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NLP Anchors Explained
What Are NLP Anchors?
With reference to hypnosis and NLP, anchoring is a simple yet extremely
technique. But to limit its use exclusively to persuasion would be a
mistake. Anchoring is a fundamental part of NLP that is the primary ingredient
for many useful rapid-change procedures.
The roots of anchoring run throughout human history but were probably
officially identified and explained with Pavlovís experiments with dogs.
During the 1890s scientist Ivan Pavlov was conducting gastric function
experiments with dogs to gather information on digestion.
He discovered that dogs would produce saliva when in close proximity to meat,
no surprise there. He then began to ring a bell as the dogs drooled. And finally
he only needed to ring the bell to get the drooling response without offering
the dogs any meat at all.
In Pavlovís experiment the bell was the anchor that produced a predictable
response, in this case, drooling. The same principle can be used for persuasion
and many other desired outcomes for people seeking rapid behavioral changes.
Obviously we donít have time for days of conditioning with a subject, but we
donít really need a lot of time, only keen observation skills and
understanding how anchoring works.
Rapport First Then Anchoring
Letís say youíve managed to establish rapport with someone, perhaps someone
under your care in a hospital setting, though it could easily be almost anyone
in any setting. Youíre chatting away and notice the individual becomes
particularly agreeable or open to direction when talking about a particular
time, event or person in their life. Itís obvious that they just seem to give
way to a resourceful state in another place in time. This is the perfect
situation to set an anchor where youíll be able to have access to that
Ďcooperativeí internal resource in the future. Hereís how you might go
When you notice a behavior youíd like to access in the future, youíll
want your subject to continue with it so you can set the anchor. In other words,
youíre going to want to encourage the state with supportive conversation.
While the individual is at the height of the desired state, you might tap them
on the forearm or tug on your ear, or use a slightly unusual phrase with a
different tonality than your usual voice.
What this does is creates an association from the anchor (the tap, unusual
voice, etc.) to the desired state. And itís important to make it somewhat
unique so itís not diluted by being something common or expected in the normal
course of interaction. Then, in the future, when youíd like to access that
agreeable or cooperative state of mind you simply need to employ the anchor
youíve set previously. If youíve done a good job of anchoring that state,
youíll be amazed that your subject will revert almost immediately to the
related state of mind or behavior.
I realize that tugging on your ear or tapping the individualís forearm is
not using verbal language to produce the desired result but with hypnosis and
NLP, the term language is rather flexible. In fact, language is nothing more
than a form of communication whether it be verbal or otherwise. Anchors allow
NLP practitioners to access resourceful states in people and substitute or
Ďinstallí those states in areas where an individual needs help.
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