One of the things we do to make sense of the world is generalize. It makes survival so much easier. However, the process also is limiting to our experience. As an example, if a person meets an aggressive dog and generalizes “all dogs are mean,” they’d miss out on many sweet moments with our canine friends. It might keep them “safe,” but so would an ability to discern between aggressive dogs and tail wagging friendly dogs.
One of the chief functions of the meta model, then, is to question these generalizations and thus lead to a richer, more functional representation.
Examples: All, Every, Never.
“All women are empathetic and good listeners.”
“Everyone knows I am a wonderful dancer.”
“I never have any fun.”
Of course, if someone said something like that to us we’d immediately employ the Meta Model to challenge their generalization.
“All women are empathetic and good listeners.” – “Really? I had an aunt who was a real witch and never listened to a word anyone said.”
“I never have any fun.” – “Never? Remember last weekend when we went to six flags amusement park? You rode the monster coaster 11 times.”
Or we wouldn’t. Sometimes we’d hear the client’s generalizations and decide to leave them alone. Just because you have a tool doesn’t mean you have to use it. If the generalization works for them and is ecological, you might choose to leave it as it lays.
“Everyone knows I am a wonderful dancer.” – “Well, you worked hard and earned it.”
However, we’re talking more about how we can use these patterns for therapeutic purposes. We’re talking about REVERSING the meta model and PURPOSELY using generalizations with good intent.
“With every breath you’ll go deeper into trance.”
“All cigarettes taste the same… horrible.”
“You never need be concerned, using this process to go into trance.”
It’s the very nature of a post-hypnotic suggestion, is it not?
“Every time you see the color red you’ll know you are a non-smoker.”
If you practice and have fun, you’ll always get better and better.
So have fun practicing!