NLP Article on Backward Progressive States

Backward Progressive States

By Anita Goodwin Ursua

This client wanted to work on a feeling she got due to an altercation with a couple friends that happened about a year ago. Instead of letting it go, the feeling got worse until she started having physical problems because of it.  The following is a capsulated overview of this appointment.


Anita: “What is it you want to feel instead?”
Client: “I want to let it go. I want to be able to say, ‘that’s his problem’. Now when he looks at me, I   feel like I’m disgusting.”
Anita: “If you let it go what would that get for you?”
Client: “I would be okay with it. I want to feel that I’m okay with it.”
Anita: “What would being okay with it allow you to be, do or have?”
Client: “I would be hopeful.”
Anita: “So you want to be hopeful? What would being hopeful get for you? Is hopeful really enough for you?”
Client:  “I would be happy.”
Anita: “So, what resource would you need to be happy and let this go?”
Client: “I don’t know.”
Anita: “Let’s find out.”
Client: “Okay.”
At this point I had her get up and I wrote out on a piece of paper to be used as a floor anchor the word “happy”. As she stood in front of the floor anchor, I took another piece of paper (blank) and placed it behind the first floor anchor and have her step into it and asked, “What would you need here before getting to there?” (pointing to the desired state).
Client: “I guess, confidence”
Anita: I pick up the blank piece of paper and I write the word “confidence” on the piece of paper that becomes the floor anchor and have her step into it again and say, “Find a recent time when you had the kind of confidence you need here.”
Client: “Okay”
Anita: “Get a good sense of what that feels like.  Where do you feel it?” (I ask her this as I anchor the feeling and have her anchor it as well. Then I release the anchor.) As I take another piece of paper and put down on the floor behind the last one and have her step into it, I ask, “What do you need here before you can get the confidence you need?”
Client: “Reassurance”

It continues this way until we reach the core issue.  It went like this:

Orginal                                    Changed To

    1. Happy  (desired state)
  1. Confidence
  1. Reassurance

  1. Love of self
  1. Approval

  1. Acceptance
  I am accepted
  1. Need to be loved
  I am loved
  1. Emotional stability
  I have stability in my life.
  1. Acceptance of self
  I accept myself
  1. Like myself
  I Like myself

Once client felt good with the results we anchored times where she liked herself, accepted herself, had stability, felt loved, and accepted.
The floor anchors were changed to reflect the shift.
Client then walked through the stages of the shifts looking down at the words on the floor anchors and repeated them with feeling up to three times to be sure of a solid anchor. (Kinesthetic) (Self talk)
Then walking through with eyes straight ahead while I read them to her and she repeats them again.  (Auditory)
Then with no auditory or visual, I have client go with the way her body responds with the feeling as she steps through each floor anchor as a graceful dance.  Three times, each a little more fluid and connected.  (Present state, desired state and effect of having it all)


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