• Debbie Covino, PhD

Bad Thought: I feel stuck.

As a hypnotherapist, I work with many clients who are convinced that certain situations require them to respond in the same old ways they’ve always responded. They have to say yes to the annual trip to Yosemite. They should continue to pursue the career path their parents prefer. They shouldn’t feel grumpy about attending a cousin’s wedding. And so on. When I ask why or why not, I’m often met with a blank stare, as if they’ve never entertained the possibility of having a different response or holding a new belief.

I’ve talked before about the NLP Meta Model of therapy, created by NLP practitioner Richard Bandler (who studied the work of famous hypnotherapist Milton H. Erickson, among others), which provides a set of questions that can help you recognize that your thinking is faulty (see my April 2019 entry on our tendency to overstate situations by thinking something is always a problem, when it’s really a problem only occasionally). Our troubles are often caused by our own erroneous thinking, and the Meta Model provides a set of questions that help us address the beliefs that make us unhappy.

Clients who have trouble imagining alternative ways of doing things are making a mistake that the Meta Model calls “modal operators of necessity,” which is thinking about our lives in terms of things we believe we should/must or shouldn’t/mustn’t do or be. Take the thought, I must listen to my mother. This belief can be deconstructed by asking the following Meta Model questions:

“Or what?”

“What would happen if you didn’t?”

Answering these questions can help us to qualify, and modify, our own thinking so that we can find the courage to make a different choice.

You're reading the Bad Thoughts Blog, which maintains that feeling good is as simple as thinking a better thought. I'm Debbie Covino, hypnotherapist, coach, and creator of the Master Your Own Mind self-hypnosis audio program and the All Day Hypnosis audio courses, available at https://www.hypnotic-wellbeing.com/digital-audio-programs

Click here to get your free Memory Spa Audio: https://www.hypnotic-wellbeing.com

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You can also write me directly at debbiecovino@hypnotic-wellbeing.com.

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