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49 Practical Pattern Breaking Techniques & Tips [Effective]

49 Practical Pattern Breaking Techniques & Tips [Effective]

In this article you will learn exactly how to break old patterns and get out of vicious circles. Here you will find simple, concrete techniques & exercises so that you can let go of all those old patterns. Breaking patterns allows you, for example, to recognize and change negative habits and feelings. Read along…

Contents of this page:

Let’s start right away with the tips for breaking patterns

Check out all the tips first. Then we will go into the underlying effect of these tips in detail. Many of these tips can be applied to someone else to break the pattern of another person.

If you constantly interrupt behaviors, moods or other patterns while they want to initiate themselves, the pattern cannot possibly be fired and continued. Make a scratch in the CD. As a result, the song can no longer be played when you put it in your CD player.

You will also find many tips below that you can apply to yourself. In any case, know that you can break through patterns with the tips below, and that you can then put a new pattern in its place. You will learn that after all the tips …

When patterns are broken, new worlds open up …
– Tuli Kupferberg

Tip 1 – Humor and provocation break patterns

Humor is a great way to divert attention and break patterns that way. An additional advantage is that this immediately causes a source of mood, namely one in which people laugh.

A good example is Jurgen Klopp, who with humorous pattern breaks puts his team in a good state of mind for important prizes and even won the champions league with them.

“He opened the lockerroom meeting with his shirt in his Cristiano Ronaldo boxer”, Wijnaldum laughs in conversation with  The Athletic . Ronaldo was the man to fear and was on the opponent’s team.

“The whole dressing room was full of laughter. That broke the ice. Normally people are very serious and focused in such situations. But he was just relaxed and made this joke”, says Wijnaldum,

“He has played a hundred such jokes. When you see that your manager is confident and also very relaxed, it has an effect on the players. He is a father figure to the players in that kind of thing. With his jokes and his body language he takes the pressure off the players. “

Provocative coaching also breaks through patterns. This works great, and it is also very humorous. Read the article about provocative coaching  (with many tips and examples)!

Finally, you can use humorous pattern breaks during ‘serious’ interventions, such as a phobia cure , or while modeling an obstacle.

Tip 2 – Break a pattern that is done the same way 100% of the time

A good example of this is shaking hands. When you shake the other person’s hand, they expect a normal handshake because that always happens. If you suddenly start doing something completely different while holding hands, the pattern is broken and the other person is confused. And getting confused is healthy! You will learn that after we have had all the tips …

Athletes also often set up a pattern. The opponent will always react in the same way. Then they break the pattern. Think of keepers or penalty takers during a penalty series.

Also in the supermarket it is really necessary to break through certain patterns. Cashiers pay no attention to the customer and blindly say the same thing over and over again. Interrupt this pattern by saying something completely different than expected: “You don’t think I’m going to pay …”

One final example: Milton Erickson knew that troubled children kept hearing the same pattern from angry parents. So what did Erickson do? He broke the pattern by encouraging it and even by participating with the child by mirroring the child.

Tip 3 – Don’t do what you say

break patterns

You can also announce that you are going to do something, while in practice you are going to do something else or do that earlier. For example:

  • If you say that you are going to count to 10 and say “Go into a trance” at 10, you can in practice already do that at 6 in order to actually take the client’s consciousness off its apropo.
  • You tell the other person to press against your hand, and after a few times you don’t give any more resistance but go with the strength of the other person in the direction the other is pushing.

Tip 4 – Do the opposite of what someone says

If someone very specifically asks you to do something, and then if you do the exact opposite, confusion will arise in whoever gave you the command. A pattern (doing what is expected) has been successfully broken!

“This is too pink.”
“It’s orange.”

Tip 5 – Go to another space, place and time (by means of a story)

You can confuse someone by orienting the other in time through the past, the present, the future, the now, later or whatever.

So divert to another space, place and time. For example by telling a story or metaphor or by talking about another memory. When you tell a story or anecdote, you are putting the person in a different location and time, so she doesn’t have to think critically. “I will take you to a time in the distant past, in land far away.”

Tip 6 – Start (suddenly) another topic of conversation

  • Start another topic to focus on. For example, ask an open question.
  • A teacher gives up homework and then changes the subject abruptly. The students will not consciously remember it, so they will not consciously resist it. They will do the homework.

Tip 7 – Start with a ‘strange’ different topic of conversation

Say something completely unrelated to the current topic and say it seriously, meaningfully, and absolutely congruent. The other person tries to understand the meaning that he cannot understand because it is not there. This is a wonderful entrance to trance and suggestions.

In the video above, you can see how football legend Eric Cantona gives his speech at a prestigious gala after winning a prestigious award. With his pattern-breaking speech he managed to get the whole room into a trance with frowning eyebrows, because all speeches during this gala have been going in the same way for decades.

  • In the middle of a conversation you may suddenly be talking about any other topic, such as checking your car’s brakes when driving on mountainous roads. Go into it very congruently, very detailed. You can get away with anything if you do it congruently.
  • “You know, I really don’t know where that bird came from. First it flew to the left, and then it flew all the way to the right, and then it circled, and then … I don’t know where it went then.”
  • “I also don’t like the snow when I have to travel by train.”
  • Are people in a heated argument? Then you can apply fun pattern interruption by grabbing your phone and snapping photos of everyone. A fun and memorable photo session spontaneously arises!

Tip 8 – Say or do crazy things

break cartridges

  • My god there is an elephant growing out of your purple top (the client wears a very different color).
  • I know what you’re thinking: I like red cabbage too.
  • Make a funny face.
  • ‘Happy Easter’ (while it is June).

Tip 9 – Overload of the critical factor

Your conscious brain (critical factor) cannot deal with more than 7 plus minus 2 pieces of information at the same time. If the critical factor simply has to endure too much information, it will be so occupied that it can no longer function as a defense mechanism against, for example, (embedded) suggestions. Once that’s done, you can immediately proceed to present your desired end result: the new pattern to break the old.

Previous tips have also been examples of this, and below you will find more examples of an ‘overload’ of the critical factor.

  • With details, such as many numbers or facts that the other person needs to remember. Or names and their family relationships, their (character) traits, colors, statistics, etc.
    “My friend John, with whom I had attended the training in Utrecht in 1983, went on holiday with me last year, and he went on the third day to the beach to meet his brother named Pieter who owns a 43 year old fishing fleet. And on that fishing boat called Marie Celesta, he has an employee named David, and David’s sister Debbie is a very interesting person because she grew up in a household where the parents always said relax … feel calm and at ease. And I’ve always seen Marie as a relaxed person. ”
  • You can also put all 3 representation systems to work. For example, you can let the client count down from 100 to 1 in steps of 3 counts. You let her tap along and visualize all the numbers. She should see a new color every 3 counts. “With every number you go deeper.”
  • Because you repeatedly switch between the past, the present, the future and the now in your story, you also overload and confuse the client.
  • You can also use many presuppositions (implications) one for overflow of the critical factor. The more presuppositions in a sentence, the more presupposition becomes, the more difficult it is for the listener to unravel it.
    “And I don’t know how quickly you will realize what your subconscious has already learned, because it is not important that you know that before you …”
  • You can also give a difficult physical task to the client to overload the critical factor. For example, have him follow your hand, not only with his eyes but also with his head, while you also grab one of his hands with your other hand to move his arms as well.
  • Touching and naming the other person’s fingers. He then has to find errors. For example, you call his ring finger his little finger. Make more and more mistakes until it gets too difficult and an overload occurs.
  • Use the Milton Model to bypass the critical factor in style.

Tip 10 – Use confusion to break patterns

break patterns

The purpose of the confusion technique is to deconstruct the current problematic framework, so that you can then lead to: infinite possibilities. Everything is possible.

How that works? Confusion is a mental state of disorientation and an inability to think clearly. Someone who is confused has a hard time thinking logically. And that logical thinking is exactly what we want to get rid of in order to reach infinite possibilities, to dream, to believe and to accept new suggestions. This is also called a state of induction as opposed to deduction.

The previous tips have been examples of this as well, and below are more examples of confusion as a means to break patterns:

  • Induce confusion with untruths:
    “A chair can have feelings….”
    “There are 3 things (show with fingers to be sure) to remember. The second is… ”
    “ Tell me again about your 2 children and your new job at Philips! ” (Actually, she has no children and had a completely different job.)
    “So I, the three of us, are all here for you.”
  • And if you forget to remember that you must remember what you want to forget to remember of all the things you want to remember.
  • You can confuse street promoters by returning exactly what they have to your shares to the promoter. They try to process what is happening before they realize they don’t want to.
  • When you meet people for the very first time, you can say, “Nice to see you again!”
  • Hand the client any object. Then walk away.
  • Don’t finish sentences or cut words out of the sentence: “And then you don’t know if your left or right hand is going up or if it … And then you’ll know you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
  • At the till: “Did you really think I was going to pay?”
  • When the conductor comes to check your train ticket, give another ticket.
  • Name synonyms as different things: “Would you rather be in hypnosis now … or would you like to be in a trance?”

Tip 11 – Dance and move

Whether you are going to dance or walk for a while, you will immediately find yourself in a fresh state of mind, ready for new possibilities and ready to take on it again!

Tip 12 – Switch your attention between internal and external experiences

break patterns

You suddenly turn your attention to something else. Point to something in the area. When you switch from internal to external experiences, the attention is fractionated . Have the other person focus on any detail.

  • For example, after the client opens his eyes after a hypnosis session full of internal experiences. “Notice how quiet the room is.”
  • Do you also smell the flowers from the garden?
  • “Do you smell popcorn too?”
  • Do you see all those people there?
  • Oh, yes, we’re here, in this room!
  • Notice the feeling in your foot and which one is lighter.

Tip 13 – Focus on a different emotion

Take another emotion to focus on. This too is fractionation: if you keep switching emotions, the attention is greatly distracted: the pattern has been broken.

Tip 14 – Talk about distraction / forgetfulness

If you suddenly get distracted, the pattern you were in is suddenly broken! Also, by definition, the pattern is broken when you fall into a forgetful state of mind. So bring another into this state of mind by talking about this state, for example:

  • “Everyone has experienced being distracted at some point. You were talking to someone about a certain topic, and the topic changes. What were you talking about again? You don’t really know. It’s perfectly natural to be distracted. to have an effect on you And you get up and go into the kitchen to get something Something terribly important When you get there you forget what you wanted to get, or what you wanted to do It’s not until you leaves and goes back to the first room and you suddenly remember. “
  • “We both forget something sometimes … Now, soon … When you … As you now-soon could / will forget where you left your bike key, or where your bike is at all, just like we forgot what we just said … “
  • Talk about that one book you couldn’t find after you moved … Or that book whose title you don’t remember … What was the title again, and what did the cover look like again?

Tip 15 – Change your representation system

Guide the client with your hands to a different eye direction than where the information is stored. Or literally wave away the images (with your hands in front of their faces) that people are looking at. You can optionally draw the positive images over a person or object. For example, the client can no longer search in that part of his thinking where certain information is stored: changing representation system is used as a means to break through patterns.

A woman with a fear of heights visualized falling when she stood by the window: she entered the visual representation system to be able to carry out her negative pattern. Bandler: “Sing the national anthem in your head while walking back to the window.”

You can also do the opposite if you want to look up information more easily.

  • How does your car smell?
  • What color are your socks?
  • What did you have for breakfast today?

Tip 16 – Adopt a different perspective

Take on a different perspective: a different perception position.

Tip 17 – “What’s that behind you?”

Pretending to be looking at someone behind the other person breaks the pattern because something interesting is happening behind the other person. Pinch your eyes on that too.

Tip 18 – Use a lot of double negative formulations

“I don’t have a car that doesn’t work. I can’t have a car that doesn’t work and you better relax than now (the latter is the suggestion) (from fast to slow).

Tip 19 – Break through expectations

Milton Erickson once had a woman in the room who was purposely dressed in all purple because she took into account Erickson’s color blindness. Purple is the only color he could recognize. Erickson told the woman, “I have no idea what color dress you are wearing, could you tell me?” Meanwhile, he could name the colors of everyone else’s clothes. Her expectations had been broken twice:

  • Erickson could now suddenly recognize purple and normally not.
  • Erickson could now suddenly recognize all other colors and normally not.

And the woman immediately fell into a trance.

Tip 20 – Research the other person’s patterns

exploring breaking patterns

For example, in the waiting room of some therapy practices, patients are observed to observe what patterns they are getting into.

Tip 21 – Draw attention to something unimportant, so that you no longer pay attention to the problem

Milton Erickson often did this by giving his clients homework assignments that drew all the attention. A client never dared to drive out of town onto the highway. Erickson gave the following homework: “Put on your best suit on Sunday, hit the freeway, stop on the emergency lane, then lie down in the gutter every mile.”

This pattern interruption took all energy and attention away from the problem!

Tip 22 – Give someone a sudden hug as a loving pattern break

Does a street vendor just want to stop? Has someone been nagging you for 10 minutes? Stop everything and just give the other person a friendly hug. This interrupts the pattern immediately, but immediately in a warm, friendly and loving way.

Tip 23 – Chunk up and Chunk down

A brilliant way to find a way out of a pattern or circle reasoning is to chunken .

  1. Downcunken: How do you know?
  2. Upchunken: What’s in it for you?

Tip 24 – ‘Let’s take a break’ (Pauses are pattern breaks!)

Use the power of coffee breaks! This allows you to do the intervention with the client when he does not expect it at all: “Okay, let’s take a break.” Now he no longer expects you to do coaching exercises with him, so the break is the time to strike.

You can create the same effect by saying: “We haven’t started yet.” Or: ‘This is just a test. It’s not for the real yet ‘. The pressure will be off and the conscious brain will not get in the way.

Before we start … are you comfortable? Are you aware that you are comfortable? And as you feel more and more of that comfort, I wonder what other awakenings … creativity … curiosities … are also showing themselves … in the head and body. I don’t know … but your subconscious mind knows …

Anyway, do you want to start the session?

– Milton Erickson

Tip 25 – Use Ambiguities

Ambiguities also cause confusion, but in a really fun way. Watch this Ravisie story.  This is a very easy and fun technique to experiment with. Ambiguities tie in nicely with the overload of the critical factor because they can be used, among other things, for confusion, whereby the critical factor is occupied. The doors are then wide open.

Double meaning

A kind of ambiguities is when two words with different meanings sound the same.

  • courage and must
  • ice cream and ice cream
  • keep and wood
  • lead and suffer
  • light and lies

Prime / seed your ambiguity in your client before executing it. Suppose you want to take advantage of the double meaning of the word ‘flower’. Then make sure you talk about baking and pies beforehand and then talk about ‘flour’ as in a garden for the confusion. Emphasize the word you want to use for the double meaning it has.

Unclear context

If the meaning or assignment of a word cannot be immediately determined by the context, the other words in the sentence.

  • “Speaking to you as someone who loves good feelings / loves learning very much / likes to invest in learning.”
  • “Speaking to you as someone interested in hypnosis.”
  • “Dog biting can be dangerous.”

End of a sentence = start of next sentence:

  • It is so that people quickly forgive me that glass.
  • You can relax – now … it’s time to …
  • I overslept this morning so I couldn’t read the news on the internet anymore and I thought that was a shame because the news is something I like to follow … The finger … as it leads to …
  • When you earn a lot, you become… hand me that glass.
  • Do you think that this warm air area too… pulls you by… your feeling deeper into trance?
  • That is otherwise very nice, hear all those beautiful speeches
  • …you are. Unconscious … Example: “Usually it depends on how old you are. They subconsciously take this into account.
  • “I recently went to {concert name} with a friend. That concert was really  great, I later found out that I forgot my mobile there.”
  • Think of all those good things that you become, being very happy here and now  is a very beautiful thing.

Tip 26 – Throw with something

break cartridges

Grab something from your fruit bowl and toss with an apple or even better, a ball. Can you CATCH?

Tip 27 – Head, shoulders, knees and toes!

Turn the song on very loud and move!

Tip 28 – Make an assignment

  1. Spell your name backwards.
  2. What are the last 3 digits of your phone number?
  3. What are the first 3 digits of your phone number backwards?
  4. Count from 104 to 98.

Tip 29 – Do a quick elicitation of a TOTE strategy

How did you choose your clothes this morning? Do a TOTE elicitation for this.

Tip 30 – Think of a cold shower

Nice and cool.

Tip 31 – Do a month of ‘intermittent fasting’!

By inserting a fast into your life, you change your entire lifestyle, which is a gigantic pattern interruption: you control your appetite, you get up very early, you have a different view of food, you have more conscious mornings, your body can detoxify and much more.

A very nice, large pattern interruption!

Tip 32 – Only see the good things in a ‘bad’ situation

Has anyone done something bad? Then list all the good things. This is not expected, making this a pattern break from a potential downward spiral.

Tip 33 – Do a kinesthetic swish technique

  1. With a kinesthetic swish technique you completely empathize with how stuck you are now in a certain pattern. You do that in a certain place in the room, often sitting. You feel and acknowledge the current situation with the current feeling completely. You also thank the feeling for the positive intention that you keep.
  2. Then you start moving with your body, walking around and you adjust your posture in such a way that you enter a completely different state of mind. How are you then? How will your face stand? Also address the other elements of the subjective experience, such as, “What do you say to yourself, how do you feel, what do you do?”
  3. Finally, you cancel the old pattern by sitting in the place where you were at the beginning, when you were feeling in the current pattern.

You can compare this to feeling the pain and the sadness – of the technique of the pain-pleasure principle – but with less content.

Tip 34 – Shake it off!

shaking through patterns

Let that go!

Tip 35 – Just move with your toes and fingers

This will immediately bring you into your body.

Tip 36 – Stamp with one foot, turn 360 degrees, stamp with the other foot, make a Y with your body

Did you do it? And now shake it loose!

Tip 37 – Do NLP New Code Games

These are powerful games where you use your whole body and both hemispheres at the same time. For example, just grab a ball and get someone to throw it over. Make it more and more difficult to make it look like the Croydon Ball Game (New Code Game).

Tip 38 – Do classic NLP interventions

Every NLP intervention breaks patterns. Take a Swish technique for example . Or the Dickens technique . Or  another submodality technique , where you make the voice of your brooding internal dialogue very sexy, or where you speak that internal dialogue with fingers in your nose.

Tip 39 – Use reframing techniques

Later in this article you will learn why rethinking (reframing) is a way to interrupt patterns.

Tip 40 – Use your breathing and other simple Mindfulness techniques

Mindfulness techniques are ideally suited to break patterns. Simply following your breathing for a few minutes already ensures peace and quiet in your head.

Simply make the connection with your body. As soon as you feel your old pattern, start feeling the feelings in your body. It then becomes easier to choose a new response.

Additionally, if someone is in circular reasoning or stuck in a pattern, and your questions aren’t going anywhere, use mindfulness questions (questions that make the other aware of what is happening here, now and in their body) to get out of this set pattern. to break.

What happens now?

Tip 41 – Suddenly focus on something completely different with your eyes

For example, hypnotherapists hold the client’s right hand up and point it. You let the client look at his right hand and focus, and eventually tell the client that the client can focus on something completely different: “You can focus … focus all your attention, focus all your attention, focus all your attention, all your … on my left eye … ”

Tip 42 – Just do something in a different way than you are used to

Take a different route to work.

Tip 43 – Do something different: something you don’t normally do (and preferably daily)

break patterns

Wear a different piece of jewelry, try out a new ingredient, or do a different mindfulness exercise every day.

Tip 44 – Pat your body very quickly with your hands and exhale loudly

Get active! Pep up yourself! Then take a deep breath in and out. Make noise while doing so. This is important. “Ha!” Your throat must vibrate!

Tip 45 – Process old emotions

Process and very old pain and old emotions .

Tip 46 – Arrange a seating arrangement differently

Now that you can spot patterns, it’s time to interrupt them! For example, if you are giving a workout, change the seating arrangement completely after the break!

Tip 47 – Live your life in sets of 30-day experiments

Test everything for 30 days. So you are never in a fixed pattern, but you have a super varied and flexible life. For example, do you run into a vegan who tells you to do it too? Instead of arguing, test it for 30 days. ‘I don’t know, I’ve never tried it. Let me go vegan for 30 days and see what happens. ‘ Or eat meat for 30 days and see what happens. Or meditate or yoga … you name it!

Tip 48 – Shock and play with emotions

Tony Robbins often uses this. He sometimes suddenly uses a expletive term at a time when it is normally not expected. In this way a pattern is broken and a commotion arises in the other.

More examples in everyday life:

  • Are you in a room with lots of children? Then shout: downstairs is free ice cream! And watch them all go there.
  • If you are on the market at a butcher with all kinds of salami, and there are children around, ask: “Do you also have a labrador?”
  • A waiter says, “We are out of lunch.” Then say, “Too bad, we just wanted to have lunch.”
  • In this way, come up with even more ideas that you can play with people’s emotions.

Tip 49 – Use schema therapy

You will learn what schema therapy is and how to apply it in ‘Breaking Patterns’, the famous book.

Tip 50 – Focus on something positive: feel grateful

Positive thoughts are an excellent pattern break. Feel grateful about something in the situation and you immediately interrupt a negative pattern. You can also simply think back to something general that you are grateful for in your life.

Tip 51 – Do  a pattern break often 

Practice your chosen pattern break (s) as often as possible. The more you do it, the more your system gets used to shifting your focus to something new and meaningful.

The more often you interrupt a negative person, the easier it will be to convert the negative behavior into something positive.

Those were all the tips for breaking patterns – Now let’s get into the theory

The theory of interrupting patterns goes further than just interrupting a pattern. There must also be a new pattern in its place, otherwise it is of little use. I would therefore like to point out that breaking through patterns is part of a series of techniques that you perform to achieve the desired result. So check out the article about giving hypnotic suggestions  after breaking a pattern, because if you integrate that with this technique, you are guaranteed to achieve results!

Confusion and ‘Overload’ are important tools to break patterns, but why?

Why do we have to overload and confuse the critical factor (the conscious brain) to break patterns? This is because the critical factor is on the lookout as a kind of ‘guard’ and strictly ensures that no new behavior and new information enters the brain. We must therefore distract or overload this ‘guard’ with information, so that new patterns can creep in.

You are bypassing or engaging the critical factor that leaves the doors to the subconscious wide open for suggestions.

How does confusion cause a pattern break?

interrupt confusion patterns

The purpose of the confusion technique is to deconstruct the current problematic framework, so that you can then lead to: infinite possibilities. Everything is possible.

How that works? Confusion is a mental state of disorientation and an inability to think clearly. Someone who is confused has a hard time thinking logically. And that logical thinking is exactly what we want to get rid of in order to reach infinite possibilities, to dream, to believe and to accept new suggestions. This is also called a state of induction as opposed to deduction.

Confusion puts you in an uncertain state: you are faced with a new, strange situation. Because of this uncertain situation, the subconscious of a person is open to any form of ‘restoration of order’, so any form of guidance. The subconscious is looking for instructions on how to get out of this unusual situation and so will grasp any suggestion as long as it offers a little more certainty than the surprising situation the coach has created at the time. So this is an excellent time to make hypnotic suggestions.

Let’s take the example of a coach who uses the confusion technique with a client. You have to deduce the consciousness of your client a number of times during the coaching, so that you can communicate directly with the subconscious of the client. Another way of saying this is to bypass the critical factor. For example, you have to deduce the conscious at two moments: just before you change someone’s beliefs or perform an intervention and shortly afterwards (break state).

Getting around the critical factor: how do you proceed?

You use the confusion technique twice: before and after an intervention / technique. The first time you divert the conscious, leaving the gates to the subconscious wide open. Then, through hypnotic suggestions , you can install the healing / encouraging words in the subconscious mind: the intervention.

When you are done with the intervention, you start bypassing the critical factor (the conscious brain) again. Distracting the conscious brain causes amnesia . When you interrupt a pattern, a small amount (or complete) of memory loss occurs for what was before the interrupt. The neural path is cut off.

The client forgets what happened just before the interruption. So take advantage of this amnesia feature to create another distraction after installing the words of encouragement / healing so that the client is unaware of the intervention you performed. The client cannot consciously remember it, so he will not have any conscious resistance to it .

Why is this desirable? The purpose or healing can now grow from within. If you want to prove that the client was in a trance because of the amnesia, you can, for example, have the client take off a shoe during the exercise.

At the end of the video below you will find a practical example of how this technique is used at the end of a coaching session.

In addition, you can use this technique to make the conscious brain remember more. When everything is always the same, you have to pay less attention because you just expect the next thing to be the same. Precisely because you keep drawing attention to other matters and topics of conversation, you will be able to bring information more dynamically and thus you can keep the focus of your conversation partners sharp.

The Break State in NLP interventions is a pattern break

break patterns

After experiencing each state of mind, bring the client back to a neutral state of mind. This keeps your moods pure and you create a piece of amnesia for the conscious, about what just happened. This is often referred to as the ‘break state’.

Important rule: always start the pattern interruption immediately

It is very important that you use this technique right away so that the client does not have a chance to consciously check what happened in the moment before you started the distraction. On the other hand, don’t be too quick to use this technique. Let the client first process what you want to divert attention from, and only then initiate the distraction. Do it just before they want to say anything consciously about what just happened.

Even after you have used this forgetting / confusing technique, you have to be quick. This time with a hypnotic suggestion . This hypnotic suggestion is automatically accepted because the confused subconscious wants to reach for every suggestion in order to regain clarity.

Why does a pattern break work?

All kinds of neural pathways are created in your brain. Every time you do something, you are strengthening one neural pathway and training another neural pathway over time. So do or don’t do something until it no longer requires mental strength. When you use a pattern break, you just create a new neural path!

A step back… You can now interrupt patterns, but how do you recognize them?

Interrupting patterns is important, but there is nothing to interrupt if you don’t know what the pattern is! So first recognize the pattern. You can get better at this by starting an exercise that I will describe later.

If you want to get really sharp and read between the lines to look at problems, this exercise is for you. You train yourself to recognize and manipulate patterns. When you discover, understand, use and become part of patterns, you show flexibility.

You recognize a pattern because something happens three times or more:

1 time is an incident.
2 times is a coincidence.
3 times is a pattern.

Recognizing patterns: a fun exercise

break patterns

It is very useful to have the ability to spot certain patterns, such as: father raises his voice in a certain way, causing someone to say, “ah!”, And mother reassuring everyone, “It’s OK.” Stimulus, response, stimulus, response … bing bing bing … This happens unconsciously.

What kind of anchors are fired, what is the non-verbal dance? Who does what to whom in a non-verbal way?

What else is going on here besides the surface texture of the words? What kind of anchors are fired that someone responds to, and then the next and the next etc?

  • Someone can say, “Oh, really?”
  • Coughed up
  • A referral look at someone
  • Roll your eyes
  • “So…”
  • A certain body position “
  • And that fires someone …
  • And it does something …
  • And that fires someone else …

Test your skills by doing the exercise below with a group of people.

  1. The pattern discoverer thinks of a context in which he could often find himself in and tells this to his practice partners.
  2. The pattern discoverer leaves the room.
  3. The other 3 persons play roles in the context mentioned by the pattern discoverer. They prepare, in the form of a play, a surface issue that will be discussed later, and they prepare a (non-verbal) pattern / behavior that the pattern discoverer will have to notice between the lines: A always starts, and fires a consistent trigger / anchor that produces a consistent response at B, which triggers C in turn. Discuss this and prepare this. The triggers and responses can be all elements from the list of VAKOG , for example a facial expression (with eye contact), a certain posture or a sarcastic sound: ‘So … …’
  4. When the pattern play is prepared, the pattern discoverer returns and has a normal conversation in that situation where a problem or conflict is taking place.
  5. Meanwhile he tries to discover the systematic sequences and patterns of anchored responses, especially non-verbal. Find out who always starts with it.
  6. When you have figured out what the first trigger is to start the pattern, you ‘steal’ that signal: fire the trigger yourself, and see if you can trigger the rest of the chain yourself.
  7. Remember to make the exercise more and more difficult: you want to stretch the consciousness of the pattern explorer, so pay close attention to how difficult you make it.

First you can recognize a pattern, then you can change it.

  1. Recognize pattern: The accountant taps his pen and the R&D manager is then upset because there is not enough money.
  2. Changing Pattern: John Grinder elicited enthusiasm from the R&D manager and pulled out a pen at the same time. He re anchored same stimulus to a different state of mind.
  3. The next time the accountant taps his pen, the R&D manager falls into a cooperative, enthusiastic frame of mind.

More information about patterns? Read about the TOTE model.

Recognize patterns more and more … And then break those patterns!

Then when you break those patterns, you are doing things that are very effective. You are not changing the client itself, but you are changing a stimulus, to which people react in a certain way. A number of important NLP techniques, especially working with frameworks (rethinking) , make use of this principle. When reframing you notice a pattern, which is the frame, and you then break through: the reframing.

Interrupt someone’s pattern often enough and they cannot go back to that pattern.

Keep practicing recognizing patterns, and especially enjoy or interrupt them. Good luck! How do you interrupt patterns? Let us know in the comments if you discovered a smart way.

About The Author


Hello! Thanks for reading these articles. My intention is to make happiness as simple and clear as posssible. By the way, excuse my English. I am not a native English speaker since I live in Amsterdam. Much appreciated if you use the comments to make suggestions on my grammar. See ya in another blogpost!