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Natural Anchors and Covert Anchors

natural anchors

Natural anchors basically suggest that not all anchors have the same strength or effectiveness (Dilts & DeLozier, 2000). Most people can attest to the fact that different anchors elicit varying strengths of responses. For example, rats readily differentiate water that is safe or not based on the color of the water. However, they seem to have more difficulty in distinguishing two types of water in two differently-shaped containers. In this sense, the color of the water becomes a more effective anchor for rats than shape.

The same thing happens with humans. The concept revolves around the idea that natural anchors are strongly linked to the neurological and/or perceptual capacities of the recipients (Dilts & DeLozier, 2000). For example in humans, there are body parts which are more accommodating to becoming anchors or in receiving them.

A person’s hand is a much more sensitive part of the body than his forearm due to the number of nerve endings present. Thus, the hands are more readily usable to receive external cues or to become anchors themselves. It is, therefore, necessary for users of the teaching -with-anchors process to have sufficient knowledge, understanding, and even intuition in selecting elements to become anchors (Dilts & DeLozier). The user should understand natural tendencies to various external elements or media so that he or she can more efficiently use anchors in his or her teaching process.

Covert Anchors

Dilts and DeLozier (2000) suggest that there are instances when the strongest anchors are beyond the receiver’s conscious awareness. These are the covert anchors. They are extremely strong because of the fact that they operate in a manner that bypasses the filtering system of the mind.

It enables these anchors to directly embed themselves in the mind of recipients. Covert anchors are best for situations wherein the receiver cannot link a response to the given stimulus. This is because his mind’s conscious filter keeps him from making the connection.

Some Thoughts to Ponder Over

What kind of anchors do you have in your life? What natural and covert anchors do you keep?

You Must Set Anchors

Effective teaching with anchors then is an ability that requires users to be able to associate the knowledge they want to impart with strong, positive internal states of their students (Dilts & DeLozier, 2000). In the two ways of creating anchors — one through repetition of linking responses with stimuli and the other linking responses to strong internal states, the latter produces more immediate results. Nevertheless, both methods can be used as this will enrich one’s teaching abilities even more.

The strong internal state anchoring, though the more lasting approach, has its limitations as well. In some cases, the repetitive method becomes more appropriate.

An Example of Using Anchors

As an example, let’s say a couple is preparing for childbirth. The husband is usually in the role of the coach to the expectant mother. One of the challenges of being a coach during birth is that the experience is so intense that it’s hard to transfer everything you know because the real situation is so different than the one in which you practice. You practice breathing and various other techniques at home in a comfortable state, but when the reality occurs, it’s a completely different situation that makes it difficult to remember all the techniques that you have practiced.

One helpful strategy is to make an anchor. When the expectant mother is in the state that she wants to be able to maintain throughout the birth process, she can make an internal anchor, such as a symbol. You could ask her, “What would symbolize this state?” Let’s say she imagines a nautilus shell — a snail shell that has a big opening on the bottom. The couple could then actually buy one of these shells. Then during all their practice sessions, the expectant mother could focus her eyes on the shell. The shell may then be brought into the hospital during the actual childbirth process, and be an ongoing trigger to help generalize the desired state to the actual birthing process. (Dilts & DeLozier, 2000, pp. 31-32)

Some Thoughts to Ponder Over

What are examples by which you can apply the repetitive method for anchoring? What strong internal states can you link to things you need to learn and remember, as well as use as anchors? Are there times wherein you have placed an anchor and failed? Which strategy did you use?