Visualisation coupled with working with metaphor is a powerful combination of techniques for understanding how our pre-existing beliefs are blocking us from doing what we want. For professionals in the horse industry this can have a significant knock on effect on their work and can spiral out of control. The following example illustrates how intervention with a coach who understands the issues can have an immediate effect.
Working with visualisation & metaphor
Mel loved working with horses and had set herself the objective of taking her British Horse Society exams with a view to becoming a BHS Assistant Instructor (equivalent to level one International Instructor). The problem was, when she came to jump, or even think about it, even the smallest fence would look like a huge brick wall. And it was definitely not jumpable! On one hand she wanted to jump, but then she would just panic and pull up the horse.
She came along to one of our one day courses, and volunteered to work with Liz Morrison to demonstrate how NLP helps change such unwanted behaviours. We started with Mel describing the imaginary fence, and went into some detail about how high it was and the colour of the bricks. This was about developing the visual imagination. We made it higher and wider and then put it back to its original size – This gently loosens up the ‘stuck’ thinking - for the imagination is a wonderfully quick at making such changes!
Liz then asked Mel to look more closely and she realise that in fact the bricks were so perfect in their repeating pattern that they had to be wallpaper. With the earlier stretching of the jump to being bigger and wider, she had brought the image to conscious attention and therefore in her control. So what would she do with the wall now?
We considered whether she should just burn it down, jump through it like the police horse demonstrations or trample it down or whatever. She decided that she would dowse it with water until it became a soggy mass. With the jump dissolved, she was able to think about jumping in a really positive manner and there and then she happily booked a lesson for the next day! Everyone in the room could see that she meant it, she was so happy; her old fear really had gone in the space of 10 minutes!
She rang Liz the next day to say how well the lesson had gone, how the old brick wall had never even appeared and how much she had enjoyed being able to jump again. A few weeks later she passed her Stage 2 and several months later rang to say that she had just passed her Stage 3 – she was well on track for her goal again.
By bringing the issue to her conscious attention , Mel had asserted her control over it and such was her motivation that it just took this simple intervention to get her back to where she wanted to be. Other parts of the one day workshop included further coaching to ensure that the changes being made are congruent and build motivation.