Getting Others to Forget

by Lou

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and they started to relive a bad experience that happened to them in the past (it could be a recent or distant memory)? It changes their whole physiology and tends to put you in a negative state as well.

Or how about if you’re selling something and you would like your prospective customer to forget about the competition?

Creating slight amnesia in these people can accomplish both these objectives (and plenty more such as creating false memories, changing people to more positive states, and getting confessions. Today we will just focus on getting people to forget something specific.

There are a many ways to make someone to forget, some of them overt (as used in therapy) and some of them covert (as in conversational hypnosis or sales). Here are a few of them:


1. The Windshield (or Windscreen if you’re from the UK). This one is easy. I learned it from Steve Andreas at NLP Comprehensive. Just have the person you are working with imagine an unpleasant experience in the past that is still bothering him or her. Have them imagine the scene on a windshield of a car. Now have them take a sledge hammer and with one blow destroy that scene into a million pieces. Try it yourself to experience the effectiveness of this technique.

2. The Picture Frame. If you have been studying NLP for any length of time, you’ve come across this one. Have the person you’re working with (or yourself) relive an incident that puts them into a negative state when they think about it now. Have them actually relive that scene associated (as if they were there again).

Now, at the part of the scene where they experience the most unpleasantness, have them freeze the scene. Now get them to step out of themselves (dissociate) and have them looking at themselves in that frozen scene. Keep them stepping back until they can put a picture frame around the scene (their choice of frame). Get them to turn the scene into the style of their favorite artists. Put a light on it and put the frame on a shelf someone in the back of their minds.



1. Self-Reflective Questioning. This one is an easy one to use. When someone says something you’d rather have them forget, just start asking, “Are you sure…?” For example, “Are you sure your teacher hated you?” “Are you sure their product is the best value for your needs?” Then you can expand on this by asking, “Could it be possible that…?” And here is where you add a reframe: “Could it be possible that your teacher just had a stern personality and that you took it as hate?” Could it be possible that their product might not be the highest quality?”

2. Pattern Interrupt. This is done a lot in NLP to stop a mental process right in the middle. On the surface, it looks like you’re just changing the subject. But it’s not. It’s much stronger than that. All you have to do is say something totally surreal or completely unrelated to the conversation at hand. Say your friend is complaining about her ex-husband. As she does, you can say something like, “I saw an aura around the tree in my front yard last night.” Repeat as needed.

3. Hypnotic Trigger Words. Successful sales professionals use these all the time to get prospects to forget about the competition. You can use them anywhere you’d like in any context you want to help a person forget about something. Simply use words and phrases that suggest forgetting, such as, “put it out of your mind,” “difficult to remember,” “impossible to remember,” “forget to remember,” “erase from memory,” “slip one’s mind,” and many more. These are great to use in embedded commands.

Okay, I forgot what I was going to say…. Oh, yeah—Getting people to forget certain things is a very useful skill. Try some of them out and let me know how you get on.


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