The Swish Technique
Re-directionalise negative thinking
The Visual Swish technique enables us to quickly dissolve the feelings attached to unwanted thoughts and to deal with unuseful responses.
In the Swish we replace the unwanted thought or response with a more useful and appropriate one because the Swish re-directionalises thinking. It is an instruction to the brain No, not that - THIS!!
Use the NLP Swish for yourself - and others
This is a valuable technique for managing your own thinking, states, and behaviours. Each time you use the Swish you are training yourself to instantly re-direct your thinking from unuseful topics to more resourceful ones.
By using the Swish in your own life you develop your ability to maintain resourceful states, manage your responses to stressful situations, and engage in the behaviours you want.
How to use the Swish
1. Select a replacement image
First select your Replacement Feeling - ask yourself How do I want to be instead.
Having selected the Replacement Feeling see and hear a detached and associated version of yourself experiencing this feeling. It is quite important that this image is dissociated. Enhance the detail and the quality (submodalities) of this until the image is quite compelling.
2. Find the trigger for the unwanted mood
What is it that you respond to? How you know when to have the unwanted response or reaction?
Ask yourself What occurs just before this negative or un-wanted state begins? This time, you want an associated image of what is going on immediately before you engage in the unwanted activity.
3. Put the replacement in the corner of unwanted image
Imagine a small postage-stamp sized version of your replacement picture in the bottom corner of the unwanted picture.
4. Swish the two images
Now you want t make both images change simultaneously and with increasing speed. (Experienced NLPers will select two critical submodalities to use here. However simply making the images change size and distance from you will work most of the time.)
Have the 'negative' image become smaller and shoot off into the distance. At the same time have the 'positive' replacement image become larger and closer until it replaces the negative image completely. Imagine a "swish" sound as you do this - hence the name. That's one Swish sound.
(Do this fairly slowly at first taking, say, 5-10 seconds to do it. Then continue, doing it a little faster each time, until you are swishing almost instantaneously - in less than a second!)
5. Clear your mind
After each Swish round blank your mind, fully! Think of something else or visualise your favourite colour. Breathing easily as you do this since some people tend to hold their breath while concentrating on doing the Swish. It is crucial to the success of the Swish to clear your mind or turn your attention outside before you do each next round.
6. Practice 5-7 times
Repeat steps 3 to 5 up to about seven times until you have difficulty in maintaining the unwanted image.
‘I don’t visualise’
This is a common belief. You can do an Auditory or a Kinaesthetic Siswish, too. So if you (or the other person if you are assisting someone else) believe that you have difficulty in visualising you could accept this belief and use a kinaesthetic or auditory swish.
Alternately, and often more effectively, you can act 'as if' you are visualising - i.e. you pretend that you visualising and simply follow the steps listed above. Curiously, this will often work just as effectively!
Develop skill with the NLP Swish
Like all NLP techniques the Swish is best learned "live" in a workshop where you are able to interact with the facilitator and with other participants -- and where you learn the background steps before you get to actually do the Swish. However you can still get good results if you carefully follow the above tips.
This is a version of the traditional NLP Visual Swish technique. It works well for those who are good visualisers especially if it is directed by a coach or trainer using NLP language patterns, anchoring, and who has a keen of awareness of non-verbal responses.
To make the benefits more widely available we have developed the Diamond Swish. We teach this is our NLP Core Skills courses yet even here it is left until the final day of the workshop so that participants are able to incorporate many of the other skills which they have learned during the workshop in order to make it work more effectively.
More information about NLP
NLP - what's in it for me?
How to learn NLP
7 tips for choosing an NLP training provider
NLP Core Skills - our course in the New Forest
What people have said about our courses
By Reg Connolly, Director of Training, Pegasus NLP