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Putting the MythoSelf™ Process to Work With Others

Joseph Riggio

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So once again a short history lesson for you all – just keeping tracking and the ‘lineage’ clean. In this community of NLPers it’s too often in my opinion that people are reinventing other peoples stuff and claiming it as their own. It’s not enough for some reason for NLPers in general to become exquisite in their ability and skills in delivering the work and have that become their calling card. It seems that everyone must be a “developer” or “designer” for them to be considered, by themselves and others, as having position, status or value enough to receive appropriate recognition in the work they do. This is sadly inappropriate and leads to abhorrent behavior in my opinion.

When you know the lineage of the work you know something that is of value, the historical and developmental roots that the work is founded on and in. You also know of the reputations of the individuals who contributed to the overall construction of the work you are experiencing. This frames it in a much greater way that is truly systemically organized. Then as a participant or practitioner it can make sense for you to experience it within this larger frame. Since the MythoSelf work stands on creating an access to a larger frame this seems relevant and important to me.

Anyway, that’s the history and philosophy lessons for today … for those of you who got through them, or were clever enough to scan down-

Putting the MythoSelf™ Process to work with others:

While I am most often using this space to reference how the MythoSelf work is designed to facilitate an extraordinary experience of being, which in turn leads to an extraordinary way of doing and making manifest intention(s) there is another aspect which I less often reference – the nature of using this work in regard to assisting others with change and personal/professional development.

Those of you who have hung around for a while now know about the emphasis in this work on the somatic experience. This emphasis is always in relation to the neurological and semantic experience and this creates the descriptions (the mythologies) from which a person experiences reality and acts in the world. What we’re doing within this work is organizing the descriptions that people hold so that they can and do experience reality differently and with and extended sense of possibility, both considered and made manifest by them.

Recently one of my colleagues was working with an individual who is highly trained in NLP (beyond NLP trainer’s training). He had a particular “presenting problem” and wanted to “resolve” this by working with this colleague of mine using the MythoSelf work to do so. What ensued was the following abbreviated version.

First this individual presented their “problem” and after listening for a while – around 30 to 45 seconds usually – my colleague interrupted this experience and began asking about how this client was when they felt extraordinary. Now to do this is quite a trick. The client enters with a firmly held consideration of the “problem experience” intact and an expectation to address and deal with it. This means to us within this work that they are firmly in their “inhibitory” experience.

To move away from this you can typically utilize two approaches in conscious communication – generate an overwhelming sense of discomfort with this experience to generate a strong “moving away from” response or generate a strong “moving towards” response. You can also do both and generate what Richard Bandler calls a “propulsion system” by oscillating the “moving away” and “moving towards” responses so that the first fires the person off into the later. This can be highly effective in ordinary NLP terms.

However using this approach requires delving into the inhibitory experience, even when this is content free and based solely in “how” they have the bad experience. This then further solidifies and anchors the neurology associated with it – there is no way to access and run an experience without reinforcing the neurology associated with it. When a process is run internally the neurology has to fire in a particular way – both sequentially and organizationally, this embeds the pathways of this neurological organization further in the system. In essence it makes this neurology more familiar and easier to access and hold. Even if the practitioner is doing the process content free it is not necessarily content free for the client – their running the internal content to access the process that the practitioner is using to assist them.

What Roye had developed at the core of the “Generative Imprint” process was the idea of bypassing the inhibitory experience and going directly to an excitatory experience and working from there instead – BRILLIANT!!! This has the effect of eliminating any possibility of embedding the inhibitory experience further in the neurology, because you’re not dealing with the inhibitory experience at all. It also has the simultaneous effect of developing an access to and familiarity with the excitatory state experience (both consciously and at the neurological level). Now what happens right at the outset is that the client is getting what they want before they even know that the work has begun, “officially.”

However to do this requires a stepping off into the domain of hypnosis, because to move from the inhibitory to the excitatory with using either a “moving away” or “moving towards” strategy that will be inherently associated with the inhibitory you must bypass the inhibitory completely. Since what is in the mind of the client is the inhibitory you must use skills, which, allows them to think that what they came for and want will be address – “at some point in time” – while you’re completely redirecting their attention somewhere else – this is the essence of good conversational hypnosis. The “essence” of good conversational hypnosis is very much like the beginning of all good hypnosis – 1. fixate the attention, 2. direct the individual “inside,” 3. take care of what’s outside for them so they can focus on what’s inside, 4. utilization of the hypnotic state with the client, and 5. close the session, often with the use of post-hypnotic suggestion. This is often built like good magic on misdirection of the attention and surprise, leading to excitement, astonishment and pleasure.

So my colleague having access to good hypnotic skills redirected this attention away from the inhibitory to the excitatory, putting the inhibitory “on the shelf” so to speak. Then he did the work of the MythoSelf process, which is at its core, and uncovered the process this person uses for accessing and holding the excitatory experience. By leading the attention there, to the excitatory state, beginning with a clever use of misdirection of the attention away from the inhibitory state he was able to begin the work directly in the excitatory state. This is often the effect of a good story or metaphor.

There was a time when I was working with some family members who had just lost a wife, sister and mother through a sudden death. When I got there the family was in horrible shape, distraught, confused, hopeless. All appropriate responses at such at time in ordinary terms and yet not useful. While I did not want to deprive the family of their opportunity to grieve I did want to allow them to move through this as quickly and comfortably as possible and appropriate. I sat down across from one of the brothers in front of the whole family. He was having a particularly difficult time with this death. He was older and feeling his own mortality challenged and also had just lost someone particularly close to him. It was a shock to his emotional system and he simply broke down. He was weeping uncontrollably and stating again and again that he did not know if he could go on and if so whatever he would do. I stopped him for a moment by asking him if he remembered that I had studied karate for many years. This was so unexpected a question it acted as a pattern interrupt and he just stopped sobbing and rambling, looked up at me and said in utter confusion, “What?” It was simply too much for his brain to handle at that moment, too much of a non-secquitor for him to process at that time and yet because I was already in deep rapport with him impossible to ignore as well.

I said, “Do you remember that I studied Karate for many years and that one of my teachers was an old Japanese man?” Now the whole family had stopped talking and there was minimal crying as they all turned their attention onto me. I continued and said, “He used to tell as story to us about another Japanese man.” “I don’t know if it was true story or just a myth, however I think it may have been true, he never really said one way or the other.” I then paused and just let that hang there.

The man I was speaking directly to said back to me, “What story?” I said, “Oh, about a man who was married and had two small children.” “He was also a professional martial artist who ran a dojo and taught karate for a living.” I continued, “This man was married to a beautiful woman and lived in a very traditional Japanese way.” “He worked very had and long hours, and his wife took care of their home and the children.” “He loved her very much and was delighted each night when he’d return home to his beautiful wife and small children – this was his joy, his reason for living.” “Then one day he was notified that his wife had died suddenly and he rushed home from his dojo.” “When he got there the children were with an aunt and he entered the house cautiously not quite believing that his wife was dead.” “When he saw his wife’s sister with the children, he knew immediately that his wife had indeed died that day.” “He stormed out of the house and through the back yard.” “He walked and reached down picking up two particularly jagged edged stones.”

“At this moment his two children ran out of the house after him and down to where he was standing.” “When the older child look at his father he saw blood running from between his fingers and asked what had happened.” “The father responded that he had found the two stones he was holding and showed his son by opening his hand.” “He had been squeezing them so hard that they had cut into his palm and there was blood oozing from this cut onto his fingers.” “The son asked why he had done this and the father answered, ‘Because I want to remember the pain of this day forever, I will hold these stones in my hand every day and as they cut into my I will remember how this day when you’re mother died has cut into my heart.’” “Years later when this husband and father was an old man his son remembered that day and asked his father, “Father, do you remember the two stones that you picked up the day mother died, do you still have them?’” “His father responded, “Yes” and pulled two polished stones from his pocket and showed them to his son.” “His son said that they couldn’t possibly be the two stones that his father had picked up that day because those stones had been jagged and sharp enough to cut his hand when he squeezed them and these stones would not cut even a child’s hand if they were pressed into it.” “The father said, ‘Yes that is true, but you see each day since then I have held these stones in my hand and even the most jagged and sharp memories become smooth and polished with time my son.’”

I then just stopped speaking. One of the children of the women who had died then said, “Let go inside and get something to eat, I’m sure everyone could use a bite or something to drink.” The women’s sister, who had been almost as distraught as her brother, stopped crying completely and got up to make coffee for the family. The women’s husband also had stopped sobbing and got up with his children and went to the dining room telling a story about his wife from when they’d just been married. A few weeks or maybe a month later I saw one of this women’s sons. He said to me, “I never expected to be able to feel as good as I do so soon after my mother died.” He continued, “I still miss her but when I think about her I don’t think about when she died or even that she’s dead, I remember how beautiful a person she always was.” I didn’t say anything that I can remember now.

So, there is a way to effectively lead the attention away from the inhibitory without directly addressing the inhibitory experience. Then it is also possible to build on how this is held and sustained. My colleague did just this with his client and taught him how he accessed and held the excitatory position. This is a function of the neurological access, the somatic/physiological state and the semantic framing. In this case this person said something like, “This is heaven on earth.” This was his mythological description. This is the mythological form that he represented the excitatory state as being for him. The words are the semantic frame and along with them further from consciousness (for most people) is the somatic form and physiological response along with a completely unconscious neurological access (it’s like an eyeball trying to look at itself, it can’t do it directly, so it remains “unconscious” in that way – unknown to the individual; except when it is reflected back and only then for most people does it become part of the conscious awareness when they are observing the reflection). There is also a larger mythological description, which can be explored over time with a client. The effect of this is to expand the access of this state across a much larger systemic field.

What’s interesting in this particular case that I’m referring to with my colleague is how the client refused to hold the state after this session with him. He insisted on returning to the inhibitory and admonishing my colleague about how he did not get what he wanted or expected. While he almost totally deleted the experience of the excitatory he felt, “cheated,” because he didn’t get to explore his inhibitory experience. When my colleague then reminded him of the excitatory experience he recalled it with detail and excitement. He recalled the purpose and value of the session and wanted to go further. Within two days he returned to his original complaint of not having gotten “good” or “appropriate” therapy, despite his recollection of and sense of value associated with having even a momentary access to his excitatory bias.

This is the lure of the secondary gain. It is the lure of sticking with what has gotten you this far and no further, and yet what represents your “success strategy” to date. If you want to have different dates you have to have a different success strategy, but that’s another story. I’ll get you an update on this story sometime down the road a ‘piece. In meantime you have an idea of how you at least begin to work with the MythoSelf process (or should I say the “Generative Imprint” process more appropriately) in bypassing the inhibitory and going direct to the excitatory. This at its core is the essence of the work.

Joseph Riggio Applied Behavioral Technologies, Inc. 1 International Blvd., Suite 400 Mahwah, NJ 07495-0025 USA jsriggio@appliednlp.com