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The Customeer is Bothering Me

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The Really Good Fun Cartoon Book of NLP

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Understanding Advanced Hypnotic Language Patterns: A Comprehensive Guide

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Transforming Negative Self Talk

Steve Andreas
Last year I twice attended Ron Klein’s workshop at the American Hypnosis Training Academy in Rockville, Maryland on Helping Clients Overcome Negative Self-Talk. This workshop is based on Transforming Negative Self-Talk, a book by Steve Andreas. Ron teaches the workshop with Steve’s blessing. Having enjoyed the workshop so much, I decided to read the book.

Transforming Negative Self-Talk is a toolkit for changing that demoralizing inner monolog that plagues us all from time to time. It’s true. Everyone perceives an inner commentary having sometimes sinister characteristics that can trigger immobilizing fear, anxiety, guilt, and depression. It can drive people to actions they later regret. It often accompanies unwanted habits. In fact, negative self-talk is, itself, a habit!

This negative commentary often prevails, even when we know, intellectually, the content isn’t true. Cognitive therapists advocate silencing, arguing with, or ignoring the voice. Negative self-talk, however, is perplexing in that it seems automatic and beyond any conscious control. Therefore, people feel powerless over it. Andreas astutely describes NLP solutions to transform the voice into an ally or, at least, a non-combatant.

The book’s easy-to-follow instructions tell readers how to 1) identify and listen to their inner critic, 2) change the characteristics of the voice and/or the meaning of the content, and 3) assess the emotional and behavioral changes that result. Readers learn to check for congruity, honor the positive intentions behind the content, and apply the changes to real-world situations.

Success rests in changing the characteristics of the voice (its “submodalities,” in the language of NLP). One can modify the voice’s location, tempo, tone, volume, and even its accent. One can add images, music, or other supportive voices. Drawing on the NLP Meta Model, one can correct for generalities, false judgments, presuppositions, and deletions in the content. Andreas advises on bypassing the traps of negation (Example: “I will not do…”) and reminds readers of the value of the well-formed outcome. He describes how to program positive self-talk, while avoiding the common pitfalls of affirmations. He explores how core questions (Example: “Why does this always happen to me?”) direct one’s attention, actions, and emotions. This self-help book doubles as an excellent training manual for therapists and coaches, making a nice companion for Ron’s workshop – where attendees can watch demonstrations and get hands-on experience in these methods. Having applied a few of them in my own practice, I can attest: the results are astonishing!