NLP Whiteout Technique
- Chris Harrison
- 22th July 2007 - Updated 20th July 2012
The purpose of the NLP whiteout technique is to enable you to stop thinking about a memory that keeps forcing itself into your consciousness, and makes you feel uncomfortable.
We all have bad or embarrassing memories that prevent us from performing at our best. This exercise is designed to push them out of your awareness for good.
It is important to understand the steps so that you can perform this exercise without any doubt or confusion as to what you are doing and why.
So here goes:
If, like most people, you discovered during the lesson NLP Submodalities - Change your Reality that increasing the brightness of an image increased the intensity, then this exercise may seem at odds with what you've learnt so far, but it works surprisingly well.
So think of something that, when you think of it, makes you feel uncomfortable.
Maybe there is something that you can't get out of your mind at the moment, that produces a negative feeling, such as a time when you embarrassed yourself or a memory that tends to remind you how rubbish you are at a particular skill specifically when you are trying to perform at your best.
So get that image clearly in your mind.
How in a normal submodality intervention you would reduce the intensity by changing the submodalities. Changing the image location and size, and turning the brightness down would be a useful start. But in the whiteout exercise, rather than turn the brightness down, which is the usual NLP approach to lower the intensity, you're going to do the opposite. Before doing this there are a couple of important points:
Firstly, the brightness must be increased very quickly. And secondly, the brightness should be increased until the image goes completely white.
So remember that uncomfortable memory.
Turn the brightness up very quickly all the way to white.
Pause for a moment and think of something completely different (break your state).
Think of the memory again and repeat the brightening and breaking state 5 times.
Once you have done this 5 times, think of the memory again and see what happens.
Hopefully it does one of two things, either it whites out all by itself (spooky), or you can’t visualize the image clearly at all.
By repeating this process over and over you are telling your brain what you want it to do, and by finishing each attempt with a completely white image, you are making it very difficult from your brain to reverse the process.
The pause between each attempt is important to ensure that you’re not creating a loop where your brain just keeps creating the image and brightening it, over and over.
So what do you do if you can still feel bad about the image?
Well, firstly try repeating the process a few more times.
Try performing the whiteout quicker.
Try adding a sound effect - watching your image whoosh into white can help enormously.
You may be tempted to try a different submodality, but that isn't really likely to work because we’re increasing the submodality effect, not diminishing it, and we’re taking advantage of the fact that changing brightness in either extreme makes the image impossible to see.
If you've already worked with submodalities then this is a somewhat different way of using NLP to change your internal representations, but it's effective. Another similar exercise is Mommy make it go away. It's worth experimenting to find which exercise suits you the best.
As to whether you change memories using submodalities or the NLP whiteout technique really comes down to personal preference.