While one of the most common ways of managing our emotional state is by learning to manage our thoughts, there are times that:
- the emotions are literally conditioned which means that certain people, situations or things trigger emotions instantaneously in a way that we or the client we are working with may not even be aware of the underlying thoughts or
- there are multiple triggers and doing a thought restructuring or thought reconditioning for each trigger may not be very efficient.
It is in situations like these that we need an alternate way to directly and quickly work with the emotion. And that is exactly where you can use the NLP anchoring process. I am sure thinking about certain people in your life makes you very happy and then there are others the thought of whom makes you angry.
Some of you may have a lucky shirt or a lucky pen that makes you feel confident while some others may have noticed how certain places or certain actions immediately make you feel calmer or trigger fear. All of these are examples of anchors that have been created in us over the years as a result of our experiences.
The good news is that it is possible to have an anchor that can help us experience certain emotions automatically and instantaneously. The bad news is that for most people these anchors are:
- External that they can’t control
- Created without awareness or choice
- After years or repetition and
- On top of that some of these anchors trigger emotions that may not be helpful in the situations where they are triggered.
So if only we had a way of being able to create anchors quickly with awareness and choice, that we could control like our actions and use in the most appropriate places or situations to experience an emotion that will be very helpful at that place or that situation. That would be great, wouldn’t that be?
This is exactly what the NLP anchoring process is. In simple words, the NLP anchoring process can help you experience emotions that you choose to experience when you choose to experience them. You can use the process to anchor the feeling of
1. happiness or joy and experience them with people or situations you want to or
2. excitement or motivation or confidence and experience them when doing certain things that need to be done or
3. even disgust and connect that feeling to smoking or tea or something else that you want to quit.
If you are a therapist or a coach I am sure you are already thinking about the clients where this process can be extremely useful. Some of you may already be using the anchoring process with your clientsSome others may be wondering this is too good to be true…
well wait for the next video where I would walk you through the step-by-step process for creating and using anchors in coaching and therapy.
Step by Step Guide to Use NLP Anchoring with clients for reconditioning emotional response
In this video, I am going to walk you through the step-by-step process for creating and using anchors in coaching and therapy. But before that you know what you must do, right? To simplify the process of creating and using anchors, we will divide the process into 3 steps.
- Step 1 will include asking questions to collect relevant information that will be used for the anchoring process
- Step 2 will include process for creating anchors and
- Step 3 is testing the anchors. Some of these steps will have substeps that we will look at as we go ahead
So let us start with the first step1
Before you start the anchoring process, it is useful to have the following information from the client:
- Emotion that they will like to anchor. For example confidence, calmness, peace, happiness, disgust and so on….
- Specific past experience where they have experienced the emotion at its peak. In the absence of a past experience, you can also use a detailed future imagination.
- What action would the client like to anchor this emotion to.
In this video we will use the action of pressing the right index finger with the thumb as the anchor. When selecting the action just remember that the action should be unique and is not already used as an anchor for another emotion.
Once you have all these details move forward to the step2
Anchor the emotion
Begin by asking the client to close their eyes and observe their breath 3 times.
Then ask the client to go back in time in their mind to the time or the event that they had described to you, the event where they experienced the positive emotion that would like to anchor at its peak.
As the client remembers or recalls that experience, suggest that the experience is becoming more vivid, more real, and more intense and ask the client to say yes once the feeling is at its peak.
Once the client says yes, check that the client is associated i.e. experiencing the memory in first person and then ask the client to bring the index finger and thumb of the right hand together and press it tightly. Suggest that the feeling is becoming stronger.
After a couple of seconds suggest that everytime they bring the finger and thumb closer and press it tightly they will experience this emotion at its peak. Add an ideo-motor response like breath becoming deeper or the finger of left hand lifting up unconsciously to indicate that the association has been made.
Give the client a couple of mins and then ask the client to let all the images and feelings settle down and then ask them to rub their hands, bring them closer to their eyes, feel the warmth in their eyes and then come back to the present and open their eyes wide awake.
Request the client to have a sip of water. After the client opens their eyes, give them some time to break the state. Talk about other things for a couple of mins. Next move forward to the step3
Test the Anchor
To test the anchor, ask the client to close their eyes once again. Next ask them to bring the index finger and the thumb closer and press it tightly, exactly the way they were doing it at the time of creating the anchor. As the client does this, ask them to verbalise the emotion they are feeling.
If the anchor was created correctly in the previous step, the client will feel the anchored emotion almost immedietely. Once the client confirms the feeling, you can gently ask the client to come back to the present. Repeat the process we used in the previous step to wake up the client.
Now that you know the process of anchoring, You are probably wondering, how would the client use this anchored emotion? There are multiple ways to use anchors once they have been created. The most basic application is to ask the client to use the anchor whenever they wish to experience the same emotion in their life.
If you would like to learn about advanced applications of anchoring in coaching and therapy or understand the conceptual background of how and why this process works and what to do when it doesn’t, then I would recommend that you can checkout either the Cognitive Hypnotic Coaching or the Cognitive Hypnotic Psychotherapy Diploma.