Metaprograms in NLP: Are you ‘Associated’ or ‘Dissociated’ person?

Imagine a conversation you recently had at your work, as you recall this conversation, direct your attention to the way you think about it. For instance, become aware of whether you are seeing, hearing and feeling the situation as if you are witnessing this from your own body, are you experiencing the from your own body or are you witnessing this situation as a third person? The feeling of witnessing the situation from your own body is pointed out as associated and the feeling of being outside your own body , looking at things from an observer’s eyes is pointed out as dissociated.

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Become aware for a moment about your current environment. You may begin to notice the different shades of light and the shapes it embodies, the dancing shadows, the clarity of objects, and many more things. As you look at the situation as an observer you begin to hear sounds that are close to you and far away from you. As you tune yourself to the sounds, direct your conscious mind towards them. Become aware of the direction of the various sounds you are hearing, observe their tone, tenor, loudness or softness, and their pitch. As you become aware of these sounds, you become receptive of the mood, quality, fabric and textures of the force exerted on your body. Become aware of those parts that are touching the ground or the seat of the chair you are sitting on. Allow yourself to observe the smells ans tastes that you experience. As you do this , direct your attention to the feelings within you, to any pressure, stress or any emotions and identify the exact location and the force that is exerted.

The activity you just followed is called as ‘Associated State’.

Now for a moment imagine standing behind the chair in which you were seated earlier, begin to see yourself sitting on the chair. Look at yourself from behind so that you can see the whole of you. Notice how the “you” on the chair relates to the ecosystem around you. In this state , notice that your feelings are detached!

The ability to switch between associated and dissociated state is a bedrock of NLP. To experience any situation fully you need to switch to associated state , to look at the experience in an objective way you need to switch to dissociated state.

One of the individual supporting and counselling war veterans, discovered that the members of the army who experienced high levels of stress were those who relived their memories in a associated way. As they spoke about the experience they began to re-experience the emotions that felt at that time.They began to re-experiencing the stress associated with the trauma whenever they recalled the experience hence their stress level increased. The counselors also observed that those of the individuals who were able to dissociate themselves experienced very less stress.

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