Michael :Good morning Anita. Firstly thank you ever so much for agreeing to take part in this podcast on addiction. Can you kick it off by giving our listeners a little bit of an introduction of who you are and what you do?
Anita : Hello. Thank you for calling. I am Anita Kozlowski I’m a licensed trainer with the Society of NLP and a soul proprietor of Live With Power NLP Seminars in Edmonton Alberta here in Canada, which is the equivalent of Siberia.
Michael :What sort of things do you do there?
Anita : We have an institute where we offer licensed practitioner, master practitioner training as well as, in-house consulting and corporate training. Also we see clients with various types of questions regularly. And we are developing new types of programs for 2009 and further with a big vision for the future.
Michael : And back to the subject of addiction. What do you mean by “addiction”?
Anita : Addiction – addiction is, as I mentioned earlier, a fantastic nominalization where with the label you can “define” many behaviours, with attached underlying presuppositions which may be injurious to an individuals’ well being, as a part of a belief system. But if we really go into depth as to what is an addiction, it is a pattern of behaviour, both internal and manifested externally, in a manner where a person feels that they are unable to stop it, and feels compelled to repeat the same pattern over and over again – to such a degree that it might interfere with their functioning, and ultimately satisfaction and happiness in life.
So, addictions as such – I personally do not believe in the label of addiction, because it implies being a victim, or being a reaction to something that is happening outside of the individual. But if we go back to the commonly understood concept of addiction – those can be numerous – it could manifest itself as a desire to smoke cigarettes or to drink some alcohol, excessively shop – or even obsessive focus on speaking on a particular subject matter such that an individual finds it difficult to think about other things
Michael :OK. Are there any cases where an addiction could be useful?
Anita : It depends on how we define addiction. However I do not believe that addiction as such, as understood generically is useful because it implies a lack of control, a belief one is “run by something external to oneself”. In other words the label implies the individual is NOT in charge of their own thoughts and behaviour. . I would say that instead of thinking of the usefulness, one should say that developing new habits which are based on choice each and every time, is a much more useful practice than passive engagement in behaviour one perceives as running one’s life, or thinking patterns – so I believe that its not.
Michael : And speaking very big picture, top level – what are some of the approaches that you do use treating people with addiction?
Anita : Well there are many different clients with many different patterns, and I would say that each I see and experience is different, so obviously asking the right questions to find out the individual pattern to be assessed, how a person does what they have been doing, which did not work for them. Based on that I can assess their beliefs, their value statements, their core identity issues and also elicit their strategy of how they get into a particular behaviour internally, and how do they engage in the behaviour of doing something or manifesting it externally. In this case smoking or any other behaviour that involves a chain of unaesthetic actions.
At which point I can insert different patterns into various levels, of syntax, of creating state, of creating a particular way of displaying behaviour – and install a new thinking process through hypnotics inductions or conversational hypnotic suggestions.
Michael : OK, so can you take a particular example. Smoking, or anything that you chose really. Just talk us through – and it can be a made up example, I don’t just want a factual example – almost put a bit more flesh on what you talked about. Somebody has come in because they smoke too much, what are the sorts of questions that you’d ask, and what are the sort of responses that you could get from somebody?
And I appreciate that everybody is different, so I appreciate that I’m asking for a generalisation.
Anita : OK so first of all I need to find out if a person really considers their behaviour to be problematic for themselves, and to make sure that they really want to stop. Often at times people think that they want to stop, but what I find through my questions is that they are not sure and that they might not actually want to stop.
So I need to make certain that they do want to stop, and then I will ask them “And how has this behaviour been a problem for you? What was the price that you paid?”
How do you know you want to stop? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t, don’t you now? Or in other words, what is it that they had not been getting as a result of engaging in this behaviour and what it is they will get as a result of deciding to stop now.
Which also leads me to another question – I will say “Tell me now, specifically, if you can think of a time now when you had the right behaviour? What is your life like now? Let us pretend that we have put it aside for just a moment.”
So I get them into a state where they are free of this behaviour and I carefully listen to their responses in terms of what it is that that they want, at which point they will also ask into their beliefs and their values and dig deeper and ask more questions finding out what really, is their core belief, and what it is that they really want.
And then I will ask them when I have figured that out, how will they know when they have it, and that point will give me a very clear response as to how they verify internally their own beliefs.
So then I ask them to tell me, how they do that behaviour. In other words, there are several questions involved in this process. I will ask them “So, just before you used to reach for the cigarette, what is it that you fell? What is it that you said to yourself?” At which point I figure out their syntax and figure out a strategy, as I know what it is that they do prior to engaging in the K of the behaviour..
And at this point we will do some work with them in terms of changing the sub-modalities changing the syntax and their patterning.
Michael : OK. Can you give an example of what it might be? What might you do with them in that circumstance? And I appreciate that you’re making it up.
Anita : Specifically at which moment?
Michael : You’ve just found out the strategy that they take as they’re smoking and you’ve mentioned before that you use pattern interrupts. I’m just curious if you can come up with a pattern interrupt and how you would fit it into their strategy.
Anita : Well there are very different things that I do in one particular case. I do have a very special dish which has a significant amount of ammonia which has an extremely powerful smell – which I quickly put under their nose, which acts as a form of punishment and shock, eliciting a very negative response at a specific time and often at times anger, and the person will say “What are you doing there?”
And I will say “Well, we will talk about this later.”
And then we keep on going – do there are various things. It can be asking different questions – even telling a homomorphic metaphor, which is one case worked, where I told a lady “OK, let us imagine now that there is a huge explosion in the house right now, and you can hear the sounds and you can feel the heat coming and you can see the smoke coming – and now you’re choking!”
Because she told me earlier that she just cannot stop because she cannot make a decision. And I said “Now, we’re sitting on the second floor of the building, what can we do?”
“I will jump from the balcony.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I must save my life.”
I said “Really? So do you wait for me to tell you to jump, or do you jump yourself?”
She said “No, no, no, I jump.”
“Well.” I said “You just made a decision. So obviously you know how to decide don’t you?”
“Oh. I never thought of it that way.”
And so we continued. You can do numerous things, depending on the person that you are with.
Michael : OK, moving on from that. You’ve done a couple of interventions, what sort of things would you do once you came to the end of the meeting?
Anita : Well after we have made some changes that have allowed us to find out how people have got to this state where they actually reach for the cigarette physically, then there is the whole chain of kinesthetics in which we are involved, which is also connected with mental-internal syntax.
So now I will tell them “OK. So now, try in vain to reach for that one with the other hand.” So its disrupting the neurological pattern of how to reach for a cigarette, because obviously they’ve reached a level of unconscious competency in doing that and they do it almost automatically. And this stops the pattern, they find it really disturbing to do it with the other hand.
Once they’ve succeeded I say “OK now, what I want you to do now is to take the cigarette that you used to like in front of yourself and just look at it for one minute before trying in vain to light it up with the other one and as you focus on this piece of tissue filled with……imagine a soft pile of cat shit ( I make blurp sounds when I say these words), think to yourself “this is a pile of cat shit”, say it about five sloooow times. And then, you may decide with you don’t want to do it do you now?.”
And often at times people are very confused. And then I give them an assignment that for the next twenty one days they can smoke as much as they wish, but the objective is to try in vain with the other hand, and install a particular syntax prior to inhaling the cigarette or lighting it up.
Michael : That sounded really interesting, can you just explain that a little bit more? Tell me again what you will ask them to do for the next twenty one days. What you may chose to ask them to do for the next twenty-one days.
Anita : And of course, we both understand that its a fairly simplistic model of what I’m saying because there are many different intervention in the process.
Michael : I totally understand, I totally understand. Its really for a metaphor, so that people listening to this can get some idea of the sorts of things that could happen.
Anita : Well my instruction to them is that they will try in vain each and every time to reach for the cigarette with the other hand. In other words, when they are used to lighting up with the right hand, now they will try in vain to do it with the other hand, which really presupposes that they will not be able to do it.
And then when they have succeeded in doing so, instead of automatically taking it to their mouth and inhaling, they need to hold it in their other hand, and then looking at it they have to say to themselves – lets say, “This is something (really disgusting)”, or something that they have a negative reaction to, emotionally.
At which point after one minute, if they still feel like smoking it, obviously they can because its a matter of choice, and if we interact with a client who exhibits addictive behaviour, or engages in them – often the times that they engage in them is part of their identity. So one of the things that I will do very early on when they say “I am a smoker” is that I will re frame it, and have them believe that they are not a smoker, but rather an individual that had been making choices to smoke cigarettes twenty five times a day, rather than being something.
Because if we take something away from someone, or pretend to take it, when it is at an identity level, then that person gets into a state of panic, and state of losing something that is really a part of them – because the question that happens is “Whats left?” And sometimes the answer would be “Nothing.”
Michael : Interesting.
Anita :So its a matter of figuring out what is it that a person doesn’t want? What is it that they want? How is it that we can change their patterns? And then shifting their belief about their own abilities to speak to themselves or engage – because every time that they engage in a behaviour they have exactly the same choice as when they do not engage in that behavior, and when people understand that and can reorganise the patterns then often – most of the time – Ive had 99% success with them – they choose their other options. One guy who continued smoking told me he never intended to stop in the first place. So I told him to smoke three packs in one sitting, which he did and got really sick. As far as I know he abstains. The same works with those who eat chocolate in obscene amounts.
Michael : Excellent. Is there anything else that you would do at the very end of the meeting?
Anita : Well at the end of the meeting obviously I will future-pace the outcomes so-to-speak, and of course I will test the procedures to make sure that they work – the kind of anchors that we’re looking for, we will ask questions – of course watch the person change their state.
And sometimes if I think that a person hasn’t totally, completely shifted their belief system as a result of the different interventions, then we’ll go through the process again, or different aspects within the process that we’ve just been through.
Michael : OK – so you’ll carry on until you get a result?
Anita : Always. And then I will see that client again. Probably within twenty-one days. To find out how they are doing and even to offer them a chance to try the same things, or to try a different behaviour to the ones that they are usually connected.
Michael : Interesting. Thank you very much for that. There again, stepping back, more big-picture -to any of the people listening that are maybe a bit concerned that they’ve got an addiction – are there any tips or ideas that you can can give them?
Obviously if they really wanted to take it seriously to come and and see someone like you is a very good thing to do – but they haven’t quite reached that stage yet, and they maybe want to get over it themselves – have you got any ideas or approaches that you might suggest that they think about?
Anita : First of all what I would say is that before you engage in with an individual such as myself or yourself, you need to make sure that you really know what it is that you want to stop, and that you know what it is that you want as a result of stopping, and know what you want to change, and understand and feel – and know what it is that you really want.
And once you are certain that you do, at that point it will be very useful for you to engage in an interacting with someone lime myself or yourself.
I would also encourage people who have recognised the particular behaviour that they want to change to really be present and pay attention to the moment they are engaging in these behaviours. In other words ask yourself why is it that you have been choosing to engage in these behaviours? What is it that you feel? What is it that you say to yourself? And keep track of those things.
I even offered a suggestion to one fellow whose addiction or habit was negative self talk. I said to him “OK, I want you to buy yourself a notebook and buy yourself an expensive one because what you’re doing is very valuable, and every time you find yourself using negative language I want you to make a sign on each page of this notebook so that you will recognise how many times a day it has happened – What is the pattern of this? Even if it is in the middle of the night, do this for twenty-one days.”
At which point, the taking notes, which he took very seriously – it was the most important thing for him at this time, he realised how uncomfortable it was for him to get up at three o’ clock in the morning and make a sign in his notebook, which itself was a pattern interrupt in his life, and caused a lot of discomfort.
And he said “I didn’t realise that I’ve done this sixty five times on Tuesday, I didn’t want to get up at 3am!”
And I said “Well the choice is yours, you decide what you really want. If you want freedom from this – or maybe it has been very pleasurable so maybe you could increase how often you wake yourself up and give yourself some more pleasure.”
So after twenty-one days of doing this, the fellow was extremely upset and frustrated with himself and he told me “I just cant handle this any more, to stay like this! I feel it in my stomach, I’m so angry with it.”
“What is it that you want?”
“Well, I want to be free of it.”
I said, “So how will you get that?”
“Well this and that. I have to talk to you.”
Which means that his belief is now that I am in charge of his behaviour. And he’s looking for permission from me for him to stop.
So my intervention would be that that gentleman is able to shift his belief as to who is in charge of his behaviour. But really its up to him in the same way that he decides that he has to get up at 3am and has to draw something in his book.
And he said “Well, I never thought of this.”
“Exactly. So you are the driver of your bus, and you decide on which road and where the bus is going and how fast.”
And I said “I can definitely get on board, but I’m not necessarily excited about the ride.”
Its awfully boring having to sit next to someone that every ten seconds has to make a sign in his book. I would probably kill him.
Michael : OK, interesting. Moving on from that, and then again stepping out and taking a big picture thing – If you had to describe your relationship with a client as a metaphor, a story or a cartoon character, when you’re working with them on something like you’ve just talked about – how would you describe them?
Anita : In terms of my relationship with the client?
Michael : Yes, you’re relationship in terms of you as a practitioner, trainer, whatever label you give yourself – your relationship between you and your client as you’re working with them in terms of getting them to achieve whatever it is you’re going to achieve.
Anita : As a metaphor – I’m just a guide. A tour guide walking along with them and guiding them across a trail to a place where they want to get – lets imagine its an island, or a mountain with deep summit, in a large dense forest. A lot of the time people will want to get their quickly and efficiently – they might not have the courage and they might not have the means, but I am a tour guide for most of them and we travel together quickly and successfully.
Michael : I like that. I like that. Thank you very much for talking to us sharing your experience.
Anita : You’re welcome.
Michael : Is there anything – you talked a little bit at the beginning, maybe you would like to round off by saying – actually, firstly if you could say anything about addiction either that we haven’t covered that you think is important, or anything about addiction that you think is important enough that you’d like to leave as a last thought on our listeners to hear?
That’s the first question – is there anything the emphasise?
Anita : I would emphasise that I personally reject the idea of addiction. I do not believe in the idea of addiction, and I don’t believe in any nominalization that people adopt at the level of their own identity – because accepting this type of a label really presupposes being in a reactive mode, being a victim to a thing that is external to oneself, and thereby often giving people permission to relapse, so to speak. Labels are deeply connetcted to a whole chain of underlying beliefs.
So the most important thing to realise is that they are behaviours that we can each and every time change to anything we want and often if we are choosing to engage in a behaviour that we also have the choice not too – and to realise that we are not our behaviour – that we are just people who had been deciding to do something
Michael : OK, and is there anything that you’re doing now that you would like to bring to peoples attention? Anything that you would like to plug, or as I say, bring to people’s attention?
Anita : That I am doing?
Michael : Yes. Any services that you can offer.
Anita : OK. I work one on one with clients and I also teach sales seminars and communications seminars and presentations. And also I’m developing a new program for 2009, specifically one for communicating in relationships.
And I strongly believe, with proper coaching a lot of difficult experiences in relationships, with complete understanding, can be completely avoided, and that people can lead much happier and much more peaceful lives individually, and as couples.
So that is one thing that I am working on right now.
Michael : And if anybody wants to contact you, whats the best way for them to do it?
Anita :Well they can phone me certainly. For Canada and the United States, there is a toll free number which is 1877 922 6177
Michael : OK. Thank you very much for your time in talking with us today.
Anita : My pleasure.
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