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The Drop Down Through & Mind-Backtracking Pattern

The Art of Dropping-Down Through Experiences

Even Stuttering While Rising Higher.
How to Meta-State
the NLP Drop-Down Through Pattern
Bobby G Bodenhamer, D.Min.
L Michael Hall, Ph.D.
Pour la traduction franaise, cliquez ici (PDF)
We first applied Meta-States to the subject of stuttering a couple of years ago. That led to an article that
we published on the Neuro-Semantics website ( More recently, Bob has
worked with several individuals around the issue of stuttering and found that sometimes in one session,
those who had stuttered for decades stopped. It was amazing. Of course, it did not always work that
quickly. Sometimes in as many as four sessions (No doubt some will need more than four sessions.). And
still thats incredible especially when you consider what the professionals working in the field of stuttering
think and say about it.
With that success rate, we began exploring some of the key factors in stuttering and the neuro-semantics
of the relief. Some of the case studies have been dramatic, as dramatic and exciting as curing a phobia
in a few minutes. This does not mean that every case can be resolved that quickly, although some will.
Our experiences with people who stutter have led us to discover several things. Discoveries and
Stuttering offers a great example of how a person can mind-to-muscle an idea so that
an idea drops outside of awareness and becomes a muscular pattern in the throat.
Stuttering operates from a simple idea, You are forbidden to speak non-fluently, so be
self-conscious and self-interrupting in your verbal expressions.

Amazingly, once you mind-to-muscle that idea into your neurology so that it becomes neurosemantic, you can forget it and your body (your muscles in throat and lungs) will remember to run that
program. Then you can begin to believe that it is inevitable, inescapable, and permanent. Of course,
those are just beliefs, just confirmations of thoughts and limiting beliefs at that.
Once we have a neuro-semantic (or mind-body-emotion) program like stuttering in the
muscles, can we reverse it?
Can we un-do it?

Do we have any Neuro-Semantic patterns for reversing it and how long would that take?
What better evidence do we need that we can mind-to-muscle ideas than stuttering? The experience of
stuttering shows that we can embody an idea to such an extent that the idea or principle becomes
completely incorporated inside a persons very neurology and physiology. The tongue, throat muscles,
muscles governing breathing, etc. all learn the lessons well. And the principle? The ideas thats embodied
involves those that create panic attack, Its bad to speak non-fluently, always be on your guard against
any speech that is not perfectly fluent, it means youre inadequate and inferior.
This fits with what those who have explored this field have written. (Bloodstein, 1975) has written that
stuttering is
an anticipatory struggle reaction that is manifested as tension in the body and that shows up as
fragmentation of the stutterers speech.

Similarly, Sheehan, and Sheehan (1984) said in their analysis of stuttering. stuttering is an approachavoidance conflict. Wendell Johnson (1946) using General Semantics demonstrated that stuttering is a
learned phenomenon, one that is typically taught, and one that involves the meta-level structure of a fear
or dislike of non-fluency and unwillingness to tolerate the hesitating.
A Demonstration
Robert, I want you to recall the feeling, memory, or a state thats behind your stuttering, something that
you feel each time just before you stutter.
Okay, I know what it is.
What are you feeling?
Im feeling intense anger.
And what are you feeling anger at or about?
Its about being teased when I stuttered as a child. I hated that.
Where in your body do you feel that intense anger?
It is in my chest and here in my arms.
And you say intense, how intense or how much do you feel that?
It is very intense, it feels hot.
And, Robert, just drop down through that and what do you feel underneath that?
Sadness is below that.
Good, and just be with that sadness for a moment and what is that sadness about?
The sadness is about being hurt by my peers at school. They really hurt me And its a sadness and
heaviness here
Good, and now drop down through the sadness and what do you feel underneath the sadness from
being laughed at?
I have anxiety and a sense of panic my heart is beating much faster.
Robert, what are you feeling in that state?
I have a kinesthetic sensation of this state in my belly And also here in my neck and shoulders, and the
same sensation is here in my jaw, throat, and chest.
Good, and drop down through the anxiety and panic and what do you feel underneath the that?
Pain I have a sensation that feels like Im being restricted. Its hard to describe. Its like Im being held
Just stay with that emotion for a moment and now go ahead and drop down through that sense of being
restricted and held back and what do you feel underneath that?
Now I have frustration Yes, lots of frustration. Just frustrated.
Good, and as you now drop down through the frustration, what do you feel underneath the frustration?
Hmmmm Ah I cant tell exactly
Thee was a pause here, briefly and then Robert went immediately into his resources.
Bob, Im feeling a feeling of lightness.
Thats good. And drop down through the lightness and what do you feel underneath the lightness?
Lots of things lots of feelings. I feel joy, happiness. I feel a sense of elation.
Great. Tell me about these feeling of joy, happiness, and elation? Whats is it like?

In addition to the feelings, Im also getting a visual image of myself.

I elicited more of the meaning frames around his resource state of joy, happiness and elation. That
resource state also included relaxation, peacefulness, contentment, and freedom of expression. By
asking him these meaning frames, I was not only getting more information from him for use later in the
therapy, but also, by eliciting meaning frames, these frames would anchor in these resources and make
them more powerful and meaningful to Robert.
As I validated that, I gave him more time to stay in these good resourceful feelings. Later I used this image
as an anchor as I had him apply his resources back to his original difficulties. All I had to do was say, See
that picture of you being and then mention the following frames which was part of his joy relaxed,
peaceful, content, and freedom of expression.
Now, Robert, how does seeing yourself as relaxed, peaceful, contented and free transform and enrich
the intense anger?
I repeated this question on each of Roberts negative frames. As we continued to empower his resource
state, he saw the picture of himself growing taller and taller. It really developed into a powerful resource. I
then moved to slowly and deliberately meta-stating the negative frames. As we did
Anger and Rage became Contentment, peace, harmony and happiness.
Sadness became joy, happiness.
Pain and Restriction became supple. He often used supple in the sense of flexible and limber after
reframing pain and restriction. limber.
Frustration became it just went away and he became really excited about taking this out into real life
and working it including telling his class that he was meeting in about an hour after our session about the
experience he just had.
Debriefing the Drop-Down Pattern
In Roberts case, he went through the following series of states as he dropped-down through one after the
1. Intense Anger
2. Sadness
3. Anxiety / Panic
4. Pain
5. Frustration
6. Pause (where typically the nothingness, void, or emptiness occurs)
7. A feeling of lightness
8. Joy, Happiness, Elation which included relaxed, peaceful, content, and freedom of expression.
In thinking about this pattern, doesnt it make sense that the ideas in his head about non-fluent speech
and being teased about it and his higher frames of dislike about that ended up as kinesthetic sensations
in his belly, neck, shoulders, jaw, throat and chest? Does it then surprise us that what we call stuttering
then shows up as a kind of panic attack in this way?
So with the kinesthetic sensation of feeling blocked or restricted, and from the point of view of organ
language, his speech has become blocked or restricted. I have found this as extremely important in
working with those who stutter. Which also leads me to feel 100% convinced that stuttering is nothing but
a panic attack expressing itself this particular way. The therapy I do is exactly the same as with panic
disorder right out of the same text book.
While we use the label of stuttering or panic attack there is a similar structure in terms of the mental
frames and the physiology. In the experience of stuttering, we have a state of anxiety thats expressing
itself in breathing and in the muscles of the chest which control breathing as well as the muscles around

the larynx. Its really that simple. And once the person reframes the meta-level structures that drives the
panic over speaking and what others think, the stuttering disappears.
The Drop-Down Through Pattern
Meta-Stating by Dropping-Down Through Painful Experiences:
1) Identify the experience and emotion you want to transform.
What emotion, feeling, memory, or experience would you like to transform so that it enhances your life?
Are there any emotions or experiences that undermine your success that you would like to eliminate?
2) Step Into that Experience.
For the purposes of transformation, recall that experience and step into it so that you see what you saw,
hear what you heard, and fully feel what you felt. Be there again. . Good.
Where do you feel this in your body?
What does it feel like?
How intense are you experiencing this emotion?
Good, just be there with it for a moment, noticing just noticing it fully knowing that it is just an
emotion and that you are so much more than any emotion
3) Drop Down Through the experience.
This may feel strange, but you do know what it feels like when you drop so feeling that feeling
ofdropping, just drop down through that experience until you drop down underneath that feeling
What feeling or emotion lies underneath that emotion?
And now just imagine dropping down through that feeling
[use the language and terms that the person gives you.]
And what feeling comes to you as you imagine yourself dropping down through that one?
[Keep repeating this dropping-down through process until the person comes to nothing That is, to no
feelings to a void or emptiness.]
4) Confirm the Emptiness
Just experience that nothingness or void for a moment. Good.
Now let that nothingness open up and imagine yourself dropping through and out the other side of the
What are you experiencing when you come out the other side of the nothingness? What or whom do you
[Repeat this several times .. to a second, third, or fourth resource state.]
5) Meta-State each problem state
Use each resource state to meta-state each problem state.
And when you feel X about Y, how does that transform things?
And when you even more fully feel X what other transformations occur?
Valid and solidify: just stay right here in this X resource and as you experience it fully, what happens to the
first problem state (#1)?
When you feel this (fire anchor for each resource) what else happens to those old problem states?
6) Test
Lets see what now happens when you try, and I want you to really try to see if you can get back the
problem state that we started with.
When you try to do that, what happens?
Do you like this?
Would you like to take this into your future?
Into all of your tomorrows and into all your relationships?
Caveats about the Pattern
In terms of trouble-shooting the use of this pattern, there are a few concerns as you work with people and
coach them through this process.

1) About getting to the bottom.

Sometimes people will reach a point near or at the void where they say things such as, That is it. There
is nothing else. Or, I am at the bottom. There is nothing else below. I cant go any further. If this
happens, then ask them if they have a visual. I invite the person to say something like, I am on the
ground. There is nothing below me.
When this happens then we can say, Good, just imagine opening the earth up and dropping down
through that.
In any Neuro-Semantic or NLP pattern, our basic approach is that we do what we have to do to coach a
person to continue dropping down through. Use their metaphors and feed it back to the them in a way that
will lead them to open up whatever is blocking them.
2) For intense trauma, use another pattern first.
If the person is experiencing a great deal of emotional pain from a memory, use some other meta-stating
patterns to loosen up the frames before using this pattern. We dont want to lead a person to associate
into some extremely painful experience when there are easier ways of doing it. I (BB) have found with this
pattern that it provides a great cleaning up pattern for finalizing your work.
3) Track the persons states all the way down.
If you have an excellent memory, make a visual image of a ladder and state in your mind__ and to them,
each state. If not, then jot down on a notepad each state the person drops-down into. Sometimes there
will be as few as 5 and sometimes as many as 20 or 30.
4) When to end.
If the person still has some negative emotions after you have taken him or her through the process, then
simply repeat the process. That is, recycle through those feelings as you did with the first negative feeling.
You may have to do this two or time times. Do it until the person does not experience a negative feelings.
Understanding the Meta-Stating Structure
of this Pattern
How Do we Meta-State when we Drop Down Through Experiences?
We typically think about meta-stating as going up. Thats the metaphor. We make a meta-move above and
beyond an experience and then bring a resource to the original experience. This sets a new frame for the
experience or emotion. In doing this, we transcend and include the first experience and embed it inside of
a broader and more extensive resource.
This comes from Batesons meta-connection and from the Meta-States model of the levels of the mind
and so from Korzybskis Levels of Abstraction although he had his abstract levels upside down.
Yet all of this is just a metaphor. Its just a way of talking about things a way of thinking, conceptualizing,
and imagining. Can we turn this metaphor back upside down and still meta-state?
You bet.
In NLP, the Drop-Down Through pattern does this. Tad James was apparently the first to introduce it to
NLP, we put it in our book on Time-Lining (1997). And yet it is actually a meta-stating pattern. Bob has
that illustrated with Robert in the demonstration. Now we want to explain what we each see in the pattern
and how it actually works as a meta-stating process.
The idea of dropping down through and the feeling it evokes works as a meta-frame. In the pattern we
essential take this feeling, idea, and metaphor and use it as an operative frame. So we invite participants
just drop down Feel yourself falling through that old experience, that old emotion and just go
with this and drop down through there you go and whats beneath that feeling?

In this languaging, we are inviting the person to go higher deeper (or deeper higher) as a trance
phenomenon. This is a new distinction recently introduced in the Meta-Trance trainings. I pulled it out of
some of the language patterns of Erickson not in the NLP patterning of Erickson.
I noticed that Milton would sometimes ask his clients to do two opposite things at the same time. In slow
timehe would have them go faster. In fast time, he would suggest that they go slower. When I tried that on,
I found it very trancy. That led me to experiment in some of our closing inductions at trainings.
And now, just for the purpose of enjoying the learnings of the day and to let them solidify within your
mind, I would like to invite you to float down deeper. .. and deeper still because we have been rising up in
our mind to higher levels and frames of mind to our highest intentions and as you float down deeper
now with those highest intentions, you can feel deeper higher in just the way that allows you to step into
those highest and most expansive perspectives and then feel higher deeper in a way that solidifies them
into your core now as you move out into the world
In the same way, when we invite a person to float down and to drop down and to go through a thought, an
experience, an emotion the downward feel combined with the realization (the higher frame) that that
emotion arose from yet another thought or emotion we combine the going deeper higher trance.
Framing that we can back up to the originating emotion, we backtrack the negative meta-stating the
person had created in his or her history.
And what was before that?
And what was before that?
This replicates, backwards, the process that created the dragon state and subtly starts pulling it apart.
Thats why this pattern is a Dragon Slaying/ Transforming pattern and explains why Bob has gotten so
much mileage from it in dealing with physiological problems such as stuttering. In this, it reverses the
syntax of the problem, very similar to what happens in the Phobia Cure pattern.
The nothingness state of the void is another interesting meta-state to bring and set as a frame over our
experiences. We get through by backing up to when nothing was going on no particular thoughts or
feelings. Then we can metaphor it with the sense of emptiness, a void, or whatever. This essentially helps
us empty our mind and emotions and move to neutral.
Then, because we have moved down from negative to neutral, by presupposition, if we keep moving in
this direction, we have to move to positive states. The continuum has been set up and so it naturally and
easily follows that we will now continue to drop down into positive states that will be much more
resourceful. So every time we drop down through the next experiential state, we drop into an even more or
higher resource state.
All this is is meta-states standing on its head.
We could change the metaphor and invite the float up through pattern.
And now just feel yourself floating up getting lighter and lighter lighter than air. floating thats
right, floating right up out of those old emotions and up into something higher, something lighter,
something more expansive, something that invites you into a higher state of mind perhaps a higher
state than you ever been in before now .. because you can, can you not thats right floating all the
way up.
In this, the metaphor doesnt matter all that much. The magic isnt in the metaphor as if there were some
holy metaphor. Whats important is that once we frame with a metaphor, we can do things with it, we
can experiencethings with it, we can make significant transformational change. Dropping down through an
experience implies, suggests, and facilitates moving to a new place as does floating up to a higher state.
When we facilitate change, movement, difference and get a person to construct new experiences, we can
then use those very resources as new frames of mind. If theres any magic, thats the magic. We trust that

the person moves into (drops down through) and into the very resource states that he or she needs. So
we then use those and apply those to the original problem.
And when you fully step into and experience this resource how does that change the problem that you
started with?
Meta-Level Magic
Its been a number of years now since the first time I saw Bob run the Drop-Down Through pattern. It
occurred when he had a whole group of people finishing their NLP Master Practitioner training. He
introduced this pattern on the last day as he demonstrated it with one person, then the whole group
wanted to have him coach them through it! It was powerful. After several people sat in the chair and
kept dropping down through things, I almost got the impression that there was something magical about
that chair.
Maybe it was a secret door to another universe!
Be careful when you set in that chair, you never know where you might end up!
Yet in watching the processes, it was clear to me that while we all thought about the metaphor as taking
usdown down down into the foundation of an experience. When we popped out the other end
and dropped on down into positive resources it was like Dantes trip.
Do you remember Dantes trip? At a cave entrance at Jerusalem he saw the sign marking the gateway to
Hell. Abandon all hope, ye who enter herein. And down, down, down the circles of hell Dante went
deeper into the problem past the fire, the brimstone, etc., until he came to the most unimaginable
source of evil to Satan. And Satan in that poem was frozen in ice in the center of the earth. Youve
heard about when hell freezes over? Well, thats the picture Dante drew when he wrote his poem in 1400.
Every attempt of the giant Satan to get free as he flapped his wings made the ice freeze even more.
(What an imagine of impotent evil!)
As Dante continued his journey having reached the center, all his movements forward thereafter was
actually up and out the other side of the planet where he emerged at the foot of Mt. Purgatory and
when he got to the top of that mountain and the Garden of Eden on top, Beatrice took him on a trip
through space, first to the moon, the Mars, then the starts. But thats another story.
Going down and coming up. Going up and coming down to a new core of values. Going higher deeper
now you know what thats like, do you not?
Transforming Neurology
I know why Bob really likes this pattern and think about it as one of the most powerful ones. Why?
Because he has been using it to actually transform meanings that have been installed in muscle like
stuttering. This is what we mean by neuro-semantics. Taking the term from Korzybski who coined that
and neuro-linguistic, we have been modeling how meanings are transferred and installed in muscle. It
happens all the time and our Mind-to-Muscle pattern taps into this mechanism of our mind-body-emotion
It can happen with the idea of dont stutter, dont hesitate when you notice yourself being non-fluent.
This is the structure of stuttering as general semanticist, Dr. Wendell Johnson noted a long time ago in his
now classic work, People in Quandaries. Stuttering always involves becoming conscious of non-fluency.
Yet since all of us are non-fluent everyday, there has to be something else that creates stuttering.
We have to dislike, hate, or forbid the non-fluency. We have to give it a negative and painful meaning. And
when we do, either by being forbidden to be non-fluent (which some parents and teachers are highly
skilled at pointing out and enforcing!), or by defining it as meaning something painful like, being stupid,
being inadequate, lacking confidence, etc. Then we can create a meta-state structure

of refusal to tolerate non-fluent speech and so become highly aware and conscious of every non-fluency
and find it painful and intolerable. After that it only takes weeks, months and years of practice and
those semantics will get into our physiology so that the way we breath and the way we use our tongue and
mouth muscles support this negative meta-state.
Stuttering becomes neurological. It becomes a neuro-semantic state. This is great because it means that
we only need to change the semantics (the meanings) and the neurology will change. During the winter
and spring of 2001-2002, Bob used the Drop-Down Through pattern with 5 individuals who stuttered,
mostly over the phone from all around the world, and within one to four sessions (typically 2) they
stuttered no more.
Summary: The Neuro-Semantics of Stuttering
We have used the basic NLP principle that every experience has a structure to flush out the basic
structure of the experience of stuttering. In doing so we have refused to mindlessly accept the labels
and medical model definitions of its cause or cure. In doing so, we begin by refusing to identify people as
stutterers as if they is who they are. We also refuse to buy into the fatalistic frame, Once a stutterer,
always a stutterer.
Similar to our work, The Structure of Personality (2001) we then de-nominalize the form and structure to
look at the four meta-domains that give us a description of processes and personality: language (the
Meta-Model), perception (Meta-Programs), states and reflexivity (Meta-States) and the cinematic features
of a persons internal Movie (Meta-Modalities or sub-modalities).
Just because stuttering so happens to be the end-result of the coalescing of the meta-levels and metaframes into muscle (and so a great example of how we mind-to-muscle ideas and meanings), doesnt
make it unchangeable. That happens with every idea (belief, value, understanding, meaning, expectation,
etc.) that we install as a motor program. Thats what happens all the time in a mind-body-emotion
And if we created it, we can un-create it and can create something much better! Thats the power, the
magic, and the excitement in neuro-linguistics and neuro-semantics.

The Drop Down Through & The Mind Back-Tracking

Will the Thought in the Back of Your Mind
Please Stand Up?
L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.
Bobby G. Bodenhamer, D.Min.
Back to the experience out of which our map came! In NLP, this describes the heart and
passion of using the Meta-Model. We start with Surface structures and meta-model them in
order to get back to the Deep structures.
The Cognitive-Behavioral Psychology model, in which NLP falls, postulates that behind every
emotion lies a "thought." This "thought" may involve an understanding, awareness, sensory
representation, belief, value, decision, etc. From this awareness that "beneath" (or behind)
every emotion lies a thought comes the idea of "back-tracking" to the thought out of which

it came. Ellis (1976) in Rational-Emotive Therapy (RET) and Beck (1976) each searches with
a client to discover the person's evaluative judgment that drives the emotion.
This understanding also fits the diagrams on the levels of abstraction that Korzybski
(1941/1994) developed in describing the nervous system's modeling process. We start at
the bottom in the unspeakable territory which we can never reach by words and which
exists "out there" beyond the nervous system. But then we "abstract," (e.g. summarize,
bring in, and transform) from the territory to make our neurological "maps" of that territory.
Then, moving up two or three levels, we finally reach the speakable level of words, a
linguistic map of various neurological transforms. In Science and Sanity, in a section on
semantic reactions, Korzybski suggested a semantic experiment to discover the "meaning"
of any given term. The effective of the experiment leads a person down further and further
into the deep structure, into deeper levels of neurology...
"Here we have reached the bottom and the foundation of all non-elementalistic meanings-meanings of undefined terms, which we "know" somehow, but cannot tell. In fact, we have
reached the un-speakable level." (p. 21).
Sometimes we need to go back down to the territory and re-map in more appropriate and
accurate ways. This Bandler and Grinder (1975) built into the meta-model (as a model of
human modeling processes) using the deep and surface structures of Chomsky. So dropping
down back to the experience out of which we do our mental mapping describes an insight of
the Meta-Model as well as a technique.
This technique involves a backtracking to the neuro-linguistic constructions. In doing so, we
imagine "going back" or "dropping down" to a lower or prior level of abstraction. To
accomplish what? Typically we use this "Drop-Down Through" or Mind Backtracking
Technique to assist ourselves, or others, in releasing negative emotions, especially those in
which we may feel stuck. Via this process the negative emotions will release as we move
back or down to previous levels of abstraction.
What lies at the bottom? The Void, the Nothing, the Unspeakable realm, the quantum, God,
ultimate reality, etc.
Arising then, first from Korzybski, through the Cognitive Psychology models, then through
Bandler and Grinder, Tad James first developed this specific technique as a Time-Line
TherapyTM technique. We here first present Tad's process, then one developed by John
Overdurf to streamline the process, then our own development, Mind Backtracking.

The Pattern
1. Find the first event. "What is the root cause of this problem, the first event which, when
disconnected, will cause the problem to disappear? Tell me about the first time you felt this
2. Go back to the first event on your time-line. "I'd like to ask your unconscious mind to
float up... above your time-line (The line that represents your life history.), and then to go
back into the past... and as you do you can go back to the event itself and drop down into

it." Fully associate the client into the kinesthetic of the event. Have him/her fully describe
where and how he/she feels the emotion.
[Note: Do not associate yourself or another into the event if it has the qualities or character
of a trauma; always run the V/K dissociation pattern or some other dissociative technique
first to release the negative emotions.]
3. Preserve the learnings. "As you re-visit that event, notice and describe the emotion/s you
now feel? What learnings have you made here that you would want to preserve? What do
you need to learn from this event, the learning of which will allow you to let this all go,
easily and effortlessly?"
4. Drop-down through. "As quickly as you can, allow yourself to drop down through the
emotion as you do a kind of kinesthetic 'free-fall' through it and do this as quickly as you
can... and say aloud the name of the emotion that you find underneath this first
5. Repeat this process again and again. "And as quickly as you can, just drop through that
emotion, the emotion you found underneath the original one. And what do you find
underneath that one?" Continue this process until you float down all the way through and
come to the "void," or "nothing," to that unspeakable stage of experience and notice, as you
do, how you come out the other side to an experience that has a positive kinesthetic to it.
Then free-fall another time to a second positive kinesthetic.
[Usually you need only to go to two positive emotions. If looping occurs more than once,
use an inductive language pattern to exit the loop to a deeper level of meaning. End the
process when you reach the second positive emotion or the client's highest resource frame.
You should see and experience an obvious physiological shift. This suggests the chain of
emotions below or behind emotions have collapsed together.]
6. Meta-State the negative emotions with the positive emotions. For instance, below I (BB)
elicited the following emotional states from a client:

Jesus (The person's highest meta-frame so I stopped him at this state.)

A very helpful addition to the original Drop Down Through Technique is to say after dropping
down through to the resource states, "And what happens to 'abandonment' in the presence
of Jesus?" The client said, "It is gone." "Good, and what happens to being 'scared' in the
presence of Jesus?" "It is gone." "Good, and what happens to 'loneliness' in the presence
of Jesus?" "It is gone." "Great, and what happens to 'helplessness' in the presence of
Jesus?" "It is gone. They are all gone."

In doing this we are adding the meta-stating process of bringing to bear a higher level on
the lower level. In this case, the interaction will negate the negative states. On numerous
occasions I (BB) I have learned that adding this meta-stating process will totally eliminate
the problem. You can re-associate the client into the original problem and it will be gone. If
so, skip to future pacing #11.
7. Float above your experience and time-line. "As you return to the experience that began
this experience, float up your time-line, and go back in history to well before the beginning
of the event, or any of the chain of events that led to that event, and turn and look towards
8. Solidify and test for the disappearance of the negative emotions. "Now where has the old
emotion/s gone? ... Yes, it disappeared." "Now, just float right down into the event and
notice just how fully the emotion has completely disappeared from what the way you used
to experience it... Do you find the emotion totally gone? Good, return back up above to your
time-line to fifteen minutes above and before the painful event." [Continue to re-run this
process until you access the positive kinesthetic.]
9. Come back to now. "Now, come back to now, above your time-line only as quickly as you
can let go of all the _____(name the emotion)____ on the events all the way back to now,
assume the position above and fifteen minutes before each subsequent event, preserve the
learnings, and let go of the _____(name the emotion)____ all the way back to now." [Break
10. Test. "As you recall some event, any event, in the past where you used to feel that old
emotion, go back there and try to see if you can feel it, or you may find that you cannot."
11. Future pace. "I want you to go out into the future to an unspecified time in the future
which if it had happened in the past, you would have felt _____(name the emotion)____,
and notice if you can find that old emotion, or you may find that you cannot. OK? Good
come back to now."

The Pattern Simplified

John Overdurf and Julie Silverthorn (1996) have simplified this Drop-Down Through Process
into the following five steps.
1. Elicit a word which corresponds to emotional state. Identify a value or unwanted
emotional state in the form of some nominalization: anger, fearfulness, timidity, etc.
2. Invite a person to "just drop down through that emotion . . . until you come to what you
find underneath it..."
3. Continue the Dropping Down Through. Continue to repeat this process until you have
generated a chain of states that run all the way through to a "void", "nothing," an
unspeakable stage, etc. and comes out the other side to a positive kinesthetic state.
4. End the process when you reach the non-mirror image reverse of the first word (e.g. the
undesired emotional term). Unless you come out immediately to the obvious non-mirror

image reverse, go to the second positive kinesthetic. You will find an obvious physiological
shift which indicates that the chain has begun to collapse at that point.
5. Repeat this whole process with another emotional state. Do this until you have only
accessed a positive kinesthetic. You may find that various chains interconnect. In these
cases continue running the "branches" of each chain until you reach only a positive
6. I (BB) highly suggest utilizing the meta-stating process in #6 above.

Demonstrating Dropping-Down Through

For me (BB), the stages of dropping down through that one recent client had with this
process involved the following "chain" of states:










Nothing (a void, here a person will feel or experience "nothing" and so will have a
"blank" so to speak)


Jesus. This client dropped straight into "Jesus." I wrote in my notes, "A big one. She
really had a phenomenal experience."

The following one represents another case, and a classic example of what we usually get
with this process. Often I look at this as a kinesthetic free fall down through the outcome
chain that one might get from using the Core TransformationTM process. Here you can take a
person back on their time-line and come forward with each painful internal representation.
In the process you thereby provide a re-imprint. From another recent client, I got this
classic list: 1) Confusion, 2) Shock, 3) Fear, 4) Worry, 5) Fear for dad (different from
above), 6) Fear of losing house (different fear, dad arrested for gambling by the police), 7)
Nothing. 8) Safety, 9) Christ. At this point the client started laughing out loud.
Some caveats. Like all NLP techniques, this process will not always work. When a person
drops down through, he or she may not always get the classic negative emotions, the void,
and then two positive. Sometimes you get different mixtures --scramble eggs. Tad
recommends that a person follow these directions precisely and to do so only with
individuals, not groups.
On my (MH) first experience with this process, I picked a recent incident to which I
responded with anger and upset feelings. Then, as I did the kinesthetic free-fall--I first fell
into 2) hurt, then I moved into 3) fear, then into a strange emotional state, one wherein I
felt a strong sense of life itself feeling 4) unfulfilled, after that, I felt, as Alice in Wonderland,

falling, falling, falling... I hit the Void of Nothingness. Falling after that took me to the chaos
of God's World where I had a sense of his spirit moving upon the waters bringing order out
of chaos.

Mind BackTracking
As you can imagine, some people will not like the metaphor of falling or going "down." So
for them, playfully using the metaphor of going "behind" enables them to use the same
This process may remind you of the Kinesthetic Stepping Back technique [I (MH) wrote this
in "Spirit of NLP" (1996)]. In that process we take a state of some distress, and step back
from it on our time-line so that we can then look at it. There in front of us we see
(dissociated, from a spectator's point of view) our Future Self in that distress state! Yet as
we have stepped back, we have accessed another state, one with more resources and one
in which we can begin to stack and store other resources. "What resource/s would change
that future experience and make it less painful or distressful?"
Once we have accessed those resources, we step back again. Now we see our future self
playing and accessing resources for a future distressful state. Here again we can imagine
additional resources that would help that future self. And so continuing moving back on
one's time-line, associating into more and more resources as moving back, and gaining
increasing perspective on the future self.
When a person has backed up numerous times and anchored resources at each spot on a
kinesthetic time-line, then the neuro-linguistic programmer could assist with languaging and
anchoring moving the person forward in "time" reanchoring and re-experiencing the
resources until coming up to the present (where the process began) now completely reorganized.
Similarly, in backing up or "backtracking" to the cognitive-behavioral state out of which the
anger/upset came, I landed first at hurt, then fear, etc. Visually I had the experience of
running my movie backward--and had a strong kinesthetic sense of quickly zooming back
and did so until it came out of a void and then out of God's chaos.

The Mind BackTracking Pattern

With this pattern, we begin with the statement and continue to use this as the driving force:
"And, behind that thought whirling in your mind lies another thought.... So as you allow
yourself to notice what thought do you find back there?"
Using this directional question that swish the mind backwards offers a profound and simple
way to take a client back to the Void of nothingness and then on to various resources.

How does this process work? It operates by associating into a problem, getting the
"thought" that drives it, and then asking a series of backtracking questions about the
"thought" (ideas, representations, etc.) behind it that propels it forward into becoming one's

frames or generalizations. In doing this, we go (or we take other) back to the experience
out of which it came and ultimately to the Void. When we get there we have arrived at the
place of pure potentiality.
As such, it provides a valuable tool for those whose primary representation systems involve
something other than the visual modality (e.g. auditory, kinesthetic, and/or auditory
And the value of getting one back (or down) to the Void--the unspeakable dimension before
abstracting? It opens us up to new potentialities as it gives us new ways to remap. It also
gives us a deep neurological or unconscious understanding of the difference between map
and territory-- "maps are but maps," they never exist as territory.
Though Bob did not future pace or re-imprint in this case with Susan, he very well could
have brought her forward and have her re-imprint her entire time-line with the resources
that she found in that place of pure potentiality. This usually offers an additional
reinforcement of the process.