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How to Use NLP SWISH Technique to Recondition Visual Thoughts?

Table of Contents

There are times when a client is not able to do the things they want to do because of certain images in their head.

Think of someone who is not able to speak in front of a large audience because every time he thinks of the stage, in his mind he sees an aggressive audience waiting to pounce on any mistake he makes or someone who is not able to go for an interview because every time she thinks of the interview she sees the image of her authoritative teacher who would constantly insult her.

In both the examples the fear is triggered by a visual in the client’s mind, first about a future that hasn’t really happened and is just one possibility of many, and the second image from the past that in reality is over and actually has nothing to do with the interview the client wants to go for.

Now, that we know what is triggering the fear i.e. these images all we need to do is change these images… that should be easy… shouldn’t that be?

It is…. once you know how….. and that is exactly what we will focus on in this video and post.

Step-by-step guide to use NLP SWISH technique

Let us now take a look at the step-by-step guide that you can use to help clients change the images that they see in their mind which stops them from doing what they want to. We are going to use a process called NLP SWISH Technique or SWISH from NLP for the same.

Identify what the client is not able to do

The first step is to identify what it is that the client is not able to do what they want to. Let us go ahead with speaking in front of a large audience for the purpose of this guide.

Identify the current image

The second step is to identify the current image that they see in their mind when they think of doing what they are not able to. An image like that of an aggressive and angry audience.

Identify the new replacement image

The third step is to help the client identify the replacement image that would help the client feel more comfortable with doing what they want to. In the current example an image like that of an audience giving a big round of applause


The fourth step is to ask the client to close their eyes and think of doing what they want to but is not able to and as they think about it they will naturally notice the current image. Ask them to imagine this image on a large canvas.

Next, ask them to imagine a small dot on top of this image somewhere in the corner. Let them know that the dot represents the new image that they would like to replace the old image with.

Once the client is able to imagine the two images on the canvas, we are ready to switch these images. For that tell the client that on the count of 3, you will say Swish, and the old image will shrink and become like a small dot in the background, and the new image will expand and cover the whole canvas. And then count 1, 2, 3… say swish and ask the client to open their eyes.

It is important that you count quickly and ask the client to open their eyes immediately. The idea is that the process needs to take place so quickly that it is not the conscious but the unconscious that makes the switch. After the client opens their eyes, speak to them for a minute or two about something else. This helps them create a break state.

And then ask the client to close their eyes, think about what they wanted to do, and ask them what image comes to their mind. If the image that comes to their mind is the new image completely, then our work is done for now. The client will see the results of the work when they have a chance to do what they want to next time.

In case the client does not see the new image completely, which means they either still see the old image or a mixture of the old and the new, repeat the process with the image they see now and the new desired image.

Repeat the Nlp Swish process till the client see the new image completely when they think of doing what they want to. In our current example repeat the process till the client sees the image of people giving a big round of applause when he thinks of speaking on a stage.

Follow up

The last step is to ask the client to let you know the next time they get the chance to do what they wanted to do. That is it… this was simple wasn’t it.

This was one way of using NLP SWISH technique through the size of images. We can use it with distance, location, or any other submodality. And that is not just limited to visual submodalities but also with auditory or kinaesthetic.

NLP SWISH Technique

Interesting applications of NLP SWISH Technique

I have used the Nlp swish technique and variations of it with clients who were not able to go for auditions or for interviews and were not able to speak on stage and had issues with confidence when interacting with authority.

The more interesting applications have been with respect to getting over a breakup or even moving beyond grief and sadness that was triggered by the image of the last rites of some close that the client had lost to disease. This is really a simple process but can be incredibly effective even in some really tricky cases.

That said there are situations where the client may experience relapse. That would happen either because of the presence of a strong secondary gain or because of the fear or whatever unhelpful emotion the client is experiencing, it is just not because of the image but probably because of a deeper intense emotional experience that the client needs to address first.

If you are wondering how would you help the client deal with these secondary gains or with the deeper intense emotional issues, stay tuned as we will start exploring the same in some of our future videos If you would like to be notified about the upcoming video, do watch this space and follow us.

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