The Swish Pattern is probably the most commonly taught of all of the NLP patterns and is included in every training program as a basic introduction to the concept of Patterns.
It is designed to be used in changing automatic behaviours and thought patterns with a view to replacing them with new, resourceful behaviours.
1Clarify Unwanted Behaviour Pattern
Ask the client what behaviour they want to change paying special attention to the thoughts and feelings that are connected to the pattern. Negative thoughts and feelings are often associated with a negative behaviour and it is important to know what these are from a submodalities perspective as altering these can have a direct impact on the strength of the pattern.
2Select Target Image Free From Old Pattern
Have the client develop an image of themselves as they would be if they no longer participated in the unwanted activity. What would they look like, how would they walk, stand etc. Work with the client to change the submodalities of this image until it becomes compelling for the client.Make sure that the image is seen as a disassociated image (3rd person) for the client. They should see themselves rather than be in the picture.
Unwanted behaviours will have a physical trigger that begins the Pattern. Ask the client what happens directly before they initiate the unwanted behaviour; it may be useful to ask they client to go through the motions of the behaviour so that you can identify the initiator.Once identified have the client create an associated image (1st person) of them looking out at a static image of the trigger. This may take some time to isolate and you may need to employ Pattern Interrupts to ensure that the client doesn’t process the whole pattern.
4Clear All Images
Have the client clear their head of all images to start from a fresh state. It can be useful to have the client get up and move around as a complete state change.
5Create Start Point for Swish Pattern
The client should bring the Trigger Image to mind and make it large in their minds eye. Add to the image in one corner a tiny Target Image.
Rapidly make the Target Image grow in the mind of the client whilst simultaneously pushing away the Trigger Image. When the client does this it can be useful to make a Swish or Woosh sound (hence the name), this will help increase the embedding of the pattern for the client.
Note: Getting the swish right for each client is important and trying different locations of images and changing the submodalities of the pattern will have a direct impact on the client. Remember no two clients are the same and their key modalities will be different.
Have the client break out of state and clear their mind. This is an important part of the process and allows the brain to enter a relaxed, neutral state after the image exchange. This can be done by asking a simple, unrelated question.
Repeat steps 5 through 7 for 5-7 times. The client is likely to find it harder to bring to mind the Trigger Image on each step through which is a good indication as to the effectiveness of the process.
Have the client attempt to repeat the negative behaviour and notice any physiological ‘stuttering’. It should be harder for the client to automatically run their negative strategy and more conscious effort needs to be employed.Repeat the Swish Pattern (steps 5 through 9) until there is a noticeable change in the clients behaviour when they attempt the unwanted behaviour.
Note: If you find that there is no change in the client after a number of run throughs it is worth going back and reviewing the Trigger Image. Incorrect image selection (either too early in the process or too late) will have a direct impact on the efficacy of this technique.