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Exploring Moments of Knowing: NLP and Enquiry Into Inner Landscapes

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This article is an account of reflections drawn from a total of four explicitation interviews (Vermersch, 1994), with two people. The article has both methodological and substantive purposes. Methodologically, we explain the contribution of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) in the elicitation of first person accounts through guided introspection. Aspects of NLP have been used by both Vermersch (1994) and Petitmengin-Peugeot (1999) as means for exploring people's inner worlds. We further elucidate NLP as a set of tools for researchers, emphasising the distinctions these enable researchers to make within the structure of consciousness. As the nature of NLP's methodological contribution to the field of Psychophenomenology (Vermersch, 1996, Maurel, 2008) has been little articulated, this represents an original feature of this article. Substantively, we show how the application of these tools has generated insights into the fine experiential detail of what we term `moments of knowing'. First, our data suggest that suspension and Epoche, which manifested themselves as unrecognised, or pre-reflective moments of understanding for the participants, may be part of everyday 'knowing'. Second, consciousness appears to be multi-dimensional. In particular it appears that it may be helpful to distinguish between different dimensions of awareness that may be involved when exploring an inner landscape. Third, we consider the apparently transformative effect of the explicitation interview for one of these participants, which emphasises that the interview is an active exploration. Our findings question established views of transformative learning, which hitherto have regarded `critical reflection' as the central process involved in transformative learning (Mezirow, 1990, 1991, 2003).
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Keywords: Explicitation Interview; Guided introspection; Inner landscapes; Neuro-linguistic Programming; Transformative Learning

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Management, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH, Email: [email protected] 2: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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