by Steve Andreas
There are basically three
ways that cultures maintain and enforce their group values. One is overt
coercion, the threat or use of physical force, incarceration, punishment,
or death to limit those who might transgress the values of a group of
people. Knowledge of the rules, and the resulting punishment, keep people
behaving in accordance with the group’s values. The other two
kinds of coercion are a bit less direct.
Another way is to teach the
group values to members so thoroughly that the person feels guilt when
they transgress their own values. Someone can feel guilty about something
they did, even if no one else knows about it, because the culture’s
values are internalized, a part of themselves. Many churches, and some
societies use guilt as a primary method of social control.
Yet another way is shame,
suffering the public disapproval of others when someone transgresses
cultural values. Shame is often called “the secret emotion,”
because most people who are ashamed are also ashamed of feeling ashamed,
so they seldom discuss it with others, or bring it up as a problem to
be solved. In cultures in which shame is the principal method of social
control, the ultimate punishment is to be separated and banished from
the group. In the past, in most tribal cultures, this was usually equivalent
to death, since other neighboring tribes were unlikely to accept someone
who was banished, and survival alone was extremely difficult or impossible.
Many people do not understand
this crucial difference between guilt and shame. Shame is an experience
of not meeting the values of other people, whereas guilt is an experience
of not meeting your own values. Guilt may be private or public, but
shame is always public. Knowing this essential distinction indicates
how we need to work with guilt and shame in somewhat different ways,
and we first wrote about this in 1989. (Heart
of the Mind, Chapter 14) )
There is another useful distinction
between shame about a behavior, and shame about the self. Shame about
a behavior is less harmful, because the person can usually decide to
change the behavior to conform to the group’s values. Shame about
the entire person is much more difficult, because how can a person change
who they are? “You should be ashamed of what you did,” can
be remedied, but “You should be ashamed of yourself” is
a trap that has only one escape--to comment on the language trap that
the shamer has created for them both. However, most people who are shamed
by others are not likely to be experts in communication, so this escape
is not available to them.
The transcribed demonstration
below is presented verbatim, except for deleting repetitions, some “OKs,”
and a few other very small changes in order to make it more readable.
The session was videotaped during an NLP Master Practitioner training
in 1990 (Resolving
Shame DVD demonstration).
Shame Pattern Demonstration
Steve: First, I presume
you already have in your mind something that causes you to feel shame.
Woman: Yes, it’s ah--
Steve: And don’t tell
them any content. They will get nosy and their brains will get derailed,
and they won’t notice we’re doing anything. OK, you got
one? (Uhhuh.) Is this a specific time or is it a period of time?
Woman: Period of time.
Steve: OK. How about just
taking a--because we will apply it to the whole period of time, I guarantee
you, before we are done. But for right now, how about thinking about
a specific incident. It will make it easier for us to explore what the
situation is, OK? (Uhhuh.) Good. Now, put that one on a shelf for a
minute, and think of some other situation in which you violated someone
else’s standards, or you didn’t meet someone else’s
standards, but for whatever reasons, you didn’t feel shame. (OK.)
You got one? (Umhm.)
Steve: How come you didn’t
feel shame there?
Woman: Um, because I was .
. . I was doing what I wanted to do.
Steve: OK. Well, how come
you did feel shame in the other one?
Woman: Because it seemed like
it had more to do with my personage, with myself.
Steve: OK. This is an important
distinction, the distinction between whether a certain situation reflects
on your self, your self-concept, your being, or whether it reflects
only on your behavior. And this is something that Leslie Cameron-Bandler
was doing--it seems like a million years ago!-- making the distinction
between self and behavior. And it’s a very nice first step in
general, when you are doing a lot of work, to make the distinction that
if someone insults you, or they say you did wrong or something like
that, that they are only commenting on your behavior. It makes it a
lot easier to deal with. However, when you are young and you are in
a family of perhaps less than total resources, it is hard to know that--but
we can go back and fix it. (Good.) Now, if you compare those two experiences,
the one of shame, and the one of . . . we’ll just say “not
shame,” where again you knew you were not meeting someone’s
standards in some way, but you didn’t experience shame. What are
the differences--submodality differences in particular?
Woman: OK. Well, the shame
one’s over here. (She gestures a little to her left, hands about
two feet apart.) And it’s round, oval. It’s--the brightness
is a little less than normal brightness.
Steve: OK, it’s a little
Woman: Umhm. It’s 3-D.
Steve: Which way is it oval,
by the way? You said it was--
Woman: Like this.
Steve: And then you’re
tilting a little bit. (Her right hand is about six inches higher than
Steve: Kind of like that?
Woman: Yeah, except the people
in it are standing up, but the part of it that I see is like this.
Steve: OK. So it’s kind
of like that. OK. And so there are people in there?
Woman: Umhm. I’m one
of the people.
Steve: You’re one of
the people, so you see yourself in this. (Umhm.) So it’s dissociated.
That’s a wise move, by the way. Just for a moment, just for their
edification, what would happen if you stepped in? . . .
Woman: (shaking her head emphatically)
Steve: No way! OK, that’s
fine, that’s enough. You understand the difference? Now, let’s
think about the other one for a moment. So it’s on the other side?
Woman: OK, it’s . .
. yes. Um--
Steve: Tell me about that
Woman: It’s more to
the right, over here. I guess it’s square (she gestures in a rectangular
shape, about 2’ wide and 8” high), although it’s three
dimensional, and . . . the brightness is normal. It’s further
back, and I’m in and out. I mean, I--
Steve: OK, so you step in
Woman: Right. There’s
also . . . the auditory part is . . . the tones are real pleasant over
here. And on the shame one it’s more of a--what I would call a
Steve: Cackling. Oooh, Good.
Woman: There’s words,
but there’s a kind of a cackling to the tone-- tonality.
Steve: OK. So, let’s
see, now you spoke of this . . . the not shame as being 3-D. Is the
other flat? Or is it 3-D, too?
Woman: No, they are both 3-D.
Steve: OK, they are both 3-D,
so we won’t pay attention to that, since they are both the same.
Any other differences between-- Oh, this one (not shame) is farther
Woman: Yes, it is.
Steve: How far away is this?
Woman: It’s about like
out where Keith is. That’s my normal--
Steve: OK, twenty-thirty feet?
Steve: Say twenty-five feet.
Woman: Yeah. And this one
is like more, like about eight feet.
Steve: OK. Any other differences
you notice between those?
Woman: In this one (not shame)
I have--it’s interesting. I have a sensation but it’s not
midline, it’s just to the right of midline, a pleasant sensation
is the way I would describe it.
Steve: OK. I’ll just
code this by “right,” here, so positive feeling, right.
(Umhm, yeah.) Which emergency responders would call “right lower
quadrant.” (she laughs) Any other differences between the two?
Woman: This one (shame) would
be really unpleasant if I were to step into it (nervous laughter)
Steve: Yes, I understand.
Woman: But I’m not going
to, there’s an off balance, a spinning sensation.
Steve: If you were to step
into this for a moment, you would get off balance and spinning. (Umhm.)
OK. But you don’t get--over here, if you step into it, you get
the nice warm sensation. (Right.) OK. Now, I want to ask you something
else. Well, first, any other submodality differences you notice between
them? (No.) Well, OK, that’s plenty. Um, there are people in both
of these? (Umhm.) OK. I want you to give me . . . these are actually
content-- Well, let me ask specifically. As you see yourself in this
one, is there any difference in the size, between you and the other
Woman: No. There’s--
Steve: Because you are real
size and they are real size, or they are proportional, or whatever?
Woman: Well, they are proportional
to each other, but they are bigger than the background. I just noticed
Steve: They are bigger than
the background. (Umhm.) So, like unrealistically bigger? Or . . . just
Woman: Umm. Maybe it’s
more prominent, is what it is.
Steve: You notice them a lot.
(Yeah, umhm.) Now, where are they looking? . . .
Woman: Well, it’s hard
for me to get that, because the content of it was literally a swinging
Steve: OK. So you were swinging
around in the picture itself? (Yeah, umhm.) Like on a swing or something
Woman: (laughing) No, somebody
picking me up.
Steve: Somebody picking you
up. (Yeah.) And swinging you around. And that was not pleasant, right?
(No.) Now over here, how many other people, roughly, over here? (Um,
a couple.) Just a couple? (Yeah.) And over here? (Two.) OK, two in both.
Let me just explain what I am fishing for a little bit. Sometimes in
the experience of shame there is some kind of distortion. Sometimes
the other people are larger. Sometimes the person--yourself in this
case--sometimes it’s not real in some way. The person is deformed,
or without clothes, or in some way there is a representation of not
being fully yourself. (Umhm.)
Man: If you are a kid and they are bigger--
Steve: Yeah, well, I mean
bigger proportionally. Unrealistically bigger. Sometimes, you know,
you feel very small and there’s these giants around you, and although
kids could experience that just with the normal size, often there’s
a distortion of this nature. So I gather there aren’t any of these
in that? (No.) Fine, good. Now, just as an aside, if there were distortions
like that, right now I would change those before I did anything else.
Just as in the grief pattern, if someone sees the lost person in a coffin,
you make it into the live person, the person that they miss, the person
that they loved and cared for, not the body in the coffin. You would
make a specific content change in the picture at this point if that
were the case.
Man: So those are not only content distortions, but also size distortions?
What are you talking about?
Steve: I’m talking about
that as a content distortion, because it’s specific to content.
You can think of size as a submodality. If the whole picture changes,
I call it a submodality change. Maybe there’s a middle ground,
I don’t know what you’d call it. But anyway, if there was
a big/little distortion, I would have them change that at this point.
Man: And also a looking distortion?
Steve: Yeah. Often the person
over here, everyone is looking at them and laughing, or criticizing,
or doing whatever they are doing. And typically in the resource one,
it’s just like normal, you know, where people are looking at each
other, or at the wall, or at whatever is going on. OK?
Man: If you were going to deal with that content distortion, what would
you do with it?
Steve: Just say, “Make
yourself bigger,” or “Make them smaller.” Make yourself
bigger, make the other people smaller, until they are appropriate, realistic.
You just tell them to do it. I’ve never had any problem with it
yet. Just tell them to do it and they go, “Yes, sir!” and
they go ahead and do it.
Woman: Just, you know, they
were-- I guess they were bigger because I did that when you just said
that, and it opened out the frame (laughs) enough to where it’s
not nearly as panicky as it was.
Steve: OK, so they were probably
a little bigger. (Yeah.) So, here’s a nice example. I didn’t
even tell her to do it, and she did it. You said it opened out the frame.
Did it actually make it larger?
Woman: Yeah, and it--
Steve: And is it less impactful?
Woman: Yes, because it made
it square all of a sudden.
Steve: It made it square?
Woman: It’s not oval
Steve: OK. Now, the next thing
we want to do is map across, and usually the easiest thing to do is
to change location. So take this picture and move it out to that location
(on the right), and find out what else changes at the same time. It’s
already got a square frame over here, right? And as it goes over there,
does it brighten up a little?
Woman: OK. The . . . ah .
. . yeah. It brightens up, and all of a sudden the sound goes from cackling
to more like a--
Steve: --normal sound?
Woman: Yeah, or like a merry-go-round.
You know, it’s . . . like now it’s fun.
Steve: Now it’s fun.
(Yeah.) OK. That’s a difference, huh?
Woman: (laughs) Yes!
Steve: OK, do you see it out
there, about where Keith was? He’s gone now.
Woman: Umhm. Kind of behind
Nelson and Clinton.
Steve: Behind Nelson. OK,
great. (Yeah.) And you hear the sound changed already. And now what
happens if you were to step into it? Briefly. . . . (She moves her head
in a small circle.)
Steve: Boy, it sure turns
your head around, doesn’t it? (Yeah.) Now come back out (laughter)
or you’ll get dizzy. (to the group) Did you see her head going
Woman: It just . . . um .
. . it doesn’t . . . you know, it’s . . . I could get dizzy
but it doesn’t have the scary feeling to it, the off balance feeling
and out of control feeling.
Steve: How about shame?
Woman: Um, well the same comments
are being said that were shaming, but it’s like I’m not
reacting as though--
Steve: (to the group) Isn’t
that fairly obvious, just looking at her? She’s kind of smiling
and she’s talking about this like, “No big deal.”
Woman: You know, it’s
kind of like I could say, “No, up yours,” you know.
Steve: There you go. OK. That
looks real good to me. Now, at this point I want you to do something
else. Now the shame is gone, right? (Umhm.) Now, keeping that picture
over there, and I don’t imagine you want to ever move it back,
right? (No!) OK. Just keep it over there and now I want you to consider
what was the standard that was not met in that situation.
Woman: Um, it had . . . OK.
It had . . . do you want the
Steve: If you don’t
Woman: No. It just had to
do with body image.
Steve: Body image. OK. Now,
is that a standard that you want to meet? Is that a standard that you
want to have for yourself?
Woman: It is . . . OK, how
can I say this? . . . I do, but not with that person’s criteria?
Steve: Fine. So you want to
have your own criteria for body image. (Umhm.) So in terms of this specific
situation, you are essentially saying their
standards, given their criteria, are not something you want to have
for yourself, is that correct? (Right.) Great. Now, at this point, take
a moment to consider what are your standards and criteria. You may have
thought of this already, and it may be just a matter of accessing it
and just briefly thinking about it. What standards do you want to meet?
(OK) Given that this happened in childhood, it’s possible that
this may never occur again but just in case--
Woman: This one was about
like as a teenager.
Steve: Teenager. (Yeah.) OK,
now given that that happened so long ago, it may be that nothing like
this will ever happen again. But if it were to happen again, or anything
similar to it, we would want you to be prepared. Given that those other
people have this different standard than you have, how do you want to
respond to them? Is it enough to just know that you have a different
set of standards, and that you can now say, “Up yours,”
or something like that inside--or outside if you want to? But whatever
response you want to have in that situation, just think about that and
think about that if that should ever happen again, that in this situation
that’s what you would be satisfied doing. (OK.) OK. And that looks
pretty good. Any parts object to any--
Steve: (laughs) No! It doesn’t
look like it!
Woman: It’s nice to
tell people “Up yours!” (she laughs)
Steve: OK. There are times
for doing that. It’s like, “Off my suedes.” “Back
off!” (Yeah.) OK, now do you have any questions about this?
Woman: No, I just want to
take it back through a bunch of other--
Steve: We will do that next.
(both laugh) OK. Now, you’ve done the timeline generalization
stuff, the “decision destroyer” and all those things. Now
I want you to first take a moment to just think about this situation
and that by perceiving this in this area rather than over here, you
can have all these resources of being able to notice the other people’s
demands or standards and cheerfully just say, “Well, this is not
one I want to meet.” (Uhhuh.) And I want you to consider that
there might be some situations in which you would want to meet their
standards, or somehow deal with it in a different way than “Up
yours.” (OK.) It might be special friends of yours with whom at
least you would want to be a little more political about it. (she laughs)
Or that you might even at some point be willing to make certain concessions
to their standards because you value their friendship or their relationship
sufficiently. (OK.) That was important to you, and that on balance,
given all your different criteria, that would be good for you, (Uhhuh.)
OK? Can you think of-- You’ve already thought of a couple of situations
like that? (Uhhuh.) Great.
Woman: And how I’d respond
differently, you know.
Steve: Sure, right. We want
you to have the full range of response to
this. We don’t want to just send you out into the world, raising
your middle finger all day long. (laughter)
Woman: Aw, shucks.
Steve: This not is life supporting
in the long run. (laughter) OK. Now, think about this whole situation,
and I want you to feel that in your whole body, feel that whole situation,
these resources, and your ability to evaluate a situation and respond
the way you want to, and I want you to float up . . . above your timeline
. . . and go back . . . as far back as you want to go. It could be to
birth, or to conception, or wherever you want to go, as long as it is
way back there . . . . (OK.) And then come right up through time, carrying
these resources, and each time you get to one of those times where you
felt ashamed, it can change, and most of this will take place on the
unconscious level. Go at your own speed and your own tempo . . . and
come right up to the present. . . .
Steve: Now, see yourself in
the future, going on in the same way in any such situations where other
people are attempting to impose their standards. Consider them and decide
if that is something that you want to accommodate to or not. . . .
Steve: Now that looked pretty
Woman: That’s . . .
yeah . . . that’s real nice
Steve: Is that good? (Ummm.
Yeah.) Do you want to do it again?
(Um . . . yeah.) Take a double dose back now. (OK.) Float above, go
back to wherever you went. This time come up a little faster, just come
zipping up, and when you get up to the present, look out into the future
and see yourself in the future with these resources in all the appropriate
Woman: OK. (laughing) I have
to share the auditory part that I am so good at--it’s kind of
like, “Eat your heart out, buddy.” (laughter)
Steve: OK. Any questions?
Woman: It feels good.
Steve: Yeah it looks good.
Woman: (laughing) Yeah. No
questions for me.
Steve: OK. Go forth in the
world and be shamed no more.
Woman: Wow! Thank you! (laughter)
(This session took a little less than 21 minutes.)
About three months after this
session, the client boarded a sold-out jumbo jet bound for Europe. Since
she is only 5’ 3” and weighs 297 pounds, she overflowed
a bit into the adjoining seats. A very expressive Frenchman had been
assigned to a seat next to her, and when he arrived late, he pointed
at her and said in a loud voice, almost screaming, “Look at this!
I’m not going to sit here!” and made quite a fuss. Throughout
this the client remained calm, thinking to herself, “ I’ll
bet everyone is thinking what a jerk this guy is.” She said, “Only
later did it dawn on me that before the session, I’d have been
looking under the seat for a place to hide.”
Three years later, she said,
“Once I had the awareness that I automatically ‘clicked
in’ to feeling comfortable in that situation, it had a real freeing
effect; I’m no longer inhibited in public situations where people
might stare or point. I’ve never been in a situation since where
I’ve felt shame.”
I have just spoken with her
again, over 11 years since the session. She said to me, “What
has changed at the belief level is that before I thought ‘I didn’t
have the right to be.’ Now, it’s ‘Hey, I have the
right to be here, too.’ I remember one time in California, a couple
of children, about 6 and 8, were pointing at me and staring, and saying,
‘Look at the fat lady.’ I went up to their parents and said,
‘You know, it’s not kind to teach these kids to be so critical
and judgemental. Everybody has some disability, and if I had a choice
to be different, I would.’ And then I walked away, and thought
to myself, ‘God, did I say that?’ That change has really
Now, if you read any
John Bradshaw or any of those other people, they will tell you that
there are two kinds of shame. There is useful shame that gets you to
change your behavior, and there is toxic shame which eats your heart
out in a bad way. And I think they have made a valid distinction. There
is one kind of shame in which it is basically based on behavior. You
did something, you screwed up, you know. Somebody caught you naked or
whatever it is, and it is a specific behavior and you are ashamed of
that behavior, but you are not ashamed of your self. It doesn’t
become a comment on your being. What they call toxic shame is when it
is a comment on your being. It’s actually a reflection on your
self, your very being and that is certainly much more harmful. But I
don’t think you need either kind.
And as we demonstrated here,
if you are in touch with your own criteria and you realize when you
want to meet someone else’s standards and compromise in some way,
or dovetail outcomes in some way, and this person is your spouse or
your boss or someone that you do need to have ongoing relationships
with, then you simply decide what you are going to do. Life does face
you with difficult decisions sometimes, but you just do what you do
and, you know, “You pays your money and you takes your choice,”
as they used to say.
The basis for changing shame
is submodalities. They are very, very powerful. It changes how you code
things. It changes how you access resources and, as you saw here, as
soon as she moved that picture over, it made a huge difference. And
notice that even though she initially said there was no size difference,
when I started talking about that--and that is why I did it just in
case--when she changed that, the picture opened up and she already had
a changed feeling for it. It was already not as bad, even before mapping
across to the new location. So, any questions?
Man: What if the person really does believe that they violated their
own standards? They look at the situation and still go, “Yeah,
I really violated my standards.”
Steve: My own standards? (Yeah.)
Then what do you have? If you violate your own standards, what do you
have? (Guilt.) Guilt, right. So that’s what happens. That’s
why we are going to do guilt, or self-forgiveness next. (Great.) Because
sometimes when you do this and then you map across, now you feel guilty.
The forgiveness pattern deals with that. It’s very parallel and
very similar, but it is also different, and to keep things simple, let’s
just stay with shame now. But that is the next step.
Very often people just say,
“Well, you know, those standards are not ones I want to meet,
they are other people’s standards.” Or if I want to meet
them, then I just figure out what I want to do. And sometimes, you can
fluff it and just say, “Well, you know, you and I have different
standards; can we still remain friends?” There’s a wide
range of possible responses in there.
Sometimes it can be very useful
to reexamine old standards and update them, or refine them to make them
more detailed and specific. You can find several pages about doing this
in Heart of the Mind, (pp. 151-154)
Man: I really like it when
you mentioned that part about, you know, the times when you want to
look at different possibilities for what you want to do.
Steve: Yeah. Well, if you
are sloppy, then you get sloppy results and if-- seriously, it is possible.
People used to go to “assertiveness training” seminars and
all it did was teach them to be a prick. They just went out in the world
going, “Up yours!” and “I want my demands and to hell
with yours!” It really does happen. And we want to build in all
the forks so the person has the full range of response and the full
range of choices. If you don’t explicitly build it in that way,
it may not get in there. Some people will do it anyway, but in this
case we like to think of other people as not competent, and make sure
that we are competent so that just in case they are not competent, we
can cover all the bases.
Man: I was thinking that in some situations where you have shame, the
parental reimprinting might be a real helpful part of the process?
Man: Do you think growing a part up might be helpful?
Steve: Of course.
Man: So there’s a lot of things we’ve already done that
just blend in with it.
Steve: Yes. That’s true.
Absolutely. Now, so far every time I have done this, it has been enough,
we didn’t need to do those other things. But I have no objections.
And you see, when you build this thing in and you make this transition
and then you take it back through time, you are making it into a through-time
characteristic of the person. So you are building a piece of self-concept.
You are building a self-resource that the person will carry with them
This is a really important distinction,. You can change a single event
without thereby building it into the person as a capability. That’s
one of the lovely things about the decision destroyer, or timeline reprinting,
and so on, where you go back and you bring all that stuff with you.
Then it’s there with you all the time. It’s just like your
name. You are never without your name, it’s always there. You
don’t think about it, but if somebody asks you, or you have a
challenge that relates to that, then boom, that stuff is there. Are
there any other questions before we go through the steps of the process?
Resolving Shame Process Outline
Overall, the Shame Resolution
pattern first eliminates the feeling of shame in response to not meeting
someone else’s standards, by utilizing shifts in submodalities.
Then it teaches a decision process to examine the external standard,
and determine: a. whether the person wants to have this standard, or
some modification of it, for himself, and b. what the person wants to
do in response to this situation.
1. Contrastive Analysis
Compare the following two
experiences, and list the content differences and the submodality differences
a. An experience of shame.
(This will always be a response to not meeting someone else’s
b. An experience of not meeting
someone else’s standard without shame, and with a more resourceful
2. Testing (Optional)
Test to find out which of
the content and submodality differences are most powerful in increasing
or reducing the feeling of shame. Change one difference at a time to
find out how powerful it is in changing the person’s feeling of
shame, and then change that difference back and change another one,
in order to learn more about what is going on.
The typical important content
differences we have found are:
a. Other people are facing
and staring directly at the ashamed person, disapprovingly.
b. The person who is ashamed
may be seen as naked, misshapen, etc.
c. Others are seen as much
larger than the person who is ashamed,
d. In not shame, the person
is sometimes surrounded by some kind of protective shield, often transparent.
The major important typical
submodality differences we have found for shame are:
a. The location of the image
is different, and usually a “driver” of other submodality
b. The image is often still,
or almost still: a frozen eternal moment in time, or a short repeating
Map across the content of
the shame experience to that of not shame, using the most powerful content
and submodality elements you found by testing in step 2.
a. First adjust any content
distortions in the self-image. (Put clothes on, change misshapen image
to normal image, etc.)
b. Make the self as large
as the others. (Occasionally, in severe shame, you may want to temporarily
make the self larger than others, or make others smaller than the self.)
c. Change the location of
When these changes have been
made, usually all the other submodality differences will have changed
automatically. Check to be sure, and shift any that remain unchanged.
When the mapping across is complete, the person will not feel any shame,
and will feel resourceful instead.
4. Evaluate Standards:
Now that the person feels
resourceful, it’s important to examine the external standard,
its outcome, and the possible consequences of meeting or not meeting
a. Whose standard is this?
b. What is the outcome/intention
of the standard?
c. Keeping the outcome in
mind, “Is the external standard in this situation one that you
want to have for yourself?”
Yes. If the answer is “Yes,” go directly to step 5. (Even
when someone basically agrees with the standard, usually they will want
to revise it or restate it in some way to make it completely appropriate.)
No. If the answer is “No,” ask, “If not, what standard
do you want to have for yourself in this situation? . . .” (Be
sure this standard applies reciprocally, as in “the Golden Rule.”)
Unsure. If the person is ambivalent or incongruent, sort polarities,
get outcomes/intentions, and then integrate the two in some way, or
negotiate for a joint agreement on a standard. (See 1, pp. 151-154)
When you are done, they will be able to answer yes or no congruently.
5. Plan a Specific Response:
“Having decided on your
own standard in this situation in which you did not meet someone else’s
standard, what do you want to do in this situation?”
a. Same standard. “If
your standard is the same as, or similar to, the other person’s
standard, you might want to consider an apology, or some kind of amends,
a specific commitment to meet that standard in the future, etc.”
b. Different standard. If
your standard is different, you might want to consider not associating
with that person, explaining that your standards are different, “going
through the motions” of meeting their standards, even though you
think they’re silly, joking about your differences, leave the
country, etc. Keep in mind that no two people have exactly the same
standards. If the person needs help developing a satisfactory response,
use the “New Behavior Generator” (including the “as
if” frame and modeling) to select an appropriate response.
6. Future-Pace Response:
Actually rehearse whatever
response you decided upon in step 5. Imagine carrying it out associated.
(Do it dissociated first, if you have any doubts about it), in context,
to be sure it’s satisfactory to you. If not, back up to step 5.)
7. Congruence Check
“Does any part of me
have any objection to having this ability to evaluate a situation, and
the standards involved, and decide what I want to do?”
“Think again of that
situation in which you felt shame.” Check for nonverbal as well
as verbal responses.
9. Timeline generalization
If the person has had many
experiences of shame, it can be very useful to use timeline generalization
to help the person reevaluate all their past experiences of shame in
the way they have just learned through the shame resolution pattern.
“You have just reprocessed an experience of shame in a way that
gives you more choices about how you respond to situations in which
someone else has different values or standards than you do. I want you
to take this capability with you back to an earlier time in your life,
before you had any experiences of shame, and come rapidly forward through
time, carrying this ability with you as part of yourself, reprocessing
any other experiences of shame, realizing that much of this will take
place at the unconscious level. Take all the time you need, and when
you reach the present, see yourself moving forward through time, still
carrying this ability with you.”
This timeline generalization
process can have a dramatic impact on a multitude of past experiences
as it installs this ability as a “through time” and cross-contextual
ability that becomes part of the person’s sense of themselves,
their identity. This is particularly useful if the shame was about the
self, rather than just about a specific behavior.
To learn the Resolving Shame process
fully, see the book, Heart
of the Mind. The two DVD demonstrations below will
further enrich your experience of the process and your ability to use
1. Andreas, Connirae; and Andreas, Steve. Heart
of the Mind (Chapter 14) Moab, UT Real People Press 1989.
2. Andreas, Steve. “Resolving
Shame” (DVD) NLP Comprehensive, P O Box 927 Evergreen
Colorado 80437, 1991
3. Andreas, Steve. "Resolving
Shame" (DVD) Steve demonstrates with a woman who has
no NLP background, at the Milton Erickson Foundation Conference, 2004.
*Anchor Point Magazine, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 17-29, March, 2002.