The Power of Pictures

The Power of Pictures

It’s often said that the power of words should never be underestimated; you only have to think of the poems of “William Wordsworth” for example, to know that is true.  Yet the power of pictures also plays a large and significant, part in our lives.  Like me, I’m sure you have also heard the phase “every picture tells a story” many times over.  So let’s just think about the concept of pictures for a moment.  In our everyday lives, we use pictures as a decision-making tool without even being aware of it or indeed of the consequences of this on our equilibrium.    Most people are completely unaware of the important role that internal pictures play in our decision making and how those pictures help us to decide, what to do and how to behave.  For example, think about the last time you were invited you out; perhaps to a party, within a few short seconds your imagination would have built up a series of pictures of how that party would be.  If you had imagined looking unattractive and feeling uncomfortable the chances are you would have declined the invitation, on the other hand if you had pictured yourself with others looking and feeling good, laughing and having fun, the chances are you would have probably accepted the invitation and attended the party.  So it goes without saying that the pictures we form in our imagination can have a significant effect on our feelings, behaviours, actions and overall well-being.  If you are constantly imagining yourself being unable to cope in stressful situations, looking sad, lonely and unhappy; use the NLP “SWISH” technique to enable yourself to quickly dissolve those feelings and replace the unwanted thoughts with more useful and appropriate ones.  The “SWISH” technique re-directionalises thinking, it instructs the brain to think, No, not that- THIS!! Remember, every time you use this technique you are re-training yourself by re-directing your thinking from a negative image of yourself to a more positive and productive image.  By using the Swish technique in your own life you can develop your responses to stressful situations, engage in the behaviours you want and feel back in control once more.

How to use the Swish Technique

1. Select a replacement image

First select your Replacement Feeling – ask yourself “How do I want to be instead?”

Having selected the replacement feeling, really build up that good feeling; see in your mind a picture of yourself experiencing this good feeling, loving it!.  Make the image and details crystal clear.

2. Find the trigger for the unwanted mood

What is it that you respond to? How will you know when to have the unwanted response or reaction?

Ask yourself, “What occurs just before this negative or un-wanted feeling begins?”  This time, you want to have an image of what is going on immediately before you engage in the unwanted activity.

3. Put the replacement (the good feeling) in the corner of unwanted image

Imagine a small postage-stamp sized version of your replacement picture in the bottom corner of the unwanted picture.

4. Swish the two images

Now you want to make both images change simultaneously and with increasing speed!

Have the ‘negative’ image become smaller and shoot off into the distance. At the same time have the ‘positive’ replacement image become larger and closer until it replaces the negative image completely.  Imagine a “swish….swish” sound as you do this – hence the name “Swish technique”.

NB: Do this fairly slowly at first taking, say, 5-10 seconds. Then continue, doing it a little faster each time, until you are swishing almost instantaneously – in less than a second!

5. Clear your mind

After each Swish round, clear your mind, totally! Think of something else completely.  Visualize your favourite colour or what you will be doing later or anything that takes your attention away from what you have been doing. Remember to breathe as you do this, some people tend to hold their breath while concentrating on doing the Swish technique. It is crucial to the success of the Swish to clear your mind or turn your attention outside before you do the next round.

6. Practice 5-7 times

Repeat steps 3 to 5 up to about seven times until you have difficulty in maintaining the unwanted image

This is a version of the traditional NLP Visual Swish Technique by Reg Connolly Director of Training, Pegasus NLP.  For anyone interested in training in NLP contact

Good luck, if you would like any help with this technique or would like to ask any questions about mindfulness, hypnotherapy or the many ways that hypnotherapy could help you with any other challenges in your life, then please feel free to contact me for an appointment at Upton Therapy Centre, TEL: 01202 620375 or at: