Collapsing the Anchor-Neuro-Linguistic Programming


The collapsing of anchors is a powerful process in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). Of course, anchoring can occur by chance. If the emotional response to a significant event is strong enough in the moment, it can form a neurological link between a specific stimulus and emotional state.

Fortunately, anchors can also be set on purpose. One of the many advantages of intentional anchoring is that it can assist you in releasing a pre-existing negative anchor, such as my fear reaction to thunder and lightning whenever it rains heavily, or an emotional trauma that has been eating you away from within.

This is one of those NLP patterns that isn’t really a self-help method. It is far more convenient to have someone who knows what they are doing guide you through the process.

How to collapse an Anchor?

If you want to use this technique to help others, I recommend enrolling in a good live NLP Practitioner training. For the time being, we’ll just go through the steps so you can get a sense of how it works.

Assume the person you’re going to assist in dissolving their negative anchor is a “female client.”

  1. Make sure that your client is at ease with you.
  2. Tell your client what you’re about to do: “In a moment, I’m going to do a process called “Collapsing the negative Anchor,” which will require me to touch you on your knees or the back of your hands.” Is that all right?”
  3. Inquire with your client whether they are willing to let go of their negative anchor. Assure your client that you do not need to know about the negative incident if they do not wish to discuss it. They can simply think about it and replay it in their minds as if they were experiencing it for the first time.
  4. Ask her how she wants to feel once the negative emotion is removed from the negative event. Assume she stated that she wants to feel accomplished.
  5. You will have to tell her that in order to collapse the negative anchor, she will need to access and amplify a couple of resourceful states in which she felt accomplished.
  6. Proceed with your therapy once your client has acknowledged all of the above.
  7. Tell your client to think about the event from which they want to remove the emotional charge.
  8. Take careful note of any changes in their facial expressions or body movements as they reminisce.
  9. When your client appears to be fully associated with the memory, ask her to rate the intensity of the emotion on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most intense.
  10. If you believe she is not yet at the peak of her negative state, encourage her by asking motivating questions such as “how are you feeling right now?” and “What do you feel like doing right now?” “Do you hear anything?”
  11. As you notice her reaching the highest level of negative emotion, anchor it by touching her left knee with your two fingers (this is anchoring). Make certain that you only anchor the negative peak state once.
  12. After that, interrupt this state by asking her to spell her name backwards or something else to distract her from the negative memory. Just a few seconds should suffice.
  13. Put the emotion to the test. Touch her on the foot, any side of the leg, or the shoulder, and ask her if it brings up that negative state. If she says no, you’re doing fantastic. Then, touch her on the same spot on her left knee and ask her if that negative state has returned. If she says “yes,” you’re doing fantastically well.If the touch on her left knee didn’t trigger the memory of the incident, it means you didn’t properly assess her condition before anchoring. You are not required to inform her that the meeting did not go well. Check in with your client to see if she is all right, and then ask her to recall the most upsetting part of the negative event. Inquire as to how she feels about it right now. Once she manages to intensify that feeling, congratulations! You’re getting her back on track. Steps 7–13 must now be repeated.
  14. Assume that when you touch her left knee, her negative state activates. You’ve successfully anchored her negative state.
  15. To calm her down, offer her a glass of water. Now it’s time to elicit her resourceful/positive state.
  16. As she recalls her positive memories, notice her expressions and body movement or hand gestures. Inquire about her feelings, for example. Is she picking up on any appreciative sounds? When a client talks about their positive memories, their highest state usually comes on quickly.
  17. As you evaluate her, ask her if she feels a sense of accomplishment. Ask her to rate the intensity of the emotion on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most intense.
  18. When she is well on her high-level positive state, touch her right knee to anchor this state. Touch her right knee whenever she says something joyful or worthy about her to strengthen the anchor. You can elicit a few more similar events where she felt accomplished and then repeat step 18.
  19. All of the positive states should be anchored in the same location, in this case, the right knee.
    Tip: To achieve a powerful enough positive state to overcome the negative state, the positive state’s score must be at least three numbers higher than the negative state’s.
  20. Repeat step 13 first para.
  21. Assume you have her positive anchors in place. Practitioners of NLP Anchoring use the phrase “fire the anchors,” which means “touching a specific area.” In this case, it is the lady client’s both knees.
  22. Now, using both of your hands’ two fingers, touch your client on the same spot on the knees where you anchored both states.
  23. Fire the anchors alternately with each hand as you say something hypnotizing like; You have no reason to feel negative (fire the anchor on the left knee and release) in this situation as you are now stronger and happier to feel accomplished (fire the anchor on the right knee and release). Remember, you have all the resources to overcome (fire the anchor on the right knee and release) your challenges (fire the anchor on the left knee and release) and feel accomplished in your life (fire the anchor on the right knee).You can lift your finger from the right knee and touch it again by saying something like; There is no stopping you (fire the anchor on the right knee for around 5 seconds and then remove it).Did you notice something? You’re firing a positive anchor each time when you’re saying positive things to reinforce the positive state.
  24. Examine your work. Touch your client on the left knee to gauge their emotional response to the negative state. They might be perplexed, or they might still be pessimistic. Allow them some time to reflect on their emotions. After a few seconds, fire off the right knee anchor again while asking them how they’re feeling. Make use of the feedback to help you learn.

It is critical that the rate at which you fire the anchors is neither too fast nor too slow.

Anchoring takes a lot of practice and patience to master. If done properly, it is very useful and results-oriented. With the right therapist, the therapy will be a success.


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