What’s the difference between the two?

My impression is that unconscious assimilation is the natural ability we have to mirror others to the point where we adopt their cognitive skills. It’s the way we learn language as an infant, and it extends well into adult behavior (ever notice that people follow their leaders’ actions, not words?) For some fascinating reading on what might be the mechanism behind unconscious assimilation, Google “mirror neuron system.”

Assimilation isn’t installation, at least not as Bandler uses the word.

Installation, as Bandler uses the word, is very precise, and very different. Bandler leads audiences through sequences of unconscious representations and emotional states over and over and over until those sequences get learned through repetition. Then he anchors them to the desired context.

For instance, I once saw Bandler up on stage (ever seen his Orlando videos? Where he’s sitting there with a huge banner saying “NLP Seminars Group” above his head?) as he was doing an installation. He was talking about how he remembers a given person’s meta-programs and issues. He does it, he says, by visualizing a list of their criteria, etc. above their head. So looking at someone, he sees this little checklist above their head, telling what work needs to be done. Of course, journalists just use a little book and jot notes. It’s an archetypical American image: the 1950s journalist in dapper suit, gripping a notepad and scribbling with a pencil. Sometimes, they even have a pencil stuck behind their ear, right beneath a hat with a big sign in the hatband that says “PRESS.” Very film noir.

If you followed along that last paragraph, three times you likely made pictures of people with large, readable words over their heads. If we told those stories a dozen times, your unconscious mind would start to “get” the general strategy: make pictures of big, legible words over people’s heads.

If I anchored it correctly, later I can help you link it to the right context. I might ask, “If you’d like to learn a cool way of remembering people’s names, stop for a minute and imagine you just met someone on the street…” As I see you start to enter your name memory strategy, I fire the anchor and Bazoom! the strategy gets linked. I would reinforce it with some hypnotic language, test the work, of course, and probably tell your conscious mind some other story to distract you. The installation part is the rehearsing and anchoring of the strategy and associated feeling states.

So in my understanding:

  • Assimilation uses the mirror neuron system to “get it” unconsciously.
  • Installation is a deliberate leading of someone through representations below conscious awareness to help them develop a cognitive skill.


What's the difference between unconscious ass…

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