Partly the reason why I write this article is because I have started to notice how a swish pattern didn’t come about by chance and how, we as human beings seem to already have the Swish system integrated in our minds.

A swish pattern is very useful for replacing negative states and behaviours with more positive ones very quickly. The benefit of doing so is that since you get more of what you are focusing on, your mind will be more focused on the positive image of the positive behaviour or state and you are therefore much more likely to achieve it. On a neurological level, a swish pattern is an opportunity to rewire your mind. Every time you think of that old negative image you replace it with the positive one. After doing this (swishing) several times it becomes impossible to focus on the old negative image as the brain has learned that the old negative thought instantly leads to the more positive one instead.

Swish is a very quick technique too (as the name implies, it is done with speed) this therefore offer the opportunity for a client to rehearse the process of replacing the old negative behaviour or state with the more positive one a lot, without it taking up much in the way of “real” time.

I always find too that swish gets both confusing and funnier the more swishes that you do. I deliberately speed my process up as I go along to induce both of these states. The confusion helps because when the client gets to a state when they say “hang on I don’t seem to be able to focus on my problem image any more!” you know that that is a far better state to the bad feeling it caused previously. Similarly if they keep laughing when they are supposed to be concentrating on something that made them feel bad, this is a good thing, right?

It’s definitely true to say that many people find it challenging to replace negative images in their mind with more positive ones so swish is a great way to help someone do this. I have known therapists who have used a swish pattern with a smoker to help them quit and the client stopped smoking completely, just from the swish pattern. No hypnosis or any other psychotherapy tools at all.

Recently I’ve noticed the gestures that people use when they create an unwanted image in their minds. Recently I was at an event where the speaker suggested something along the lines of “imagine me dancing around my kitchen in just my y-fronts” and simultaneously about 5 giggling women in the room started flicking their hand in front of their faces like a car windscreen wiper- which is exactly the motion used in a swish pattern to wipe away the old negative image and replace it with a more positive one from the lower left hand corner. In fact I even use this motion when I am explaining and using swish with my clients.

And I though NLP was a new form of thinking!

By Gemma Bailey