A few years back, Michael Bennett from Bennett/Stellar University came up with what I think is a really great, quick integration technique. We had both recently read:
by Stephen Heller.
In the book, Heller points out that where people are stuck, they are often thinking about their problem mainly with one representational system.
Michael Bennett’s Quick Integration Technique
A Brief Explanation Of Rep Systems
We think with our senses. When we think, we make internal images, we hear sounds in our “mind’s ear,” we think and have memories that have smells and tastes and feelings too.
In NLP, we call our visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and olfactory/gustatory thought channels “representational systems” – or Rep Systems.
So, if you’re reading this post and hearing the words inside your head, you’re using the auditory rep system (You might try Morgan Freeman’s voice). One way of looking at things is that if you’re depending too much on one of those systems, you’re not using all the problem solving abilities available to you.
Use More Of Your Brain
Or simply put–to use all your brain, use all your rep systems. Naturally, when people are stuck, it might be a good idea to gently lead them through the rep systems to see if you can shake loose a solution. And that’s what much of Heller’s work was about.
Now, there’s a variety of ways to do this (a metaphor that leads through different rep systems, for instance). What Michael did was come up with a format that works really well and really quickly when a person has inner conflict.
How ‘Michael’s Really Cool Integration Technique’ Works
Here’s the theory as I remember Michael laying it out to me…
1) When there’s an inner conflict, the two sides of the conflict are often using different rep systems to think about “their side” of the problem.
2) The visual rep system is a good one for sharing information.
3) If you move both sides into the visual system, they’ll start to share information and come up with solutions.
When it works, it seems pretty much like you’re a wizard and you waved a magic wand. It’s really cool. People will cheer! OK, probably not–but it’s so fast and effective, you’ll make their jaws drop.
How To Do ‘Michael’s Really Cool Integration Technique’
Here’s the process. Again, it works well when someone is having a hard time choosing between two decisions, where there’s a “parts” conflict–perhaps a bad habit where a person is flopping back and forth.
Oh, and I use this one myself a lot when I don’t have time to go through the full parts integration process. This process is easy to go through by yourself.
1) Get in touch with one part. If you want to stop smoking (for instance), get in touch with the part of you that wants to keep smoking. Make sure you think about it to the point where you feel the positive feelings you’d get from doing it.
2) Having that feeling now, what comes to mind as you feel it? Is it a picture? A sound?
3) Distract yourself for a moment (break your emotional state) and do the same thing with the other side of the issue. In the example, it would be the part of you that wants to stop smoking. Make sure you think about it to the point where you feel the positive feelings you’d get from stopping smoking.
4) Having that feeling now, what comes to mind as you feel it? Is it a picture? A sound?
The chances are, one of those representations (thoughts) is not using much visual firepower. In the next step, we make sure both sides of the conflict share info in the visual realm. If both sides are represented visually, something else is going on and this technique is not the best choice.
5) Get in touch with a side that’s not strongly visually represented. Get the feeling related to it. If you need to call up some internal audio, do so.
6) Get imagery to go along with it. Just ask yourself, “What visual would go with this?” Whatever comes to mind is fine as long as it goes with the feeling. The idea is to have a visual representation for that side of the conflict/decision.
7) If the other side is also not strongly represented, get a visual representation for it too.
8) Now, make one of the visual representations. As soon as you get the feeling related to it, switch to the other visualization. As soon as you get the feeling related to that, switch back.
You’ll find you’re able to switch more and more quickly. Typically the images move together spatially and/or blend in some way. After that process is completed, think about the subject of the whole things and notice how it’s shifted.
This process isn’t appropriate for every situation. If you find something it doesn’t work on, you can go through the full parts protocol or use some other technique.