NLP Technique: Swish

NLP Technique: SwishSwish, also known as Swish Pattern, is an NLP technique that is very useful for replacing an unfavourable emotion or behaviour with a more useful one. With a little bit of creativity, Swish can be used to do a lot of useful things, such as make going to the gym more fun or making foods that are good for you taste better.

Think of Swish as a neuro-linguistic programming version of your computer's "copy and paste" function. On your computer, you have some text, you copy them, and paste them somewhere else. With NLP Swish, you can take part of a memory or neurological tag and paste it over the tag of a different memory.

So what is NLP Swish technique?

Let's try to explain NLP Swish in a more interesting way. Every memory has emotions attached to it. Some emotions are good (good memories) and some are bad (bad memories). Let's do a roleplay to show you how NLP Swish can be used to "edit" your emotional tags.

You're a teenager, and you just moved house, and tomorrow is your first day at your new school. You don't know anyone there. How do you feel? You might feel nervous, anxious or worried. Yet you know that by feeling this way, you'll come across this way to others and make it more likely that you'll be alienated. It's a vicious cycle.

You associate "anxiety" with the condition "first day at a new school". It would be better if you associated "excitement" instead. So we can use Swish technique to make that happen.

First up, you take a memory that is associated with excitement - such as anticipation of going to a theme park or a party with friends. Concentrate on how you feel, thinking about what might happen, all the promise of adventure - now picture that situation in your mind and SWISH! Quickly swap that picture with the picture of going to school tomorrow. Then, before any feeling of anxiety starts to form, SWISH! Swap the picture back to the good memory.

The idea is to keep remembering how excited you felt, and hold onto that feeling. Whilst maintaining the positive emotion, "swish" back and forth quickly between the two pictures.

What's happening in my brain during NLP Swish?

unconscious   Conscious

unconscious MIND




1. Recall the good memory, please.

2. Okay - we've just been given an order to recall the good memory. Let me see... here it is! Okay. Here is the memory, and here are the good feelings associated with it.


3. Thanks. Concentrate on that feeling.

4. Affirmative. I'm strengthening that good feeling. I'll have the brain release a very mild amount of endorphins as well.


5. Now recall the bad memory, please.

6. Yes sir, here is the bad memory, this is what it looks like. Now actually, the feelings associated with this memory are different, I'll just look them up...


7. SWISH! Back to the good memory!

8. Oh! I hadn't finished collecting that last memory's feelings. No matter. Back to the good memory. Still good feelings.


9. Yes, concentrate on those good feelings. Now, recall the bad memory again.

10. Affirmative. Okay now the last time I brought up the bad memory, we had good feelings...


11. Yes! Keep those good feelings!

12. Hmm... I'm not sure. I'll double check that bad memory for feelings...


13. No you don't! SWISH! Good memory again! How do I feel?

14. Good memory is here, again. Good feelings, of course.


15. SWISH! Back to the bad memory. How do I feel?

16. Again, the last 2 times we had the bad memory, there were good feelings. But let me check...


17. SWISH! Good memory, just tell me how I feel...

18. Good feeling.


19. SWISH! How do I feel?

20. Good feeling...


21. SWISH!

22. Good feeling...



24. Good, good, good...


25. Now, please recall the bad memory and confirm, how do I feel about it?

26. Like I say, good.


27. Heh, heh, heh. Sucker.

unconscious   Conscious

And that is more or less how Swish NLP works.

Next NLP Technique: Loop Break