Trevor K Horne – UK – NLP and Mediation

Today it’s my pleasure to complete this testimony on NLP and mediation with a small phone interview with Trevor who was lately at the Dublin MII Conference 2011. Trevor detailed information can be found at Kingsley Consultancy Ltd and on LinkedIn; you can also follow Trevor on Twitter @devoncoach and on his devoncoach blog.

Talking4good (T4G): How did you come into contact with NLP?
Trevor: Via recommendation from a colleague.

T4G: What NLP qualification do you have?
Trevor: Master Prac and Trainer.

T4G: Which NLP association would your qualifications be accredited by?
Trevor:  ANLP, I trained with Sue Knight.

T4G: Have you joined an NLP association?
Trevor: Yes, ANLP

T4G: What do you expect from those various NLP associations?
Trevor: Keeping up to date with latest thinking. Giving credibility to my NLP practice.

T4G: What do you like best in NLP?
Trevor:  Being in a calm and centred state with an attitude of openness and curiosity.

T4G: So tell us about NLP and Mediation?
Trevor: As a mediator I found I was getting results faster using certain NLP techniques and models than if I was not using them. I have since designed and delivered a two days training course for mediators and I am currently writing a book on that subject, looking at the areas of NLP that seamlessly translate into mediation.  There are a number of areas and the first, I think, is the whole psychology of NLP; that the way of being is of accepting everybody has a different model of what’s going on around them.  Everybody is interpreting the same thing differently and therefore, in my understanding, two people have got themselves into dispute because they’re interpreting the same experience differently, according to their own model and that’s a fundamental aspect of NLP in mediation. It’s accepting that there is now three models of what’s going on, the two with the two parties and the one that the mediator is interpreting. So that the first thing, that’s the kind of higher level stuff on how NLP applies. And then we can look at the very specific presuppositions of NLP –‘the map is not the territory’ as I’ve just explained –‘everybody has all the resources they need’ to deal with their own problem and they are a number of others. Certainly in the filters, how we filter information through distortion, deletion and, generalization, and how one party is deleting what they hear from the other party if it does not fit their original idea of how things were. The mediator’s job then is of challenging those deletions and uncovering what else is going on. Also listening to people’s language patterns, to understand the filter they’re using and how they process information. Quite clearly if somebody is using visual references in a particular context and the other party is, let’s say, kinaesthetic then they’re going to have a mismatch of that experience and I think the mediator, in picking up those differences, can change their own language when they’re speaking to each particular client, but also interprets one client’s statements into the other person’s modality. For instance, somebody says ‘well I got the picture, the future looks really clear’ based on an agreement that has been offered. That’s fine but if you then turn to the other client who may be auditory, the question is then ‘how does that sound to you’ rather than ‘how does that look to you’. So it’s interpreting one client’s filter, one client’s pattern into the other client’s pattern than you may have noticed, and then of course having the exquisite flexibility in skills and experience to be able to instantaneously interpret our own language pattern to meet those two clients, which is a really high level skill to be able to do <laughs>. And of course we can talk about reframing, we know there are context or meaning reframes, and a client, who has interpreted the action of another in one frame, can be invited to think what else could that mean in the same context, or what else could it mean in another context, or what the meaning could be. For example I was mediating a neighbourhood case, where a neighbourhood person had put a CCTV camera on their house, purely for their own privacy and peace of mind and the other neighbour saw that as an invasion of their privacy and that the other person was spying on them. The reframe here is to understand there may be another meaning behind that, and to try to get people to see, that different points of view always involves different meanings.

T4G: What would be your best memory in your mediation work?
Trevor: Oh… there are two and they are both best equally, one applies to me personally and the other to a client. I was dealing with a client who had lots of limiting beliefs about his previous choices, all the choices he had made were wrong and also in his future because he did not trust his choices he could see no way to move forward into his future. He could tell where he was going to be in 20 years with his family and he could describe it in all his modalities. He could associate fully into that state, and just by his body language and his way of being, you could tell he was absolutely there. He absolutely passionately believed in that but between here and then was, in his word, a chasm. The chasm was a metaphor and we can deal with metaphor using clean language and other techniques. So we dealt with the chasm using clean language techniques in NLP and looked at the attributes of the chasm.  Whether he could go into it, go around it, whatever he could not do these things so we talked on how he could go over the chasm. I was not in that space with him; I was just repeating back his words to him. What the chasm looked like to me did not matter. The important thing was what it looked like to him, and suddenly he spoke about a bridge going over the chasm, and this chasm, by the way, he described it, was being 20 years wide. Interesting description, I was expecting a 100 feet or 5,000 feet, but 20 years wide. So that was his idea. That was what we were dealing with and he suddenly added ‘I can build a bridge’. Now again my interpretation, my vision of the bridge did not matter, I was just repeating back his language, and he said well I can build the bridge and he held out his hands, as if he was still on this narrow bridge and he was associated onto the bridge and it was strong, and it was sturdy and it was safe and he knew it was good, and he suddenly shook himself out at this stage and he said ‘My goodness I can see the way ahead’ and he lit up like a Christmas tree. The change was just so profound. In the follow up session, maybe a week or two later, I went back to check if his solution was still a possibility for him and if he was still congruent. And he was. There was no more chasm. It was just a huge moment for me because the change in this chap was so immense and it was just done with basic questioning, basic language around clean language and metaphor. So for me that was a very very compelling example of the power of NLP.

T4G: How is NLP present in your country?
Trevor: In the workplace. As stand-alone training courses. More people qualifying as NLP coaches.

T4G: What opportunity do you have to meet with other NLP practitioners?
Trevor: Very little. Mainly through follow-on courses with my own coach.

T4G: What about NLP and research?
Trevor: I read a little via ANLP but always looking for similar thinking. I have just been reading about post-structuralism.

T4G: What would be your next step with NLP?
Trevor: Train NLP Practitioners.  Of course, finish my book ‘NLP in Mediation’

T4G: A last comment to conclude?
Trevor: We don’t ‘do’ NLP. We ‘are’ NLP.  NLP is a way of being.


© 2011 Florence Dambricourt –

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