NLP Solitaire

NLP can be very effective in changing the way we think and feel about situations. However many of the techniques require a certain skill level, or the presence of a partner to guide what’s going on. NLP processes that can be easily used by absolute beginners are not so common.

NLP Solitaire, developed by Charlie Curtis from The Art Of NLP newsgroup, is an example of an effective and very simple process to change your perceptions of a problem. You don’t need a guide, or any experience in NLP, all you need are some index cards and a pen.


The slowest part of this process is the setup. Fortunately it only has to be done once. When you have created your sets of cards the changework part of the technique is quite quick and easy.

Setting things up.

This process takes a little preparation. You only need to do it once, you can expand on the resources you have as and when you feel like it.

  1. Get a pack of 3×5 index cards
  2. Take at least 30 cards and on each one write a few words describing a positive situation that makes you feel good when you think about it. These could be peak experiences, places you’ve visited, books, films, favourite music, spiritual experiences. For example: ‘Your first kiss’, ‘Sunset over the ocean’, ‘Playing with my little boy’, ‘winning on sports day’, ‘the holiday in the Lake District’. Whatever memories brings with it a good feeling, write it down. These are your ‘positive’ cards.
  3. Then take at least 5 cards. Write a short description of a problem situation that you would like to feel different about. For example: “the argument with my boss”, “loosing my temper with the kids”, “I can’t stand my co-worker”. Add at least one or two long term difficulties. These are your ‘negative’ cards.

Playing the game.

  1. Put the positive cards face down in a stack on your left
  2. Put the negative cards face down in a stack on your right
  3. Turn over the top negative card and put it face up in front of you on the right. If you don’t want to tackle this one now, turn over the next card until you get to an issue you want to work with. Just looking at it will prime your system with the negative state (feelings) associated with it.
  4. Now turn over the top positive card and put it face up in front of you on the left. Decide whether if this is a positive experience to focus on right now. If not, get the next card until you find a positive card you want to dwell on. Selecting your positive card will prime your system with the positive state associated with it.
  5. Since both positive and negative states are together in your system at the same time, you may feel them “mixing” in your body and mind. Things are starting to change.
  6. Just sit and experience the two states as they mix. It might be very quick, just a few seconds, or it could take a minute or two. If the negative state is weak enough, or the positive state is strong enough, then the negative state will be changed and leave you with a new perception of the situation.
  7. It’s possible that the negative state will be strong enough to come back, but not before you’ve experienced a shift. The shift demonstrates that it is possible to experience things differently.
  8. If the negative state is still present, go to step 4 and pick up a new positive card and look at both cards to add a new resourceful state into the mix and repeat. Eventually, in this session or a later one, even the most stubborn problems begin to shift and your perception of the situation changes.
  9. If you would rather work on a different negative state, go back to step 3 and repeat.

As time goes on.

  1. As you proceed with the game, new positive and negative thoughts will start occurring to you.
  2. As a positive thought occurs to you, write it down on a blank card and add it to your positive card stack.
  3. When a negative thought occurs to you, write it down on a blank card and add it to your negative card stack, or if you prefer work with it right now.

As time goes on you will find that what seemed like stuck situations soften and dissolve far more easily than you might have imagined. You will also collect a richer and richer collection of positive states which you can look at whenever you need to feel better.

Click on NLP trainings in Newcastle to find out more about learning these valuable skills.

Categories: NLP

About Andy

One Response to “NLP Solitaire”

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  1. Simon Todd says:

    Hi Andy, love the web-site mate! I think the nlp-solitaire is exactly what Ive been looking for my book, it’s ideal! Thank you for your help, Ill keep ypu updated and Ill see you next time your at my shop! thanks again.

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