Perceptual positions play an essential role in NLP. For example, these observation positions are particularly valuable in NLP Modeling. The positions enable us to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and empathize with what someone else sees, hears, and feels. In short, we can put ourselves in the shoes of someone else with this.
Conversely, perceptual positions can also help us with dissociation, the process by which we stand outside ourselves to observe ourselves, a kind of helicopter view.
Positions for Association
The perceptual positions can help us to empathize with the perception of others. We associate ourselves with someone else. To associate yourself with someone else, of course, requires some empathy.
On the other hand, through observation, our mirror neurons, and the analysis of the other’s language patterns, we can imagine how the other feels under certain circumstances.
By observing the other, adopting the same posture, imitating facial expression and speech, and understanding language patterns, you can examine in great detail how the other feels. The scientific explanation for this is that taking the other’s position activates our mirror neurons, giving us a much better understanding of others than we would otherwise.
Perceptual positions in NLP
In NLP, this process allows us to significantly improve our interpersonal skills. By enhancing our ability to put ourselves in someone else’s position, we can improve our interpersonal communication and communication with ourselves.
The five positions
There are five perceptual positions we can take to better understand another. These positions can be classified as follows:
1st position: in the first position, we are associated, and we see things from our own perspective.
2nd position: in the second position, we detach ourselves from ourselves and put ourselves in another’s position. We then see everything from the position of the other.
3rd Position: In the third position, we are independent observers who can view the interaction between two people. We assume a helicopter view.
The 4th and 5th perceptual positions are not used very often but can be used successfully, for example, to distance yourself from a feeling. You then view the observer who observes positions 1 and 2, for example.
The 5th position is where you observe how you relate to yourself as an observer.
Trauma and Perceptual Positions
We can use the positions during traumatic events (e.g., PTSD). The emphasis is mainly on dissociation to reduce the symptoms. Besides, we can use the positions in combination with the Submodalities, with which the situation can be “blurred” or “made smaller.”