Use NLP Timelines to eliminate emotions that disempower you. These emotions are normally, fear, anger, sadness, hurt and guilt, we know them as negative emotions. Timelines is a process that involves establishing how you hold your own timeline of memories in your head. You can go back in time in your mind and reexamine memories that are hurtful for you in order to get new learnings and learnings that allow the emotions to disappear. NLP Practitioners use this timelines process to help people overcome phobias and help get their life the way that they want it.
You can also use these techniques for eliminating worry, by travelling along your timeline and into the future, seeing yourself overcoming the thing that you are worrying about. It is a really powerful process.
An “astonishing” process
I have used the timeline process on myself in order to understand better how it works. It has not been easy. I visited an event that happened around 20 years ago, which scarred me. I was unaware that the emotions surrounding the event were still there. I floated above the event at quite a distance, so that I can observe myself and my emotions. I tried to re-learn the lessons (lessons that were different from the ones I took when I was closer to the event). And then I gave the command to let go. I moved to the second position (several months before the event), because it was too painful to be closer. At that point I experienced the positive emotions, and the negative ones completely disappeared. Then I moved in the third position within the event. I was surprised to notice that it was no longer painful. Actually, I was more astonished than anything else but I kept observing the event to see where it leads.
I can see why the process of retrieving the memory of a negative emotion and treating it is working. I was detached enough in order to protect myself from the severe emotional trauma. The disassociation also helped me to reframe the event and the emotions surrounding it. I was certainly not ready to re-live it. Commanding my subconscious to let go (although I did it consciously) has actually worked like a charm. The memory and the emotions were completely reframed. The process was completed when I gave the sevond command for the negative emotions to disappear now! The learnings were the positive.
How does the NLP Timelines process work?
Firstly, I would need to find out the negative emotion the person would like to change. I would explain that we needed to discover the root cause of this emotion, i.e. when was the first event that sparked off the emotion or the problem, which if we disconnected from it, the problem would not occur in the first place, or would disappear? I would need to draw the person’s attention to the stages in life. These are as follows: age 0-7 – the ‘imprint’ period when we are like a sponge and absorb everything and go through our first experiences of all kinds of emotions; from 7–14 – the ‘modelling period’, where we tend to have ‘heroes’. From 14–21 is the ‘socialising period’, where we begin establishing relationships. We need also to find out if the root of the problem is before the person’s birth, related to family history, in the womb, or after birth. Also, we need to encourage the client to trust their conscious mind and accept the first thing that comes up (this is usually the accurate one).
I would ask the person to relax and close their eyes; then to draw their timeline. I would ask them to float above their timeline and move along the line into the past. When they reach the event, they should stop above it, looking down on it from above. They would then be asked what they had learned from this event, i.e. learning that will allow them to let go of the emotions easily and effortlessly. When the person has taken the learning from the event, I would ask them to tell me what it is. Is there any other learning they have taken? I would encourage them to tell me about all the learning they have taken, in order to help them to let go of the emotion. They would then be asked to float to position two, which is fifteen minutes before the event took place; also before any chain of events leading up to it. They would then be asked where the emotions are now and they would usually find that the emotions had disappeared. Then they would be asked to float down into the event (position 3) and check on whether the emotions are there or not. We would return to position two, and come back to the present, above the time line, as they do so letting go of all the negative emotions associated with the event, all the way back to the present. They should then preserve the learning and find that the emotions have been released. They would be asked when they had returned to the present and would be invited to come back into the room. After a break, they would be tested again by my asking them if they can remember any events in the past when they experienced the negative emotions. I would ask them to go back and notice if their feeling had changed or whether they experienced any emotions. They would then return to the present.
I would then ask the person to float above the timeline into the future and find an event, which, if it had happened in the past, would have triggered the old emotion. Can the person now find the old emotion or not? The person would then return to the present and come back into the room.
The technique works because we are dealing with the unconscious rather than the conscious mind. The way we store our memories and emotions has consequences for our motivation and our goals. If our memory has negative emotions associated with it, it may affect our behaviour and pattern of behaviour, which is generated by our subconscious mind. When we let go of the negative emotion which is linked to one memory, we preserve the learning rather than the emotion. Therefore we learn what we need. Letting go of negative emotion will help to preserve our body, our mind and our health. Usually, the learning which we preserve is positive and should be put to future use. If the client cannot associate with a traumatic event because it is too painful, we ask them to float higher. If this does not work, we ask them to open their eyes and look at the ceiling. If all else fails we ask the client to open their eyes and we walk around the room with them.
The technique also works because we are returning to the root of the problem, i.e. when the first event occurred, on our time line. We are then clearing the time line of negative emotions. The subconscious mind wants us to preserve the body and letting go of negative emotion will help us to do that. We can then create a more positive time line, which will help the subconscious to make positive decisions in future.
It may be too much to try and get rid of all of the emotions at once, as this will be too draining for the client. It may be better to spread it out over two meetings. When we move into the future to test the technique, we ask the client to move to an unspecified period, to show that the benefit will be indefinite. One of the benefits is that when we get rid of the emotion, the mind will not recognise the triggers for it. When we change the content of the memory from a dissociated position, this will result in a shifting of the submodality structure of the memory and the altering of the emotional part of the Gestalt, which means the entire mental strategy alters. In a way, we are creating a new neurotransmission change in the brain, where the memory remains but the client totally reframes the memory, therefore changing their emotional responses.
The client needs to be relaxed and comfortable, and it is important to ensure that the client moves right back to the beginning of the chain of events. The client should be encouraged to have positive intention and positive thinking in order to reconstruct emotions, which will then impact on behaviour.
Ask the client’s permission to work with the unconscious mind to help release the negative emotion and remind them they will be aware of this consciously. Ask the client to float way up above their timeline and float along in the direction of the past. When you approach the event that created the negative emotion stop directly above it and look down. At this stage I need to encourage the client to ask their unconscious mind what they need to learn from this event, making sure that client identifies everything that they need to learn in a positive and future orientated way. I need to aware that if the client is becoming too emotional that they are much too close to the event and I need to ask them to float much higher above the event to distance them and remove them emotionally. Once all the positive learnings have been identified, I need to ask the client to turn towards the past again and float to around fifteen minutes prior to the event and to turn around and facing now or present time ask them “Where are the emotions now?” The client needs to float down into the event to ascertain whether the emotions are still there or if they have disappeared. If they are gone, then I need to bring the client back to the now while reminding them to let go of all the negative emotion until they reach back to now. If the client still has the emotion, then I need to ask them to go higher and farther back in their timeline and challenge the negative emotion the client is holding on to. If the emotions still have not been released at this point, then I may need to take the client further back as they may not have identified the first event. As always in NLP, I need to break state, test that the technique has been a success and then future pace.
I feel the reason why time line works so well is because we are working at the level of the unconscious mind and it works on the principal of a Gestalt. A Gestalt is a sequence of significant emotional events which are all linked together. Timeline allows us to track back to the very first event on the Gestalt by floating above it and removing it. When this first event is removed it enables you to clear the gestalt of negative emotions from past experiences, it will then allow all subsequent events to be negated. Clients are unable to access the negative emotion afterwards, which may have been holding them back in life, and can be totally life changing for the client and help them forward in their lives in a much more positive manner.
As with any technique we use with clients we always need to check with them, prior to beginning the techniques, that the client is ready to change. Very often clients hold onto to negative emotions as a way of protecting themselves from further hurt, anger etc and it may not appropriate to remove such emotions with certain clients at the present time, so it always useful to pay ecology as to reasons why the client may have been doing what they’re doing for so long. We need to help the clients consider the consequences of achieving their outcome within a broader context, in relation to their lives and the relationships with those around them before we proceed with time line therapy or any other technique in NLP.
Eliminating the negative emotion of hurt using NLP Timeline
I have been working with a client for a few months now, who presents with issues of hurt resulting from a previous partner who left her for another woman. This young lady has expressed feeling extremely hurt, sad and betrayed by the man she had trusted and these inappropriate emotions were preventing her from finding a new partner and moving on in her life. I explained the timeline technique to my client and that we change the content of the memory from a dissociated position in the unconscious mind and we remove the emotion from the memory and as we had elicited the underlying reason to her unhappiness I felt it appropriate to proceed, with the clients consent.
I invited the client to float away above her timeline and move to the past and to stop at the event directly above it. I asked her to ask her unconscious mind what it was that she needed to learn from this event. She had stated that she needed to learn how to love again and how to be loved, she also needed to learn how to trust again and that not everyone in life would be unfaithful and let her down. She wanted to be happy again. I carried on and asked client to float to fifteen minutes prior to finding out her partner had betrayed her and that chain of events that led to the event. I then asked where are the emotions are now, however, the client became quite emotional. I had to ask her to float much higher above her position as the emotions were overwhelming her. I asked her again but the emotions were still there. I felt it appropriate at this stage to ask her the questions on page 100 in the manual. I asked the first two and referred back to stage 4 then 5 in order to ascertain if the emotions had been released, to which the client had admitted to feeling much better and lighter. I proceeded with stage 6 and 7. I got the client to break state and tested to see if she was able to feel any of the old emotions. The client said did not feel sad and hurt at present but was not really sure how she was feeling and told me she felt she needed time to process what had just happened. I was unable to future pace with the client as she previously told me she needed time to process what had just happened in the session, and the session time had lapsed and I knew my next client was waiting.
I feel the exercise was a success as the client affirmed that she no longer felt hurt once the procedure had been completed. I feel that I maybe took a little longer than I should have as the session came to an end and I did not have time to allow the client to process what had happened and to future pace. I do feel this is an excellent way of eliciting negative emotions and limiting beliefs and I feel that through practice and experience that my confidence will increase and I can use with more of clients in a way to help move them to a better place within themselves. I have learned that you do need a lot of patience and I need better time management in working with time line therapy in order to finish the procedure adequately including future pacing and I will keep this in mind when working with clients in the future.
Overcoming fear of public speaking with NLP Timeline
I met with a lady (Jean) who agreed for me to practise the timeline exercise with her. Her fear was public speaking. Here’s how it went.
At the beginning, I explained to Jean what I was planning to do and she agreed to participate in the exercise. So we started out by identifying what exactly was Jean’s negative emotion. She told me it was her fear for public speaking and being a manager of a company, this is something she would like to remove.
So I asked Jean to relax and shut her eyes is she wanted to. Which she did. And I ask Jean if it was ok for me to ask her unconscious mind where her past and future is in relevance to a line. She nodded and upon asking the question, we identified that her past was towards her left, and her future towards her right. Which means she is a through time.
I then followed with a question if it was ok for her unconscious mind to release this emotion of fear and for her to be aware of it consciously? She answered yes.
So I then asked Jean, when did she begin to have this fear? At first she told me it was during her University years where she had done a presentation and it went wrong and she got embarrassed.
I continued with the exercise and when we future projected it, it was still there. Which I then conclude that it wasn’t her university years but probably before that.
So we did the exercise again. This time I told her to be more relaxed and allow her unconscious mind to search the root cause of this problem. She then identified that it was during her primary school years. 8 years old.
And we did the exercise again. I told Jean to take a few deep breathe and to float high above her timeline. And when she did, to look to the left towards her past and to float towards her past right to the event when she first had that emotion. When she got there I asked Jean to ask her unconscious mind what she needs to learn from the event. The learning of which will allow her to let go of the emotions easily.
The learnings which she told me was, she needs to prepare and practise before any presentation. And even if she gets it wrong, there is no reason for her to feel like she had made a big mistake.
Jean also said that she will try and have more fun when doing a presentation or public speaking so that she doesn’t feel to much pressure in getting it wrong.
I then got Jean to now float pass the even, about 15 minutes before the event and asked where the emotion was. Now she confirmed it wasn’t there.
So I finally got her to float back towards her future all the way back to now preserving the learning she had taken.
And I got Jean to float back towards the now and for her to get back in the room.
I then got Jean to check if the emotions is still there and I also future paced the emotion. She confirmed it was there anymore.
Overcoming anger using NLP Timeline process
This was a really fascinating exercise to do. I recorded this session, with permission of course, in order to capture as much detail as possible.
The negative emotion this person wanted to release was Anger. What I now realise is the anger they wanted to release is very deep routed and I think the end of the session revealed this.
So I started this session by asking “why anger?” “what is going on in your mind?” She said that felt a lot of anger towards their sister, their sister in which they are now estranged from, younger and has affected them all their life. She explained how her sister constantly drip feeds her poison into her system. Two years ago, she told her sister to “f*** off”, which was a massive release. Along with that, her brother who she describes as an invertebrate, has sided with her sister, for no reason, but all goes back to their childhood with parents’ divorce. She goes on to explain how after her mother died things just fell part but described her has over powering and dominant and quite a high flyer. She feels angry and sad that she no longer has any family, but does have a cousin who is very close with, but doesn’t see very often. She goes on to explain that what she feels is a rejection anger, which I found an interesting statement. She goes on to explain a bit more about the situation with the family environment which I don’t need to go into detail here, but there is clearly a lot of anger, rejection and hurt within this person. What was interesting to hear was how this person acknowledged how their issues played out in her life because she goes for the same type of man who has the same traits as her father, which I explained is a term called “Life Scripts”. After some more talking we then started the exercise.
I explained that this exercise is very similar to the work we have done before, and what we will be doing is getting rid of that feeling of anger, and replacing it with something much more positive for them. We started out by first getting permission from their unconscious to check that it would be ok to do this exercise, in which she agreed.
The first thing we did was a practice session navigating through the timeline. We first discussed what the timeline looked like a few weeks ago to check that they were happy before proceed to the practice. This, as expected went very well, we practiced going up above the timeline as far as we could go, and floating along the past. When I suggested that they could go back as far as they felt comfortable with, she explained that she had gone right back to childhood, right back to being a toddler. On reflection, I think this was an important piece of information that I should have picked up on, because I think this could have changed the final outcome of the session which I will explain later. We then navigated towards the future, and then navigated back. Again this was interesting as navigating towards the future, there was no talking, just silence, so for me, there is definitely a lot of past issues here, with perhaps a struggle of seeing the future in much detail.
We then move on the practice itself. This is where I asked about the earliest recollection of this feeling of anger. The first response was 18 months, and then said maybe younger, probably much younger maybe 6 months. One thing I am struggling with within the timeline script is the line “What is the root cause of this problem, the first event, when disconnected, will cause the problem to disappear.” That sentence for me doesn’t flow off my tongue, so I need to come up with some alternative wording, so if you have any suggestions I would be grateful. This sounded a bit clumsy when I tried to use it.
She tells me a story of when she was in a pram, which a dog underneath the pram, and she could see stars, but wasn’t sure what form these stars were. Around the same timeline, she says how she hears her father say “You are not to say that” She thought that was funny as said “Bloody Hell”, which then leads her on to saying that she must have been maybe 18 months, or even two as couldn’t have known those words at such a young age and started to question herself about what age she was. I then said to her to just trust her unconscious to answer, and she quickly spoke “18 months”
After this discussion we then started and I asked her to close her eyes, climb higher, and higher, keep climbing higher, and when she was as high as she could reach to start floating out toward her past. Way, way above that first even, high above that first event. When there, I asked what she was feeling, and she stated “Calm”
I then asked about the learnings, what learnings are there, what learnings that the unconscious can learn from in order to let go of that feeling of anger.
I then asked what other learnings are there that will help the unconscious let go of that feeling.
“I was the only child”
Any other learnings there
And that was it, she was happy that was all there was, so we moved on to the free fall through the first feeling of anger. Underneath anger we got.
Under loss we got rejection
Under rejection we got no longer an only child
Under no longer an only child we got jealousy
Under jealousy we got Anger (I picked up here that it seems we have anger beneath anger)
Under anger we got grow up (I could tell that there was quite a lot of emotion at this stage, a feeling of hurt inside her, and was struggling a little holding back some emotion)
Under grow up we got shock
Under shock we got being breathless
Under being breathless we got winded
Under winded we got uncertainty
Under uncertainty we got aware that things will change. (I picked up that this was positive)
Under aware that things will change we got no longer the baby (2nd positive)
At this point I got her to float back up, higher and higher, and head back further, before that event, and before that chain of events. I then asked where is that emotion of anger now, in which she replied “ It’s not there”
I repeated her words of “It’s not there, good” back to her and said “yes, it is completely gone isn’t it?”, and she agreed.
I then got her to float down into that event, and asked if the emotion is there, and she replied “There is nothing, its fine”
We then floated up, up, up, then back to the here and now. Success!!!