Institute of Semantic Restructuring

Email: rl (at) robertlink (dot) org.

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Semantic Restructuring is the pursuit of enlightenment, enlivenment, empowerment through the creative re-arranging of the building blocks of meaning. For a better description, Start Here.

Utilization of Ideo-Sensory Responses

Anthropomorphized Utilization of Ideo-Sensory Responses (anthro-ideo) is a Semantic Restructuring oriented deconsruction of a popular Neuro-Linguistic Programming technique. The technique is designed specifically to allow a client in counseling or therapy to have the illusion of understanding what is going on in their unwanted behaviors. The title of the technique is a mouthful to remind you that the other person's understanding is only an illusion. The format still aims to help you, the reader, use the method, while at the same time providing a more accurate description of what makes the method work than is typically offered.


  1. Initial Dis-association

  2. Deepening Dis-association

  3. Initial Trance and Calibrating yes/no and ~c~v signs of trance

  4. Further Dis-association, conscious mind from unconscious; presupposing of positive intent

  5. Trance Deepening and Acceptance of Suggested Criteria

  6. Trance Deepening; Presupposing Cross-Contextual Value

  7. Trance Deepening, Further Cross-Contextual Evaluation, Post Hypnotic Suggestion

  8. Presupposing Change, Re-framing Relapse

  9. Semantic Punctuation: Commitment, Closure and Awakening

  10. Follow Up

Who hasn't heard someone say, "Part of me really needs to do this"? "This" could be anything from having a drink or a smoke to yelling at the hired help. The anthro-ideo technique is based on the common-sense idea of a part. As the counselor/therapist you help your client think about unwanted behaviors as coming from some part of them, rather than being directly responsible for the behavior in question. There are many advantages to this (as well as potential pitfalls to be avoided, these are taken into account later in this presentation.) One immediate advantage is that the person gets dis-associated from the unwanted behavior, and thus from any shame or guilt they have about the behavior. The method also makes the most of the other person's ability to use self-talk as a form of self-hypnosis. Using self-talk this way is easier for the other person because the word hypnosis never comes up. Where overt hypnosis often requires working against a competing state of curiosity, fear, or skepticism, simply talking about a part of the other person doing the behavior is casual and non-threatening. The client is guided in and out of trance experiences, and given suggestions for change, the whole time thinking they are just "getting in touch with a part of theirselves" or "tuning in to the part responsible for the unwanted behavior."

Step I

Initial Dis-association

Have the client think of something they do "against their will". Make them put it into one of two sentence formats:

I can't stop myself from doing ( )


I want to ( ) and something always stops me.

It is very important that the problem gets said in one of these two forms, because each presupposes some dis-association of unwanted behavior and core self. Using the term "part" helps make the dis-association stronger and sets up a great way to help the person help themself by using this dis-association.

Step II

Deepening Dis-association

Have the person say to themself: "Will the part of me responsible for X (or for preventing X) be willing to communicate with my conscious mind?" It doesn't matter if the other person understands the question. Just congruently tell them to use their self-talk to ask the question. While they ask the question silently "in their head", you are looking for non-conscious and non-voluntary cues that let you know how they respond to asking the question. When the client is done asking the question, you ask: "What did you notice after you asked the question; a sight, a sound, a feeling?" The person you are working with will report that they saw something or heard something or felt something. This is very important: Tell them that what they saw, heard or felt was a communication from the part, and tell them to use their self-talk to literally say "Thank you" to the part. This step of saying thank you is vital. When the client thanks the part they cement the dis-association which is so important to making this method work. When they thank the part you *must* be able to calibrate some external signal to match up with whatever they say they noticed. If not, re-cycle until calibrated. Try changing your tone and speech to be consistent with the way you would speak to someone who just woke up from a dream.

Step III

Initial Trance and Calibrating yes/no and ~c~v signs of trance

Whatever the other person notices, whether a sight or a sound or a feeling have them use their self-talk to say the following to the part:

"So that I (the client) can better understand you ("the part") will you please make this response stronger as a way of communicating the meaning yes, and make the response weaker as a way of communicating no?"

Your task is to calibrate the client's non-conscious and non-voluntary (~c~v) responses, to see and or hear the other person's unconscious responses independently of what they say. Don't proceed until this signal system is established.

Step IV

Further Dis-association, conscious mind from unconscious; presupposing of positive intent

This step is very important, and must be done with skill and congruence. You are going to have the person you are working with use their self-talk again, this time to ask a very specific question. When you understand the question and what it implies you will be half of the way to doing miracles.

Tell the person you are working with to use their self-talk to ask the part the following question:

"Would you be willing to share with my conscious mind what your positive intent is for me behind this behavior?"

Immediately tell the person you are working with to report on the signal system you set up in the previous step. Their report must be something like, "The picture got bigger" or "The noise sounded farther away" or "The feeling moved from my chest to my head." Whatever their response, your job is to notice the ~c~v signals which go along with the signal system you set up in the previous step. If verbal report differs from calibration, re-calibrate; if need be explain to *the part* your need to calibrate to serve it better.

If you see the ~c~v signs for yes, and the person you are working with reports the same, then tell them to "go inside" and wait for the part to let them know what the positive intent is.

If you see the ~c~v for no (as opposed to a mis-match of the client's report and your calibration) then congruently and with rapport explain that the conscious mind is no place for such information. The conscious mind isn't aware of current insulin levels in the blood stream, or blood pressure, or a million other things that unconscious parts take care of. Point out that since the part only exists within the person you are working with, then the part must have some positive intent for its behavior. You may need to expand on this idea with your client, noting facts such as "if you die the part dies." Don't worry if the client is slightly upset or confused at this point. The main idea here is to cement the dis-association, and being upset at the part for not giving the information suits the goal as well as any other outcome. In the end the client has no real choice other than to accept the behavior with resignation or assume the part is really on their side and just doesn't want the conscious mind to get involved and mess things up.

Step V

Trance Deepening and Acceptance of Suggested Criteria

Have the person you are working with use their self-talk to tell the part to contact the client's "creative part." If they have trouble, or don't understand the instructions, you can explain by saying the creative part is the part they have had all their life which makes up their dreams and plans. The part responsible for the behavior being changed is going to let the creative part show other behaviors which could serve the positive intent instead of using the old unwanted behavior.

The creative part "presents" thousands of possible options at "unconscious speeds." As in dreams, where years can go by in a single night, the creative part is not limited by conscious understandings of time flow. The part being worked with selects three options from all that are offered, based on the following three criteria:

All three of these criteria add to the re-coding of the "problem" as something in the past, by use of the word "old"; a very important and valuable presupposition.

Have the person you are working with use their self-talk to tell the part to give the yes signal once for each alternative it chooses that fits all three criteria. You must be calibrated well enough to see that they do as you say. When the client is done with the self-talk you can sit back and let them develop a spontaneous trance. Watch the non-conscious and non-voluntary signals and be sure when the verbal report matches or mismatches the ~c~v signals; don't be fooled by verbal reports. If the signals don't come quickly enough you can use general inductive language to suggest that the part can "take all the time it needs to accomplish this task almost instantly because of the speed of the holographic unconscious," or some other such process instruction. When the person you are working with shows the ~c~v signal three times they are ready for the next step.

There is no need for the client to have conscious awareness of the new behaviors, only that the yes signal indicates that new behaviors have been selected.

The person you are working with will probably want to know what the new behaviors are, so they can look for them. People want a feeling of success, and they usually get it from having conscious knowledge. It is your job to get them that feeling with the ~c~v awareness that those options exist, without necessarily knowing what they are consciously. This state of conscious uncertainty help keep the client alert for any and all opportunities to behave in new ways that support the identified positive intent and the three criteria for new behaviors. If they think they know what the new options are they probably used their conscious mind to get them. If the conscious mind was up to solving the problem they wouldn't have come to you in the first place. This technique is about natural and unconscious change, so don't let a nosy conscious mind mess it up for you or your client.

Step VI

Trance Deepening; Presupposing Cross-Contextual Value

Have the part check with all other parts of the person you are working with that might be affected by the new behaviors. Say to the client something like, "What do you see, hear, or feel when you go inside and ask, 'Are there any parts of me that object to any of the new behaviors?'" For each sight, sound, and feeling reported set up a calibrated yes/no system, and use that system to ask the objecting part to communicate its positive intent to the part responsible for the behavior being changed. Guide the part in charge of the changing behavior to recycle back to step V, this time selecting options that not only fit its criteria, but that also fail to interfere with each and all of the objecting parts' positive intents. Use the original yes/no signal system to communicate as each new behavior is selected and approved.

From a strictly strategic viewpoint it is not a bad idea to get at least three objections, because what you are really doing here is repeating the unconscious search for new behaviors. Some clients will need prompting to find any objections, some will come up with a flood of sights and sounds and feelings that could be objecting parts; it is your job to manage this step to get good trance states evidenced by strong ~c~v responses. Don't let it become a conscious mind guided hunt for objections, work from the ~c~v signals.

Step VII

Trance Deepening, Further Cross-Contextual Evaluation, Post Hypnotic Suggestion

Now that the new options meet the criteria of step V, and pass the ecological check of step VI, it is time to find out if they will pass a future pacing test. This is the same idea as when you did future pacing with simple semantic triggers. The person you are working with uses their self-talk to do the following:

  1. Tell the part to figure out what the trigger was for the old behavior.

  2. Tell the part to "travel in time" to the next time the trigger might happen and find out if the new options still seem good enough. The part is to look, listen and feel (and smell and taste) for any changes that should be made to have the new options really work splendidly well.

  3. Tell the part to automatically go back to the creative part and get new options based on the changes suggested by this step.

  4. Tell the part to signal that it has options that pass Step V, VI and VII criteria by showing the calibrated yes signal for each.

This step is complete when you have seen the ~c~v yes signal three times.


Presupposing Change, Re-framing Relapse

This step is also very important to the overall process, because it is where you redefine success and failure for the person you are working with. Explain to them that you are going to suggest the following arrangement to the part:

  1. To try out the new behaviors instead of the unwanted behavior for a period of six weeks;

  2. To use the old behavior as a way of informing the person you are working with that the new alternatives need to be improved;

  3. To unconsciously, during the sleeping and dreaming processes, repeat steps V through VII any time condition 2.) is met.

Have the person you are working with use their self-talk to ask, "Do you, the part, understand the conditions that are being suggested? If so please give me the yes signal now." You must see the calibrated ~c~v yes signal, otherwise recycle to the objection step. Once the part signals its understanding of the conditions, the person you are working with asks the part to agree to these conditions, and to indicate agreement by showing the yes signal. You must see the calibrated ~c~v signal for yes before going to the next step.

Step IX

Semantic Punctuation: Commitment, Closure and Awakening

The person you are working with uses their self-talk to ask the part to signal its commitment to try out the alternate behaviors as agreed in step VIII. You phrasing is of utmost importance at this step. The term commitment, as an intangible, must be used. Using an intangible form like this is part of how the person you are working with knows that the work is done. This is part of how their unconscious encodes all that has happened. The term commitment is like a period at the end of a sentence. It helps the other person know, "This is a single chunk of experience. It is real. It is solid." This is an example of using the inductive language patterns to directly alter another person's model of the world. Your congruence at this step is an absolute necessity. It is very easy to do. Just have the person you are working with use their self-talk to say the part, "Please signal your commitment to the conditions you just agreed to by giving me the yes signal now." If you don't see the calibrated ~c~v signal recycle to the previous step, making sure "the part" understands the conditions, or recycle to any step from V on if you feel the need. When you finally reach this step and get a robust ~c~v signal that the part has committed you are done.

Follow Up

One thing to keep in mind with this technique is that any time you get an unexpected response you can recycle to the previous step. You can recycle as far back as step III and re-calibrate the signal if need be. As long as you are congruent with the person you are working with, then this method will work wonders for you. Any time you recycle you can always say it is because there is some incongruence between the verbal report the client gives you and the ~c~v signals you have been using to communicate directly with the part. *Don't tell the client what those ~c~v signals are.* That would make them conscious, which defeats your whole purpose of creating unconscious change. If you have done all the steps then instruct the person you are working with to use their self-talk to thank the part for its hard work. You can then end the session.

Email: rl (at) robertlink (dot) org.

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