Stop smoking and lose weight Hypnotherapy and Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Oakland, East Bay, Berkeley, Richmond Jan Saeger: smoking cessation, weight control, San Francisco Bay Area, East Bay
Eliminate anxiety, fear, phobias

Solving problems and generating metaphors

A cross-modality approach to solving problems can bring the resources of all modalities and all three levels of the mind (conscious, subconscious, and unconscious) to bear in new ways. Dawna Markova's method: 1 

  1. Describe the problem in your usual way.
  2. Using your non-dominant hand, draw a line or doodle that depicts the problem. Color and elaborate it if you want.
  3. Shift to kinesthetic, and let the motion of your hand outline the problem by how it moves. 2 
  4. Vocalize the problem in wordless humming or singing, so that tonality rather than language describes the problem. 3 
  5. With all of this in mind, make up a story that begins, "Once upon a time…" Change the context so you say, "Once upon a time a tree fell on Rabbit's house…" rather than, "Once upon a time a man had a terrible day…"

Rather than generating a solution to the problem, this method gives you a new way to approach it. Your new way may not make sense at first; just notice its effects over the succeeding days.

Wilma has used this method to generate therapeutic metaphors for others. Whether or not she tells the metaphor, it gives her more conscious and unconscious options for working with the client.

— Jan "yon" Saeger and W. Keppel
© 2004, some rights reserved
posted July 2004
Creative Commons License


  1. Dawna Markova. (1996) The Open Mind: Exploring the 6 Patterns of Natural Intelligence. Berkeley, California: Conari Press. ISBN: 1-57324-064-8. Out of print; buy used on Amazon. Jump back
  2. Wilma suggests letting your hand lead your entire body in motion in order to activate both brain hemispheres. Jump back
  3. Also try this with steps 2, 3, and 4 in your conscious -> subconscious -> unconscious Markova pattern. Do you get different results? Jump back

Jan Saeger and W. Keppel are NLP Master Practitioners, NLP Health Practitioners, and NLP developers.


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