The swish pattern is a very simple yet very powerful submodality technique for taking minor problem behaviours or states and replacing them with more useful behaviours or states.
As I've had significant success using this technique myself I'll share my own personal experience with you as an illustrative example, particularly as it highlights one of the personal experiences that have proven to me that great results can be achieved quickly and easily using even the most basic NLP techniques.
Over the years I'd put on a few pounds, gradually without really noticing. In fact the alarm bells only really started ringing when I found myself struggling to bend far enough to put my socks on in the morning. My belly had become an obstacle to my daily dressing routine. Time to do something about it.
One of my big downfalls was my liking for pizza - I loved the stuff and it was often a way of rewarding myself and unwinding after a hard day at the office. I decided that a good way to slash my calorie intake was to reduce my pizza intake and that a good way to achieve this was to train my brain, by using the swish pattern, to go in a more useful direction.
Swish patterns can be performed in any representational system and as I'm a primarily visual person I chose to do a visual swish. For this I needed two pictures:-
- The first picture represents the present state and must be associated i.e. the picture must be as it would appear seen through your own eyes - this is VERY important.
My associated picture was my hand, holding a large slice of pizza moving towards my mouth. As I look down at my hand and the greasy, calorie laden pizza slice I'm about to eat I can see my stomach protruding over my waist band.
Already the image is very unappealing and I haven't even done the swish yet!
- The second picture represents the desired state and must be dissociated i.e. I see myself in the picture, as if I'm another person seeing me from a different angle.
In my dissociated picture I see myself weighing my ideal weight. The large belly has gone, I look healthier and even have improved muscle tone (a bit like Nicolas Cage in Con Air). When I look at the expression on my face in this picture I look confident, relaxed, pleased that I've made this change.
As the swish pattern is a fast technique I found it useful to take a few moments to make the two pictures as real as possible by tweaking the submodalities of each until they were just right. This way I could access the pictures quickly and easily when I came to do the swish.
Once I had my two pictures it was time to swish using the following steps:-
- Access the first picture - the associated picture of the present state.
- Imagine that the picture is on a rubber sheet. Suddenly the rubber sheet is grabbed from behind and the picture is crumpled down to a tiny dot. Then the rubber sheet is pulled rapidly backwards so that the picture is drawn off into the distance with it.
- Imagine the tension in the rubber as it is pulled rapidly backwards, further and further, until ->>S-W-I-S-H->> the rubber snaps back into place and is now showing the second picture - the dissociated, desired state.
- Clear the screen
- Run the process again from step one, repeating the process seven times. It's important that you do this process as quickly as you can - you should need only a very few seconds to do each repetition.
Once you've done the swish seven times you should find that if you can think of the old picture it is immediately and automatically replaced by the new picture - the swish has become an automated process inbuilt in your neurology.
If the swish doesn't become automatic after the first seven repetitions, do another seven repetitions and test again.
Swish patterns usually become fully automated after 3, 7 or 21 repetitions.