Perceptual positions are an incredibly helpful tool for clients to understand certain situations, relationships, points of view, negotiation etc. It helps the client to understand themselves and others better, create insights and new behaviors. It is also an important tool of dissociation.
Traditionally NLP speaks of 3 perceptual positions:
First position: Self, taking a look at a given situation standing in our own shoes. Being associated in to self, as we say in NLP. What are you feeling, hearing, seeing, thinking, saying to yourself?
Second position: Other, taking a look at a given situation standing in the other persons shoes. Being associated in to the other person. What is the other person feeling, hearing, seeing, thinking, saying to themselves?
Third position: Neutral or observer position. This is a dissociated position, looking at the given situation as an observer. Detached from feelings and emotions of either party.
I always like to operate with a 4th perceptual position, even though not traditionally NLP.
This is a position where the following can be considered:
Groups: family, neighborhood, church, community, political party, the company, the department etc. What are you observing if you step in to the position of the group? What do you learn from this position?
Higher power: god, the universe, any other higher energy or power.
What are you observing if you step in to the position of the higher power? What do you learn from this position?
Working with perceptual positions becomes ultimately more powerful keeping this 4th position in to account. It gives new learnings, better capabilities for understanding, negotiation, persuasion and change.
Also culturally there is a factor to be considered. In collectivist cultures the family is considered before the individua. For example Asians (collectivist culture), it becomes ultimately more powerful to work with them using a 4th perceptual position. As well as helping people form individualist countries (like North America or Western Europe) to understand Asians near and dear to them. I have experienced this both as a coach to expatriates, as well as culturally coming from a European-Indonesian background.
Life coaching using perceptual positions, can become much more powerful to look at a given person or situation from the position of the higher power. Looking at yourself through the eyes of the higher power, what does that mean? How would Jesus experience it? How would the Dalai Lama handle this given situation? How does your view of yourself change if you look at yourself from the stand point of the universe, interconnectedness and a collective consciousness between us all? Etc.
Think how you could build a custom even more powerful New Behavior Generator using this 4th perceptual position?
Thank You for this extended refresher 🙂
You are welcome!