venerdì 10 settembre 2010

Framing Disaster (Alan Fayter)

(Alan Fayter - 09 settembre 2010)
Hello all from earthquake affected Christchurch NZ. If you haven’t already seen the news, there has been a significant earthquake here in the Christchurch region of the South Island of NZ. There are also a lot of quite large aftershocks – the latest one of magnitude 5.1 broke my chimney this morning and as I write this there are builders on the roof taking it down.

Being the ‘people watcher’ I am this whole experience has highlighted how interesting it is how people’s frames of mind affect their responses, and how powerful that framing is in terms of how it affects the larger system.
I’ve noticed that how people are linguistically framing the current events here is having a huge effect on the media perceptions, and that in turn is systemically fuelling individual responses creating wonderfully complex feedback and feed-forward loops. It’s not helped by those who don’t understand the effect of language on others; I heard a radio announcer yesterday take a call from a listener and ask “are you upset, depressed or very depressed?” How’s that for a negative suggestion!

Map-territory distinctions


What I mean by ‘linguistically framing’ demonstrates the powerful effect of language. I’ve heard and read countless descriptions such as “I was violently shaken awake and my bedside lamp was thrown off the nightstand and smashed into pieces on the floor” - a wonderful description... of someone’s map. Add to this a fast paced and/or loud voice and the emotional effect it has on others is magnified; basic state elicitation.
But let’s look at a different description of that very same event/territory; “I woke up because I saw and felt the room was shaking and my bedside lamp fell on the floor and broke”... a somewhat less emotive but none the less more sensory specific description. The first description is framed with countless layers of emotion and judgement.
I think this is indicative of larger and more general frames of mind that people have. For example; when the initial quake hit my partner was frightened, and has experienced sleeplessness and nervousness for days and nights following. Being a person who values ‘experiences’, I found the quake really interesting.  Apart from initial thoughts about exits, falling objects and my partner and daughters safety if the house fell down, I just found the whole experience fascinating. I actually feel quite lucky to be in the midst of such a unique experience. So this was the exact same place and time but two entirely different maps!
And this demonstrates how we frame experiences in our mind, what we Meta state them with, has a huge effect on primary state experiences.
When we consider what is happening with the floods in Pakistan, the loss of countless lives, no aid or relief, etc, compared with the situation in NZ where there is aid, food, help, support, and no loss of life; despite the economic effect we are actually quite ok really.
If we look at the situation here from the perspective of Maslow’s hierarchy, there are not a lot of basic needs that people are going without. Even those who find themselves homeless have help and support structures in place. They might not have their own shelter, but they do have shelter. It’s how we frame that basic need (i.e. shelter) that has a significant effect on primary states and responses. What meanings does shelter have for each individual person? What each individual is Meta stating their experience with, changes that experience.  And the same for safety needs, how does an individual frame those needs in an earthquake?
What is interesting is that two things are emerging – a wonderful proactive pulling together of community and support for others; and to a much smaller degree, a ‘poor me’ mentality that is being fed by the former. Some classic rescue triangles are emerging.

The value of NS


There are a lot of NLP practitioners, hypnotherapists, counsellors, etc, etc, here offering free sessions to those in need, me included. But even those who mean well often frame things in a less than helpful manner; I was asked to participate with a group of NLP practitioners who called themselves the “Trauma Team”... I responded that I’m happy be involved but thought something like the “Rescue Team”, “Help Team”, “Calming Crew” or something similar might be a better frame to begin with.
Those of us who are Neuro Semanticists and Meta Coaches have a greater advantage over classically trained NLP’ers. We have the benefit of the Meta States model that allows us to track the recursive layering of frames; we have the Matrix model that allows us to enter and follow the energy of another person’s map; there is the Axis of Change that gives us a framework for coaching. And there is the extra efficacy as these and the other NS models integrate within themselves and all of the other cognitive, behavioural and Self Actualisation models.
If we can get NS more widely known and used I think we could potentially help change the ‘framing’ of disasters worldwide. You can help that too by going to your nearest NS trainer and take part in APG, or any of the ISNS trainings – I truly believe we can change the world from the inside out!
Alan Fayter


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