I worked with a friend who wanted to change her attitude to exercise. She knew that she wanted to get fitter, and felt better when she exercised. However, she found she was making excuses to herself for not doing the exercise.

I asked her to picture herself doing this habit, ie finding excuses for not exercising. Once she told me that she could picture it, I asked her how she would like to be instead. She described herself as being energetic, motivated and finding reasons TO do the exercises. I asked her to picture herself doing this.

We identified through contrastive analysis that brightness and size were the strongest submodalities for her. I asked her to change these for the most positive kinaesthetic.

When we had done this, I asked her to step back into her original picture and make it a big, bright picture, as these were her critical submodalities, and to associate with the image.

I then asked her to make her desired state small and black and to put it in the bottom left hand corner of her mental ‘screen’. I explained that we were going to swap these pictures around, making the small black (desired) image big and bright and in the centre of her ‘screen’. We would do this really quickly, and several times; each time I would ask her to close her eyes and picture the ‘swish’ whilst I made the noise, and then I would ask her to open her eyes for a moment to clear her ‘screen’.

We did this five times in total. She said that she felt much more motivated to get on with her exercises. She could not picture herself making any excuses.

I feel it was successful, as she said she was more confident about the new behaviour.


When I am lecturing, giving a speech in public or even making a podcast or video my voice quivers for the first few seconds up to a minute. The new behaviour I wanted to  to achieve was self confidence from the first second. The trigger for the negative behaviour was my fear that people would realise how clueless I am. I had to swish 5-6 times before I got it right. It went well. I replaced my picture of shaking with a picture of me sitting behind a desk relaxed and professional.


I have used this so many times on myself now. I think it’s my favourite NLP exercise ever! A client of mine had a horrible fear of the dentist. The trigger was simple. A very bad experience, the last time she visited the dentist, many years ago now.

I asked her to remember the visit to the dentist and to talk me through what had happened.We then put that into the left hand corner of her minds eye-she chose to do it with her eyes shut- I then asked her to describe how she would like her next visit to go, describing it in as much detail as possible. Making the experience she next wants as positive, colourful and as vivid as possible. I also added a little bit information for her concious mind, explaining that what had happened the last time, would not occur again (she had reacted to the adrenaline,which she can ask to be left out of the anaesthetic).

Then I got her to put that image down into the left corner and brought back the negative experience. I asked her to take out all of the colour from this experience, make it all very black and grey and shrink it down to a tiny size so it lost it’s energy and the power it had had over her. Then the Swish process was explained and then we did the process, getting her to replace the positive in the bottom left with the negative experience and replacing the negative with the bright positive outcome she desires. I asked how she felt and she said that she didn’t feel scared anymore and that she feels like it won’t be a problem to go back, also that she had loved doing it and found it very relaxing and soothing, which I could tell from her relaxed state. I would do this again with her if she felt she needed me to, before she makes an appointment or /and before she actually goes. I was chuffed to bits with how it went to be honest.


I asked the person to think about a mood that she wanted to change in her daily life. She mentioned the morning time when she was stressing because her children were taking their time to get prepared. I explained that she could “switch” this mood/state for a more convenient one so that in the future she could focus on the desired mood/state at that particular moment (school morning).

I asked her for permission and then asked her to describe the scene, what happened in the morning. She would feel a tension in the left side of her belly and becoming impatient sometimes snapping at the kids. I then asked her what state/mood she would prefer to be in. She said calm and relaxed.

So it was changing from stressed and impatient to calm and relaxed.

I asked to think of the moment when she felt tension in her belly and that sense of impatience to check if she had a picture for that state/mood which she did. I checked that she was looking at it from her own eyes.

I then asked her to think of a recent time when she was calm and relaxed and see the picture associated to it. I asked her to step out of the picture so that she was looking at herself being calm and relaxed.

I asked her to place the picture and the feeling of stressed and impatient just there in front of her face and the one of calm and relaxed at the bottom left.

I explained that we were going to switch them over a number of time with a physical gesture and a sound and that I would need to stand up for that.

I reminded her to get the picture she did not want in front of her bright and big and the picture of calmness down her left grey small and cold.

I mentioned that she could close her eyes if she wished to. I explained that I was going to make a sound on the count of 3 and while I was doing that if she could zoom up the dark picture. I asked her to practise once in her mind before we did it.

We did the change 9 times and I asked her to breathe in before each one making sure she was back in the room. The picture started to be harder to retrieve for her so I asked her to think about a school morning in the future and she had a smile and felt calmer about it even consider having fun with the children about their “slowness”.


I recently used the swish pattern technique with a client of mine who had negative cognition, lacking motivation for change in her life and hopelessness for the future.  I got the client to think about what changes she wanted to make in order to make things better for herself.  Once the change or trigger had been identified which was to change negative cognition to positive and start feeling happier within herself, I then explained to her exactly what I was going to do, eg swish unwanted present state over to the desired state within her mind by changing submodalities eg, bigger, brighter, clearer until the client was feeling and believing in her desired belief. I felt it was easier to use a visual cue with this client whilst taking a short break between each swish. It took the client a number of times to follow the instructions I had given her and I had to complete this process about twelve times in order for it to be effective. Afterwards both the client and myself were amazed at the change in her cognition and frame of mind, which appeared much more relaxed and definitely more positive.  On the following session, her mood had improved and she presented with a more positive outlook on life and was feeling more optimistic and hopeful for the future so it was evident this proved successful with this this client.