Forum Message

Topic: Changing with New Code NLP
Posted by: Michael Carroll
Date/Time: 09/12/2002 13:55:48

Dear All

I post below an article I recently published in Rapport Magazine. In the article you will find the following:

1. A personal example of the know nothing state and six step reframe in action.
2. A description of how to utilise the high performance know nothing state in change work.
3. A brief history of the New Code
4. A specific description of the New Code change format.

For people who have read "Whispering" you may be familiar with what I write in the article. My metaphors and examples are different from John & Carmen's, I hope you enjoy.

For people who have yet to read "Whispering" you might find the article a useful introduction to New Code NLP. For more information on New Code NLP visit



By Michael Carroll, Director NLP Academy, England

Two years ago I pulled a muscle in the lower part of my back and was in considerable pain. A visit to the osteopath offered me mild relief. I was advised that the natural healing process would take six weeks and exercise and good posture would help me get better.  Good posture isn’t an easy task when you’re in pain. Six weeks I thought,  “I am getting better quicker than that!” Taking the advice of the osteopath I decided to exercise. Early one spring morning I took my dogs for a long walk.  I went to the forest and sat down in clearing and began to let my mind go. I could see my dogs playing, the mist rising on the grass, the clear blue morning sky, the new leaves swaying on the trees. I could hear the birds singing, the wind rustling the leaves, and I could feel the cool spring breeze on my face. I made no judgements, I had no internal dialogue, no internal representations, just my sensory awareness totally open to the input. I was probably in this state for about half an hour. I stood up, walked back through the park and made my first judgement through internal dialogue, the words “total harmony”. I walked home gradually returning to my regular state. I showered, got ready for the office, and only realised when I got in my car, that I was virtually free of my back pain. So I asked my unconscious to provide me with the intention of what was left of pain, I immediately got the response it’s about experiencing harmony.  I did a six-step reframe and was free of pain at the end of the day.

Have you ever had a situation where you made a change with an area of your life you had previously struggled with by experiencing an event that was seemingly unconnected with the context of your problem? An example might be that you attend a concert. As you hear the music, you don’t hear the words of the song, although the words connect meaning for you at a deeper level as they float through you as an unspoken, unheard language. The beat of the music literally ripples through your body connecting the rhythm throughout your bodymind. You move with the people around you, you are totally present. You leave the concert, and think about an area you have been working on, and suddenly you have the solved the issue.

The Know Nothing State-
In both of the above examples, a “know nothing state”, free of content (internal representations) is accessed and unconsciously utilised in another area of life. My example and the concert description are natural examples of what is mapped in New Code NLP as a powerful change format. This process leverages the power of the high performance content free state (neural circuitry 1) to engulf the state connected with the issue/problem (neural circuitry 2), and that change is made without conscious effort. In my forest example, I was not aware of the physiological shift until I got into my car. The day before my walk in the park, it took ten minutes to stand up.

When using a New Code Change format, the practitioner will set a context either in the session or outside of the session where the client enters the know-nothing state to activate resources. This differs significantly from the Classic Code NLP Change formats, coded by Grinder & Bandler, where the client consciously picks a behaviour or state from his/her personal history as the resource. The way of thinking in the New Code is the client’s conscious mind is limited in its selection of resources and the unconscious mind isn’t. Before I delve further into this assumption and describe a specific New Code Change format, let me first give you a brief history of the New Code.

A piece of history-
In the early to mid 1980s John Grinder surveyed the field of NLP that he and Richard Bandler had created. He noticed a paradox which concerned him; namely a large number of well-trained NLP practitioners were capable of creating powerful change in their clients, yet were unable to enjoy the same level of choice themselves. The level of incongruency in NLP practitioners initiated John’s quest to raise standards in the field. He set out to develop a series of patterns, that he termed the New Code. His goal was for the New Code patterns to include an unconscious congruency check **such that for the patterns to be successful the presenter was required to be personally congruent with the available choices in NLP Patterning.  John was originally joined by Judith Delozier and subsequently by Carmen Bostic St Clair with the New Code research.  The development of the New Code also gave John a fantastic opportunity to correct some of the flaws in the Classic Code of NLP (Bandler & Grinder).

Although over the last 15 years, John and Carmen have conducted relatively few public seminars, they have continued to develop new patterns and new modelling projects. They have concentrated their work in much larger systems for change, such as governments, institutions and global corporations. The New Code is still in the hands of very few NLP Practitioners, which in my opinion is a travesty. There has been little written on the subject, John published Turtles All the Way Down with Judith Delozier.  John and Carmen have just published a new book, Whispering in the Wind (see which gives the reader an excellent insight into their perspective on the NLP field as a whole.

Modelling or Design?
So what is the basis of the New Code?  Firstly the New Code recognises, as does the Classic Code, that the core activity of NLP is modelling. The New Code is an example of the effective use of design variables. Pattern design is the process of extracting from existing patterns coded through modelling, a set of variables present in the set and the art of manipulating them to develop new patterning. Such patterning is naturally subjected to the same criteria as patterning derived from direct modelling i.e. effectiveness and  transferability in an efficient time frame.  This differs from the Classic Code where the patterns were developed through modelling the work of a genius to code a pattern.

The reference pattern-
The reference pattern for New Code pattern design was the six-step reframe. John Grinder developed and originally tested this pattern purely unconsciously i.e. he had no conscious awareness of the day he developed and first tested the pattern. The communication from John’s unconscious was a breakthrough, particularly when the six step reframe hands over the change work to the unconscious, and this is the basis of New Code change. For a full account of how John’s unconscious mind developed the six step reframe see Whispering in the Wind.

I have heard various people in the field who use the Classic Code format say that the conscious mind is the director of change, utilising the machine like unconscious mind, the latter absorbing millions of bits of data per second following the path that the conscious mind lays out. If the above were the case, we would need not require any NLP change format or any other change format, we would simply just have to tell ourselves to change. Many have tried this through endless hours of affirmation and deliberation to discover that no matter how hard they consciously try they don’t necessarily make the change they seek. The resources from the unconscious mind need to be harnessed for a fully integrated change to occur.

I cite the research of Benjamin Libet, a brain researcher, who through a series of laboratory research projects calculated that human beings respond to stimuli 500 milliseconds before they consciously are aware of their response  (see Behaviour & Brain Sciences 1985, Libet). If this is correct, the conscious mind is half a second behind the unconscious response and you have already processed this statement unconsciously before you are conscious you have read it. The unconscious has your life repertoire within it and is the sum total of the bodymind. The New Code hands the change over to the unconscious. As NLPers we have the equipment to prime our unconscious filters so our unconscious responses and conscious expectations match, creating congruency in life.

So let’s take what I have written so far and apply it to the bridge pattern between the Classic Code of NLP and New Code, namely the six step reframe. I have documented the steps of the six-step reframe below.

1. Identify behaviour to change from 3rd position
2. Establish communication with the unconscious mind, through an involuntary signal
3. Confirm positive intention of behaviour to be changed
4. Request of the unconscious that it generate new behaviours, to match the purpose of step 3, and in line with the change work.
5. Get the unconscious to accept responsibility for the change work
6. Ecology check

The subject will pay full attention to the involuntary signals throughout the process.  The key to this pattern is step 4, and the ideal state for step 4 is the know nothing state. In this state one has no bias towards any course of specific actions but is very aware of the involuntary signals from the unconscious mind. Having received the involuntary signal the client is still not aware of the behaviours the unconscious mind has selected he/she only becomes aware of these when they actually re-enter the context of the original behaviour and the unconscious selects from the know-nothing state to activate the new  behaviours. Drawing again on Libet’s research, the unconscious will activate the new behaviours half a second before the client is consciously aware of the activation, creating a situation where the conscious has no choice but to accept the change, providing of course the change is ecological for the client.

A New Code influence -
One of the great influences on the development of NLP, Milton Erickson was a master of creating unconscious change in his clients. He worked by suspending judgement through metaphor, accompanied by hypnotic trance and confusion.  He would future pace the implementation of new behaviours through presupposition, and would often would select a task for the client to do, seemingly unrelated to the issue being worked on. Often a client would leave the session consciously confused, knowing (s)he had listened to an old man talk for a long time, tell stories and set a “weird task,” but not really knowing  when or how the change would occur. That was up to the client’s unconscious and such was Erickons’s mastery he usually got through to unconscious mind. Erickson’s influence is present in the New Code in the form of metaphor and tasks.  See Whispering in the Wind for a more detailed description of New Code patterns and an excellent account of how John Grinder created a context in which a lady healed her cancer by setting a task that distracted the conscious mind and fully harnessed the resources of the unconscious mind.

The New Code Change Format -
The New Code format often uses a game to enter a high performance state. The game is designed to activate neural circuitry of a content free high performance know-nothing state. I have outlined the change format below.

1. Identify the change from 3rd position
2. Associate to context  of problem (1st position)
3. Separator state
4. Enter know nothing state, or high performance state via game or some other means
5. Step back into 1st with neural pathways fully activated of 4.

Learning to juggle is an example of an activity which when done in an appropriate learning state activates a high performance state. Juggling has the advantage of being an infinitely expandable activity involving coordination, balance, bi-hemispheric. It cannot be mastered except at specific levels of competency – there are always new and more complex levels available to challenge any level of juggler. Such activity typically leads to a know-nothing state.  I could fit a full description of a new code game in this article, again see Whispering in the wind for a good description of the “alphabet game” which is not only easier to master than learning to juggle but also contains the other characteristics of New Code games.

You can learn the New Code
What has been seriously lacking in the NLP community is specific training in the New Code. To provide NLP Practitioners with an opportunity to upgrade their skills in line with the newer developments I have invited John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St Clair to lead a four-day seminar hosted by The NLP Academy on New Code NLP. The seminar will happen on 3-6 April 2003 in London. Full details can be found on

Michael Carroll
Founder of the NLP Academy

Turtles All The Way Down; John Grinder and Judith Delozier
Whispering in the Wind; Carmen Bostic St Clair and John Grinder
Behaviour & Brain Sciences; Benjamin Libet

Entire Thread

TopicDate PostedPosted By
Changing with New Code NLP09/12/2002 13:55:48Michael Carroll
     Re:Changing with New Code NLP09/12/2002 22:41:01thepropagandist
     Re:Changing with New Code NLP11/12/2002 01:33:51Louisea Marnie
          Re:Re:Changing with New Code NLP14/12/2002 13:25:32Michael Carroll
     Re:Changing with New Code NLP11/12/2002 01:57:36Zig
          ReReReRe:Re:Changing with New Code NLP12/12/2002 19:49:54kc
               Re:ReReReRe:Re:Changing with New Code NLP09/03/2003 19:18:51Gary Ludewig
                    Re:Re:ReReReRe:Re:Changing with New Code NLP10/03/2003 02:38:57John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St. Clair
     Re:Changing with New Code NLP15/12/2002 23:20:13Lewis Walker
          Re:Re:Changing with New Code NLP19/12/2002 00:08:31Michael Carroll
               Re:Re:Re:Changing with New Code NLP19/12/2002 07:52:01Lewis Walker
                    Re:Re:Re:Re:Changing with New Code NLP19/12/2002 18:08:34John Grinder
                         Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Changing with New Code NLP20/12/2002 15:38:00Lewis Walker
                              Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Changing with New Code NLP20/12/2002 17:47:05John Grinder
                                   Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Changing with New Code NLP20/12/2002 18:53:27Jon Edwards
                                   Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Changing with New Code NLP20/12/2002 22:16:41Lewis Walker
                    Re:Re:Re:Re:Changing with New Code NLP20/12/2002 16:05:26Jon Edwards
                         Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Changing with New Code NLP20/12/2002 19:27:45John Grinder
                         Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Changing with New Code NLP21/12/2002 11:55:12Lewis Walker
                              Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Changing with New Code NLP21/12/2002 14:03:10Jon Edwards
                                   Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Changing with New Code NLP22/12/2002 21:27:55Lewis Walker
                                   Alphabet Game Online04/02/2003 23:38:37Rob Manson
                                        Alphabet Game Offline05/02/2003 01:15:18Rob Manson
                                             Re:Alphabet Game Offline05/02/2003 19:33:10John Grinder
                                                  Re:Re:Alphabet Game Offline10/03/2003 23:35:01anarchaist
                                                       Re:Re:Re:Alphabet Game Offline12/03/2003 02:32:47John Grinder
                                                            Re:Re:Re:Re:Alphabet Game Offline17/03/2003 15:11:14Anarkissed
                    Re:Re:Re:Re:Changing with New Code NLP27/04/2003 21:04:22david
               Re:Re:Re:Changing with New Code NLP23/12/2002 22:38:09thepropagandist
                    Re:Re:Re:Re:Changing with New Code NLP24/12/2002 00:28:15Stephen
                         Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Changing with New Code NLP04/02/2003 17:09:33tornado

Forum Home