NLP: The Swish Technique

Do you ever find yourself in an unresourceful state? It might be something as simple as some negative self talk or a phobic response. Well, the NLP Swish technique is a very simple process by which you can send those negative thoughts and feelings off in a completely different direction…

The swish pattern uses rapid-fire submodality shifts to associate two mental constructs so that one automatically leads to the other. OK, that sounds like gobbledygook but read on for what it can actually achieve.

George wants to get in shape. His only problem is an ice cream truck that swings by his village every day at noon. So far, every time George’s seen the rasberry-vanilla ice cream cone printed on the side of the truck, he’s felt he had to buy one.

George realizes that one way to change his behavior is a swish pattern. He closes his eyes, and pictures the rasberry-vanilla ice cream cone right in front of him. He puts an image of himself with the body he’s always wanted off in the distance. Now he pushes the cone off to the horizon and snaps the picture of himself into its place as fast as he can.

After doing this a few times, he brings up the image of the cone. Before he can think about it, the new image of his ultra-buff body pops into his head.

Now when George sees the ice cream truck, he instantly remembers this image. The thought of buying ice cream no longer even occurs to him!

Procedure – A Plain Vanilla Swish
The swish pattern is one of the simplest bits of submodality work. The idea is to rapidly swap the submodalities of two representations (images, sounds, or feelings) so that the first becomes a stimulus for the second:

1. Create a close-up image of the stimulus. This should be a specific object or scene from the outside world. Since this will act as a trigger for the new behavior, it should be seen through the user’s eyes.
2. Create a distant image for the desired response. You want to the user to move towards this, rather than experience it as if it were happening now, so it should be seen as through an outside observer’s eyes.
3. Swish the two images – rapidly push the stimulus into the distance, and bring the desired response right up to the user’s face. For effect, you can actually make a “swish” sound as the images pop into place.
4. Allow the images to settle for a minute in their new places.
5. Clear the user’s mind or lead the user into a neutral state.
Repeat steps 1 through 5 until any thought of the stimulus leads directly to the response.

NLP’ers tend to swish visually, as it has the best effect on most people. In this case, we’ve used distance as the varying submodality, but you could swish with size, brightness, color, or just about any other submodality or set of submodalities that effects the user. You can also swish in any representational system (auditory, kinesthetic, etc.).

Try this a few different ways until you really find the mechanism that works for you. You’ll be amazed at how flexible the process is and how you can use it in all areas of your life.

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