Can You Shut Down Internal Dialogue?

Here’s an interesting question. Can you shut down your internal dialogue? (Revised from a previously posted article on [nlpskills] eGroup on Yahoo Groups)

Somewhere I read (Turtles All The Way Down, I think) that both John Grinder and
Richard Bandler learned to suspend internal dialogue much like what the Yaqui
Man of Knowledge, Don Juan, told his apprentice, Carlos, he should do in the book The Teachings of Don Juan. The suspension of internal dialogue (Ad) was talked about by the NLP pioneers as a side effect of doing a lot of NLP patterns. What are patterns that would be useful in shutting off mind talk or internal dialogue? Would it be a good idea to stop internal dialogue?

Most of the NLP books I have read describe the Auditory Digital (Ad) eye accessing and processing modality as ‘self talk’ or ‘mind talk.’ While I think a lot more goes on there than Auditory processing, for the purposes of this discussion, let’s go with the norm. Let’s assume that Ad is mind talk. You might notice that you are having some discussion in your own mind over this post. That would be Ad or internal dialogue.

I would of course want to check the ecology of stopping any internal dialogue with any coaching client. Ask well-formed outcome questions including, What do you want? How is it a problem for you to have internal dialague (Ad)? What will it do for you when you stop/suspend it? What’s the positive intent? How will you know when you have it? etc. The real issue is most likely unresourceful mind talk. I saw a movie where the word, ‘morass’ was used. I looked it up. It’s like a swamp or bog. Pretty good metaphor for ‘a bunch of voices in my head’ and it’s a nice linguistic ambiguity or descriptor. When I can think of the unwanted voices as ‘morass’ the nominalizing
of the process makes them (the voices) a thing and I can shift submodalities of that. It is no longer controlling me or my client. You can now exercise some control over it. Just noticing it and being able to move it into the distance or change to a more pleasant color, weight, brightness, or tonality often has a strong impact. That’s at least a good beginning. You can imagine that, can’t you? And you can experience the subtle or not so subtle shifts that are created when you do.

And, to be fair, we really need to elicit some more information don’t we? For a negative, shrill, demeaning content, constant voice that sounded a lot like his Mother, with a client of mine, we used a Threshold Pattern. Blow it up out of all
proportion until it explodes or otherwise changes form. Note that the intensity
of the voice phenomena changes, and then you want to anchor that into future scenarios.

How else would you go about this? What patterns do you think will work best?
And what benefit do you think there would be to stopping internal dialogue? Is
it a simple Ad issue or are other modalities involved?

In my experience, sometimes people are processing Visual and/or Kinesthetic when their eyes are down and to your left. But that’s another discussion. Please post your responses and thoughts about this post.

Bill Thomason
Your NLP Success Coach
Certified NLP Master Trainer
www.nlpskills.com