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We are not born with values, so how do we develop our values? There are 3 periods during which values are developed as we grow. Sociologist Morris Massey has described three major periods during which values are developed.

They are:

  1. The Imprint Period - Age 0 to 7
  2. The Modelling Period - Age 8 to 13
  3. The Socialisation Period - Age 13 to 21

During these periods we develop what many believe to be the 'rudders' of lives; our values. It is our core beliefs that then develop around our values. Beliefs and values have an extremely powerful affect on our lives, because we filter all our information through them and hence develop specific actions as a result, and hence we predetermine our outcomes. Thus if we develop a belief such as "I'm too fat", then our mind begins to only see things that confirm this belief. Bulimia and Anorexia are perfect examples of outcomes from a belief such as the example.

Another example of this is a client who came to our clinic with a belief that she was unattractive. She therefore acted as though she was unattractive. While intelligent, she only went for jobs that she believed were occupied by 'trailer-trash' (her words not mine). While handsome men asked her out on dates, she only went out with men that were unattractive, not consciously, though unconsciously her belief created the outcome. She consciously believed that the attractive men were joking with her. Believing she was unattractive also had her acting unattractively. In 2 sessions we helped her to change her belief after 5 sessions she grew confident enough to divorce her husband who was beating her and she went on an overseas trip on her own. She is now dating attractive men with confidence. Her initial belief was developed at around the age of 6 or 7 when she recalled her father telling her Mother she was ugly. She was also told she looked more like her Mother and therefore believed she was ugly too. Her Father left her Mother which deepened the emotions around the belief.

The Imprint Period

From the day we are born and up until the age of seven, we're like sponges, absorbing everything around us and accepting much of it as true, especially when it comes from our parents. The confusion and blind belief of this period can also lead to the early formation of trauma and other deep neurological problems.

The critical thing here is to learn a sense of right and wrong, good and bad. Here we will often use our feelings or monitor the responses of our parents to determine what is good or bad.

The imprint period is the window of development in which children are all ears. They listen. They see everything and certainly feel the emotion coming from those around them. This is often simply equated to 'Anger' equals 'Bad' and 'Laughter' equals 'Good'. Young children want to know what Mom and Dad think in order to know what they themselves think. Like little ducks, they are eager to line up behind Mum or Dad — accepting without much question of values and beliefs. We must be diligent during this window of opportunity because it passes quickly.

What and how we teach during the imprint period should align with the bent of young children. They love games, stories, songs, memorization and other activities that can be used as powerful tools in the process of teaching them good beliefs and values.

The most crucial period being from age 2 to 4 when major imprinting occurs. During this period we absorb information without any analysis. So if during this period the child is told they are "bad", they may take this literally without putting it into context. Thus they may think they are a bad person, without taking into account that what was really meant was that their behavior had been deemed bad by a person. Phobias tend to have origins within this period, generally from the years of 3 to 7. (Further events generally just reinforce the original traumatizing event)

The Modeling Period

Between the ages of eight and thirteen, we copy people, that is we 'Model' them. We mostly model our parents, but also other people and particularly people we admire or look up to. Rather than blind acceptance, we are trying on things like suit of clothes, to see how they feel.

We may be impressed with religion or our teachers. You may remember being particularly influenced by Primary School teachers who seemed so knowledgeable,maybe even more so than your parents.

This is when we begin to notice the behavior of friends, family and heroes. The age of ten being highly significant is often when we begin to emulate our heroes. The environment around the person has a powerful effect upon them. It is often said that we become who we most admired at the age of ten.

The Socialization Period

Between 13 and 21, we are very largely influenced by our peers. Here we often form clusters or groups of like-minded or 'like-looking' groups of people. As we develop as individuals and look for ways to get away from the earlier programming, we naturally turn to people who seem more like us.

Other influences at these ages include the media, especially those parts which seem to resonate with our the values of our peer groups.

This is where we develop relationship and social values. After the age of 21 , core values do not change unless a significant emotional event occurs or effective coaching.Normal values change and grow over time.

Learning stage theories

Explanations > Learning Theory > Learning stage theories

Stage theory is the idea that when we develop, particularly as children but also in our development of maturity as adults, we go through a number of stages during which we learn in different ways.

Erikson's Developmental Stage Theory: learning self-esteem and trust.

Fowler's Faith Stage Theory: of different levels of religious belief.

Freud's Psychosexual Stage Theory: sex images in early life.

Piaget's Stage Theory: of a child's thinking, from 0 to 15.

Kohlberg's Stage Theory: of how morals and values develop.

Winnicott's development stages: Of early childhood.

Values development: Massey's three periods of child development.

See also

Stage Theory

Review: The Mature Mind, by Gene Cohen

The Function of Beliefs

The unconscious mind is the part of our mind which controls things such as the basic functions of the body including the pumping of the heart, the breathing of the lungs, growth, repair of the skin, the dilation of the eyes etc. The unconscious holds within it our memories. It is a very powerful part of our mind. It has been calculated that the unconscious mind deals with up to 2,000,000 bits of information per second. The conscious mind on the other hand can deal with 134 bits per second which translates to 7+ or – 2 chunks.

Taking these figures, it is obvious that the unconscious part of your mind is a very powerful part.

In order not to overload the capacity of the conscious mind , the unconscious mind filters incoming information. The filters that it uses are: -

  1. Language
  2. Memories
  3. Decisions
  4. Meta Programs
  5. Values, and
  6. Beliefs

How Do We Develop Our Beliefs?

Beliefs are hugely powerful in our development and as children who are we to contest or dispute that if someone says, "you'll never succeed in life", that they are not telling the absolute truth. Children can internalize these ideas and treat them as if they are reality. Each time they try to succeed the little internal program, "you'll never succeed in life" reminding them that they will never succeed and subtly affecting their behavior in such a way that success eludes them. So as we go through these developmental stages we begin to form many beliefs around who we are, what life is like, etc. These internal programs are constantly running affecting every moment of our life.

Even one negative belief can have a profound effect on an individual. A well-known TV personality came to my clinic with a an eating problem. She was often at functions, meeting and greeting her audience and the moment food came into the room she had a total, overwhelming desire to run to get some food, even if she wasn't hungry! While her issue made no logical sense as to its cause it often made her feel silly. Her belief was that "She would miss out!"

Using a Neuro-Linguistic Programming technique called 'Timeline', we traced the issue back to where she had formed that belief. When she was four years old she was presented a platter of 5 'Teddy-Bear' biscuits. The problem was she was with her two sisters at the time and guess who only got one biscuit? You guessed it - my client. We often form beliefs at highly emotional moments in our lives and sometimes a seemingly minor issue can be a major one as a child - particularly in the Imprint Period. Some of these beliefs work for us and as in this case some work against us.

The Effects of Beliefs

Beliefs filter the incoming information available to the conscious mind. They act like blinkers that restrict information, blocking out any that is contradictory. They are the mind/ bodies underlying programs and have a powerful effect on our lives. They influence our behavior often without us realising it. But beliefs are not set in stone, they are changeable. When you think about whether you believe something you are merely checking whether you have a feeling of certainty that it is true. Changing a belief that limits a person in their life can have a very powerful effect right across the board. So if a person has a very powerful limiting belief such as, "I'm not worthy". The potential impact of no longer believing this is great.

How Can You Change Your Limiting Beliefs?

There are many techniques that can change beliefs very quickly, these include, NLP-submodality belief change; NLP- Timeline Therapy; NLP-reframing; hypnotherapy.

Negative Feelings

As people go through their lives different events occur. Some of these are highly emotional events. Although the person moves on with their life it does not necessarily mean that the event is no longer affecting them.

If you think about a negative past event and feel emotions, that event is still impacting upon you. When highly traumatic events occur such as a panic attack, because the survival instinct kicks in, we seldom process the event out. So often a person will still have emotions locked in around the it even if they are not consciously aware of it. People will often say, "but that doesn't bother me", then be surprised that they feel quite emotional when they truly put their mind on it. Just because it is not uppermost in your mind does not mean it isn't affecting you.

How does Coaching work?

Coaching works by identifying the negative beliefs that do not work for you and change them. When a negative belief is altered a more empowering belief naturally occurs.

By eliminating negative feelings, the mind reorganises all events with the same feelings together. So although you may have had a particular feeling multiple times in our lives, there are many ways to eliminate them rapidly.

Specific NLP techniques are then used to create a complete yet empowering experience in the unconscious so the mind believes the new and better way of being is real and therefore reconditions itself to a more desirable way of processing thoughts and actions.

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Learn How to Change Your Beliefs with NLP

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