Finding The Positive Intention
During a recent hypnotherapy training, I cited a lady client I had several years ago. She came to me because she was in pain for the majority of her life. Having seen every kind of specialist physician, neurologist and expert for 6 years, she was referred to me because no-one could find anything physiologically wrong with her.
It transpired that the pain she was in had a rather perverse and bizarre positive intention. The pain gave her a real excuse not to work… It also gave her an excuse not to live up to the potential that she had always been told she had throughout her life by teachers and parents.
Discussing this subject brings about all manner of feelings and reactions from people and provides a very interesting discussion.
This week I am writing about something that many people understand in theory but can’t seem to grasp or discover for themselves properly in any depth…
When I first trained in NLP, I got really intrigued by a couple of presuppositions included in many techniques and strategies and that existed within the very ethos of the subject… The notion that we all make the best decisions available to us at that time and that behind our behaviours there is a positive intention.
Eliciting that positive intention, just finding out what it is, is something people can sometimes struggle with… At least consciously they can seem to struggle.
When we know and understand the positive intention behind behaviours, we can transform seemingly self-sabotaging behaviours into successful behaviours and habits. Which sounds great, doesn’t it?
Basically, by finding out what positive intention there is behind a negative behaviour or attitude, or habit… We can then release it and take some action to change it… There is so much that we therapists do within our therapy sessions that depends on getting this understanding and it is incredibly valuable for all of us to be able to understand what is going on within us when we do behaviours that we know are not helping us live the life we want.
Within the NLP field, one of my favourite trainers and a real pioneer of NLP is Robert Dilts, and in his book “Sleight of Mouth” (a very good read) he states:
At some level all behavior is (or at some time was) “positively intended”. It is or was perceived as appropriate given the context in which it was established, from the point of view of the person whose behavior it is. It is easier and more productive to respond to the intention rather than the expression of a problematic behavior”.
So if you were a smoker, you can think about the reason for starting… It is unlikely to be the taste for example, is it? I mean, most people’s first inhalation of tobacco smoke causes them to feel nauseous, cough their guts up and perhaps throw up! Maybe it was because smoking enabled the person to feel like a grown up at a young age, or maybe it helped them become part of a group or gang, or perhaps they felt that they were rebelling… Or it may be some other reason that at the time seemed viable and gave good reason to smoke… It may not be the case 20 years later, it just became a automated habit…
Yet, the positive intention initially gained, may still be lurking underneath, fuelling the desire or need to smoke, in this example.
many people can see this and understand that… I mean as a regular reader, you know and understand this, you are highly evolved, aren’t you? Yet, many people often think “it is just a habit… There is no positive intention behind my behaviour at all…”
Then why do that behaviour?
If it had no underlying positive intention what so ever, then it is unlikely that you’d do it, no?
Once we know the underlying positive intention, we can then take some action to make a change… And that is what this session is going to help you do – shine some light!