V-K Dissociation in Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Note: this post served as a prompt for an iNLP Center student webinar on that took place on April 13, 2017.

Visual-Kinesthetic Dissociation is one of the core concepts that set NLP apart. And it’s one of the few concepts in the field that can be scientifically tested with some validity.

Let’s look at some facts, but first, let’s define NLP V-K Dissociation.

VK-Dissociation in NLP occurs when you witness your own
experience as a neutral observer.

This is not entirely possible since we’re all ultimately bound to individual perceptions and can’t literally take an outside point of view. However, we can simulate – imagine – what an outsider might see. This is all that is necessary for NLP dissociation to have a positive effect.

1. Dissociation can happen in any of the modalities: visual, auditory or kinesthetic.

2. It’s typically considered a binary distinction, but might be experienced on a continuum. Less like an on/off switch and more like a rheostat light.

3. You can encourage clients to dissociate directory or indirectly. A direct NLP dissociation intervention would involve giving concrete instructions. An indirect intervention would involve using targeted questions or non-verbal communication to encourage dissociation.

4. NLP dissociation is a term unique to NLP, while clinical dissociation in mental health is an entirely different concept.

5. Coaches can use this concept as a stand-alone tool or as part of established or improvised NLP techniques.

6. The key differences between optimists and pessimists may involve NLP dissociation as the point of leverage.

7. Whenever you’re stuck, notice whether you’re associated or dissociated and do the opposite if you can.

8. Becoming aware of the structure of any issue facilitates a form of NLP dissociation. This may be one overlooked reason NLP is so helpful in general.

9. Consciously associating or dissociating is different than merely being associated or dissociated. This brings up the question on mindfulness. Is mindful association or dissociation different that being one or the other but unaware of it?

10. A quick protocol for using NLP dissociation in coaching: 1) Identify the stuck state 2) Dissociate and 3) Continue coaching, maintaining the dissociated state. Ask the client what she wants, needs, etc….what her goals are given that situation over there.

Other Notes on NLP Dissociation

You can be associated – full of feelings – on the inside, but keep a cool, dissociated-appearing exterior. Others may not know you’re so associated. This is about how you express yourself more than anything.

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