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Neuro Semantics

Detecting Frames:
hidden with the conversation

If indeed you are a conversation and your client is a conversation, then being the conversation (whatever that conversation is) means that the conversation's frames (assumptions, premises, presuppositions) are now embodied. That is, you have incorporated into your very neurology the conversation that you are. And so has your client embodied his or her conversation. And if that's the case, then if you look close enough, if you calibrate thoroughly enough, if you take your linguistic conversation deep enough, then those frames will be revealed in your client's body, physiology, movements, gestures, etc. And that is precisely why in Meta-Coaching we listen for, notice, calibrate to, and use the client's semantic space.

In the last article, I wrote about noticing and calibrating to your client. Now I want to take that to a deeper (or higher) level here. Now I'm speaking about not only hearing the conversation, but hearing the frames that enable and advantage that conversation. What are the frames that privilege that conversation? Do you know?

These frames are the ideas (beliefs, understandings, decisions, memories, identifications, and so on) that inform and make the conversation possible so if you can get to them, identify them, address them, you will be able to get to the heart of things very quickly.

Let me use the examples that I brought up in the last article - the victim conversation and the empowerment conversation. What are the frames that make each of these conversations possible? What does a person have to assume, accept, and presuppose to be either of those conversations?

Obviously even to ask these questions is to explore with your client his or her philosophical understandings about life, self, others, the world, etc. It is to explore the psychology (theories of human beings, human nature, human functioning) that your client consciously or unconsciously is operating from. Let's take these one by one.

First, the Victim Conversation

This conversation assumes that you are not in charge of yourself, that things are predetermined and fated, and that your life is simply living out a destiny that's been set for you in your genes, in the stars, in God's will, in the environment, by the government, by your first five-years, etc. We call the philosophical and psychological frame for this inner game, and for being this conversation determinism. Something or someone or a bunch of someones determine your life, your emotions, your thoughts, your actions, your possibilities, your potentials, etc.

To be this conversation these are the kind of things you have to believe, understand, identify with, and the decisions you have to make. You have to set frames of prohibition that dis-allow and taboo you from taking charge of yourself. You have to talk using the language of the modal operators of necessity - about what you have to do and must do. "I have to go to work, I must exercise to avoid getting fat, I should study more if I want to get a raise or to avoid being fired."

Then, as you use that prison language, then lo and behold! you will find yourself imprisoned! Not imprisoned behind literal bars of stone or iron. That kind of prison would be easy to break out of. But bars of thought and emotion and memory and imagination and because you have created the prison in your mind, it is not so easy to break free of.

Second, the Empowerment Conversation

Human beings who speak about being free to choose, who value that, who believe in that, who think in terms of how to gain more and more personal freedom and power and choice, they are that conversation and they live in a very different world. They use the modal operators of possibility and choice as they speak.

"I get to be the person I want to be." "I want to follow my dreams and passions." "I have inward permission and freedom to unleash my potentials." "I wonder what's next that will surprise and delight me?"

Above and beyond these first and second level thoughts-and-feelings are higher and higher levels of frames that govern the person's mental maps and sense of reality. We usually call them limiting beliefs. These frames comprise the heart of the matter. They make up the content beliefs or meta-states that set the frame for us. And how, as a Meta-Coach, do you flush them out? Simple, say something like the following: "Let's say that what you have just said is true, so what? What would that mean to you? What do you believe about that?"

By holding the statement that you have received, whether it is a first level or second level thought or emotion and inviting the person to step back to identify what they think-and-feel about that, you are beginning to expose their matrix of frames. And do that repeatedly, three or seven or ten times, and you will have exposed the whole belief system that your client is operating from and that explains the conversation that they are.

Most professional Coaches cannot do this. I think (I hope) that most Meta-Coaches can do this. If my hope is accurate, then most Meta-Coaches can do something that most professional Coaches cannot and which gives them a tremendous and powerful advantage - you can get to the hear to things with your clients very quickly to bring about transformational change and vitality of life! How much is that worth?

L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.
Neuro-Semantics Executive Director -- www.neurosemantics.com
P.O. Box 8
Clifton, CO. 81520 USA
1 970-523-7877