Basic NLP Patterns

Compulsion Blowout

Written by Lee Avery

On occasion there are behaviours that we continue to tolerate because we feel that, at some point they will pay off and we will reap the reward for our efforts.


We stick with a dysfunctional relationship because the other person might change once they see the error of their ways, or the job will get better once I get the recognition I deserve, or I’ll lose weight tomorrow, there’s no hurry.

Then one day we wake up and we’ve had enough, we can’t take it any more and we make the change that we realise we should have made a long time ago. When that happens our beliefs shift and we are no longer able to tolerate the old behaviour, it’s just not us anymore.

The Compulsion Blowout pattern accelerates the process and rather than waiting for some indeterminate point in the future when the situation has become intolerable, changes are made to the current representation to make the change now.

  1. Establish Compulsive and Non-Compulsive BehavioursIdentify the behaviour/belief that needs to be changed and a second behaviour/belief that is similar although without the obsessive element. For example, someone addicted to Chocolate will have a compulsive attitude towards it, but not towards Toffee. A person in a dysfunctional relationship will be obsessed by that person (enough not to change) but not by the postman/butcher/work colleague etc.In this step you are looking for 2 similar and related foci that have different levels of connection for the client. One ultimately destructive and the other neutral.
  2. Compare sub-modalitiesThe internal representations of the 2 targets identified in step 1 should be compared at the sub-modality level to identify the differences and similarities. The idea is to identify the driving sub-modalities that turn a neutral object into an obsessive one.Finding the difference in representational qualities will allow you to identify the key differentiators (and therefor the driving sub-modalities) thus giving you the ability to modify the emotional intensity related to the behaviour/belief.

    An easy way to check the accuracy of your deductions make minor alterations to the representational qualities, e.g. closer/further away, brighter/duller etc. As you do, have the client tell you how they feel about the compulsive behaviour, notice the intensity of the emotion increase/decrease accordingly.

  3. Enhance the Driving Sub-modalities to FailureTake the driving sub-modality representations (e.g. size, colour, smell, taste, location, etc) and increase the intensity so that it becomes a stronger compulsion for the client. Keep increasing the power of the until it can no longer be sustained and the experience cannot exist.The client will likely find the compulsion for the behaviour increase dramatically until it eventually collapses in on itself. Like a balloon filled with too much air, eventually it cannot hold and explodes, the same is true of the compulsive behaviour.
  4. Test and Future PaceGet the client to think about the behaviour and notice the change in their reaction. If they still have obsessive feelings, go back and look for more driving sub-modalities and go through the blowout process.
  5. Create New Resourceful Self-ImageUse the Swish Pattern to create a new self-image that is devoid of the old compulsive behaviour. This also gives you the opportunity to decrease the intensity of the old emotional connection whilst installing new, positive behaviours.

About the author

Lee Avery

Professional Therapist, Clinical Hypnosis & NLP Trainer with over 25 years of experience in training new professionals and treating clients. He specialises in Trauma related Psychological health issues. After years of running training classes Lee has decided to publish his training materials online to further the accessibility of NLP and Hypnosis. He is an advocate for Clinical Hypnosis Excellence and is constantly looking to improve the professional standing of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy within the medical community.

He also runs Achieving Greatness a software development company producing mobile apps for the mental health community.

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