Who says? How to get a different, more helpful perspective on the issue.



Everything we experience is filtered through our beliefs and values, experiences and memories. This gives us a unique perception, ours. It is called our ‘map of the world’. But there are several different ways of looking at your world. In NLP we call them positions, they are also called perspectives. They relate to perceptions from three different points of view.


A CCTV camera has no emotion but simply records what it sees without judgement. It notices everything and records it exactly. It can’t be fooled, it is impartial. By being able to access this state for ourselves we get to see what is actually happening in our world when we take away the emotions. This can be instructive in any number of situations as a parent. How often I remember clouding a situation with my own emotions. When I started to train in NLP, I applied this skill of stepping out of my own skin and viewing the situation more calmly. It really helped.


“The skill lies in choosing an associated or a disassociated state for a purpose. The appropriate choice depends on your desire outcome. You might choose to disassociate to protect yourself from painful emotions, or you might choose to associate in order fully to experience all the feelings of the situation.” Sue Knight


“As you practice the technique of changing perceptual positions you will find that moving to third position brings with it a new perspective and calmer insights into any dilemma that you are facing.” Jeff Archer


“Some people believe that this perceptual position allows us to manage our emotions more effectively by ensuring that our prefrontal cortex is engaged in a logical and rational way, as opposed to being at the mercy of our amygdala with all the associated risks of emotional excess.” Richard Churches and Roger Terry


First position is us. When we use the word ‘I’ we are engaging with our ‘first person’. It is from this position that we think and talk about our thoughts and feelings our beliefs and values, experiences and window on the world. It is important to associate into this position and be fully aware of it so you know that it is your opinion you are expressing and your choice of what you are doing. You can’t always stay in first position though because you need to appreciate other people’s point of view and consider their feelings. Be aware when you are in first position and acknowledge that it is one point of view and that it isn’t the only one.


Second position is the other person you are talking to or in a relationship with. You need to step into their shoes to understand the world from their perspective. It will be different from yours, not least because they may be another gender, age or ethnic group. You will be most successful at this if you can imagine and be curious about what life would be like if you were them. Acknowledging the second position is the way you can empathise with someone else and consider their feelings because by putting yourself in their shoes you will know what these are without having to ask them.


Third position is the CCTV camera or some people say ‘the fly on the wall’ or ‘impartial observer’. This third position can observe what is going on between first and second position but cannot intervene and cannot feel the emotion, it just observes the body language and hears what is said. It can only communicate this without there being any judgement or emotion. In order to understand this position, imagine yourself as a fly on the wall or a CCTV camera watching you right now as you read this book. When you are that camera what do you see? What is happening?


This ability to see things dispassionately can be enormously beneficial when emotions are getting high and being able to second and third position in order to see the other person’s map and see what is going on between you both from an outside perspective can take the heat out of the situation.




Become aware of when you are in first , second and third position and practice moving deftly between them to check out what the other person may need or want (second position) what you want (first position) and then check in with third position to view the interaction from a disassociated place where the emotions are quietened. That way, you become flexible, give yourself choices and are more likely to achieve your desirable outcome.


This was taken from my book 'Secrets of the NLP Masters" but the technique is called Perceptual Positioning and it is described in all my books. If you're a parent, I would recommend 'Empower your kids!' because it has chapters on all the issues you're likely to encounter and explains how to use the techniques in each situation.


You may already know about this technique, maybe you're an NLP Practitioner already. Have you considered doing my NLP & EFT Kids Practitioner self-study course? If you are starting from scratch then I offer a 1:1 option which is completely live with me online or face to face with me here in Burnham, Bucks or a group training option. The next group training starts March 22nd and then the next one will be after Easter.








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