it will use that option more often and over time the painful connections will fall away. 

If you look at the neural connections of a child’s brain through development, you’ll see an increase, then a decrease of connections over time. This is what happens in learning. Your brain creates many connections in learning something new. But as those skills become embedded and practiced the unneeded extra connections used in learning the skill fall away. This way your brain still knows how to crawl. You just don’t need all the information you needed to learn how to crawl. This is the efficiency of your brain’s processing and learning.

Tracy Joy, Founder of NLP VancouverTracy Joy is an NLP practitioner, author, and speaker in Vancouver, Canada. She is an international business expert in the area of human systems analysis and thinking change. If you have brain questions, send them Tracy and she’ll answer them on this blog. She can be reached through www.TherapeuticNLP.com

Presupposition#11: Behavior is the highest quality information available

When listening to what a person says, pay attention to their behavior as well. Behavior tells the true story. Have you ever heard the sentiment: “action speaks louder than words?”

I’ve have had many people come to me when they are having issues in their relationships. Many times (more than I can count) I have to convince them that I can’t change the person they are talking about… but I can help them change what’s not working specifically for them… and who knows, that might change the way the other person in their relationship is acting.

I remember this story I heard once from a husband. He would go around his house shutting off lights. Every time he would walk into a room he would get more and more incensed about how much money was being wasted on electricity, and then shut the light.

His wife would walk into a room and think, how gloomy is this room, open the light and then walk out of the room. This went on for many years until, the husband got curious about the actions of the wife and asked, what does the light in the room mean to the wife. She told him that a room with light was happy, so she liked to walk into happy rooms.

So he had a choice to make, does he want his wife to be happy or does he want to save on electricity? Now he has choice, but the behavior provided the highest quality of information… it’s up to you to find out what the behavior means. Most likely it is quite important.

Tracy Joy founder of NLP VancouverTracy Joy is an NLP practitioner, author, and speaker in Vancouver, Canada. She is an international business expert in the area of human systems analysis and thinking change. If you have brain questions, send them Tracy and she’ll answer them on this blog. She can be reached through www.TherapeuticNLP.com

Presupposition #10: Communication is redundant.

You cannot not communicate. We are always communicating, at least nonverbally, and words are often the least important part (Albert Mehrabian said about 7% of the communication). A sign, a smile, and a look are all communications (About 55% according to Mehrabrian). Even though our thoughts are communications with ourselves, and they are revealed to others through our eyes, voice tones(38%), postures, and body movements.

The experience of being human requires us to make meaning out of everything. Communication is always happening. It is never not happening. All words, all behavior, communicate something. You cannot stop communicating.

Understanding another’s communication is the basis for everything in our world occurring or not. It is the reason why things work or not, why people are inspired or not. Your words are powerful beyond measure – not because of the meaning you associate with those words, but the meaning that others around you, listening to your words associate with those words. You communication has the power to build people up and tear people down.

My mother used to say the words “we’ll see.” She used this sentiment most commonly with things she didn’t believe were going to take place. Although the two little words mean nothing and have no expressly negative or positive connotation to them alone, I can hear the intonation quite distinctly a clearly from her.  Even when I read these words to myself they are about casting doubt and non-belief.

When I as graduating from anything, high school or university, I would be standing in my cap and gown before the service and she would ask if I was going to get something. I would reply “yes” as if the wind was knocked out of me for her thinking I would create such an elaborate rouse. She would then reply in her doubting voice “Well, I guess we’ll see.”

It took me four graduations to get it right. I realized the work I did was for me, not her. And, the graduation was about me and my accomplishments, not her, and her doubt. And, on my fourth graduation day for my Master’s degree, I didn’t invite her.

Now, if she was responsible for the results of her communication then she probably wouldn’t have been hurt by this action. But she wasn’t. And that’s how we live our lives – expecting others to be responsible for how their communication lands but not being responsible ourselves for how our communication lands on others. This presupposition alone, in my opinion would build up so many people and improve so many relationships.

Tracy Joy is an NLP practitioner, author, and speaker in Vancouver, Canada. She is an international business expert in the area of human systems analysis and thinking change. If you have brain questions, send them Tracy and she’ll answer them on this blog. She can be reached through www.TherapeuticNLP.com

Presupposition #6: Language is a tertiary representation of experience

This presupposition I go back to time and time again. You know the old adage: A picture is worth a thousand words? Well, an experience is worth 1000’s more. In fact most of the time we can’t get the words to explain the experience to someone.

When we experience something, anything our senses are bombarded with 2 billion bits of information but our conscious mind can only deal with 5-9 pieces of information at a given moment. So, there is so much more information that gets filtered out of our conscious awareness.

When we experience an event, our conscious brain sorts from the information it gets the meaning associated with how our brain reacts to this information… so if we get painful feelings our conscious mind says something like “don’t like that, don’t want that to happen again.” Then it goes back and checks the experience and reinforces the meaning associated with it. This is the experience of the experience – A secondary event.

When we put language to the event, we are not putting language to the primary event, we are putting language to the experience of the experience.

These are levels of modeling and have a direct effect on our experience of the world. These levels of modeling could be depicted as layers, which separate us from the world at large. (picture) The three layers are: 1.) our sensory experience, 2.) our experience of experience and 3.) our language. 

Each level of modeling is meta to the level below it. (Meta means moving up to a higher level or awareness of our awareness.) The higher the level at which the modeling occurs, the greater the distance between the model and the world at large. Language is a useful representation of experience, but it is a representation, not the real thing. Which means language is a model of our internally constructed model of reality. The problem comes in when we assume ours or other’s language is reality.

I remember a time when I was asked to take part in an introductory seminar of an organization that used a modified version of NLP to have people sign up and take their course and eventually become zealots for their company. This example was once part of their introductory seminars:  

They called this process “un-collapsing the vicious circle.” They asked participants to find an area of their life when they had experienced being trapped with their job or family. They then drew a diagram of a circle to the left on the board and labeled it “what happened” instead of the “experience.” Then they drew another circle to the right of the first circle and call it the “concept” or the “story” about what happened – which is really the “experience of the experience”.

And then they would explain, “So what human beings do is have an experience, then make up a story about the experience. They then review the experience and then go back again to their story and then back to the experience, over and over and over again until they aren’t living in the experience or what happened. They are living very far away from the reality as a result of the vicious circle.” Then the spokesperson for this organization would say if you sign up for their seminar you will have the experience of un-collapsing this vicious circle so you can always be present to what happened in your life.

Never in their introduction or any where else in their training did they say, this is an entirely human concept – so everyone experiences this. And that there is no way to get out of this process ever because it is the way your brain processes information – by continuously updating our maps of reality!

But there is a way to change the negative feelings associated with experiencing your experiences. And, it is called NLP. The only thing available from these seminars is the illusion of elation or emotional release from going from and environment where you are sitting practically on top of the people next to you to having space around you. Due to their inability to be specific enough in a seminar setting, this company can only at best make a behavior change. But without creating a change in the corresponding belief that supports the behavior, the new behavior doesn’t last. Usually it lasts only for about a week tops…which is precisely how much time they have to get you enrolled in the next seminar.


Tracy Joy is an NLP practitioner, author, and speaker in Vancouver, Canada. She is an international business expert in the area of human systems analysis and thinking change. If you have brain questions, send them Tracy and she’ll answer them on this blog. She can be reached through www.TherapeuticNLP.com

Presupposition #5: Experience has structure.

All maps/models have a syntax and structural elements. The structural elements are the building blocks of a model. For experience, the structural elements are made up of our words and spoken vocabularies. The syntax is the set of rules or directives that describe how the building blocks can be put together. For us, this is the set of grammar rules that dictate how we fit together words.

The structure of experience consists of sensory impressions – pictures, sounds, feelings, smells, and tastes – some are internally generated and others come from the outside. It is through these sensory impressions that we compare to what is already logged into our memory (our current internal map of reality) and create meaning and subsequently update our internal map of reality.

What was originally logged in that internal map of reality was information or impressions from two months before we were born and our physical brain, sometimes referred to as our critter or reptilian brain started functioning. It was during this time, we gathered our impressions from our mother’s feelings and experiences. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the experience that went along with those feelings to make proper meaning so we made it mean things about ourselves like, we are worthless, helpless, invisible, unlovable, etc…

If our thoughts and memories have a pattern to them, and we know that pattern, we can change them. When we change that pattern or structure, our experience will automatically change no matter what the original experience was like or how long it existed. We can neutralize unpleasant memories and enrich memories that will serve us.

When I was just learning NLP, I was the class demo for our anchoring class. My NLP mentor asked me to think about an experience that was fun and interesting. So I did, and as the feeling loaded up in my mind I looked around at the class and realized they were watching me, and I got self conscious and blushed. Just as I blushed he squeezed my arm. He then asked me who I considered a mentor – which I had none so I replied “the Dali Lama.” Carl had me think about the Dali Lama and then squeezed my other arm. Then he did the unthinkable… He squeeze the first arm and said “ now, when you load up this I want you to load up this too,” and squeeze the second arm. He continued talking to the class while periodically squeezing the first arm which, would immediately bring up my face blushing and then the Dali Lama would appear in my thoughts. This to me seems so wrong… so I begged him to do some thing. He asked if I knew who the woman was that sang the song Hello Dolly. I said “Carol Channing” and as soon as I said it he created another button on my back and he connect it the pattern.  So now, he could squeeze one arm and get me to blush, think about the Dali Lama and hear Carol Channing sing me hello dolly! Forever my memory of that initial fun and interesting experience was changed. 

Tracy Joy is an NLP practitioner, author, and speaker in Vancouver, Canada. She is an international business expert in the area of human systems analysis and thinking change. If you have brain questions, send them Tracy and she’ll answer them on this blog. She can be reached through www.TherapeuticNLP.com