Our culture doesn’t encourage people to articulate their values or even to introspect very much. Our social institutions, including our schools, and major media outlets tend to encourage thinking in cliches.
You really help clients develop an entirely new level of self-respect and appreciation when you link their automatic thoughts and efforts to their highest values. Then they get the added benefit of seeing how they can become even more aligned. If there’s anything an NLP practitioner knows by heart, it’s that alignment creates more creativity and energy than most people knew they had.
When you deconstruct the client’s experience through a process such as the previous one, or some other sense mode breakdown, you are in a good position to work toward reconstruction.
Therapist: “So you really want to say these things to him, and you know that with his personality, he will start manipulating and not really let it register. At least that’s his usual style. Tell me about the values that drive your desire to say these things.”
Client: “Well, it’s really disturbing to know he’s in this little world of his pulling something like this with no accountability. I really want to get through to him.”
Therapist: “If you got through to him, that would mean that he would be a more caring person who could contribute more to the world, I suppose.”
Client: “Well, yes. “
Therapist: “Oh, and you would feel very different, free to say what you want and improvise when someone plays games like that. “
Client: “Yes, I have to say I feel limited with people like that. I seem to attract these idiots. Each time I’m angrier than the last time.”
Therapist: “I suppose you could say that your desire to meet a challenge like this is about making the world a better place.”
Client: “Okay, yeah, that would feel good. When pigs fly.”
Therapist: “So do you doubt your ability to communicate your values, or his ability to hear them?”
Client: “Well, I’m sure with a little work I could be ready to say what I need to say. But this guy is a real piece of work. I don’t think anybody ever gets through to him.”
Therapist: “Does that mean that refocusing your efforts on your own goals would be more meaningful than this fellow’s personality problem?”
Client: “Okay, yeah, you got that right. It’s true. I should.”
Therapist: “Since you tensed up and seemed unhappy about that prospect, let’s talk a little about what makes this not inspire you — because I know you get very jazzed about certain kinds of professional challenges.”
Note that we are starting to trigger a more resourceful state, by comparing this challenge to some that have inspired her, and by reminding her of feeling inspired. From here, the work would be about resolving obstacles to letting go of people with certain types of personalities, and on how to strategically cope with them, perhaps in terms of office politics.
The “reconstructing into values” here is that the client is thinking in terms of pursuing higher values at the same time as communicating more effectively. This helps make the work about something better than getting revenge or obsessing.