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[Full Script] Swish Technique: The NLP exercise for behavior change

[Full Script] Swish Technique: The NLP exercise for behavior change

The Swish technique we install new choice options for a new way of life. Every time you want to remember the old behavior or experience it again in the future, it is knocked away by a new image of your desired behavior. Read further…

Why does the Swish technique work?

There are several reasons why the Swish technique works. One of the reasons is visualization. Because with visualization you change your mindset. With the Swish technique you add an NLP refinement to your visualization: submodalities .

Another reason why the Swish technique works is because it creates a positive vicious circle of your self-image. This works, for example, as follows:

  • If you think you are clumsy, you will notice the times when you act awkwardly, such as bumping into a table. And this will reinforce the belief that you are a clumsy person.
  • If you see yourself as a charismatic person, you will start to notice and collect experiences / examples of charismatic behavior from you. You notice that when you walk in a door, you take up more space and everyone is looking at you. And this will reinforce the belief that you are a charismatic person.

As you build a collection of experiences and images – from your past, present, or future – more will be created. This is partly due to the law of selective perception . So choose positive, desired images of your self-concept. You do that with the Swish technique.

Swish technique script: all steps

The core of the exercise is: you visualize yourself with the desired behavior. You eventually become that developed version of yourself (with the desired goal and outcome) that you visualize. There is an interesting movement that you have to make to make this exercise successful. Below you will find the exercise from start to finish.

  1. Identify the context in which you would like more choice in behavior: the unwanted image.
  2. Identify the resources to satisfy the same intention, but with different behaviors. Do not set substitute behavior, but determine the properties (resources) you need. So see a ‘transformed you’. Someone you want to be. In a neutral background. Who doesn’t do anything specific. Make the good example image realistic, so not as some kind of superhero.
  3. Begin by experiencing the unwanted image of the current situation and associated with the automatic unwanted habit. This is an opportunity for the coach to calibrate : he / she can now see what the problem state of mind looks like so he can see if that has changed at the end of the Swish technique.
  4. Rewind the video to the moment when you still had a choice (the trigger). So find out what the trigger is for that unwanted behavior. What happens right before this unwanted image or behavior starts? What do you see, hear or feel that tells you it is time to start with the unwanted state of mind? The video stops at this moment of choice, when you have not yet started the unwanted behavior. From now on we call this the old, unwanted image. Experience this current, negative behavior  associated . Name everything from the list VAKOG + what do you think, feel and do?
  5. Break state.
  6. Create the attractive desired image in response to the trigger (the moment of choice). This picture is dissociated. Make it attractive by using submodalities (brighter, bigger, etc.). Notice the abilities and qualities (resources) of the transformed you. What is his / her identity? So let this not be specific behavior, but a context-less you with all the necessary resources, skills and qualities for new choices. In this way you create choices instead of one new behavior.
  7. Now playing with submodalities starts.  In other words, we’re going to do the swish movement. The submodalities used in this example for the actual swish movement are just a few of the thousands of examples. Feel free to design them yourself.
    Hold the unwanted image (associated) in your left hand and bring it towards you. Feel the heavy and nasty energy of this hand. Do you remember? This is the (associated) movie until the moment of choice, so everything is still good.
  8. Now see the dissociated desired image before you replace it. This is still far away and dark. Put this statue in your right hand.
  9. Now make the actual swish movement: bring the desired image to your face. Large and in color. Feel the positive energy in this hand. Reinforce the healthy habit. Picture yourself with the resources. Make this image as attractive as possible, for example by visually rotating and enlarging the image so that it completely covers your vision etc.
  10. Remember the ecology / congruence check: do you want to become this person? What does that mean for your environment?
  11. Break state by making the screen white, black or by opening your eyes (at least not by turning the swish back). So once the desired image is completely large, overwhelming so that you cannot ignore it, and once it is strong, you simply turn the image off / make it white. So don’t let it go back the other way or something like that (one direction we want: improvement). So just click away.
    We’re going to do it again, and this time with a Swish sound.
  12. The unwanted representation of yourself is in your left hand, and the new choice in your right. Hold them, look at that unwanted one in your left hand (this is one of the last times you’ll ever see him) by bringing him close to your face, holding the desired far-right bottom of you. So play the unwanted image (associated) with your left hand coming towards you. This image is slowly and surely getting bigger and closer.
  13. Swish: but from the bottom right you see the small replacement scene, the size of a stamp, with the desired situation, which you bring closer with your right hand, making it bigger and bigger in relation to the image in your left hand. So it goes faster than the unwanted, so the desired will dominate, while the unwanted image is always at the expense of it and becomes smaller and weaker. The desired image gets closer and closer until it explodes all over your vision and pushes your left hand far away into the distance. There is now in front of you a large bright colorful image of what you do want, which has completely replaced the previous image. Always make sure that the images become evenly larger and smaller: so for example not one after the other, but that there is overlap / connection, so that the trigger in the real world is automatically anchored in the coming period and the desired image is automatically activated. Say in the affirmative, “You are doing your desired behavior …” Also use other modalities, such as auditory: hear the voice of yourself that is more disciplined, more developed, more resourceful, and has more choices.
  14. Repeat the Swish 5 times. Slowly at first, then super fast. bring the right hand with the desired image to your face and discard the unwanted one. Even make sure that the wind from the hand can be felt in your face. Throw away the unwanted image in one go, and if you made it into a screen, you have to empty it in one go. Also add a ‘swish’ or ‘whoosh’ sound.
    Play the unwanted image, and when you get the trigger: SWISH. Play, trigger: SWISH. Play, trigger: SWISH!
  15. Shake loose (break state).
  16. Test it! If I were to say: think of {context}, what kind of picture comes to your mind? Fire a trigger for the unwanted habit. Are you still responding to that with the unwanted habit? Did it work? You can also test the old behavior live: Try doing that old unwanted thing again, what feeling do you get? can you manage that? Watch out for an inhibition / falter / stop = successful! Notice how difficult, if not impossible, it is for you to do it. Note that you have to think about how to do it again. It is no longer as automatic as it used to be. ‘
  17. Future pace the desired image: check whether the client immediately tends to display the desired behavior.

Variation on the swish – Don’t replace, but combine

Combine all the good qualities of the two by clapping your hands. After all, every negative habit also has a positive underlying purpose. For example, if you are lazy, you may subconsciously want to take good care of yourself and give yourself more rest.

Variation on the swish – Using different submodalities and visualizations: a conveyor belt

Put the unwanted image on a conveyor belt that goes away and the good one on a conveyor belt towards you. The conveyor belt is attached to your face, making the images straight, big in your face.

Variation on the swish – Using different submodalities and visualisations: also working with color and black and white

Use color and distance: The unwanted behavior is close and in color. The desired behavior is far away and black and white. Swish! (Make ‘the screen’ white, and repeat)

Variation on the swish – Using different submodalities and visualizations: extreme speed and power

Put the unwanted image on the horizon and let it shoot towards your face. Or visualize a giant catapult firing the new image at you.

Finally, it is good to note that you naturally find freedom in designing swishes by following an NLP course.

Variation on the swish – the auditory swish

If the trigger isn’t visual, but a sound, then you just get to work with auditory submodalities: make the sound softer and give it more pauses. At the same time you make a pleasant, source-full sound stronger, faster and closer.

The NLP principle of choice and flexibility remains valid, even if you ‘beat’ / ‘program’ the old behavior away

With the Swish technique you almost literally cut off the neural path of your old behavior and put the new behavior in its place. That sounds like a ‘hard delete’, but ‘deleting’ is not ‘des-NLPs.’ Having new choices as an option is ‘des-NLPs’. All NLP presuppositions also remain valid with this technique.

So keep an eye on the NLP principle of choice, among other things . NLP is about creating new choices (ie flexibility), not necessarily changing and / or removing old habits. From now on you can choose which behavior you go for, so there is no automatic tendency / desire for a certain unwanted behavior.

In short: the Swish creates more freedom – just like all other NLP techniques.

To your freedom!

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!