NLP Master Practitioner: Positive Intent


This article is a transcript of the following video:

How do you flip a negative behavior, or an un-resourceful feeling, to a positive intention? This is part of many patterns inside NLP Master Practitioner but it’s also useful all on its own. So, let’s just say someone has let’s say negative self-talk, or lack of confidence, or procrastination, or habit of raiding the buffet table, something like that. When I ask the client to do something, I’m really interested in the unconscious answer, not so much the logical answer. Now with some people it’s trickier than others as to what the unconscious answer is.

What I do is try to get the client to relax, to go inside. I let them access a state of calmness. Then I ask them to ask their unconscious mind the question, what is the positive intent behind this behavior. What do you get out of it? I’m not interested in your logical answer. I want you to ask your intuition, your unconscious mind, for a one word answer. Usually this sounds like a value, a positive word that comes out. It’s sort of like the inkblot test, the Rorschach test. It’s where you have to do a quick association based on the first thing that jumps into your mind.

Some clients are very aware as to what the voice of their intuition is like, where that’s located inside their mind even, what that sounds like more than others. The way that I can distinguish the difference between a logical and an unconscious answer is that you literally see the client ask the question inside their mind. I never let them do it out loud because they start to feel a little bit like weird to actually do that out loud, outside of their unconscious mind. So I let them go inside.

An unconscious answer sort of has a whole different quality. A logical answer sounds more definitive, like “it’s this and this and this and this” or “it’s that and that and that,” where an unconscious answer is more like going, let’s say, “my frustration around the singer on Venice beach, the positive intent that I get out of that is… fun. The reason why it’s so fun for me is because I have an inner joke with all of my friends.” That’s not a very good example of an unconscious answer, but when you do this with a lot of clients you really start to pay attention to the difference. So remember that: what is the quality of an unconscious answer versus a conscious answer.

Now if I really can’t get the unconscious answer, then I simply go with the conscious answer even if I have to let them pretend as if that’s the as-if pattern. I want them to pretend as if their unconscious mind is giving them the answer to what the positive intent is.

Now remember the positive intent is always a positive word like security, or safety. It can be, let’s say for procrastination, it can be comfort, relaxation, or something like that. And so because what happens when you, for instance, want to do processes that are eyes closed, or start to engage the unconscious mind more, even chunking up, what you’ll find is that the logical answer ends up switching to their unconscious world anyway. The best thing you can do is step into a state of confidence and step into a state of comfort, relaxation, and power for yourself, instead of freaking out as to what may happen.

Then you’ll find, especially through learning and doing it more often, you’ll find that you get better and better. You may run it as an exercise where you just try and do this process, or you do this process with as many people as possible to quickly flip that positive intent. You do that over and over and over, and I promise you by the time that you’ve done that 21 times you’ll get the hang of it.