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Valuing Your Client’s Values

By on August 11, 2014

In NLP we spend a good deal of time exploring the role of values.  We encounter them in Logical Levels and Modeling, however many practitioners brush values aside not realizing their real value (forgive the pun).

NLPers working in the corporate setting will recognize the importance of eliciting value chains and testing them with employees.  In fact consultants will often use a values elicitation as a part of their coaching process.  What about the practitioner working with private coaching or hypnosis clients?  Eliciting values from a client gives a tremendous about of information about the client and build leverage for the change.  Some NLP patterns such as the Visual Squash and the 6 Step Reframe even have values built into them.  However practitioners do not typically use these patterns with every single client.  Fortunately we can still elicit values to propel the change.

Before we look at how you can do this lets take a look at what a value is.  In short a value is an Ad -> K+ synesthesia.  It is a word that makes us feel good.  They typically contain big nominalizations and there will be a physiological shift when the client begins to talk about them.  Values are high up on a client’s logical levels and informs their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Now let’s look at using values with a client.

When we have a client come in for generative change, the value elicitation is easy.  As they describe their their particular goals we can ask them, “What’s important to you about this?”  We are looking for that positive physiological shift.  This could be ideas like freedom, peace, or happiness, for example.

In the case of therapeutic change it may at first seem a bit more challenging because we will want the value behind both the outcome and the problem.

If you come from an HNLP background you will recall End State Energy.  This is a way of getting to the value indirectly.  The coach may say something like, “If you were to go a year into the future to the point where you hardly remember having that old problem and you have been practicing x for a year, who will you be as a person?” .  This question is a bit mind bending and will elicit a value.  The client may respond with something like, “happy”.

The easiest way to get the value on the problem side (outside of the patterns mentioned above) is to explain to your client the role of Working Memory.  As you do this ask them about the title of their “problem” movie.  Then treat it like chunking up in the Visual Squash.  So it may look something like this:

Coach: What is significant to you about that movie (eliciting the title)

Client: This is dangerous

Coach: And what does that knowledge do for you?

Client: It keeps me safe.

Coach: And when you are safe what is important to you about that?

Client: I have peace (peace is the value)

So we now we have two values- happiness and peace.  Throughout the coaching/ hypnosis session these will provide us with emotional leverage.  These two words are also powerful anchors for the client.  Throughout the season the coach will fire these off a number of times.  The coach will at some point also tie peace to the desired state.  This can be done easily when the client is in trance.  Think of it as a collapsing anchor.

Of course in a coaching/ hypnosis session you will a lot more to propel the change and you can have fun experimenting with the client’s values to help the change process along.



Jess Marion, (H)NLP and Hypnosis Trainer

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