The NLP Pattern of the Month:

Creating a "We-Field":
Evolving a Shared Resource (A "We-Source") Through Somatic Syntax

The following 'Generative NLP' process was first developed by Robert Dilts (GTC, London, 1998). Further refinements were added by he and Robert McDonald for the Group Mind, Team Spirit seminar. The purpose of this process is to share and enhance the experience of resourceful states by exploring them from different perceptual positions. The process produces the experience of fourth position through the co-creation of "a felt sense of sameness" between people that is explicitly derived from being in the other three perceptual positions. The process incorporates principles of spatial sorting, psychogeography and Somatic Syntax.

To be done initially in pairs.

  1. Identify a recent resourceful experience. Associated in your own first position (seeing through your eyes, feeling your feelings and hearing the world around you), explore the movement associated with that resourceful feeling and experience.

  2. Facing your partner, demonstrate that movement to him or her, and, staying in your own first position, watch the movement of your partner. From your own perspective, imitate the movement of your partner.

  3. Now, switch places and "step into the shoes of" (go to second position with) your partner. Make your partner's movement "as if" you actually were that person. Notice how you experience the movement differently.

  4. Go to an observer position (third position) and sense the similarities and differences between your partner's movement and resource, and your own.

  5. Return to your own first position. Turn so that you and your partner are standing side by side. Begin to make your initial resource movement once again. At the same time, your partner is to start making his or her movement. Together with your partner, make slight incremental adjustments in your movements until you find a common movement that blends your two resource states and movements into a fourth position, or "we-field," that represents the integration of both of you.

  6. As a pair, find another pair and repeat this same process; this time using the movement you created together as a couple. Then repeat it again in foursomes, etc., until you have found a common movement for the whole group.

Another variation of this process in a group (say of seven) would be for each person in the group to make his or her own resource movement, one at a time. While that person is making the movement, the rest of the group goes to "second position" taking on the movement themselves. When all group members have demonstrated their movements, the group members begin to first individually make their movements, incrementally changing them and blending them into a "group resource" movement.

This process demonstrates the generative aspects of perceptual positions (and in particular fourth position), preserving Bateson's notion of characterological adjectives and the creation of a "larger mind" as a function of the interactions between two or more others. Bateson provides the example of the dog and gibbon at play who create activities that are neither exclusively "dog" behaviors or "gibbon" behaviors, but "gibbon-dog" behaviors. The fourth "dog-gibbon" position emerges naturally out of their interaction. Thus, such a fourth position is, in Bateson's terms, "immanent" in the interaction between the dog and gibbon, rather than being some sort of "transcendent" awareness.

Also see the Article of the Month or the Archives if you are interested in checking out NLP in more depth.

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