Chunk Up (or Chunking Up) means that you move from specifics to generalities. Chunk Down (or Chunking Down) means that you move from generalities to specifics. Chunk Up is answering questions such as, “What is this for?” “Does it mean that you/I/we/this?” “What is the intention?” “What could be the purpose?” Chunking up doesn’t necessarily mean that you move all the way to the most general statement you can make about the subject. It means that you only move to a MORE general statement, not necessarily the highest / most general.
Chunk Down is about answering questions such as, “How could we use it?” “Is it…?” “Does that mean that we could do…?” Chunking Down doesn’t necessarily mean that you move all the way to the most specific statement. But, you only move towards a more specific set of ideas.
The Chunk Up -> Chunk Down pattern can be described as a range: Whatever you say or hear can be marked as a point on that Chunk Up -> Chunk Down range. From that point, you can either chunk up and generalize or chunk down and be more specific. To enhance rapport and get a sense of agreement and unity between you and another person, chunk up! Rarely do people refuse to agree to nominalization. When you say, “Love is wonderful.” how many people will disagree? That’s a huge chunk. If you say, “Your love is wonderful.” there’s an opening for a debate and not necessarily an immediate agreement.
You chunk up to get agreement. You chunk down to solve problems. How do you eat an elephant? Remember? Right…one piece at a time. That’s chunking down. A person presents a problem to you and asks for your help to solve it. If you chunk down long enough, they will find their own solutions on their own, making their own decisions and thanking you for opening up their eyes. You don’t have to know EVERYTHING, you just need to chunk down further.
You chunk up to hypnotize. You chunk down to de-hypnotize. You don’t need to be a hypnotist in order to hypnotize others. You see, just by using words and talking to people, you’re already generating trance states in others. They don’t have to close their eyes and quack like a duck. Hypnosis is everything between a daydream and moon walking. We move in, and out of hypnosis, numerous times every day. When you’re in a state of hypnosis, you’re more suggestible; more easily influenced by your surroundings and by your inner world. When you chunk up, you get people to think about intentions, purposes, philosophy and meaning by using a nominalization (a word that describes something you cannot physically point at, like love, influence, subconscious, etc.) You cause the other person to go inside and think about the meaning of what you said. They must make sense of it; and that inner search after the meaning, that’s a trance!
Sometimes you will want to de-hypnotize; to take the person out of hypnosis. If your chat mate is spacing out too often, having a hard time listening and concentrating, or is in pain (another form of self hypnosis: concentrating obsessively on the physical feeling of pain), then you can de-hypnotize that person by chunking down. When you dig into the details, the present reality kicks in and the world of philosophy fades. Milton Erickson’s method to relieve pain was mainly about chunking down. By analyzing the physical pain, wherever in the body it is, you make it smaller and less important. The brain goes from “Oh, it is painful in my teeth.” to “Oh, there’s that rough sensation in the 3rd tooth from the right, on its front side right above that small white dot.” In hypnotherapy we use chunking down a lot when dealing with phantom pains (pains that feel real, even though there is no known physical reason).