NLP Swish Pattern


Imagine you want to exercise, but whenever you think of going to the gym you imagine huffing and puffing on the treadmill and people laughing at you until you fall to the floor covering in your own smelly sweat.

I don't think you'd be spending much time at the gym.

The NLP swish pattern is a very good way of replacing an unresourceful representation such as this one, that gets in they way of you achieving what you want, with a more resourceful one.

Before using this NLP technique, it is important to understand the steps so that you can perform this exercise without any doubt as to what you are doing and why.

It is also useful to read the NLP Submodalities and NLP Memory Manipulation lessons before attempting this exercise.

The NLP swish pattern is usually one of the first patterns that people learn. Its an easy exercise, a good introduction to submodalities, and a very good way to show the effectiveness of NLP.

So think of the aspect of your life where you are not as resourceful as you would like and notice the representation you make. Perhaps whenever you think about going out for a run you imagine feeling out of breath and not enjoying the experience. The swish pattern is a good pattern to apply to issues of motivation.

Now make an image of how you would like to experience that event.

So in the example at the head of this article, perhaps you would make a picture of you striding out on the treadmill full of energy, with immaculate posture, while all around people were sweating and struggling.

Remember, this is your representation, so make it as motivating as possible.

Now, when you are happy with this representation, take a break for a moment and think about the original unresourceful image and place a small dot in either the center or one of its corners.

This small dot is a very small copy of the second (resourceful) image.

Now, very quickly, and with a nice whooshing noise, expand the dot until it fills the whole original image replacing the image with the new resourceful one. The positive image should now be the only image you can see.

Pause for a moment then return to the first image. Keep performing this shift until you can perform it effortlessly taking care to first imagine the dot then expand it quickly.

Once you have performed the shift 5 or 6 times, taking a moments break between each attempt, take another break, then think of performing the task that you struggled to be resourceful for.

What image pops into your mind?

The NLP swish pattern can be used to replace any negative thought with a more positive one. As with many NLP techniques the key is in the speed that you make the change.



Previous comments

Swish doesn't stick

I find that when I use the NLP swish pattern, everything seems fine, but if I come back later the swish has been undone. I can do it all again and the swish seems to work ok, but then disappears again. How do I make the swish stick?

DaveG, London

Posted May 7, 2010 at 03:07

Speed and Complexity

The thing to do with the NLP swish pattern is to do it as quickly as possible. Also make sure you 'break state' between each attempt. Another thing you should try is swishing 3 submodalities together as this will make it much harder for your unconscious to unwind the swish. The NLP swish pattern is a good technique but you need to experiment to find the best way to make it work for you.

Chris Harrison, UK

Posted May 14, 2010 at 20:29


Do you have to be in trance to have this work effectively?

Saran Karunan

Posted April 5, 2012 at 05:20

Depends on what you call trance

Saran, The swish pattern is usually done consciously, but most NLP processes do change your mental state somewhat when you perform them. The process can be done in trance if that is what you prefer, but its easier not to bother with a formal trance.

Chris Harrison, UK

Posted April 9, 2012 at 14:05