The NLP Pattern of the Month:

Exercise: Making 'Neurolinguistic' Fractals

The following exercises were designed by Robert Dilts as a means to help people get a better "feel" for how fractals operate in our behavior. They use Somatic Syntax to practice creating, identifying and applying principles related to mathematical fractals with respect to tangible behavior.

Somatic Fractal Exercise

Get together with a partner.

  1. Identify a simple pattern or shape, such as a circle, triangle, or an "S" shape; but do not tell your partner what pattern you have selected.

  2. Ask your partner to close his or her eyes. Begin to make the pattern by moving your finger.

  3. Continuing to make the pattern with your finger, begin to make it with your wrist, your arm, hsoulders, head, hips, etc., until you are making the pattern with as many parts of your body as possible in a type of "dance."

  4. Have your partner open his or her eyes and see if he or she can guess the simple "deep structure" pattern from which your somatic fractal is being derived.

Resource Fractal Exercise

  1. Identify and associate into a resourceful state (e.g., creativity, confidence, focus, etc.)

  2. As you fully "relive" what it is like to be in this state, notice a pattern or quality of movement that accompanies the state.

  3. Mindfully make a few subtle variations in this movement, and notice the impact they have on your experience of the resourceful feeling, in order to get the sense of its deeper structure.

  4. Transfer the pattern and quality of movement to some other part of your body. If the movement naturally involved your arms, for instance, transfer it to your shoulders. Make any adaptations you need to until it seems natural, and you can feel the sense of the resourceful state as a result of making the movement with this other part of your body.

  5. Transfer the resourceful movement to as many parts of your body as you can (i.e., face, feet, eyes, breathing, hips, etc.).

You can repeat the above exercise using the visual and auditory representational systems. That is, find a pattern or quality in the images or words associated with the resource state. Then, begin to transfer that quality to other images and words. For instance, if there is a certain quality of color associated with the resource state, you can "color your world" by mapping it across to many other memories and images. If there is a certain quality of voice, begin to speak about different topics, transferring that quality of voice into whatever words you are saying.


Grolliers Multi Media Encyclopedia, 1993.

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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