To “Block” or to “Speak Fluently: How to do what when.” – Bob’s presentation for the 2009 NSA Annual Session in Scottsdale, AZ
Controlling my Thoughts
The Four Directions of the Unconscious Mind – Questions that will send your brain in four basic directions
Questions that allow the therapist to send the client’s unconscious mind in four basic directions: up, down, back and forward to gather new perspectives in viewing the problem. (These questions are also extremely useful for you to check out your own thinking concerning a specific problem.) – PDF
Three different views of the same page by Karen Davis – PDF
How Neuro-Semantics has helped me both to gain more fluency and to live my life more richly
A Letter to Dev
Hello Dev Mehta,
I’m Roddy Grubbs; I live in the USA; I’m 56 years old, work as a software engineer; and I first became aware of Bob Bodenhamer and his material on Mastering Blocking and Stuttering about 3 years ago. The material has now been condensed into a book by Bob entitled Mastering Blocking and Stuttering: A Cognitive Approach to Achieving Fluency.
I contacted Bob because I was having problems blocking and stuttering in my speech – this was especially the case at work. I had always considered myself to be a stutterer, and blocking in my speech has been more pronounced during some years while less in others. But 3 years ago I was especially bothered and concerned, as well as irritated by the experiences I was having. I wanted to change; and I wanted to experience real, substantive, and permanent change. I especially did not want to have an experience where I “found something that helped a lot” and then “lost that something”
In the past 3 years I have done some reading of Bob’s books, of some books co-authored by Michael Hall and Bob Bodenhamer, and of some of Michael’s books; I’ve attended Bob’s week long seminar class on Mastering Blocking and Stuttering; and I’ve read some additional books and materials by Bob and Michael – including many of the excellent articles that are available online at the Neuro-Semantics website and at the Mastering Stuttering website. I have not been a full-time student, but I have tried to keep reading regularly.
Equally important to this “reading and study time” has been the time I’ve spent “doing Neuro-Semantics”. I’ve read that “Neuro-Semantics is something that one does as opposed to something one just learns”, and I have experienced that myself – my learning of Neuro-Semantics has been through my doing these things.
When I read your posting to this e-mail list, I read the following things:
- My stuttering is really having an adverse effect on my career.
- Companies have a hard time looking beyond one’s stammer, here in India.
- I often lock up when I go for an Interview and become really under confident.
- This has happened a few times and now I am really scared to be interviewed.
- In today’s world of cut throat competition, it is especially difficult for people who stutter.
As I read that, I felt a strong identification with what you said. You asked for feedback on how Neuro-Semantics actually relates to blocking and stuttering. I know how it relates to the blocking and stuttering that I have done, so I thought that I would share some thoughts with you about that; also about how Neuro-Semantics relates to what you said, and how “your doing Neuro-Semantics” will greatly benefit you!
There are so many, many facets to Neuro-Semantics (of which I am expert in none); I have found that the following especially appeal to and work for me. I use these daily, in fact many times each day. The following is a summary of (a) thoughts from Neuro-Semantics which I have found to be helpful, and (b) my experience “doing Neuro-Semantics”. Doing these things has brought real change into my living, and that has helped make my life more enjoyable. My hope is that you will find some of this to be useful.
(1) People everywhere and in every situation work the same; just because one stutters, one is not somehow broken and in need of being fixed. We all have the capacity to learn and to change ourselves. People who stutter “work” or “operate” in the same ways as people who do not stutter. The differences between the two groups are found in the details of the “operating” or “working”, and not in any idea that one group has something that the other group does not have or that one group is lacking some “component of being human” that the other group has.
(2) One of the fundamental ways people work is in the way they process the information that streams into their being from their senses. A human brain processes the incoming sensory-based information by “pattern matching”. A brain compares “what I sense now” against the stored memories of “what I have experienced before”. When it finds a match, it also recalls “what did I do before”, “what did I feel before”, “what did this mean before”. Various neurologists describe (in books and articles) that the human being stores (in some kind of internal database) not only the memory of past events, but also the associated feelings and learned behaviors which happened in conjunction with the remembered event. The memories of all these things are stronger and will have a greater influence and impact in the future in relation to the strength and amount of emotional energy experienced with the original event.
So, when my brain, today, finds some kind of match or “striking similarity” between what I am experiencing right now and some stored memories (when my brain says “oh, THIS is like THAT”; experiencing “THIS” triggers a memory of “THAT”), all of this information is recalled and is sent to the rest of my being. There it signals and cues my nervous system and entire physiology about “what to do” and “what to feel” and “what this means” right now – in this moment – in response to the current situation. And this activity happens within milliseconds. And all human beings work in this way.
This information is sent throughout our being via what neurologists call the “chemical nervous system”, which is comprised of the pathways throughout our body over which all kinds of peptides flow. These peptides carry other chemical substances with them. These other substances are called “messages” or “information”. These different kinds of peptide “messages” each have their own kind of chemical “key”. When a message passes a special kind of cell which has the corresponding structure to accept the “key” (called a “receptor cell”), then the message “binds” with the “receptor” and the chemical substance being carried along transfers from the peptide to the receptor. In response to this transfer of chemical information, the surrounding area changes at the biological and chemical level. Candace Pert in Molecules of Emotion describes this flow of informational substances and the change they induce when they bind. Bruce Lipton in The Biology of Belief emphasizes that (a) these flows of informational substances can be caused by the bodies’ reaction to external stimuli and equally by the bodies’ reaction to what a person is thinking (wow! what a powerful concept) and (b) the change at the bio-chemical level in a human being in response to information received from the “chemical nervous system” demonstrates that we are not “biologically determined”, not “biologically predestined”.
Whether a person stutters or does not stutter, all people work this way. The details of each individual’s experience vary and are never replicated from person to person, but all humans work in this same manner.
(3) OK, so my brain performs “pattern matching” on what I experience now (and on what I am also now thinking), and “finding a match” then triggers chemical flows in my body that result in bio-chemical level responses and changes within my body. The bio-chemistry within my body has changed as a result of this processing. I have different feelings and emotions within my being compared to those I had a few moments ago.
People have long recognized that an “experience of something” can put one in a “certain state of mind” or in a “different state of mind”, that it can “change their mood”, or that it can “change their frame of mind”. Neuro-Semantics calls these kinds of things “states of being”. We all go into different “states” as we experience life over the course of a day. These “states” are experienced throughout my mind-and-body-altogether as a “state of being” in response to what I experience. These “states” can range from “a mountain-top experience of pure jubilation and happiness” to “a deep sadness and sorrow” – and many more examples can be thought of. But we all experience in our mind-and-bodies-altogether what our brains and minds think that something “means to us”, and that experience affects our nervous system and physiology – our experience of “states” is at biological and chemical and physiological levels, which is not neutral nor insignificant.
As an aside, have you ever had the thought, upon experiencing a seemingly new and different experience, that “I’ve never been in this situation before”, “I don’t know what to do”, “I don’t know what I am supposed to feel or to say”? This is a good illustration of the above. In a “new situation that is somehow radically different from what we usually experience” we might not have a clue as what to do or to feel or to say. Our brain is struggling to match the new experience with something in our memory, which leaves us with precious few cues and signals about what to do or to feel right now – and we can even sense that at a conscious level within our mind.
(4) But the story does not end there! Enter our “human mind”. The story goes on from “experience, pattern matching, chemical messages, physiological reactions”…
The human mind does not stop at this point. The human mind can and does go on from “thinking about experiences” to “thinking about what it just thought about”. The mind will have thoughts-about-experiences and then thoughts-about-those-thoughts-about-experiences. It will can and will then think about those thoughts-about-thoughts, thus having thoughts-about-thoughts-about-thoughts; and on and on it can go. Neuro-Semantics did not invent this idea (which has long been described and reflected upon by philosophers); the authors or originators of Neuro-Semantics found a way to describe this clearly in a way that one can understand.
As a human mind “thinks about its thoughts” and the brain gets engaged again, the brain will look at this “set of thoughts and meaning about a set of thoughts and meanings” and the brain will match those against something in its memory which will result in more cues and signals getting sent out into one’s being. The biological, chemical, and physiological activities (described above) start all over again. The result is that now one is in a “state of mind” that has been created by processing the information in one’s being about “another state of mind”!
Although I am not a spokesperson for Neuro-Semantics, I would venture to say that Neuro-Semantics is about (among other things)
a) understanding what “states of being” or “states of mind” or “states” get induced within a person as they react to physical stimuli and to their own internal thoughts;
b) identifying “what one does” and “what one believes things mean” when one experiences a “state of being”;
c) understanding what influence and impact a “state of being” has on a person; and
d) changing the meaning that one gives to things, and the thoughts that one has about things, so as to establish a new set of signals and cues for what to do and how to feel.
Applied to blocking and stuttering, then some goals of Neuro-Semantics are to understand “how we do what we do”, “what meaning we give to that”, and then to create and install a “new interpretation of things that we encounter” so that we experience a new and different and positive “state” in place of the previous state(s) which we experienced as we dealt with both the external world and with the world of thoughts within our mind.
In this way, Neuro-Semantics is about experiencing the meaning that one gives to things. And just as the experience of meaning that one has in response to an external stimuli is not neutral nor trivial, so too experiencing the meanings of our “thoughts-about-thoughts-about-thoughts” is likewise just as full of impact and influence at biological, chemical, and physiological levels within our being. This experiencing is not trivial nor negligible for a person. Processing the information associated with these thoughts results in effects to one’s entire mind-and-body-altogether.
(5) A good deal of the processing described in (2) and (3) occurs in what we usually call our “conscious mind” or “our consciousness”; but certainly not all of it does. A good deal of the processing described in (4) occurs at some level or levels in our mind of which we are much less aware; in conversation, we usually speak of this as our “subconscious mind” or our “unconscious mind”.
(6) So, we all have various kinds of and varying amounts of information processing taking place in our beings all of the time. Cues and signals are sent to our beings via our “chemical nervous system”, and the results are that we experience different “states of being” which involve the biological, chemical, and physiological levels in ones being.
The above descriptions sound linear, serial, and sequential in nature. This is due to being expressed in language. But the activity described is non-linear. Our minds jump all over the place all of the time. And like a “good pet”, our brains go right along with our minds to “do what brains do best”. So we think about a lot of things from moment to moment, and we often think about “a thing” from many different angles. (It is an interesting observation that people usually speak 150 to 500 words a minute, but can read 2000, 3000 and more words a minute. So the mind can move along much faster than the body can produce speech.
Bruce Lipton in The Biology of Belief addresses how the vast amount of thoughts that one has on the unconscious level of one’s mind influence and impact the body at the biological, chemical, and physiological level of one’s being. In fact, his conclusion is that “Beliefs control biology” (p. 135). He discusses the need to train one’s self to become aware of “what is going on in the subconscious part of one’s mind”; this is key to changing one’s behavior and feelings.
(7) OK, so here’s how I use this information every day to “do Neuro-Semantics” for Roddy.
(a) First I had to start training myself to “become aware of thoughts in my being of which I was unaware”.
(b) That meant that when I found myself blocking in my speech, I had to learn how to react differently to it than I had always reacted to it. That means that I used to think badly of myself when I would block. I would “really get down on myself” – most everyone I’ve spoken with who blocks and stutters has said similar things about them self.
What did I teach myself to do differently? I began to “welcome into my experience” the blocking and stuttering behavior that I had so loathed. I said to it “come on in, it’s alright, everything will be OK, so come on in and tell me why you are there – tell me what this blocking that I do accomplishes or achieves for me”. I had to have some patience with myself here, had to apply some forgiveness to myself, had to give myself some permission to do some things that I was not inclined to do.
When did I do this? At first, only after the experience in which I was blocking had ended and I could “talk to myself alone”. I learned to give myself permission to block if it occurred, and then to always ask “what did that blocking help me achieve or help me avoid”.
I got amazing answers “from within”; you will too as you teach yourself how to do this. I found that I do the behavior of blocking for reasons that “make sense” given the meanings that my mind gave to things. I believe that you will find your own set of “reasons” too.
As I worked with this, I began to “welcome” the occurrence of a stutter even when I was talking with someone. That means that I would not fight back when I sensed that I might stutter. I would silently say “come on in, it’s OK”. Later I could ask “what were you trying to do for me”, or “what were you trying to protect me from”, or “what thing was ‘blocking’ better than doing when I was talking”. I did – and do – this imperfectly; I never “perfectly interdict” every situation. Sometimes I still fight & don’t relax with myself. But I gave a “block in speech” the meaning that “it does not matter, it is not important, what is important is that I am becoming more and more aware of sets of thoughts and images that I think about – and hence, perform information processing on them – and that finding out what’s going on in my mind is far more important that whether I block on a word”.
(c) As I became more aware of things for which I used to be very unaware, I began to realize that there were two or three “sets of images” or “pictures” that I thought about just before many of the times when I would block and stutter. These “pictures” raced through my mind in milliseconds. But I learned to start sensing when I “was seeing them” in “my mind’s eye”. These images or thoughts or ideas were of me being scared, feeling intimidated, feeling unsure, feeling apprehensive, and then blocking and stuttering in my speech, and more.
(d) So, here I was doing information processing on “thoughts about thoughts about a situation” just before I blocked. My “good ole brain” was pattern matching “this situation” to “old previous situations” and streaming into my being the signals and cues of what to feel and what this meant and what to do: be fearful, look out, hold back, don’t let go, etc, etc. And guess what? I did that, and I felt uncertain, insecure, apprehensive, anxious as I had felt before. I felt that I was destined to block and stutter in the new situation that was just about to unfold, just as I had done so before. And I did! Surprise! Not really…no reason to be surprised; one follows the other as surely as night follows day! What I did and felt flowed naturally from what I was thinking about (i.e., from the information processing that I was doing).
***NOTE TO PONDER:
Dev, you wrote:
“I often lock up when I go for an Interview and become really under confident.”
Suppose Roddy was going to fill-in or “to be” Dev for a day. And suppose that on that day, Roddy-as-Dev was going for an Interview. What would Roddy have to think about so that he could “be Dev” and lock up when he goes to that interview? What would Roddy have to think about to feel the same intense level of “very under confident” as Dev feels? What sort of things have to “be on Roddy’s mind” so that he gets the same cues and signals as Dev which will then enable Roddy to lock up and to feel very under confident just like Dev does?
I ask this thinking that your contemplation of this will assist you in beginning to become aware of the pictures or sounds or thoughts that go through your mind before you go for a job interview.
(e) Now being aware of some information processing that was going on, but of which I was previously unaware, what was I to do?
I’ve learned through Bob Bodenhamer and Michael Hall in their talks and writings about Neuro-Semantics that people can use the same “tools” which were involved in the creation of some style of thinking (i.e., like “I am a stutter and always will”; or “I can’t do anything right”, etc) to change that thinking! The brain and the mind are powerful players. Un-assisted, un-trained, un-led, they can and will go off on their own un-guided way. What they wind up with, as that un-guided journey unfolds, is anybody’s guess! So, a person can use their powers of imagining and thinking to “train them”. And unless a person has a brain injury or suffers lost capacity due to an illness like dementia or Alzheimer’s, then every person has this capacity, has these tools, to “train their brain to think what they want it to think”.
So, variously and seemingly randomly, I am running images and pictures through my mind, I am “thinking”. “What I am thinking” is typically the same thing or something quite similar. Usually, this set of images starts out with “A”, then “B” happens, then I feel and think “C”, then “D” happens, then I feel and think “E”, then the pictures are over.
So this information processing that I am doing has a structure to it: A, B, C, D, E. That is not to say that “A causes B causes C, etc”. That is only to say that there is a structure of A, B, C, D, E. And that structure, when experienced again by my running those images through my mind, leads to my experiencing similar behavior again as in the past: I get tense and anxious, and I block.
I have learned from Bob and Michael that if one changes the structure of that experience, then one changes the impact which that experience has on one’s self.
When you “alter the structure of a remembered experience”, then thinking of that altered experience sends a new set of signals and cues to your body that are very different from the original set of signals and cues – these new signals are powered by the new meaning that you now give to the altered experience. So, “change or alter your memory of something” and you change what that memory tells you to feel or to do when you think about that.
The altered experience now “means” something different to you than the original experience meant. The result of “information processing” of those changed thoughts, or “images”, is a new and different state of being.
On web site you will read about the difference between “focusing on the content” of a problem versus “focusing on the structure” of a problem inside an article that Bob wrote with former PWS, Linda Rounds. A lot of talk-therapy spends a great deal of time in the “content plane” and has not too much to show for it (in my opinion). Neuro-Semantics is a way to focus on “what makes up an experience” of a problem – i.e., the “structure plane” – and to affect real and lasting change by changing that structure.
(f) So, I got a clear, full picture of two images that I learned that I “ran through my mind” just before I blocked, and I changed them by doing the following:
(1) First, Dev, you should read an article that Bob has on his web site about Perceptual Positions. This way of dealing with something has helped me a lot. (Note from the editor: You will find Perceptual Positions as Number 8 in the article that I wrote entitled “Eight Keys to Personal Change“. If you haven’t read that article, I highly encourage you to do so as it summarizes my therapeutic discoveries over a period now of 17 years.)
(2) Also, read an article there about “Stepping In and Stepping Out”. (Note from the editor: You will find an outstanding example of the mind’s ability of stepping out of one state and stepping in to another state from the article above. For, as one moves around the different “Perceptual Positions”, one is in effect stepping out of one state and into another state for each position represents a different state of being. We do this all the time. We go through many different states in any given day. One moment we may be sad and the next moment we are happy. One moment we are in a sleepy state and the next moment, as something grabs our attention, we find ourselves in a curious state. To access one states requires that we step out of another. The plasticity of the brain allows us “to choose” what state we desire to be in and to enter into it. To not to be in a mind-body state means that you are dead.)
(3) I took one set of images that I ran just before I blocked, and I did this:
a) I “stepped in to” a situation where I felt very confident. I was completely there, and experienced that confidence throughout my being again.
b) I “stepped out” of that, but (metaphorically speaking) kept it close by.
c) I sat down and pretended that a large projection screen was in front of me. I mentally placed the images in this one set onto that screen.
d) I mentally “stepped into” the images and was the “me” that I saw there. I ran through the images like they were a brief movie. I got plenty of cues for bad feelings!
e) I let the movie play out and end. It was over. I “stepped out of that movie”. The screen was blank. All was calm. I was in a calm place. I stepped back into the situation where I felt confidence. I felt it again.
f) I brought that confidence with me to the chair where I sat. Sitting there as a confident, adult, third-person observer (an “adult” Roddy, not a “child-like” Roddy from many years ago) looking at a blank screen. I put the last image of that movie back on the screen. Viewing this image from my position of calmness and confidence, I ran the entire movie backwards at a “fast-rewind” speed. When it got to the start of the movie, I stopped.
I’m sure that you have seen the visual effect from running a movie in reverse rapidly. One can see this with a VCR or a DVD. When you run the movie fast in reverse, the images don’t mean what they do when you play them forward at the proper speed. The entire “meaning” of the video sequence of the images is changed by doing this. The impact that the movie has on you is totally changed by viewing the movie this way! When you view a movie “in fast reverse” you don’t feel the same as you do when you view it at normal forward speed. It’s very simple, yet quite profound!
g) Mentally, I went back to the end of the movie again, and sitting there as a calm and confident adult, I ran it in reverse again. I repeated this about 20 times. Then I grew bored.
h) Then I played it forward at normal speed and my response was “so what, it means nothing”. Now before this, seeing that movie play at normal forward speed in my mind’s eye certainly did mean something; but now this way of viewing it had changed its structure, resulting in it now “meaning nothing”. That’s right. It means nothing now. It does not mean what it used to mean.
As an aside, have you ever had someone ask you if you wanted to see a certain movie, but you replied “No, I don’t feel like watching that tonight” or “No, I’m not in the mood for that tonight”? We say that because movies give us cues for how to feel when we focus our attention on them by closely watching them; sometimes we want to feel a certain way, sometimes we do not. Sometimes we say “You know, I’m in the mood to watch such-and-such”, meaning that we want to feel certain things and we know that watching a certain movie will “make us” feel that.
(Note from the editor: Roddy here has magnificently utilized the NLP Pattern “The Fast Phobia Cure” in ways that have proven most helpful to him as he works to eliminate the image that he had just before he blocked. If a picture triggers us into a negative mind-body state, then the removal of the picture will theoretically remove the negative feelings from that state. The trigger of the state is now eliminated so the state will not run. I do not have this pattern on the web site. You will find it in my book Mastering Blocking & Stuttering mentioned earlier. If you search the internet, you will find many links to this model. We have been utilizing the structure of this model for many years in assisting clients overcome fears, phobias and traumas. If you have a picture in your mind that you would like to get rid of, try this model. Visit website of one of the leading founders of NLP, Robert Dilts, and from his multi-volume entitle “The Encyclopedia of NLP” you will find this model at: http://nlpuniversitypress.com/html3/V23.html.)
(4) OK, I took the other set of images that I ran through my mind before I blocked, and I did this:
(a) I accessed a situation where I felt confident and strong; I “was there again” and felt it strongly.
(b) I step out of this and “place it close by”.
(c) I started to run this movie. I step into it and I am “Roddy, back there a long time ago”.
(d) At the crucial point in the movie where things go bad for me, I froze the film. The image stopped on one frozen frame.
We have some commercials on TV here in the USA that do this very thing. At an important point in the commercial, the picture freezes at a frame and the motion stops; the narrator steps out into the frozen frame and moves among the objects frozen in mid-motion; he continues his selling pitch as he walks among the objects that are frozen in motion.
(e) So, just like the commercial, I freeze the frame. I “step out” of Roddy the boy and “step into” the calm confident adult as a third-party observer.
(f) I see all of the people there; I see Roddy-the-boy.
(g) I ask a lot of questions like,
“what is Roddy feeling now?”
“what does he believe is going on here?”
“what would help him out?”
I look at the other people.
I walk around them (in my mental picture of this).
I look at the back of their heads.
“what’s going on in their minds?”
“what do they believe is happening here?”
“what are they trying to achieve?”
“how do I – the calm, confident adult – see them?”
“what could I share with Roddy-the-boy that might help him out here?”
(5) Doing these kinds of things with these kinds of images illustrates something that Albert Einstein said about solving a problem: something like “you cannot solve a problem from within the problem, you must rise above the problem” (several articles on Bob’s web site have this quote).
That applies here in this way:
Roddy cannot solve the problem of the impact of this experience on him when he was a 13 year old boy by being in the situation again as that 13 year old. That 13 year old boy cannot ever solve that problem. Roddy can talk about and re-live that experience over and over, and in so doing Roddy is experiencing that as a 13 year old all over again each and every time. And every time Roddy experiences this as that 13 year old, it always means the same thing and always gives him the same cues about what to feel and to do. So, 13-year-old-Roddy, by himself, alone, will always view that experience the same way; hence, he cannot change it. As long as Roddy is “within the problem” in this way, he cannot solve the problem from that position.
But, 56 year old Roddy has a lot of strengths and knowledge and insight which he can bring to this situation and share with that 13 year. Those resources will enable Roddy to give different meaning to what happened; “what happened” will no longer mean what it once did, that meaning will now be altered. And when the meaning is altered, then the impact and influence which occur today when Roddy “sees those images again” in his mind will be a different impact with a different set of signals than it was before.
Roddy, to solve the problem of the impact and meaning of these experiences, must rise above that problem, and he does that “stepping out” of himself as the 13 year old and “stepping into” himself as the confident 56 year old who goes back there and assists the 13 year old with the situation. The 56 year old Roddy helps the 13 year old Roddy “see the situation differently”, “get a new perspective on what happened and on what that really means”.
The whole purpose for “stepping in” and “stepping out” is to be able to identify what is happening and then to rise above it from whence one can work to resolve or to dissolve or to attenuate the impact that the 13 year old Roddy (in this case) felt.
(6) Doing this “stepping out” and “stepping in”, doing this “getting a new perspective from a resourceful 56 year old Roddy”, changes the structure of the experience for me. The structure used to be “A”, “B”, “C”, “D”, then “E”. Now its “A”, “B”, “W”, “X”, “Y”, “Z” – there are no more “C”, “D”, “E”.
Before this, the images in this little movie meant a few specific things, and when I ran that movie I got several specific cues for what to do and how to feel. But working with the movie in this way has changed what these images mean; changing these images means that it has a different impact on me now; having a different impact on me means that I get cues now for acting and feeling that are different than the cues I got before; getting different cues now means that I act and feel differently!
(7) So, pulling this altogether:
Sometimes I am in some kind of situation and I sense that I am running or am about to run one of these movies. I let myself become aware of what is happening. I let myself start to run the movie. I do not criticize myself because this is happening. It’s OK that it happens. Everything will be alright.
I jump into whichever movie it is just as I described above. If it’s the first movie, I run it in fast reverse, viewing it as a calm confident adult. It is amazing how a movie changes when you run it in fast reverse! If it’s the second movie, I freeze it at the important frame and walk around in it as a confident adult. It’s amazing how the meaning of the movie changes when you freeze it and walk around in it as a calm and confident adult observer.
That means that neither movie “sets me up to stutter”. Experiencing these movies in this modified fashion changes their impact on me as well as the cues or signals sent to me by my brain as it processes this modified set of information.
That’s two examples of how I do Neuro-Semantics every day. I learned to do this by trying to do it. My first attempts were not as successful as I desired. They were a bit awkward; I wondered if I was on the right track. But I viewed that as a “learning experience” – not as failure. I viewed it as “starting to jog or run again” after not running for a long time. First I had to work into “running one-half mile”; then, over days, I could work into “running a mile”; then, over a week or two, I could work into “running 2 miles”……. I kept encouraging myself and I kept looking for the positive in what I was doing.
Well, Dev, thanks for staying with me until this point. Thank you for listening to my summary.
- “My stuttering is really having an adverse effect on my career.”
- “Companies have a hard time looking beyond one’s stammer, here in India.”
- “I often lock up when I go for an Interview and become really under confident.”
- “This has happened a few times and now I am really scared to be interviewed.”
Applying what I’ve said above to this:
- “Step into” the situation where you are going to an interview; really “be there again”.
- What is running through your mind? what do you think or feel or see or hear that leads you to feel very under confident?
- Give yourself room to start a journey of “listening to yourself”.
- Let whatever you find there come into your consciousness; it will not hurt anything!
- Ask what you find there “what cues and signals are being sent by my brain for what to feel and how to act?”
- When you find yourself “feeling under confident” or “feeling like you will lock up”, ask yourself “what movie have I been running from which I took these cues and signals to feel this?
One more aside here, Dev. During the course of any day I might become aware that I’m in a “state of mind” and/or that I am behaving or acting or relating in ways that I really don’t care for nor want to do. In these cases, I’m teaching myself to use what we are talking about here in a reverse way.
Since I am feeling certain things and since I am acting in certain ways, there must be something that my mind is thinking about which is sending me these cues and signals about feeling and acting in these ways! So I ask myself:
“What is running through your mind, Roddy, that’s giving you these signals? What pictures or images or thoughts, what sounds or smells are you thinking about? What past experience are you thinking about that is similar to this experience?”
When I first started asking myself these things I got answers rather slowly – maybe not even for a day. Now, I get them much faster, sometimes within a couple of minutes. When I get those answers, then I apply things I’ve learned from Neuro-Semantics (like what we’ve discussed) to those thoughts for the express purpose of changing whatever structure those thoughts have – because when you change the structure of a set of thoughts, then you change the impact they have on you and you thus get different cues and signals for feeling and acting.
- Does that look like some kind of little movie?
- Perhaps try playing with a movie and altering it in one of the ways that I described.
- “Step out” of the above situation and “step into” a situation where Dev feels and knows that he is very confident and capable.
- Bring the resources from “Dev in the state of confidence” back to “Dev in the state of under confident” and apply them to each part of what you thought or did to put yourself in the “state of under confident”. This is how you change the structure and meaning of what you used to do into something different which has its new and different meaning.
- Now, the above goes a long way toward helping me change the impact of negative experiences that I remember. And I am really happy to have learned this. But I want more, and I bet that you do too, Dev. I don’t want to spend all of my time just “battling to overcome the negative things”. I want to be “all that I can be”.
- I want to experience “the positive”. Yet I know that I will not achieve that if all I ever do is just “work on negative experiences”. “Working on negative experiences” is a great place to start, but I can achieve the highest for me by moving on beyond that and starting to shape a new and positive set of thoughts to think about. This means that I also work with my imagination, using my brain & mind, to create and to instill and to install and to anchor securely a set of new and powerful images of “Roddy living and being and feeling and acting at his best in all kinds of situations”. I am learning to create these and then to run them through my mind ever day!
Neuro-Semantics is a two-sided coin: not only does one deal with changing “the negative”, but one builds off of and creates an equally wide array of “the positive”. And you use the same tools for both. That is really great stuff to me! Imagine, not only defuse the negative past, but infuse one’s future with powerful new visions of achievement that, each time we run them through our minds, cue and signal us for our greatest performance and goals!
Dev, you’ll find a whole lot of extremely useful material at Bob’s web sites. Read that material and then “do Neuro-Semantics” by applying that to you, and practice doing that until it begins to become an automatic response!
Welcome to a new adventure in living and being!
Gary’s Fluency Strategy: Viewing Blocking/Stuttering from Different Perspectives
Viewing Blocking/Stuttering from Different Perspectives
Bobby G. Bodenhamer, D.Min.
With Gary Lindenbaum
Gary and I have been conversing in recent weeks through telephone consultations. Gary is a retired school administrator and now has his own business. For sure, Gary has not allowed blocking/stuttering to block his career. I have great admiration for a person with a blocking/stuttering problem who steps out into the public arena and builds a career. That takes internal strength. Strength by the way, that has driven him to Neuro-Semantics for assistance.
It is a real privilege to work with such a committed and determined person. We are all grateful for Gary’s willingness to share his progress and to share his fluency strategy with us in the public arena. He is doing this even though he is a “work in progress” and still has a blocking/stuttering problem but he is determined to continue working and improving his fluency.
I was so grateful a few sessions ago when Gary said, “Bob, I have been going to therapy for years with this blocking/stuttering problem and I always knew there was a missing piece. Neuro-Semantics is that missing piece.”
Through our work, Gary has developed the following strategy that is proving effective in his journey towards fluency. I was so impressed with it and its potential to assist other PWBS, that I requested his permission to post it on the web site. He has consented to do so with his name attached. Following the strategy, I will explain linguistically how Gary’s strategy works.
Gary’s Fluency Strategy
- I have images, hear voices and have feelings about what other people will say about me for blocking/stuttering (Looking to others for my sense of self-worth). Then I say to myself, “It is all a bunch of crap; it is all made up. I have always seen other people and mind-read what they thought of me. It is just a bunch of crap.” (Negating)
- I now use these images to trigger me to get me to my spiritual place. I see a white holy light coming out of heaven and into the top of my head and down into the core of my body. It then goes back up my body, through my throat and then out my mouth. (Meta-Stating)
- Next, I picture myself as an adult being present speaking to the other person. I see myself and the other person (3rd Position).
- I then come back to the present moment (1st Position) as an adult looking out at the other person. (Bringing the Resource of numbers 1 – 3 to bear on this adult state.)
- As an adult, I “Meta-No” the internal dialogue that keeps popping up telling me that I am what I think other people think I am.
- After I Meta-No that negative internal dialogue, I Meta-Yes:”I am a friend to myself.”
”God is within me and that determines my self worth (5th Position).”
”I am a positive, compassionate, loving, strong and courageous person.”
- Then I own my stuttering as “it isn’t a big deal.” (Owning his Power-Zone and Reframing – changing the meaning)
- Finally, I give my self permission to have the right to take as much time as I want to take when I talk to someone. (Permission frame)
- Letting “Others” run our brain – That is a bunch of “crap!”
Gary, “I have images, hear voices and have feelings about what other people will say about me for blocking/stuttering. These images lead me right into a block as I attempt “blocking” the stuttering. This of course creates a worse stutter.” (Looking to others for your sense of self-worth)
Gary summed up the thinking of many PWBS when he said, “I am what I think other people think I am.” If there is one commonality among PWBS stutter, it is the fear of what other people may think of them because of the blocking/ stuttering. I routinely ask this question of my PWBS clients, “If you absolutely did not care what other people thought of your blocking/ stuttering, what would change about your speech?” In every case, they say that it will either greatly improve or totally go away. Now, in my book, that is significant.
In NLP/NS this is known as the 2nd Perceptual Position. This basically means that we are in the other person’s body looking back at ourselves. However, with PWBS, it goes much deeper for they become the other person and “guess” what that other person is thinking about them for their stuttering. Gary says, “When I am in 2nd Position, there is no me, no ‘I.'” I become the other person. There is no separation between them and me. It is like I am not even present. It is not my feeling – it is their picture; their voice; it is about how they are feeling about me should I block/stutter. I am not in 1st Position (in my body). I just check out and I am not even present.” Gary concludes, “Not only do I mind-read their judging me about my blocking/stuttering, I feel like they are reading me while I am in the 2nd Position of being in their body. It is their picture; their voice – it is how they are feeling.” In essence, Gary, as do all PWBS that I have worked with, gives complete power and control over to what he believes the other person will think of him.
NLP recognized early on that when it comes to making evaluations, judgments, decisions, etc., that some people evaluate things based on what other people think while others base their evaluations on what they think internally. An “other-referencing” type person will need feedback from other people to know they have made a right decision or evaluation while a “self-referencing” person will just know inside. This does not mean that a self-referencing person does not value the opinion of others. A mental healthy self-referencing person will value the opinion of others as feedback but not in making the final decision or evaluation.
We come into this world referencing others for, as children, we depended on parents or other adults to let us know if we were right or wrong, if we were OK or not OK. But, as we mature, we go “inside” to make evaluations based on our years of study, learning and experience. PWBS have a strong tendency of fearing what other people think of them. So, in the context of speech, a PWBS functions primarily by letting other people run their brain. Just switching from the other-referencing to self-referencing can make profound differences in moving towards more fluency.
Note 1: It would appear that most PWBS, do the following in bringing the other’s judgment to bear on to themselves:
- They first go second position to the other person and mind-read the other person’s judgment about their blocking/stuttering.
- They then bring that judgment to bear on themselves and then associate “inside” the judgment which is their first position but it is a first position “inside” the “other’s” perceived judgments of them.
- When that happens, they are “inside” the block which is a first position but the “stuff” of that first position is the “other’s” perceived judgment.”
Note 2: To make this switch can be quite difficult due to the “in the muscle” beliefs that were built primarily during childhood. Therapy may be required. However, by just practicing over and over a strategy like Gary’s has the potential of making dramatic changes. More than one person has had enough of letting other people run their brain and have just decided to take ownership of their own thoughts and feelings and started trusting themselves in evaluating their own sense of self-worth.
Gary, “Then I say to myself, ‘It is all a bunch of crap; it is all made up. I have always seen other people and mind-read what they thought of me. It is just a bunch of crap.’” (Meta-No-ing by negating that old belief)
Now, here in the very first step, Gary begins to move away from that old “stinking thinking” of letting other people control his thoughts and feelings. Now, he has decided to begin the journey of running his own brain by negating giving other people permission to run his brain. It is as if Gary is saying that “I will no longer give other people rent free space in my brain. That is a bunch of crap. I and I alone will control my thoughts, feelings, speaking and behaving.”
So, in essence, when Gary says that letting others control his thoughts and feelings is a bunch of crap, he is bringing a great big “No” to bear on that “crappy thinking.” He is turning the crap into fertilize.
To bring one thought to bear on another thought will change/modulate the first thought and put us in a different state. We call that Meta-Stating. For example, it is normal for PWBS to have fear about blocking and stuttering. Then, they will often fear what that will mean about them as a person, etc. This layering of thoughts multiplies the negative effect and results in blocking (See Figure 1).
Michael has an introductory article entitled Introduction to the Meta-States Model that will assist you in learning about this model.
Also, I have a pattern on the web site entitled The Meta-Yes Meta-No Belief Change Pattern that further explains how this works. Later in his strategy, Gary again uses this pattern.
Now, the brain doesn’t care if we layer our minds with positive or negative thoughts. Unlike the stomach which vomits out garbage, the brain processes it. Knowing this, Gary has chosen to start layering his mind with positive thoughts by first negating or saying “no” to those negative thoughts (See Figure 2).
All reality is a constructed reality.
Note that Gary says, “It is all ‘made up.” What does he mean by this? Gary has learned through study and experience that all of our thoughts are created by our own brains. We create the pictures, sounds, feelings, smells, tastes and word meanings inside our head which are the “stuff” of thoughts. The great news is, because we create them, we “make them up,” we can un-make them. Because they are a constructed reality, we can de-construct them and re-construct thoughts that serve us.
Think about it. If you were just to decide to stop mind-reading what others may or not think of you because you block/stutter, what would happen? Gary explained that when he “saw images, heard voices and had feelings about what other people would say about him for blocking/stuttering,” he would get fearful and block. That is typical, isn’t it?
Now, Gary has decided to say “no” to that thinking and to think something else that will serve him. Since he says “no” to those thoughts, by saying they are a “bunch of crap” and they are “all made up,” those thoughts will not do anything to him for not having them any more. The more you study NLP and NS, the more you will realize that thoughts only have the meaning and the power that we give them. For a better understanding, you may wish to read the article Simply Introducing NLP on the web site.
Suffice it to say, our thoughts are constructed by us. They are learned behaviors. They are just abstractions in the mind. There are no objective test instruments that can find a picture, a sound, a feeling or words in the mind. They are abstractions off the neural pathways of the brain. I do not understand how the brain creates these images through abstraction and I doubt if anyone else does. However, I do know that you can learn to stop running old thoughts that no longer serve you and you can learn to run new thoughts that do serve you. An old Jewish proverb says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” (Proverbs 23:7a KJV).
- Meta-Stating with a Trigger
Gary, “I now use these images to trigger me to get to my spiritual place. I see a white holy light coming out of heaven and into the top of my head and down into the core of my body. It then goes back up my body, through my throat and then out my mouth” (Swishing the brain, Meta-Stating).
Here Gary is in the process of totally changing his behavior from that which created blocking/ stuttering to that which will lead to more and more fluency. Typically when it came to speaking to someone or even thinking about speaking so someone, his brain would go to the fear of blocking/stuttering and all the many layers of meaning that entailed.
He is now taking that same trigger that did trigger “stinking thinking” and he is using it to swish or to send his brain to his higher resource state. In this spiritual resource state, Gary experiences: being centered, being a friend to himself, being compassionate, being positive, being loving, being strong, being courageous and having a strong sense of self-worth from his belief in God. When totally inside this resource state, Gary is completely fluent.
When you learn to take those old triggers that triggered the negative layering of the mind which resulted in blocking/ stuttering and instead allow those old triggers to send you to your resource state, you are well on your way to fluency. Eventually, you will not even have to think about it. Once you have this way of thinking “in your muscles,” those old negative states that speaking use to trigger will be gone. It will no longer be an issue.
Note: Hopefully you have a resource(s) state that you can access and be totally in it. A good place to start is the state of mind you are in when you do speak fluently. Analyze that state. How does it feel? Do you see any pictures? Are there sounds? How are you talking to yourself in that state? Imagine yourself fully in that state.
I love utilizing spiritual states. For most people, these states have the most “power” to blow out the fear and anxiety. If you have beliefs about God, Love, the Universe, etc, go “inside” that state noting how you feel, what you are seeing, how you are talking to yourself, etc. and apply that state to the fear. Do like Gary – when the fear or anxiety of blocking starts coming up, immediately send your brain to your resource state and be there totally in your resource state. The brain learns through repetition. By constant repetition of this strategy, you may be amazed at what you can do. Practice, practice, practice.
- 3rd Perceptual Position
Gary, “Next, I picture myself as an adult being present speaking to the other person. I see myself and the other person” (3rd Position).
Here Gary creates a picture of seeing himself as an adult talking to the other person. Why is it so important for Gary to see himself as an adult? It is very important. I believe I can answer that question by simply asking you, “How old do you feel when you are blocking?” Most PWBS will immediately reply, “I feel like a little child.” Or, sometimes they give me the exact age. And, this age will have around it an experience(s) of being made fun of by a parent, peer or a teacher, etc.
What happens in blocking/stuttering (and most other emotional problems) is that some internal or external trigger will unconsciously send us back to a hurtful experience as a child. We cease being an adult and become a child. So, here, Gary sees himself as an adult which informs his brain that he is no longer a little boy full of fear, anxiety and embarrassment but a grown man with the resources of a grown man. He is not going into a communication as a child.
But there is more, note that Gary is seeing himself in the picture. Here Gary introduces us to the NLP 3rd Perceptual Position. What in the world is that? It is a model that is extremely important for one who desires flexibility of behavior. Or, to put it another way, it is a model that will assist a PWBS to get “outside” a block and to find a resource state. I have pulled from the Mastering Stuttering training manual that I am working on the following information about Perceptual Positions. I encourage you to not only learn this intellectually but also experientially. Actually practice going through each position.
Perceptual Positions for Developing Flexibility of Consciousness
(From the “Mastering Stuttering Training Manual”)
The realization that we humans operate from five basic ways of looking at experience offers tremendous potential in state control and in the enhancing of our communication. NLP first offered three positions. We have expanded them to five positions. We refer to these ways as being the first, second, third, fourth and fifth perceptual positions and explain them in The User’s Manual for the Brain. I have modified that material especially for PWBS (See Figure 3).
When you associate into your own body, you live in first position. This permits you to look at the world from your own viewpoint. In the first position, you do not take into account anyone else’s position. You simply think, “How does this conversation or communication affect me?”
First position is the normal and healthy position of seeing, hearing, and feeling from out of self. It is the position needed in order to speak with authenticity, to present yourself, your thoughts, feelings, and responses congruently, to disclose, listen, inquire, and be present with another.
When you are in second position, you are “walking in the other person’s shoes.” You take into consideration how a communication or event would look, feel and sound from another person’s point of view. In the second position, you imagine yourself entering the other person’s body. In this position you imagine looking at yourself through their eyes. Second position is to understand, feel with, experience empathy for and see things from another’s point of view. Here you’ll feel in accord with the other and have a strong sense of her perceptive.
What do you look like, sound like and what feelings do you get from the other person’s viewpoint of you? In the second position you develop the ability in experiencing empathy. This position gives much flexibility when involved in conflict with someone. From the second position you can appreciate how they feel about your conversation and behavior. Build rapport before going second position. And, by going second position, notice how the rapport deepens. Second position offers an extremely valuable model in deepening rapport.
However, for the PWBS, second position often becomes the kiss of death. Remember Gary’s words, “When I am in 2nd Position, there is no me, no ‘I.'” I become the other person. There is no separation between them and me. It is like I am not even present. It is not my feeling – it is their picture; their voice; it is about how they are feeling about me should I block/stutter. I am not in 1st Position (in my body). I just check out and I am not even present.” Gary concludes, “Not only do I mind-read their judging me about my blocking/stuttering, I feel like they are reading me while I am in the 2nd Position of being in their body. It is their picture; their voice – it is how they are feeling.” In this description, Gary has gone into the other person’s body and mind-read or guessed at the judgments the person will bring to bear on him. Gary loses Gary and becomes totally absorbed by what he thinks the other person will think of him.
When you distance yourself from an event, you more than likely do it by going to the third position. Third position offers a way of dissociating from the entire event or conversation. In the third position you become an independent observer. Third position allows us to operate from the position of objectivity. Ask yourself, “How would this conversation or event look to someone totally uninvolved?” Imagine yourself being out of your body and off to the side of the conversation between you and the other person. You can see both yourself and the other person. The third position allows you to step back, to gain a sense of distance, to observe, to witness, to feel neutral and to appreciate both positions fully.
This is the position that Gary put himself in in step #3. He stepped “outside” himself and saw himself as an adult watching himself speak to the other person. By “stepping outside” himself, Gary in essence is “stepping outside” the possibility of stepping back into a state of fear. Try this. The next time you sense a block coming on, imagine yourself popping out of your body and seeing yourself as an adult conversing with the other person. I highly recommend a lot of practice learning how to go to the 3rd Position of objectivity for it will serve you well.
Robert Dilts (1997) first specified the Fourth Perceptual Position in his Visionary Leadership Skills manual. He defined the Fourth Position as “We” C from the perspective of the system. In this position, we have “associated in the perspective of the whole system.” To take fourth position, step aside and adopt the perspective of the whole system so that you can there consider what would contribute to the best interest of the system. A linguistic format for this position goes: “If we consider our common goals…” The fourth position allows on to understand the contexts (cultural, linguistic, business, family, etc.) that influence all of the larger systems and contexts of our world.
In using this for myself, I have modified it somewhat. Dilt’s model calls for associating into the system. I first associate into the system and then go to the third position to view objectively my position in relation to others in the team. Then I go second position to each person in the team and then back to the associated systems position. I rotate back and forth through these positions as I deem necessary. I have found this most useful as have other clients that I have coached.
Marilyn Atkinson (1997) in an unpublished manuscript entitled “Five Central Ideas” suggests another perceptual position C “a universal perceptual position.” This results from applying the universal quantifiers (all, always) to our perspective. Doing so “springboards us to the valuable idea of a universal perceptual position.” (p. 24). This provides the widest and largest level perspective of all.
By taking this meta-position to everything, we can then learn to take on multiple perceptual positions and even change rapidly between them. Doing so increases our flexibility of consciousness so that we don’t get stuck in any one position.
This may involve “over-viewing through time” – seeing things as they progress through and over time. None of these positions offer a superior position to the other. Each position has equal importance. The wise communicator knows how to move at will from one position to the other.
The 5th Position is extremely important in overcoming blocking/stuttering. When Gary accessed his “spiritual place” in step #2, he was in 5th position. On the web site you have Linda’s story in the article From Stuttering to Stability how she attained fluency using The Drop Down Through pattern. Linda dropped into her spiritual resource state. It was a “bright yellow light” that to her as a Christian was Jesus. This state is Linda’s 5th Position. You will note that in that state, Linda could not be fearful about speaking to other people. That state allowed her to quickly gain fluency.
Discover the 5th Position for yourself. It will serve you well. Every client I work with, one of the first things I do is to assist the client in finding their 5th Position state and to be able to access it at will.
What is your 5th Position? How would you describe it? It is where your highest beliefs, values, understandings, etc. lie. You want to do like Gary is learning to do and Linda has already learned to do, you want to get to the point that you can “fly there” at any moment and especially in those times when you feel a block coming.
- 1st Position with Anchored Resources
Gary, “I then come back to the present moment (1st Position) as an adult looking out at the other person.” (Bringing the Resource of numbers 1-3 to bear on this adult state.)
Here Gary left the 3rd Position of seeing himself as an adult with the other person and he came back to the 1st Position of being in his body but, importantly, Gary brings with him the resource states and the mental frames from what he has learned and experienced in numbers 1 – 4. He now knows that the old fear of blocking is a “bunch of crap.” He knows that it is only as real as he lets it be for it is “all made up.” He has accessed his “spiritual place.” This powerful resource is giving Gary the power to overcome the fear of other people which created the blocking. He knows he is not a child and he refuses to act like one.
- Meta-No-ing the Negative Dialogue
Gary, “As an adult, I Meta-No the internal dialogue that keeps popping up telling me that I am what I think other people think I am.”
One thing about overcoming a life long habit of blocking and stuttering is that the old dragons of fear and anxiety will start raising their heads. You have had this problem possibly for many years and it is well “grooved in.” So, in your path to fluency, give yourself permission to work at defeating those habituated fear dragons.
Here Gary utilizes the Meta-No side of the Meta-Yes Meta-No Belief Change Pattern mentioned in mention in Step #1 above. We firmly believe that the only difference between a thought and a belief is that a belief is a thought that we have affirmed by saying “yes” to it as being true for us. I can have the thought that the sun will come up in the west tomorrow, but I don’t believe it. However, I do believe that it will come up in the east. I have 58 years of experiential reasons to give that thought a great big “yes.”
So, if it is true that the only difference between a thought and a belief is the confirmation, then to change a former belief into just a thought, all we must do is just dis-confirm it or say no to it. Now, for those “grooved in” beliefs like being afraid of what others may think of you if you stutter, give yourself permission as Gary has done to keep on saying “no” to it every time it raises its ugly head. Practice, practice and practice some more. If that doesn’t work after a few weeks or a few months, enlist a skilled NS practitioner to assist you.
- Meta-Yes-ing Resources
After I Meta-No that negative internal dialogue, I Meta-Yes:
”I am a friend to myself.”
”God is within me and that determines my self worth.”
”I am a positive, compassionate, loving, strong and courageous person.”
Isn’t this great? Once Gary Meta-No’s the old fear of what other people may think of him, he immediately sends his brain to those beliefs that come out of his spiritual resource place and says, “yes” to them.
- Reframing Stuttering as “no big deal” – a Meta-Stating Process
Gary, “Then I own my stuttering as it isn’t a big deal.” (Framing)
Here Gary does two things. First, he “owns” his stuttering problem. What? That doesn’t make sense. Of course it is his. But, wait a minute. Before we can deal with an unwanted behavior, we have to first admit that we have a problem and then we must identify it. Gregory Bateson in his work Steps to an Ecology of Mind points out that when we name something we do so at a higher level than that which we name. We have to think about something in order to do it. And, when we think about something we are at a higher level than that which we name.
Think about this statement that I recently read, “I don’t know who named water ‘water’ but I know it wasn’t the fish.” In other words, when we name something we have to “step outside” of it to analyze it enough to know what to call it. We can’t solve a problem on the level of the problem. We must rise above it. I do believe that was Einstein who said that.
As a psychotherapist, I run into so many people who hate their unwanted behaviors. They fight them like hell to try to get them to go away. But, guess what, instead of going away, the get stronger. So, think of your blocking/ stuttering problem. Note the intensity of your feelings about that ole dragon. Now, instead of fighting it, welcome it and name or own it as belonging to you. What happens? Did the intensity reduce? For most, but not all, it will. It is all according to how you frame or how you think about it.
Now, instead of getting mad at stuttering/blocking as you own it, think about it or frame it as Gary did with the thought like “it is no big deal.” Now, what did that do? PWBS really create one great big dragon state when they think about blocking/stuttering as determining their identity and running their lives. Michael and I have an article on the web site entitled “How to Create a Good Dose of Stuttering” that explains this. So Gary in essence is saying, this behavior that I have is no longer going to determine who I am for I am a lot more than my speech and in that light “it is no big deal.” Way to go Gary.
Note: Gary says, “I think fluently, which creates further distance from my stuttering. To help own my stuttering in the 1st position, I have started to ‘think in stuttering.’ It is always a shock to me that stuttering starts after a stream of articulate thought patterns have taken place in my mind.”
- Permission to take his time – owning his own powers – The “Power Zone”
Gary, “Finally, I give my self permission to have the right to take as much time as I want to take when I talk to someone.” (Permission frame)
Another very common belief that PWBS have is that they have to hurry up and “get it out” or they will think there is something wrong with me. “If I pause, they will know that I have a stuttering problem and they will think I am a retard.” “If I pause, that means I am an idiot and I don’t know what I am talking about.” These are the kind of statements I hear from PWBS. Now, instead of giving in to that kind of thinking, Gary has given himself permission to take as much time as he needs.
Your Power Zone
Michael has created an outstanding pattern in his Accessing Personal Genius training called “Meta-Stating Your Power Zone.” Just think, one moment you are alone at home speaking fluently. The next moment you are in public blocking. What happens? Many times it is about worrying what “they will think.” The “Power Zone Pattern” assists you in owning your four powers of thinking, feeling, speaking and behaving.
For the “Mastering Stuttering Workshop, I have added another step to the original pattern. After taking complete ownership of their four powers of thinking, feeling, speaking and behaving, I lead my clients to imagine pushing away what they think others may think of them about their speech. This has proven quite powerful. I recently did it with a PWBS client who flew to Charlotte to see me. He stood up, accessed a picture of people he thought was judging him and imagined himself pushing them away as he moved his arms in a pushing forward direction. Tears came to his eyes as he did that. I spoke with him last week. He is making steady progress towards fluency. He told me that that one pattern of pushing others out of his life as judging him by his speech was most helpful.
If we choose to take total and complete ownership of our four powers and thereby refuse to let anyone else run our brains, should we not also give other people the right to own their four powers? Yes, I believe so. When we mind-read what others may or may not be thinking about us, we in essence are trying to take away their four powers. Let’s allow them to have their powers. Give them permission to own their powers as we own ours. Refuse to let them control your powers via your mind-reading any judgment they may or may not bring to bear on you. In your fear of them judging you, you judge them and in the process, give your power away.
Point: As we have seen, PWBS usually have an enormous fear of other people judging them for blocking/stuttering. They fear that they will think they are some kind of weirdo. Or, they fear that they will think that they are a retard or stupid. As Gary pointed out, this fear can be overwhelming. Gary says he seizes to be Gary and becomes totally absorbed into what he mind-reads the other person thinking about him. But, please note, PWBS do not know what the other person thinks or feel. Rarely will a PWBS ask the other person what they think or feel about blocking/stuttering. The PWBS indeed mind-reads the other person judgments by guessing what they think the other person thinks of them. So, the PWBS is judging what he or she thinks the other person is thinking. So, who is judging who?
Based on my experience with several PWBS and with literally hundreds who have had similar problems but whose expression was other than blocking/ stuttering, I can affirm that Gary’s fluency strategy is a great one and one that deserves imitating. Basically, what Gary is doing is:
- Calling his blocking/stuttering a bunch of crap and all made up.
- Accessing his higher spiritual resources which properly define the real Gary.
- Seeing himself as an adult speaking fluently to the other person.
- Coming back to 1st Position as an adult bringing with him the resources of numbers 1-3.
- Meta-No-ing the internal dialogue that keeps telling him that he is what other people think he is.
- Meta-Yes-ing his true identity.
- Owning his stuttering as “no big deal.”
- Giving himself permission to take as much time as he needs to speak.
Great work Gary. Thanks for giving me permission to share this with other PWBS.
Atkinson, Marilyn. (1997). “The grammar of God.” Vancouver, BC: Unpublished Manuscript.
Bateson, Gregory. (1972). Steps to an ecology of mind. New York: Ballatine.
Dilts, Robert. (1992-1997). Visionary leadership skills. Santa Cruz, CA: NLP University.
Bodenhamer and Hall. (1999). The User’s Manual for the Brain. Bancyfelin, Carmarthen, Wales: Crown House Publishers Limited.
Note: Permission to Reprint – Permission is granted to reprint and distribute this article as long as it is distributed in total including the information about the author.
Bobby G. Bodenhamer, D.Min. is an international trainer in Neuro-Semantics and NLP, author of numerous books, ordained minister, and director of the First Institute of NS in Gastonia NC.
Gary Lindenbaum – Retired School Administrator and Private Businessman. You may communicate directly with Gary at: .