Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Three Perceptual Positions that Help you Sort Out Relationships
This is a preamble to an upcoming iNLP Center webinar about the Perceptual Positions model in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. This may be the only relationship model you need to maintain healthy, balanced and mutually rewarding connections.
That’s quite a claim. Can Perceptual Positions deliver? Let’s see.
Introduction to NLP Perceptual Positions.
I borrowed this nifty little graphic from NLP Mentor.
You may be familiar with the three perceptual positions of NLP:
- First position represents your own unique point of view and feelings.
- Second position is the other’s point of view and feelings.
- Third position is neutral. When you take third position, you act as if you were an objective observer and view your relationship to the other as if from a distance. You aren’t invested in either side.
This is all well and good. There are multiple points of view. But these distinctions are worthless unless you actively experience them. Knowing you can take a different point of view is one thing. Taking it is another experience entirely.
So, in NLP training, we practice actively taking on the three points of view in our relationships. We do this by working with a single memory that involves one other person. Usually, we choose the memory of an interaction that didn’t go so well, but isn’t traumatic – a common misunderstanding will do.
Now, let’s magically assume you really GET NLP Perceptual Positions:)
This gives us the opportunity to dig into some of the finer points, as follows.
When a relationship isn’t going well, change positions and EXPRESS what you learn when you get new insights. The new insights flow into the relationship and expand it. You could say, “You know what I just realized?”
People form patterns in their perceptual positions. Those patterns can be contextual (they might be related to individual relationships). For example, someone might be perpetually stuck in first position, failing to see the big picture or other people’s points of view. Other’s might be stuck in second position and lack boundaries. Still, others get stuck in third position and can’t connect with others very well.
Ecology is a major issue (and growth opportunity) when changing a pattern of relating from a single Perceptual Position. If you’ve spent a lifetime in one position, changing that pervasive pattern will shake things up.
Aligning Perceptual Positions with VAK might be very helpful. To get a clean position, all of the NLP VAK modalities need to represent the given position. This was discovered by Steve Andreas. He called it Aligning Perceptual Positions.