In NLP jargon, a psychological state can be either associated or dissociated. In an associated state, the person experiences self and the world as if immersed in it. In a disassociated state, the person perceives him or herself as if from a distance – as a more objective observer. There are times when each is appropriate . . . the trick is to choose wisely.
Remember a fun time and associate with it. Immerse yourself in it, seeing what you saw and hearing what you heard at the time, as if reliving the experience. This allows you to recapture the feelings you felt at the time.
Now, dissociate from the fun memory by pushing it away into the mental distance. Look upon it from far away as a neutral observer would do. When you do this successfully, you retain the information (what you were doing and what was going on around you). However, while dissociated, you don’t re-experience the same feelings. You are removed from the situation and merely observe.
Optimists tend to associate with positive events in their lives and dissociate from negative ones. They use good feelings from past successes to stay motivated and view failures from a detached point of view. Conversely, pessimists associate with negative events and dissociate from positive feelings; using past perceived failures as a lens to view the future.
To experience more positive feelings, a person can associate by asking the following questions
To gain distance and see the bigger picture, a person can dissociate by asking the following questions
Andrea is a pessimist. She looks at what can go wrong, associates with negative events, and expects to lose. Her pessimism is a plus if she uses the worry as a catalyst for taking precautions and making wise decisions, but such is not the case. She is stuck in negativity and doubts. She seeks counseling because of constant worrying.
Dissociate – have Andrea:
Empowering Anchor – have Andrea:
If the desired feeling does not appear, she can either repeat the process until it does or try a different physical action
Generate a new behavior. Have Andrea:
Each of these can be effective interventions. However, you might want to work with Andrea at a deeper level. A place to begin would be to examine her attachments – long held needs to be controlled, deprived, or rejected.
After talking with Andrea and based on her admission that she sets unrealistic goals, expects to be disappointed, and chronically worries; you determine she is attached to deprivation.
In that case, the AHA solution might be appropriate. Andrea would:
Each of these interventions will help Andrea move from pessimism to optimism.
Association/Dissociation is a technique that is covered in our NLP Practitioner Online Training.