Beliefs: Pathways to Health and Wellbeing Paperback – 1 Apr 1990
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Beliefs can contain either an ‘outcome expectancy’ of possibility (hope); ‘self-efficacy expectancy’ of capability (help); and a ‘response expectancy’ (faith). Hence, the momentum of all three elements is very much key in establishing a critical mass towards a strong personal alignment of wanting to change (right behaviour), knowing how to change (right capability) and giving yourself a chance to change (right environment). This does all sound rather Buddhist to my ears!
Beliefs can either be about the causes of something, the meaning of something or are wrapped up in the identity of boundaries. Thus our beliefs can be patterned at both the abstract and sensory levels and to this end there are chapters on reality and belief strategies and how to elicit them using comparative analysis procedures. Basically this procedure involves salami-slicing someone’s real experiences or stable generalisations and comparing them with made-up or limiting scenarios in order to elicit the elements that influence their change, i.e. physiology, strategies (rep systems/ sub-modalities etc.) and congruency/ in-congruency (ecology check).
The major difference between a belief and a reality strategy is the sensory feedback implied by the latter. Belief systems, on the other hand, depend as much upon the criteria of what the perceiver perceives to be true, than whether it is true, which fits all rather nicely into the fundamental assumption of re-imprinting: “that to a large extent what really happened is irrelevant - it is the re-experience of the same things without the scar and the negative impact that is desired”. In other words ‘re-subjectivising’ one’s subjectivity could be considered the chief aim of the re-imprinting process, and indeed NLP! However, to get to that stage the subject must overcome the judgements passed to them by their significant others, or acknowledge the influence of the negative reflections inflicted upon them-self. It is also noted that at a later date negativity takes on more power with age, especially if there is the introjection of a significant other’s behaviour.
An essential point germane to the context of health is the relationship a limiting belief has to the link in understanding between the biological and neurological systems. For example, allergies are phobias of the immune systems, and “they will frequently develop during times when you are in life transition - when you are changing who you are [as an identity]”. The assumption is that illnesses are a communication and when you enter into a resourceful dialogue with your self, i.e. a ‘yes you can’ mentality, you are able to maintain good health rather than reinforce physical symptoms. Further, there are multiple communications and causes for illnesses - the basis for the received wisdom needed in cleaning up one’s personal history: “If you deal with one of them you may not deal with the whole problem. If you keep responding to all of your communications you will eventually get well”. Otherwise known in the 21st century as aggregated marginal gains.
Essentially, the principle behind the neuroscience of getting well is not fighting yourself or others, however much this is hidden as a seed of a thought within the apple core of the unconscious. Countless scientific experiments and therapeutic interventions have fallen foul to what Dilts describes as the pitfalls of hidden bias: of the Fish in the Dreams phenomenon where the influencer seeks substantiation (not a disproof, of their thesis: cf. Popper); of mis-diagnosed plausibility (the Red Herring), and the over-protective impasse (the Smokescreen).
In final comparison with the red book version, Bateson’s logical levels is hardly covered, there are no involved diagrams to explain time-lining, and the demo material seems much more pin-pointed. There is decidedly a leaning towards emphasising the influence of beliefs on cancer treatment with a moving epilogue by Patricia Dilts (mother); therefore for some this book could provide the most valuable motivations and insights towards creating the conditions for no visible evidence which can only be a tribute to the authors for popularising such extraordinary magic.