~ Article co-written by L. Michael Hall PhD and Shawn Dwyer ~
If people can and do experience life at too low a level on the hierarchy of needs, then what are people suppose to get and experience at the lower levels? Then if the “lower” needs, driven by deficiency, which when adequately gratified go away, then what? If these D-needs are instrumental and the B-needs are non-instrumental, then what are they the means to? Glad you asked! And the answer is simple and can be describe by a single word-vitality.
All of the lower needs are life-needs or necessities (requirements) for being alive. And in saying “being alive,” I don’t mean merely existing, getting by, surviving. I mean being fully alive to the human experience-to the adventure of life. Yet when we ask ourselves the questions about this level of vitality, most people are not fully alive. Are they? Okay, they may not be zombies, yet how many drag themselves through life, through their jobs, their relationships, and the activities of everyday life?
And how many are full of everyday complaints about not being motivated, not having the energy to do things, and feeling that they have no passion about anything. They are bored. They don’t know what to do with themselves. Are they waiting for something. But what? By contrast, the idea of being fully alive to the adventure of life is our heritage. Just look at the life of a small child. Talk about being alive to the mystery and wonder and adventure of life! Talk about vitality! Then of course, we send them to school and they get most of it knocked out of them -all in the name of “education.”
Being Fully Alive
Now this being fully alive is the design of the Neuro-Semantic series, Self-Actualization Psychology. In fact, this is the name of the first module in that series, Unleashing Vitality. That’s where we start. Why?
What’s so important about vitality?
First, vitality is important first of
all because we all use and need a lot of energy every day. After all, it takes
a good amount of energy (vitality) to actualize anything that’s important and
meaningful to you- whether at home, work, or with some project that’s highly
valuable to you. It also takes a lot of vitality to be able to handle life’s
everyday demands at home and work. So if at the end of the day, you go home …
and go into your Energy Room and stand on your Joy Meter to see how much life
and soul you have at the end of the day, and your Joy Meter is hardly
registering- you’ve got a problem.
What is that problem?
You could have a vitality leak. Or you could have a vitality dampener. Somehow you are letting work or friends or family or children or chores or something suck the very life out of you! Even if your Joy Meter is only registering in the middle of the scale, you still have a problem. Something is happening that’s preventing you from living life with passion, and joy, and aliveness, and high motivation. I wonder what that is?
Second, vitality is important because
without a strong sense of vitality or aliveness, you will not be feeling good.
You will be dragging yourself through life and work and activities rather than
being full of the innate vitality that you were born with. Innate vitality?
Yes, we were born for that and as children we had that. So what happened? Were
did our thrill and absorption and passion for learning go?
Wired for Vitality
In Self-Actualization Psychology, as
developed by Maslow, Rogers, and others, we think of human nature as innately
wired for motivation- for vitality, energy, being alive, etc. This has
tremendous applications. If we are, in our nature, in our biology, in our psychology,
etc., wired for vitality, then we do not need for find some great Formula X
that will solve our motivational problems. We do not need to add Formula X to
What’s needed is for us simply to
eliminate the things that are downgrading, interfering, sabotaging, and
throwing cold water on our vitality. Vitality is natural; devitalized is
unnatural. So is depression, feeling demotivated, lacking energy, etc.
Vitality is natural.
And when you are taking care of your body as it needs to be taken care of- you will be beaming and energetic. Nor is this rocket science. Among other things, it means eating right. If your body and brain is nutritionally deprived or trashed, you will not be able to think very well. It means moving your body. Today we call this experience by the disconcerting term, “exercise.” Moving your body means physical activity- walking, running, swimming, cycling, taking the stairs, dancing, standing up, moving around, sweating. Yes, sweating. That cleanses your body! If the state of being inactive and sweatless attracts you, you’ve chosen the wrong species to be born into. That describes the state of the dead, and you’ll be there sooner than you want. Now is the time to get active.
When you are appropriately active, you
will naturally get good sleep.Insufficient sleep reduces concentration
and alertness. It undermines your ability to learn, solve problems and
remember. Today just as so many people suffer from activity deprivation
(exercise) so also many people suffer from sleep deprivation. They stay up too
late mindlessly watching TV and then go through the day feeling the need for a
nap and so readily able to nod off.
A healthy vitality shows up in not only in your level of energy and activity, not only in your restfulness, it shows up in your passion and ability to learn new things. There’s an innate passion for challenging your brain, for reading challenging materials and exercising your mind. It will mean you won’t be satisfied with life on the couch flipping TV channels. So here’s to the rediscovering of your vitality- to becoming more fully alive to life’s adventure. See you soon at a The Coaching Centre training!
~ Article by Shawn Dwyer – Meta-Coach President International ~
Recently I’ve been working on material, patterns and practices for coaching anxiety in clients. Part of the process required research into the human orders and their description under our current health systems, including mental health “definitions”, current “mental health practices” and how to manage such significant issues in society today. A new client said she had tried CBT for months, it cost thousands and didn’t help her.
As part of this article, I will also write my concerns about the mental health labels and descriptions, a little further on in this article.Secondly, using NLP technology, I have found we can offer effective solutions for people anxiety-ing through use of NLP representational model and meta-representational strategy work. Much insight is exposed in book The Structure of Personality by Hall, Bodenhamer, Bolstad and Hamblett. Another major component is orientation— allow the client to be the expert and let them do the work, when they have the ego-strength.
How much is anxiety a problem?
In population statistics in my country (Australia), it is recognised 1 in 4 women and 1 in 5 men do anxiety-ing and they struggle through longer than desired periods of unnecessary suffering. Anxiety-ing as a human strategy is understood as a problem for human functioning, yet there are various solutions, even for self-actualizing.
What does the DMS-5 have to do with it?
Within the DSM-5, the (Diagnostic Statistical Manual version 5), anxiety is defined as a mental disorder. Yet no-one really doubts the phenomena of sadness and worry. However to call sadness and worry symptoms of mental disorders is exactly the same kind of fraudulent leap we see when multi-ordinal levels are confused. Under the DMS-5, we can make “definition” of mental disorders in exactly the same fraudulent way, by illegitimately using real phenomena as “proof” of the existence of non-existing things.
Controversial and a big challenge?
You bet and the exciting part is at The Coaching Centre we can ‘enable’ people with authenticity to free themselves from anxiety-ing. In Meta-Coaching we use empirical evidence to allow the client to do the work and they make the change they need to make. It is the client who is the expert when it comes to anxiety-ing, whilst meta-coaching with the meta-representational system can enable clients their resolve.
Where does society go in another direction? Is this part of the problem?
Part of the joy and ease of this fraudulent creating under the DMS-5 is that you can define the non-existing thing any way you like. Who is to say if a mental disorder is the same or different from a brain disorder, the same or different for a Jungian, a Freudian, or a drug dispenser, the same or different from unwanted thoughts or behaviors, if there is no real thing involved? It ought to be the case that those making the claim for a non-existing thing (the authors of the DSM-5) should have to prove its existence but in real life the burden always falls on the client/patient/whistle-blower, and diagnosis/mis-diagnosis is mainly left to the doctor or psychiatrist.
Definitions in The DSM
Let me show you how easy the
definers of non-existing mental disorder have it with the DSM. First they
define it one way, as they did in the DSM-4:
“A mental disorder is a clinically
significant behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an
individual and that is associated with present distress or disability or with a
significantly increased risk of suffering death, pain, disability, or an
important loss of freedom.”
Then, under pressure by skeptics as
to the whether this definition made any sense whatsoever, they redefined
non-existing mental disorders this new way in the DSM-5.
“A mental disorder is a
syndrome characterized by clinically significant disturbance in an
individual’s cognition, emotion regulation, behavior that reflects a
dysfunction in the psychological, biological, or developmental processes
underlying mental functioning. Mental disorders are usually associated with
significant distress in social, occupational, or other important activities. An
expectable or culturally approved response to a common stressor or loss, such
as the death of a loved one, is not a mental disorder. Socially deviant
behavior (e.g., political, religious or sexual) and conflicts that are
primarily between the individual and society are not mental disorders unless
the deviance or conflict results from a dysfunction in the individual, as
Words and Disordering
The very idea that you can radically change the definition of something without anything in the real world changing and with no new increases in knowledge or understanding is remarkable, remarkable until you realize that the thing being defined does not exist. It is completely easy—effortless, really—to change the definition of something that does not exist to suit your current purposes. In fact, there is hardly any better proof of the non-existence of a non-existing thing than that you can define it one way today, another way tomorrow, and a third way on Sunday.
Certainly one could scrutinize the changes and make reasonable comments about the way that language has been employed to say absolutely nothing with the DSM. A mental disorder is a psychological thing, or maybe it isn’t. A mental disorder is a biological thing, or maybe it isn’t. You can rail about your society unless you have a “dysfunction,” at which point your railing is a mental disorder. You can have a conflict with your politicians unless you have a “dysfunction,” at which point you are a mental deviant. One could go on with such observations but making such observations plays into the hands of the creators of non-existing things, who love it if you play their game. They can slip about with impunity, adding, qualifying, and shifting, while you waste your breath being reasonable and thoughtful.
The Right Questions
With the DSM-5 the question is not, “What is the best definition of a mental disorder?” The question is not, “Is the DSM–5 definition of a mental disorder better than the DSM-IV definition of a mental disorder?” Those are absolutely not the right questions!
It is the client who is the expert when it comes to anxiety-ing, meta-coaching with NLP and the meta-representational system (and the use of empirical questioning) is where the work can be done, thus enabling clients their resolve, now that is very possible.
Contact The Coaching Centre if you desire to eliminate anxiety from your life
~ Article written by L. Michael Hall PhD and Shawn Dwyer ~
The failure to thoroughly learn the Meta-Model as the basic NLP Communication Model is one of the biggest challenges we have in getting coaches prepared. It is also the biggest problem we have in helping people become truly professional in their communication skills.
As written in the book on the Meta-Model, Communication Magic (1997/ 2001), the Meta-Model is the key to everything in NLP. And if you do not thoroughly know it, you do not understand very much about NLP. Whatever NLP pattern that you love and use regularly is a result of the Meta-Model. Why then should you memorize the Meta-Model Questions?
1) Meta-Model first to have access to the most powerful questions in the world and have them at ready access.
These are powerful questions even though at first glance they do not seem very powerful. What’s so powerful about them? The power is in using them to get to specificity. So it is not the case that you ask one question and that’s it. You use the question repeatedly and you use multiple Meta-Model questions to chase down the reference and meaning of a person. By memorizing the list of 18 questions (as you did with the WFO questions), you will create a repertoire of powerful questions.
2) To have a more complete understanding of how language and meaning works.
We use words to think, to conceptualize, to reason and to both construct meaning and to convey meaning to others. Yet how does that work? How is it that our linguistics enable us to do all of that? This is where understanding the NLP Communication Model comes in – and the Meta-Model Questions summarize that understanding. This is also where “the map is not the territory” premise comes in. What you say about anything- your words, is just that, words. It is a mental map about something that you are referring to in the world. But what? What are you or your client referring to? Ah, that is the question. If you don’t question yourself or your client- and just assume that you understand (the Understanding Bias), then you will learn nothing. That’s a great formula for feeling comfortable in ignorance.
3) To facilitate a conversation of precision and clarity.
Because words are loaded and are often false (pseudo-words), you and I can easily be bamboozled by words. We can be hypnotized by sentences that we (or our clients) utter as we assume they are real and fail to question them. Conversely, when you know how to ruthlessly examine linguistics (your own and your client’s), you can create clarity and precision of thought. And when that happens- magic happens. That’s why the original NLP books were titled, The Structure of Magic, referring to the magical way that Fritz and Virginia and Milton used language.
4) To be able to quickly meta-model the experience of your client.
When NLP began, the Meta-Model was the only tool that they had for modeling. Yet with it, and from it, all of the other NLP models and tools were developed. Think about how amazing that is. This means that as they learned how to truly listen for language distinctions and ask challenging questions about it, they were able to pull apart the structure of subjective experiences. “Coaching as Modeling Clients,” that is precisely what an expert coach is able to do with a client. That, in the information gathering stage of coaching- long before any intervention is attempted- the coach comes to understand the client’s current experience on the client’s terms.
5) To be able to more effectively facilitate the desired changes which your client wants.
When it comes to detecting, recognizing, and then using the leverage points of change in your clients- it is almost always language that tells the story. That is one thing that Bandler and Pucelik discovered as they were doing “Gestalt” in the early days- they recognized how Perls would like for some of the key phrases that he was attuned to and how that his responses to those phrases would often create the magic of change. Later, the same happened with Virginia. From these John Grinder then introduced Transformational Grammar and so the Meta-Model was invented (for more about that history, see NLP Secrets: Untold Stories).
Memorizing a list of questions may be one of the last
things that you want to do. I understand. Most of us have not had a positive
experience with regard to memorizing. Yet as you know, when you have memorized
a poem, a song, a pledge, a verse, etc., then you have an internal resource
inside you that no one can take away- and that’s at ready access whenever you
Here then is my challenge to any and all who want to be
truly professional Meta-Coaches –
~ Article written by L. Michael Hall PhD and Shawn Dwyer ~
Modelling to get to first base? What is it that you’re attempting to do when you work with a client? Think for a moment how you would answer that question…
Okay, here is mine. First and foremost, you are working to understand your client. Now what makes this quite challenging is this- you have to understand your client on your client’s terms. Hence, first you want to understand the person sitting before you in the same way that the person thinks about him or herself. If you don’t do that, you can’t get to understanding’s first base.
Modelling For Real Understanding
In the field of psychology (whether it is remedial, therapy or generative, coaching), to “understand” someone in your terms and on your terms- your models and your theories is not to understand the person. This was one the learnings that came out of the Human Potential Movement and that the NLP developers found in Perls and Satir– they started with the person. They went to the person’s model and understanding of the world so that they could speak that person’s language. Today we call that matching or pacing. I like how Shelle Rose Charvet describes this. Metaphorically she says, “Go to their bus stop” and meet them there.
Next, you will want to understand how your client does whatever it is that your client is doing or wants to do. We call that modelling. It is the essential Meta-Model question:
“How do you know that?“
2. “How do you think about that?“
3. “How do you understand that to work?“
Now the reason you ask such questions is to understand what your client understands currently. If you client wants to enhance her leadership, what does she currently understand about leadership? How does she do what she’s calling “leadership?” If your client is wanting to create a consistent habit of exercising to get to an ideal weight and maintain fitness, then you want to understand what he understands about that. So you ask, “How do you do that?” And you may have to ask that question many times about many aspects as various aspects of the experience are discussed.
In terms of the benchmarks this is the level 3.0 “strategy process” in Listening. When you ask multiple modelling questions and then feed-it-back to your client to check your understanding, you have performed a professional competence skill- you have identified your client’s strategy process. Now this is basic NLP and you may have touched on it briefly in Coaching Essentials. Yet for being able to fully do this, take NLP Practitioner training, and possibly several times.
Now For A Secret
In this process of identifying and mapping out a client’s strategy, there is “magic.” Hence it is the magic of understanding because it so often elicits from the client the “Aha!” response. And that’s because as a client works to explain what he is attempting to do and how he does it, he often will experience a sudden realization and insight. “Oh, that’s what I’ve been doing!” And with that, frequently clients suddenly know precisely what they have done wrong and need to correct. I have seen that happen scores and scores of times. And what’s also happening in that mini-miracle is the actualization of the NLP principle– “People have all of the resources they need to achieve their ecological goals.”
And when that happens, you have an excellent moment to
validate the person.
“Ah, so you just discovered something! What?” “And how good is that realization?” “Well done for finding that within your resources!”
Modelling how your client understands something, how your client has been attempting to do something, how she learns and is convinced, how he motivates and persuades himself to take action, etc. gives you an insider’s view of your client’s reality. Feeding-it-back then enables him to feel understood and amplifies his sense of self-awareness. Therefore doing this also empowers both you and your client in finding those leverage points of change. So as a coach, you use modelling as a tool for understanding your client’s inner world. So that makes you, at least in part, a modeller.
~ Article written by L. Michael Hall PhD and Shawn Dwyer ~
Experience – as you know from your Meta-Coach studies is layered. What you see at the primary level, the performance of actions and words is the outer game. And while you do coach to the outer game, you do more. A lot more. As a Meta-Coach you coach to the inner game. Yet to do that, you have to model what’s inside- and usually what’s deep inside.
Now even though you know that mind or consciousness is stratified, it usually doesn’t seem that way. And until you are trained to recognize and deal with the stratified layers- everything that you find inside will seem like one thing. Yet it is not. There are thoughts, and then thoughts-about-thoughts, feelings and then feelings-about-feelings. There are memories about references and old understandings about imaginations, and so on.
A Template For Human Experience
This is where the Matrix Model gives you a very usable tool for dealing with something as systemic, complex, and layered as consciousness. As a template of human experience- you can simplify things a bit as you sort out eight significant processes. Beginning with state, inquire about how the person has accessed that state- what is his immediate thinking and feeling, what do they within him? At this point listen carefully for which category is activated- self-value, competency, relationships, time a domain or role, an intention, or a meaning (belief, understanding, concept).
Modelling The Structure of Experience
As you fill out a matrix form of the person’s Matrix-you can quickly detect where a problem may be or a lack of a resource. When we model those who stutter, the state was the first dimension activated- one of fear, apprehension, tightening up. Then the meaning dimension of viewing oneself as inadequate and flawed. And then, the Others dimension, fearing others will mock, laugh, and reject. No wonder the very idea of stuttering was so semantically loaded! To stutter activated two fundamental fears- to be personally inadequate and to be socially rejected. No wonder the stutterer would tighten up as if in a state of threat or attack. In a way, he was under attack. Yet in the inner game, he himself was doing doing the attacking with his beliefs about what stuttering meant. When we modelled the structure of that experience, we can see how it works. And that usually gives some significant hints about what to do to win the inner game.
If you use the matrix diagram, you have 15 places for information.
About each aspect of self, there are meanings, intentions, and states. The meaning column enables you to detect where the semantic energy is in your client’s system. You could add a number (1-10) to indicate how much meaning is being activated as you explore the person’s ideas and beliefs. That will give you a lot of highly valuable information.
Behind the meaning column is the intention column and here you find out your client’s purpose, goal, objective, agenda, etc. For stutterers, they all wanted to stop the dysfluency. And they all tried – mightily. Yet the problem was that speaking is a natural response as is the process of “trying to get your words.” And natural processes are not easily controlled (if at all) by exertion of raw will power. Typically that makes things worse and sets up a paradox- the more I try to control it, the worse it becomes, the less control I have. The state column lets you know the multiple things that your client is feeling- which can involve numerous self-contradictory states at the same time.
State, Meaning and Performance
Grounded is the the state as the overall experience which results from all of the meanings and intentions. After all, it is within the person’s one body that all of the emotions are being processed and experienced. The three-dimensional diagram integrates the meaning- performance axes of Neuro-Semantics. Your focus here is on the quality of the meanings that the person is experiencing as well as the quality of the performances. What kind of meaning is your client constructing and how does it show up in his behaviour? Here’s to your very best modelling of your client’s subjective experiences!
~ Article written by L. Michael Hall PhD and Shawn Dwyer, ACMC ~
What we call ego-strength is the strength that a person has in his or her sense of self to look reality in the face without blinking. It is the strength that enables a person to face a challenge in life or an upsetting circumstance and not cave in. With ego-strength you are able to stand up to the negative circumstances, stand up against what you might be tempted to do (give up, quit, etc.), and demonstrates an inner strength of determination, patience, persistence, and resilience. That’s what we mean by the term ego-strength. It has nothing to do with pride, arrogance, selfishness, etc.
If that’s ego-strength, do you have that kind of internal strength? How much of it do you have today? How much of it would you like to have?
Without ego-strength people react. They may passive shrink away or they may aggressively over-react with unthinking actions. Both the fight and flight responses, however, are the opposite of ego-strength. Now all of this becomes critical when it comes to knowing if your client is truly a coaching client or someone who needs therapy. Therapy is designed to heal traumas and hurts and enable one to build up a new and strong sense of self.
Coaching requires ego-strength from the start- ego-strength to be able to handle the challenges that are inherent in coaching.
Clarity about “Ego”
We are all born without any ego-strength because we are all born without a sense of ego or self. There is no “I” at first, there is enmeshment. Baby does not distinguish self from mother. For the infant, it is all one and the same. The word “ego” is Greek for “I” or “me.” Open up a version of the Greek New Testament and every time someone says, “I am…” it is the Greek word ego. Sigmund Freud designated ego as the sense of self, the “I” that deals with and relates to reality.
Normally our ego-strength grows and develops as we grow and develop as persons. It’s part of our psycho-cognitive-social development. We develop more and more of a sense of self as we face reality. As that “I” develops the ability to see and accept reality for whatever it is, without the magical thinking of wishing and confusing our wishing with reality, we have more strength to cope and master the facts and constraints before us.
Weak ego-strength means a senses of self that does not easily face, take in, or cope with life’s challenges. A weak sense fo self fights reality, hates it, and wishes it to be otherwise. Expectations are unrealistic and based on inadequate understanding. Reality seems too big, too frightening, too overwhelming … and so we avoid the encounter. Weak ego-strength means that the person doesn’t feel up to the task and so unresourceful, weak, fragile, unable to cope, etc.
Strong ego-strength describes the person who first accepts whatever is as existing, then it looks at it and explores it with a view of dealing with it, coping and mastering it. With strong ego-strength you do not personalize the things out there in the world or what others say or do. You notice and you access the necessary resources to deal with it. The strong your ego-strength grows, the more of a sense of self we develop, a sense of your skills and resources, of your ability to handle whatever comes.
Ego on the line
This use of “ego” differs from how we sometimes use the word, as when we say, “He has his ego involved” in this or that. Then we are speaking about his self-definition, his pride, and his reputation. Typically this indicates a weak ego strength and the need to boaster it up by fighting and defending and being defensive. The stronger our ego, the less our “ego” is
involved, or on the line. Strengthening our ego-strength enables us to sit our “ego” aside and to engage the world in a straightforward way.
Strengthening Our Ego-Strength
Suppose you want to strengthening your ego, what do you do? What patterns enables you to do that? What frames, beliefs, values, expectations, etc. would support you doing that? Start with the following four.
First, meta-stating yourself with acceptance. Access the state of acceptance and apply that feeling to your “self.” Think of something small and simple that you just accept. You could get yourself worked up about it, even furious and frustrated, but you have learned to just go along and accept it. The rain, the traffic, changing the baby’s diaper, taking out the garbage, etc. What is that like? Feel that and reflexively turn that feeling back onto yourself- your sense of self, life, the cards that life has dealt you, when and where you were born, your aptitudes and lack of aptitudes, etc. Acceptance is not necessarily a positive feeling. It’s not resignation or condoning, it is welcoming something into your world without any negative fanfare.
Second, look at your self-expectancies and expectancies of others, the world, work, etc. and adjust them so that you have a fairly accurate map about what is, how things work, and what you can legitimately expect. What have you mapped about yourself, people, relationships, fairness, life, etc.?
Every unrealistic expectation sets us up for a cognitive and semantic jar. If it is unrealistic, then you are trying to navigate and work in a world that is an illusion and that will knock you down. This is where and why learning and developing greater understandings about things increases your ego-strength. Knowing what is, how things work, the rules and principles of people, relationships, careers, etc. gives you the ability to adjust your thinking-and-emoting which increases ego-strength. It takes the surprise and shock out of being caught up short.
Stepping into Your Power Zone
Weak and strong ego-strength is related to your sense of personal power or the lack thereof. You increase it when you accept your personal responses of thinking, emoting, speaking, and behaving, meta-state them with a frame of ownership and then by welcoming and practicing the use of your powers, step more and more into your power zone. This increase self-efficacy, activity, proactivity, etc.
A fourth process for strengthening ego-strength is replace rigidity and closeness of mind with flexibility, willingness to accept change, and an openness to the flux and flow of life. The sense of insecurity predominates when you have a weak ego-strength. It is then that you don’t want things to change and we want things to stay the same. As you develop more personal security, you are more open to change and to adapting and to using your resources.
If you would like help with developing your inner strength, give me, Shawn a call on 0439194323