Neuro-Linguistic Programming
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by Jeff Napier, copyright 2011-2013

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A New NLP MetaProgram

I'd like to propose a new metaprogram. But first, for those who don't know, or don't remember, I'll spend a couple of paragraphs describing metaprograms.

A metaprogram is a scale of opposites in behavior or speech patterns that can be used to calibrate a subject, and then present new material in a way that is more acceptable to the subject.

There are several metaprograms, generally named for the opposites on their scales. The most common one is probably "toward-away from." The subject who is far on the "away from" side of the scale will express things in a 'going away,' or 'getting away' sort of attitude. You'll discover expressions such as 'I wouldn't want that.' or 'I've gotta get away.' The subject who is on the other side of scale, the "toward" side, will seek adventures, will state goals, will express things toward which they are attracted. So, instead of "I've gotta get away from here for a while," they'll say "I'm gotta go on a vacation." The away-from subject, in a restaurant, may list things he doesn't want to eat. "Well, I don't want pancakes or waffles, they give me gas." The toward subject, will say, "I'm going to have scrambled eggs, or maybe French toast." 

When you are working with a subject who is on a far end of the toward or away-from scale, you can state things in the same way, and the subject will be more receptive. For instance, if you've got someone running in the away-from mode who is saying, "I can't continue with college." you probably won't want to say, "well, you've got to." Instead, you can speak in away-from terminology, saying things like, "well, you wouldn't want to be stuck with minimum-wage jobs," or "you'd have to avoid spending time with other people living the college-dropout lifestyle." 

Another common metaprogram is "optional-procedural." The person on the optional end of the scale will want to be aware of choices, and gets bogged down in step-by-step procedures. On the other end, the procedural person is very comfortable with step-by-step, and when choices are presented, can become worried, frustrated, or otherwise uncomfortable. 

Metaprograms is a big subject, which I hope to cover in much more detail in another article.

Today's article is about a new metaprogram I've been fooling around with, that I call "rebel-conservative." I have not seen anything about this one in the literature, but it seems quite common, and one well worth calibrating with your subject. 

In some ways, it is like optional-procedural, but it is a more powerful force in a person's personality. The rebel may have trouble completing school or participating in structured social situations such as church activities or boy scouts. The rebel wants to do things in new ways, and this choice of non-conformity can at times be costly. 

The conservative subject may find that his inability to tolerate the rebel side is just as costly. The conservative will be quite concerned with doing things the way they've always been done, the way that others seem to appreciate, and so on. In that respect, it is also like another metaprogram, "internal-external." The person on the internal end is guided by her own evaluation. The person on the external side always wants to know what other people think about their performance.

As a programmer, you might want to become aware of rebel-conservative early in a session, since bringing this awareness to the subject through metaphors and reframes may make a huge improvement in your subject's future comfort in life. Just allowing your subject new behavioral flexibility, no longer being stuck as a rebel or conservative, may be a life-changing difference.

More later! - Jeff