The Swish Pattern

by Tim Mackesey, SLP

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To move from an unresourceful state to a resourceful state instantly. To “break state.”

If you are experiencing anticipatory anxiety before speaking, swish away the feeling quickly.  If you have negative feelings after a stutter, prevent a new somatic memory on your time-line.  The swish pattern is a powerful tool- when combined with reframing and the Drop-Down Through pattern- to help become “relapse-proof.”

Where there are many versions of the swish pattern in NLP, this is my favorite.  Why?  The fast, kinesthetic movements of the hands complement the visual and auditory experience.  As you see and feel the toxic state on the back of your right hand, you bring it closer to your face and welcome the feelings intensifying.  When you are fed up of this feeling and image, you do a quick motor movement of your hands while saying “swish.”

Hence, this version of the swish pattern incorporates V-A-K: Visual, Kinesthetic, and Auditory channels.  Some people pick a word such as “fluent,” or “confident” in place of “swish.”  Make sure you say a word when doing the arm movements.


When anxious, angry, nervous, or any other toxic unresourceful state.  Why stay in a bad mood when you can change instantly?  Break state !!


  1. Identify the mood/feeling and put in on the back of your right hand.  Feel and see a memory of that toxic state.  As you bring the hand closer it intensifies the negative feelings.
  2. Shake that off and break state.  It is critical to clear your head before #3.
  3. What state do you want to be in?  What is opposite of the toxic state?  Recall a time when you were in that ideal state….imagine it intensely…..see, hear, and feel what that is like….breath the way you did, now.  When you have it amplified to a 10/10, put it on the back of your left hand.  This is your positive anchor.  A ring band is a great visual target.  As you bring the hand close you feel better- great.
  4. Shake it off and break state.
  5. Put your right hand out in front of you and as you bring it in the negative feeling will intensify.  Just let your self experience it, as it is only a feeling.  Get your left hand into position in front of you with arm fully extended; just left of center.  So now you have the right hand “in your face” close and the left hand at full extension.  Your are now loaded and ready for action!  As you say the word “swish,” rapidly push your right arm out to full extension and bring the left/positive hand in real close.  With the left hand close, recall the positive state intensely.  The arm movement is to be done rapidly and with intense feelings.
  6. Shake it off and break state.
  7. Test: look at your right hand.  Is there still some negative feeling left?  If it is gone, great.  If not, repeat exercise as many times as you need until the looking at the right hand is completely emotionally neutral.  You should be able to say “It’s gone.”  Congrats !!  You used the swish pattern to run your brain and change your break state instantly.

When you realize that you now have a tool to immediately change your mood, how will that change your future?  What will become easier?  When and where do you imagine using it in the days and weeks to come?

In the future, use your left hand, and the positive anchor, to step into a resourceful mood when you desire. “Stacking the anchor” means to recall new, great experiences on that anchor point.  As you bring the left hand up and you focus on the anchor point (i.e., ring band), it will “fire off the anchor” and put you into a resourceful state.  So, after each positive, new experience you will want to re-associate into that great memory, amplify it to 10/10, and then open your eyes and see it on the left/hand positive anchor point.  How bright will your future time-line be?  Public speakers, athletes, actors, and others who seek peak performance use this technology.


Tim Mackesey, PC, CCC-SLP
1874 Independence Square
Suite B
Dunwoody, GA 30388