Swish Pattern Technique in NLP Therapy

Swish Pattern NLP Technique

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Do you have a problem behavior you are looking to change and are wondering if the famous “Swish Pattern” NLP technique can help you?

This could be anything, but a few examples could be:

  • Biting your fingernails
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Eating junk food
  • Not exercising
  • A fear of speaking in public or…
  • The fear of failure

Well you’re in luck today because this latest technique I’m going to share with you is designed to take that behavior and replace it with a much more positive alternative.


If you’ve got no real idea what the Swish Pattern is then let me give you a quick rundown to get you up to date with what it is exactly.

The Swish Pattern is a technique used in Neuro Linguistic Programming Therapy (aka NLP) which basically involves internal visualization (effectively imagining something with your eyes closed) in which you identify a habit you’d like to change and pinpoint the key moment when the bad behaviour gets set in motion.

After this is done you imagine the response you’d rather have and the person you’d like to become through being able to stop that impulsive action which leads you to negative results.

This is where it gets a bit crazy and you start changing the images rapidly in your mind, kind of like overloading your brain with a new image to replace the old one and in doing so get to the point where the key moment you identified earlier no longer produces the detrimental knock on effect it originally had but instead leads to the desired action and consequences you consciously decided to install instead.

Swish Pattern Brain Overload
Swish Pattern Brain Overload

If this sounds a bit mumbo jumbo to you right now, don’t worry! I will soon go through the Swish Pattern technique in NLP Therapy step by step and you’ll see it’s a lot easier than you think.

If you want more info about the history behind the Swish Pattern then click HERE to read a great informative explanation from the guys over at nlp.edu.au

However, I can’t stress enough the importance of getting yourself in a quiet place and dedicating the time and focus needed to the technique in order for it to have the best possible effect for you.

So, when you’re ready, find a quiet place, silence your mobile phone and do the following steps (or even better, find someone willing to help you by guiding you through the steps so you can just concentrate fully on each step as it comes and not have to keep looking back at this screen wondering what the next step is!)



Pick a specific behavior problem you are looking to solve. The more specific the better.

What is the problem?
What is the problem?

Step #2 is to FIND THE CUE

There is a certain trigger which leads to this problem behavior. The key to the swish is to work out what that particular trigger is for you.

Examples could be:

  • When you see your hand you want to bite your fingernails
  • When you see the kitchen you automatically start thinking about junk food
  • When you think about doing exercise you automatically see an image of yourself suffering and uncomfortable.

Really be aware next time you feel like you want to do this problem behavior and analyze what was the trigger that made you feel this way.

Identify the Trigger
Identify the Trigger

Write down the trigger on a piece of paper and then clear your mind for the next step.

NOTE: To clear your mind just start counting from 1 to 10 in another language or concentrate on your breathing for example.


This is where it gets fun and you can get creative.

Now you are going to choose the positive image that you want to associate with the trigger in order to stop you from doing the problem behavior and compel you to do the more beneficial option.

This positive image should, specifically, be an evolved future version of yourself where this problem behavior is simply no longer an issue (this works best without any context or background in the image and not doing any specific behavior, much like a 3D portrait.)

Examples could be:

  • With exercise you could see yourself pumped and buzzing with endorphins after a great workout.
  • With eating a better diet you could see yourself slim and in great shape, feeling fantastic.
  • As for fingernail biting, you could see your fingernails in perfect condition and you feeling really professional and well presented.

2 important things to note before going on….

1. It’s super important that this image of yourself really motivates you! It can’t just be an ok response, it really has to be a compelling and inspiring image that drives you towards it!

2. This image of yourself should be of you watching yourself from outside your body, as if you were a bystander watching this amazing version of you. You are not to imagine yourself from a first person perspective (ie: seeing your ideal self through your own eyes).

Now, make this ideal picture of yourself BIGGER and BRIGHTER! Really see it and feel how this future you must feel.

What does your best future you look like?
What does your best future you look like?

Now clear your mind again.

Step #4its SWISH time!

It’s time to work the magic.

Firstly, bring up the cue image in your mind (your hand, the kitchen, etc.)

Somewhere in this picture I want you to place a little black dot (this dot contains the desired future self-image of yourself, although it’s too small to see at the moment).

Now you are going to count down from 5 and when you get to 1 you are going to quickly make that dot become very BIG and BRIGHT while the cue image will shrink and become dark.

(This links the cue image to the desired self-image, so that any time you are in a situation that used to trigger the unwanted behavior, you will immediately see the self-image)

Clear your mind

Repeat this process 7 to 10 times but remember to clear your mind between each go and always to start with the cue image so that it is always replaced by the self-image at the end of the process.

Quick image exchange is key to Swish Pattern NLP technique
Quick image exchange is key to the Swish Pattern NLP technique

To see if it has worked you can try to imagine the situation when next you’ll be confronted with the cue that triggered your negative behavior.

If it doesn’t compel you to do the negative behavior anymore then it’s a good sign. The ultimate test will be when you’re actually in that situation in real life, obviously if you aren’t triggered to go back to your old ways it’s taken effect!

Good luck with this guys, the Swish Pattern NLP Technique is a fantastically powerful technique if done correctly and can re-wire your hard drive (brain!).

NOTE: If it’s exercise you are now motivated to do but can’t decide where to start then the BEST place to get going right now, completely free and full of all the best workout routines you can imagine (this is the place I go to find my workouts!) is CHEEKY WORKOUTS!

Please let me know how you go with this in the comments below and as always if you have any doubts, questions or just plain want to talk then CONTACT me whenever you like 😉

If you would like to learn more of these things for yourself and become an Internationally Certified NLP Master then click the link HERE to learn more about what I can honestly say is the BEST course I’ve ever done not just in terms of helping others but also helping myself!

13 thoughts on “Swish Pattern NLP Technique”

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  2. This is fantastic! I’ve been trying to quit biting my nails for years sobi can’t wait to try this method!

    1. Hey Chris! Yeah I had the same problem before using this Swish Pattern to fix it and I haven’t done it since! Hope it has the same effect for you 😉

  3. This is fantastic! I’ve been trying to quit biting my nails for years sobi can’t wait to try this method!

    1. Hey Chris! Yeah I had the same problem before using this Swish Pattern to fix it and I haven’t done it since! Hope it has the same effect for you 😉

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