The Trump Addiction

This is not a completely serious post, yet it is a little serious 😉

I have recognised a new addiction within myself – the Trump addiction – and it appears that I am not alone. Donald Trump is not only the top news item in the world. It is also way ahead of any other news item that is read or searched for on Google. Each morning, I find myself almost hoping that there is a new Trump-ism for me to read. An outrageous tweet is best. It can provoke half the country (and delight Trump’s base) or strongly criticize a large section of society (e.g. the Media, the Judiciary).
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Come Home Again

jukeboxparadiseflierIn the show, Jukebox Paradise, Deloris Keller sings the song Come Home Again. In the story, this song was a big hit during World War II and far away in the thick of the action, a wounded soldier named Fred is listening to the radio and the sound of her voice. It is this song, coming from so far away, that gives Fred the will to survive and to eventually come back home and build a new life.

The obvious meaning of the lyrics of Come Home Again is as an encouragement to the boys in the war reminding them that there is a life after the war, no matter how dark everything seems at the moment. People back at home haven’t forgotten them. They are still loved and remembered and the people back at home are still with them in their thoughts and hearts.

“My, it’s been so hard for you
You’ve been so long away
I’m not even sure how long it’s been
But I miss you every day
When you think you can’t go on
Just whisper on my name
I’ll be there, no matter where
I love you all the same.”

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Review: Heart of the Mind

Title: Heart of the Mind

Authors: Connirae Andreas and Steve Andreas

Published: 1989

For me, this is one of the classic NLP books, a beautifully written and very accessible book that explains so many of the key processes in NLP. It is full of real-life examples, and probably most importantly it has many transcripts of actual client sessions and the kind of change language that is assumed but not actually used in many NLP books.

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What is NLP?


Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) is a way of thinking about people and behavior rooted in curiosity and compassion that has created a set of tools for understanding how people think, behave and communicate. It provides a methodology for learning and sharing how people, especially experts, act and think to accomplish specific goals and results.

NLP Wiki

The most powerful tool in the world is the human brain, but most people don’t know how to use this amazing tool effectively. NLP is like the user’s manual for the brain. It allows us to use our brains in the most useful ways to achieve powerful outcomes in our personal and professional lives.

Fundamentally, NLP is the modelling of excellence. When you look around, you can see some people who really excel at what they are doing. Whether it is business, education, sport, social interaction, public speaking, or any other realm of life. NLP allows us to model these successful people to find out how they are doing what they are doing so that we can do it ourselves or teach it to other people. NLP is all about identifying and adopting the difference that makes the difference.

NLP even allows a person to model himself or herself. For example, you can remember a situation where you achieved success. NLP will show you how to enter back into that state in order to achieve the goals that you really want in your life. By understanding how your mind works, you can change it so that it is always working for you and improving your life and the lives of those around you. As well as being a way to model excellence in any field, NLP can also be understood as the underlying attitude of curiosity and the trail of useful techniques that result from this modelling.

If we look at the word more closely, NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming. This name contains three important words that are useful for describing human experience:




The neurological system regulates how our bodies function. Language determines how we interface and communicate with other people. Our programming determines the kinds of models of the world we create. So NLP describes the  interaction between mind (neuro) and language (linguistic) and how this interaction affects our body and behavior (programming).

One of the co-founders of NLP, Richard Bandler, coined this definition for the Oxford English Dictionary.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a model of interpersonal communication chiefly concerned with the relationship between successful patterns of behaviour and the subjective experiences (esp. patterns of thought) underlying them. … and a system of alternative therapy based on this which seeks to educate people in self-awareness and effective communication, and to change their patterns of mental and emotional behaviour.

The other co-founder of NLP focuses much more on the modelling aspect of this technology:

There are people who are recognized as being particularly adept in their performance. NLP is the bridge between being jealous of these people and admiring them… it gives a third way … a set of strategies to unconsciously assimilate precisely the differences that make the difference between this genius and an average performer…. It is an accelerated learning strategy, a mapping of tacit to explicit knowledge … a program that allows you to explore one extreme of human behaviour – namely excellence.

(Transcribed from YouTube video of John Grinder).

In essence, all of NLP is founded on two fundamental presuppositions:

1. The Map is Not the Territory.

As human beings, we can never know reality. We can only know our perceptions of reality. We experience and respond to the world around us based on our ‘neuro-linguistic’ maps of reality – not reality itself.

2. Life and ‘Mind’ are Systemic Processes.

The processes that take place within a human being and between human beings and their environment are systemic. Our bodies, our societies, and our universe form an ecology of systems and all of these systems interact  and mutually influence each other. When we want to change one part of our life, it is important to consider the ecology – what effect will it have on other parts of our life or on the people and world around us?

In the belief system of NLP it is not possible for human beings to know objective reality. There is no one ‘right’ or ‘correct’ map of the world. The people who are most effective in this world are the ones who have a map of the world that allows them to perceive the greatest number of available choices and perspectives.

NLP is a way of enriching the choices that you have and perceive. One of the co-developers of NLP, Robert Dilts, says: “Excellence comes from having many choices. Wisdom comes from having multiple perspectives.”

On this website, you can find details of NLP coaching for personal or professional life. You can also find out how to train in NLP so that you can incorporate these valuable skills and create a life that is richer in every way.

Most people who hear about NLP ask them themselves questions like:

These are excellent questions. NLP is all about the “How” word, and when you ask it, it is already clear that you are actively searching for something that will help you to be more effective.

NLP is the modelling of human excellence and aims to help people to do things more effectively. The co-founders of neuro-come linguistic Programming (NLP), Richard Bandler and linguist John Grinder, claimed that NLP would “help people to have better, fuller, and richer lives.” When I first came upon NLP many years ago, I was very skeptical about this claims. And I believe that you should be skeptical, too, until you can experience yourself what NLP can achieve.  Based upon my work with clients and participants at workshops, I now agree very strongly that NLP is a remarkable way to make lasting changes in your life – to become the very best that you can truly be in your personal and working life. Standing in Spirit offers you experienced and licensed NLP master practitioners, coaches, and trainers of NLP who will work with you to help you to achieve your desired outcomes in the quickest and most effective ways.

Getting Started

If you want to achieve something in your personal or business life, NLP can help you to do it. Top performers in every field of life use the techniques of NLP. Get in touch to discuss your issues further, answer any questions you might have, give you a realistic estimate of the number of coaching sessions you may require, and begin to improve the quality of your working and personal life. Read more at the links below.

Or contact us to answer any other questions that you have.

Keep the Channel Open

When I was doing the master trainer course at NLPU in California this summer, one of the last things that the amazing Judith DeLozier said to us was “Keep the Channel Open”. And you know, of course, she is totally right. It is so easy to be open for a few days, or for a course, or for a vacation. What unfortunately happens to so many of us is that we slip back into a semi-open or closer-to-closed mode when we return to our normal lives, whatever “normal” may mean.

It’s not actually Judith’s line. I believe that it comes from Martha Graham who says it all beautifully in this quotation.

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urge that motivates you.

Keep the channel open.

The line, “Keep the channel open” kept repeating again and again in my head, at first in a conscious attempt to keep connected to the beautiful feeling of actually being open, and then later unconsciously, going around and around in loops, so that I would wake to the sound of my own internal voice saying, “keep the channel open.”

A bit obsessive of course, and my own unconscious mind had more sense than to keep running that loop, so it wrapped it up in this song instead.

Along the way, Matthew Hegstrom turned up in my house one evening and sang along with me on the demo that has turned into the current recording. Then Erik Imai had a free night away from the business of Toyota Corporation and added some crazy fun percussion. He wanted a crystal sound, so I handed him a fork and our prized Waterford crystal glass. The Waterford survived the ideal, but ironically, it was the cheap glasses that sounded better, and even better sounding were the tarnished silver cups from India that I picked up at a dump in Ireland. He also added in the remarkably difficult-to-spell Cajone and a pair of bongos that came from a second-hand shop called Hard-Off in Japan. Then Phil stepped in from England to add some nutty 1968 jangly guitar that comes straight from psychadelia. The mad guitar at the end is also thanks to Phil who seems to have really let himself off the leash for this paradoxically soothing ending.

And of course, it’s just a demo – like life. The vocals need to be redone, the bass is off-rhythm, the keyboard is a bit  … Anyway …

… we had fun – and we hope you have fun listening to the current incarnation of “Keep the Channel Open.”

Eventually, we’ll make it all sound perfect and wonderful and put it out on CD or vinyl or SD card or smoking banana skin or whatever the new format happens to be when that day arrives. In the meantime, just enjoy the song!

The Parts Song – Wot, wot, do wot, do what, do what?

This song started out as a very cute little mandolin ditty that I started in Japan and then Lynn Timpany added an extra verse in New Zealand.

The idea behind the song is to transform the classical NLP process, Parts Integration, into a song that people will enjoy listening to without realizing that they are going through a deep psychological change 🙂

Along the way, the song also went through its own deep change and ended up being transformed from that mandolin ditty into a rocking blues driven by the cool guitar of Robert Hewer. I also somehow became reborn as a Southern Preacher and the song begins with me calling on everyone to rise to see the altar.

Interesting how our minds work – there are certainly more than a few parts in there!

And while parts integration is one of my very favourite NLP processes, I don’t see it as always necessary to integrate parts unless they are actually causing a conflict! I have known NLP practitioners who can spy parts at a distance of 100 meters and area already rushing into an integration. That kind of compulsive integration seems to me to be a little, hmm … compulsive 🙂

Integrating all those parts might actually do away with some of the fun of life and certainly some of its creativity. After all, creativity can be regarded as the ability to draw ideas from two very diverse fields in order to create something new. And having different parts is a natural way to have two different perspectives.

Education and Therapy

I’m always interested in learning new stuff or revisiting the same material from different sources, especially when it involves some of my favourite areas like hypnosis and NLP. Over the last few months,  I have working through the readings and assignments on the wonderful free online course by Stephen Brooks in Indirect Hypnosis. I highly recommend the course as a way of learning more. Stephen has put together what is probably the finest no-charge resource on the Internet. One thing to keep in mind though – it is time-consuming! They recommend at least three hours per week and that kind of committment over a year is obviously difficult for many folks unless they are highly motivated.

Anyway, to the point… one of the recent questions posed on the online course was the comparison of education and therapy, and I have reproduced my response below.

To what extent can education also be classed as therapy, and to what extent can therapy also be classed as education?

I have been a teacher/educator for many years and I definitely see that a lot of “therapy” work is carried out by teachers. The classroom is a social environment, and many so-called educational problems can better be viewed as social problems. For example, in my EFL language classes in Japan, students are very reluctant to give an answer for fear that they may give a wrong answer. Japanese culture does not in general support people who give wrong answers 😉 As a result, students do not develop their language skills as much as they possibly could because of group pressure. This same group-pressure leads to many other problems for people including high stress, inability to express goals externally, and much more. Things that are addressed and resolved successfully in the classroom can also have a powerful therepeutic effect on other areas of a student’s life. People live in social contexts and therapy does not exist in a vacuum.

Some forms of counseling are purely information based in that they offer the client access to information that will help them make better choices. So is this therapy, or education?

If we are changing the frame – the beliefs and values that support ‘problem behaviours’ – by giving information, then we are certainly engaging in therapy as much as education.

Recently, I have studied a lot of recent neuroscience and within the neural networks of the brain, change in the form of education or change in the form of therapy produces similar enriching effects. The neural networks can extended, the increased myelination increases the speed of certain pathways.

My current thinking is that the difference between words such as learning, growth, or change (or the roughly corresponding Education, Development, Therapy) is a difference of focus and can produce identical changes at the levels of both neurology and of behaviour.

Review: Healers on Healing

This is one of a collection of old books that I bought from an online second-hand book store. As people seem to be reading less and less, there are some incredible bargains going, particularly on old books. I think I paid 99 cents for this book.

This is a lovely collection of essays by healers from many different modalities. Some of the healers come from rather alternative areas such as Native American spiritual healing, while others are practicing medical doctors who talk about their work in more holistic terms than the average doctor.

The book is divided into eight sections:

  1. Love is the Healer
  2. Returning to Wholeness
  3. The Healer Within
  4. The Healing Relationship
  5. The Role of the Healer
  6. The Healing Attitude
  7. Consciousness and the Healing Response
  8. Healing as our Birthright

Most of the essays emphasize the power of the human body to self-heal in the right conditions. Many also emphasize the power of the healing relationships – simply being with the person fully and completely, listening to them, and helping them to resolve inner conflicts. Most of the healers note that no particular modality of healing is necessarily (even their own), but rather than the human body heals itself when it is allowed the appropriate conditions.

Another common theme, or Golden Thread as the book terms it, is that healing is more than curing the body of whatever ailment is affecting it. A person can be healed and still die of cancer, but the death can be transformed from one of hatred and disconnectedness into a death of acceptance and love.

The afterword of the book finishes with the lovely summarizing paragraph:

“Perhaps the greatest gift our authors have given us is an enhanced sense that we are all healers. Effective healing does not necessarily stem from an increased education or mastery of technique. Rather, healing can take place when one or more persons open their hearts and spirits to the gifts they already possess.”

Review: Clean Language – Revealing Metaphors and Opening Minds

Clean Language – Revealing Metaphors and Opening Minds
by Wendy Sullivan & Judy Rees



This is a beautiful little book which is well-written and full of useful insights. Clean language consists entirely of questions and it is intended to offer a new way of thinking about how people’s minds actually work. It also helps people to explore their internal metaphors and enriching these metaphors in a way that can lead to an enrichment of their external lives. It is also well illustrated with lots of little cartoons which help to explain the text very quickly.

Clean Language was developed by David Grove. It consists of very simple but powerful questions which go further even than NLP in focusing solely on process and leaving the content entirely up to the client. The twelve basic Clean Language questions are shown below in three groups.

Developing Questions

  • (and) what kind of X (is that X)?
  • (and) is there anything else about X?
  • (and) where is X? or (and) whereabouts is X?
  • (and) is there a relationship between X and Y?
  • (and) when X, what happens to Y?
  • (and) that’s X like what? [used for eliciting a metaphor]

Sequence and Source Questions

  • (and) then what happens? or (and) what happens next?
  • (and) what happens just before X?
  • (and) where could X come from?

Intention Questions

  • (and) what would X like to have happen?
  • (and) what needs to happen for X?
  • (and) can X (happen)?

These questions are all that is used in most Clean Language sessions, often using the same question several times in a row to get the client to explore their internal representations more fully.

It takes a while to get used to the questions and asking them in exactly the form that they are given can be challenging at first. When I thought about using them, I sometimes felt that they were too constraining and that I wanted more freedom.  However, when I talked to a friend about a difficult issue that he was working through, I primarily used these questions and despite the strange syntax at times they caused no confusion and were very helpful in getting him to sort out his own internal issues and to enrich his metaphors for how to move forward.

I’ll be coming back to Clean Language and a related topic, Symbolic Modelling, over the next few months as this is such an interesting area that I have signed up for an online course with a British training school. I’m looking forward to that and in the meantime, I’m planning to enjoy using Clean questions when I want to focus entirely on process and leave the content entirely to the client.