A core state is the deepest level of what a person wants for him or herself. ConnieRae Andreas, author of the book Core Transformations, proposes there are five primary core states: Wholeness, Being, “Okness,” Inner Peace, and Love.
NLP Practitioners believe emotional experiences throughout life create “parts” in the unconscious mind. For example, “part of me believes I deserve success and part of me doesn’t,” ”part of me wants security and part of me wants freedom,” or “part of me is angry and part of me is depressed.” Each part generates its own values or beliefs and each part is responsible for certain behaviors. Moreover, these behaviors may conflict or act in ways that cause problems.
A part always has good intentions despite resulting feelings or behaviors according to NLP principles. The Practitioner’s goal is to identify the positive intent of the offending part and determine the underlying need.
Hypothetical Case Using the Core Transformation Strategy
Thomas is a 63-year-old man who made an appointment with me, an NLP coach, because his wife of 35 years recently filed for divorce and moved out of the house. Thomas does not equate his wife’s leaving with his heavy drinking. According to Thomas, he is just going through a rough patch, his wife doesn’t understand, and things will change. He agrees to see me for three sessions because he misses his wife and wants her to come home.
During the first session, my goals were to:
• Build Rapport – I observed Thomas’s eye accessing cues and listened to his predicate phrases. His primary representational system was visual. So, I asked visual questions such as “What do you see yourself doing a year from now?” and “Can you imagine life without your wife?” I also matched his tonality which was soft and detail-oriented.
• Identify the positive intent of his problematic drinking behavior – Thomas says the drinking takes his mind off of his “crummy life.”
• Conduct the Outcome Specification and Logical Levels exercises. Information gained during the exercises provides a clear understanding of what Thomas wants to achieve and where best to intervene.
• Use Meta Model questions throughout the session.
I taught Thomas about Perceptual Positions and guided him to consider how his wife might feel about her husband drinking so much. I also taught him how to dissociate, and we created an empowering anchor. These strategies were not as effective as hoped; so, I decided to use the core transformation process.
Thomas admitted that he tends to repress his feelings; so, I focused on the comment about his “crummy life” and his feelings about life, in general.
He identified several feelings, which included depression at his current situation and anger at his wife for leaving.
We decided to explore his depression; so, I asked him what the depression wants.
THOMAS: The depression wants to be loved.
This is the first step in what is known as an Intended Outcome Chain. An outcome chain is a process of going deeper with each answer to get to the core state a person really wants to achieve.
SECOND STEP: I asked Thomas “If you were loved fully and completely, what is it you want that’s even more important?”
THOMAS: “I want to feel good enough.”
THIRD STEP: I asked Thomas “If you felt you were good enough, what is it you want that is even more important?”
THOMAS: “I want to accept myself.”
FOURTH STEP: I asked Thomas “If you accepted yourself fully and completely, what is it you want that is even more important?”
THOMAS: “I want to feel a deep sense of worthiness or OKness.”
FIFTH STEP: I asked Thomas “If you had Okness fully and completely, what is it you want that is even more important.”
THOMAS: “I can think of nothing more.”
Because Okness was the last step Thomas could identify, I determined it to be his core state – the deepest level of what he wants for himself.
After having Thomas experience the feeling of Okness for a period of time, I asked him to invite his depression into his core state of Okness.
I then asked Thomas “How does already having OKness make things different?
THOMAS: “Well, if I have OKness, I accept myself and know I am good enough just as I am. I can love myself and don’t have to worry about others loving me or be depressed when I think someone doesn’t love me.
Certainly, Thomas has additional issues to resolve, but we have identified a major contributor to his drinking: his desire for OKness.