In NLP the Logical Levels of Therapy is a conversational method for assisting people to change strategies which are less than supportive of their goals.
The very fact that a person runs a particular strategy in a matter of seconds often means that they are not consciously aware that the outcomes they are producing are direct results of their own actions. They tend to attribute their outcomes to forces outside of themselves and thus place themselves at the effect side of the cause/effect equation.
This can also result in those people mistakenly believing that behavioural choices and alternative outcomes are actually unavailable to them. One purpose of the Logical Levels of Therapy method is to interrupt this limiting pattern and to assist people to access and expand the range of choices available to them.
The Logical Levels method is used to:-
- Assist a person firstly to realise that they are actually at the cause side of the cause/effect equation (pacing).
- Assist them secondly to realise that they have choices - they can choose to do things differently and adopt strategies more congruent with their goals (pacing/leading).
- Lastly to assist them in moving from the effect to the cause side of the equation and in gaining increased choice and behavioural flexibility (leading).
If we dial the same number every time we use the telephone we will always get the same outcome - we'll always be connected to the one place associated with that number.
Taking responsibility for dialling, realising now that we can choose to dial new numbers, numbers which are more useful in making new connections, in reaching our desired goals will lead us there more quickly.
The first step then in the Logical Levels of Therapy is to assist a person to realise that they are ' dialling the numbers ' on the ' strategic telephone ' that leads them to their outcomes.
A person who has a problem with a strategy and feels that they are at the effect side of the cause/effect equation might say something like:-
' X always happens to me - I just don't know why '
Whatever X happens to be for this person, we can verify that it is a strategy by asking:-
- That's amazing - do you ever forget to X?
- How do you always remember to X?
- Is there ever a time when you don't X?
Questions like these presuppose that X is something this person does rather than something which happens to them . It's one of the reframes used to assist the person in realising that their own actions dictate their outcomes.
Having identified X as a strategy the next step is to begin to elicit that strategy completely by asking the person to explain each step in the process in some detail.
As individual strategies are run in a matter of seconds this elicitation step can take some time and a number of repetitions to complete fully, particularly as this will probably be the very first time this person has analysed this experience in any detail or even been aware of the sequence of internal and external representations that they go through in order to produce the outcomes that they have been producing.
In order to fully recover all the steps in detail the person needs to fully associate into the experience, see what they saw at the time, hear what they heard, feel what they felt etc., and a detailed analysis with a little repetition will help to facilitate this.
Recovering and documenting the strategy paces this person’s current experience.
Once all the steps of the strategy, including the exit point, have been elicited it's time to move on to the second stage - changing the strategy.