Review of Jonathan Altfeld's Practitioner Training
         
 

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" to make the impossible possible, the possible easy, and the easy elegant."
- Moshe Feldenkrais



 

By Kay Pentecost

Picture a group of chronological adults, all wearing red clown noses, walking into a coffee shop in Tampa, Florida. The hostess walks up to seat us, and one of us looks at her and says: "Have you READ NOStradamus?"

She's laughing while she seats us at the best table in the place.... This is the kind of wonderful state you'll experience at Jonathan Altfeld's NLP Practitioner Training -- at least it's what we experienced last April 1998.

For twelve amazing days in April and May the group of us learned about NLP through explanation, exercises, and trance (my favorite part).

A Typical Day:

We started most mornings about 9:30. Usually Jonathan would get the class started after some morning pleasantries by talking about something totally unrelated to NLP, like, dolphins, or something. Then, by the time I realized that what he was saying really meant something, and that I understood exactly what it was, the class paired off and did exercises together.

That first day, I remember, we paced breathing and eye blinks. It was harder than I thought it would be, but easier at the same time. And that it was so much clearer than reading about it. Even than trying to do it before the training... because I could, but just not quite easily... and especially not as easy as it's gotten since then. And that was the way all the skills we learned went. That first few minutes of concentrating on the technique... that sudden "I got it" feeling... and then the improvement on each basic skill as the training proceeded, knowing that the underlying skills were building even as the new ones were coming on....

So we did some exercises, and then Jonathan would ask us how the exercises went. And we'd see ourselves in everybody else... and through everybody else's eyes. And suddenly we're learning about first position, and second position, and realizing things about communicating. And we're getting all these AHA! moments. Jonathan clears up any questions... confusions... and we're off doing another exercise...

We usually stopped for lunch around 1:00, or 1:30, or 2:00, whenever everybody was willing to stop training and go eat! 'Cause the time flies by. And then you don't stop learning at lunch... because there's time for questions (well, there's always time for questions and answers) and more practice. Or just assimilating. And eating.

And then we're back in the training room, for cross-crawling exercises, physical exercises to develop both sides of the brain and the link between them. These are pretty neat -- it's amazing how hard they are to do at first, and how quickly they get easier. Jonathan introduces more at a harder level as we go along -- keeps the frustration -- uh -- challenge high!

Then more stories, and metaphors, (so that's what they were!) and learning without even trying, and learning even more with trying. More exercises... until we start getting hungry again. And sometimes eat late, and a couple of times come back and work some more after dinner.

On a couple of days we visited the Mall across the street. We practiced establishing non-verbal rapport with strangers, and got some pretty interesting responses!

At the end of the day, Jonathan closes the class for the night... with a few suggestions for powerful and wonderful dreams, and for integrating what's been learned.... And sometime during the night or the following morning we started realizing that so much more had been learned than we thought... that it was all about sensory acuity and rapport and so much more.

What We Covered:

A Lot!! Well, here's a list I came up with:

  • Building Sensory Acuity
  • Changing Our Own Behaviors
  • Building Great Rapport
  • Eliciting Wonderful States in Ourselves and Others
  • Using Matching, Mirroring and Cross-Matching to Establish Non-Verbal Rapport
  • Establishing Verbal Rapport
  • Recognizing and Using Representational Systems
  • Recognizing Eye Accessing Cues
  • Changing States
  • Resolving Internal Conflicts
  • Creating Excellence with Circles of Excellence
  • Understanding and Using the Meta Model
  • Understanding and Using the Milton Model
  • Eliciting Strategies and Values
  • Achieving Personal Congruence
  • Plotting Meaningful Outcomes
  • Creating Clear Strategies
  • Practicing Voice Tonality and Presentation Skills

This is by no means all we covered, either.

How Jonathan Teaches:

Jonathan teaches, as you can probably tell from reading about a typical day, using metaphors, stories, a few comedy routines, lecture, assigning exercises, questions and answers. He demonstrates everything as he teaches, so you learn much more than you are consciously aware of.

Some of the most interesting moments for me came each time I realized he was doing exactly what he was talking about doing. The first time was three or four days into the training -- my mouth dropped open and I must have looked rather weird, because he stopped and said "Yes, Kay?" and I think I said something terribly intelligent like "you're doing it, you're doing it."

This ability of Jonathan's to pay attention to all of us at the same time, to track our responses, was pretty amazing to me until I realized that all it was was sensory acuity and rapport skills... then it was totally amazing until I started to learn some of it!

He teaches by installation, which is a neat jargon word for the process I described, but he also explains and tells us when things are useful.

He's always willing to answer questions, although I found myself not always understanding. At that point I'd throw it into my subconscious, and let it brew for a while. Mostly the answers came out of that; occasionally I would just be able to phrase the question better and Jonathan would answer it later.

Location and Venue:

The training was held at the Busch Gardens Holiday Inn, in Tampa, Florida. Spring had not quite reached Washington, DC but it was in full force in Tampa. The weather was wonderful and the temperature in the comfortable range. (Not that we wouldn't have made it spring anyway after a few days of learning how to change our states!)

The training room was comfortable, too, big enough to move around for the cross-crawling exercises. NLP posters on the Meta Model, Milton Model, Submodalities, Goals, Anchoring and other NLP stuff were on the walls.

The hotel rooms were comfortable, well lit for those few times I wasn't too sleepy to do late night reading. Also, the hotel had and little snack and other things store that sold sodas and sandwiches... and alcoholic slurpees -- Frozen Margaritas and Fruit Daiquiris, beer, and a great assortment of Dove Bars! Yum! How much pleasure can you stand?

There were plenty of good restaurants within easy walking distance, and we went to several! Mostly as a whole group; we just didn't want to stop practicing -- on each other, on the servers, on strangers in the street. It was amazing to find how quickly our accumulating skills brought a smile to passing strangers -- and to ourselves.

Across the street from the Holiday Inn was University Mall. We went there for the rapport exercises, through the door marked "In Trance."

We used one evening to go to a Beatles' Laser light show -- which was then, and recalled, one of the most wondrous evenings of my life. Several Beatles' songs that had been anchored previously into some not-so-resourceful states were re-anchored into some states that were extremely useful -- and pleasant.

Aftermath:

As I write this, it's been five months since I started the NLP Practitioner Training. The first effects I noticed after the training was how much easier it was to read my NLP books. The second effect was an ability to easily control my states, most of the time, and the knowledge that I could anytime I wanted to.

The most frequent comment I got from others was something like... "you seem different... I don't know, lighter somehow." I take it as a compliment!

My life has changed a lot. Some of the ways are very subtle: a sense of comfort, a feeling of attractiveness, more positive responses from other people. I get more done at work because my focus is better; when I'm not focusing, I use NLP to start and increase my focus. I have more fun when I'm not working (and really, more fun working).

And in some ways things seem completely different. I can't explain exactly how, but the world is brighter and sparkly. You'll know what I mean, I think, if you've had a practitioner course; you'll find out when you take one, if you haven't yet.

I think it's the best thing I ever did for myself... so far.


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