How to get unstuck: the FRC protocol

Have you ever had someone in your life whose voice alone was enough to put you on edge?  Someone in whose presence you behaved in ways you didn’t like?  Say, a coworker or relative?

Have there been situations which consistently trigger behavior you’re not proud of?  For example, when someone cuts you off on the road and you turn into a cussing, frothing maniac?

If so, congratulations!  This means you’re human, and we like you like that.  Nematodes and arthropods can be so dull sometimes.  And if you’d like to have more choice in how you respond in these situations, I’m happy to report that there’s hope.

In fact, that’s one of the most common topics my hypnotherapy clients bring up these days.  I’ve been proposing a remedy for them which they’ve found useful.  I call it the FRC Protocol.  It stands for Feel, Rise, Choose.

The first step is to Feel.  You’ve been conditioned to have a certain response to a given stimulus — say, the voice of your mom.  And you know what?  That’s okay.  You are allowed to feel.  Not feeling means you stop being human.  Suppressing the feeling is not the solution either — that just amplifies it and makes it pop up bigger and badder at inconvenient times, like a poorly trained pet dragon.  So go ahead and feel.

The feeling part is important because it’s your reminder to go to Step 2, which is Rise.  Am I asking you to levitate?  Absolutely — and I know you can do it.  For some intriguing reason, we humans possess the gift of meta-cognition.  This is the ability to have thoughts about thoughts, feelings about feelings.  It may be the chief skill enabling enlightenment.

So let the not-so-pleasant feeling in Step 2 be your trigger to ask yourself, “Okay, now I’m feeling vindictive /belittled /petty/ like I want to wring someone’s neck out.  How do I feel about THAT?”

This is the act of meta-cognition: having a new feeling about a feeling.  And the funny thing about it is that once you do that, you’ll feel the new feeling, not the old one. So if you say, “Well, I feel kinda silly about that feeling,” then you’ll feel silly.  Or, if you find the situation humorous, you’ll feel mirth.  Or you can feel curious about the whole incident — “Hey, what was that all about?”

And that is Step 3 — Choose.  Once you choose to go meta to your instant reaction to a situation, then you have infinite choice as to where to go with it.  Humor and curiosity feel good and put you in a better space than, say, murderous bloodlust.

If you’re one of those people who always has to be right (also known as ‘people’), then I suggest that you go to the state of compassion.  No one has ever been wrong to feel compassion: “That jerk who just cut me off must have had a rough day — oh well.”  Gratitude is a good one, too: “If I got cut off, that means I have a car I can drive wherever I want, which is pretty darn cool!”

So there you have it: Feel, Rise, Choose.  The more you practice the protocol, the better you will get at it.  And when you practice it enough times, you may observe a surprising change: you will stop feeling the initial noxious reactive emotion you used to have, and go straight to the fun, empowering one.  Your brain will have spontaneously re-wired itself.  How’s that for use of the future perfect?

The power is within you,

Dr Ali B

To schedule a private hypnotherapy consult with me either in person (in LA) or via Skype, send an email to drali(at) with ‘Consult please!’ in the subject line.

Categories: Insight

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