“All persons are puzzles until at last we find in some word or act the key to the man, to the woman: straightaway all their past words and actions lie in light before us.”—RALPH WALDO EMERSON
“The conscious mind may be compared to a fountain playing in the sun and falling back into the great subterranean pool of subconscious from which it rises.”– Sigmund Freud
An understanding of the unconscious is crucial to NLP methodology. Patterns II: NLP was inspired by the Milton model and recognizes that the unconscious is responsible for a vast amount of processing power and information.
There are several things NLP does with this insight:
1) Unconscious mastery:
It understands that change work with NLP requires too many skills to handle consciously. You can learn by practicing consciously, but then they must become largely unconscious skills integrated into a larger whole that we call unconscious mastery.
2) Unconscious resources:
Although the client of the NLP practitioner may have conscious ideas about the problems and solutions they want to work on, surprising solutions may emerge when the subconscious is respected and stimulated or directed to resolve the problem or pursue an outcome. Not only are clients able to benefit, but also the practitioner may find surprising solutions arise that enhance their NLP practice at any moment.
3) Deconstruction into consciousness, and reconstruction into unconscious mastery:
Many of our reactions and solutions (including destructive or limiting ones) can be brought into consciousness using methods of NLP, such as the analysis of how they are represented in the sensory modalities. Many NLP techniques help us rearrange the way the processes take place or are encoded as memories. This can produce dramatic improvements in problems that have defied numerous efforts from more traditional therapists. It helps us rearrange a dysfunctional behavior into a resourceful one. Thus, the beginning practitioner, or a practitioner that has not yet learned to utilize the subconscious, can use NLP techniques while missing the spirit of NLP. Trying to do NLP with a focus that is exclusively on conscious workings will miss out on the rich resources of subconscious information and problem solving. The work will be much less likely to result in solutions, and will appear quite superficial to a more well-rounded practitioner.