the Meta Model Easier Made – Part 1

It makes me genuinely smile genuinely now when some people still visibly cringe when they hear the words ‘the Meta Model‘, Others say “its something I have to learn but I just can’t find the time” yet other say “Its just not possible to learn it allthe Meta Model really is easy.

the Meta Model essentially does two things when used ‘as intended’

  1. It assist stuck clients to change – Therapeutic
  2. It gets high quality information – Business / Pleasure / Therapeutic

For me, and thanks to my friend Ian Berry for facilitating my learning during my NLP Practitioner in Newcastle, the Meta Model just made sense, It clicked, It got me absolutely hooked on what I called then NLP and I now know as applied NLP -in its current form. The Meta Model is again covered more fully on our Newcastle Hypnotherapy course and I am sure you already know like most NLP its nothing new, just repackaged. Socrates’s was, seemingly some 2500 years ago, applying the form of the meta model in purportedly just 6 questions ( so much for simplification ) – Socratic questioning. I will credit him here as he surely deserves it so it means I will.

See, all the Meta Model is is a set of specific verbal responses to a set of very specific words and phrases ‘clients’ and people in general use all the time, and its good to know them. Exactly what these are I will better describe a little later on.

One of the Arts of Applied NLP is when and in what contexts to apply these specific verbal responses so as not to lose friends and alienate yourself.

The Meta Model probably seems a bit complicated and stuff because it was ‘coded’ by a professional linguist at that time John Grinder. So its full of horrendous terminology that means very little to most people who aren’t linguists or journeying word-smiths. Dr Richard Bandler – the real creative genius behind NLP actually ‘picked up’ unconsciously this set of verbal responses by listening to what the exceptional therapist of the time were saying – he was transcribing their sessions to earn extra pocket money. Now having went to grinder to decipher what he was saying and isolating the portions of verbal speech that had the ‘amazing beneficial therapeutic’ effect, The Meta Model ( or the Metal Mudle ) was born. In spite of all this The Meta Model Application is really easy.

The Meta Model can be found in its entirety in The Structure of Magic by Bandler and Grinder – Specifically only chapter 4 & 5 to begin with. Grinder’s and McMasters incredibly windy and painful businessification ( repackaging ) Precision, brought us The Precision Model which can be actually be summed up in just one page. Then much later on Grinders and StClaires ( –2003 ) very useful and thank goodness short version of the business Meta Model that they chose to call The Verbal Package.

The Verbal Package is a process tool like John Grinder says to get high quality information and a high level of shared understanding of what has been communicated – viz. getting all the unspecified details or Socratic Questioning.

The Verbal Package

  1. Establish Rapport
  2. Set the ‘Frame’ or content of the discussion / exploration
  3. Challenge Nouns ( names and other ) – What specifically
  4. Challenge Verbs ( doing words ) – How specifically
  5. Paraphrase what has been communicated for shared understandings

The Meta Model – Therapeutic Process

This process can definitely get high quality information – but this is irrelevant to the therapeutic process – it is used primarily, through verbal intervention, to assist a client in un-sticking themselves from problem situations.

Please note that when you use this ( or any ) process with clients you are at best creating a context where they can change their own situation.

Now lets get down to making this really easy with just a few examples. The example will take the form of a ‘clients’ verbalisation of a problem and the specific ‘form’ of The Meta Model response for this particular problem.

Notice there is no requirement to know the labels for these ‘responses’.

One thing that really is worth keeping in mind if you choose to practice recognising from and responding in this way to others ( or your self ) –
do do it respectfully and with rapport!

The ‘problems’ or stuck states statements are presented in RED and the verbal responses in GREEN

I cant finish my report!

Its not possible to finish my report!

What stops you?
So what makes this impossible for you?
What prevents you?

I have to wash these dishes!

I must wash these dishes!

What will happen if you dont?
Or What?
And if you don’t?

Both of the above ‘interventions‘ take the form of a response to either

  • something being seemingly impossible for the client, or
  • something that absolutely definitely must occur for the client.

For seemingly impossible outcomes just ask what stops or blocks them.

For things the seemingly must happen just ask what will happen if you dont.

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