The doyletic Speed Trace provides a fast and simple way to recode problematic emotional states such as traumas and compulsions so that they don’t recur. It works especially well with people who tend to be less aware of their internal auditory sensory modality (such as self-talk).
Although developed outside of NLP, the doyletic Speed Trace caught my attention because of its similarities to the NLP Trauma Process and NLP Fast Phobia Cure (also called the Rewind Technique and NLP Movie Theater Process):
- Both are fast and effective phobia and trauma treatments, typically only taking a few minutes to permanently resolve trauma.
- Both involve mentally traveling backward in time — implicitly reversing the sequence that formed the problem. However, the doyletic Speed Trace uses spoken auditory cues rather than a visual movie to do this.
- Both can be used to resolve problems other than traumas, such as compulsions.
- Both can be used as do-it-yourself self-help techniques.
After some testing, I added the doyletic Speed Trace to my NLP toolkit, as did a number of my colleagues. We have all found it to be powerful, fast, and useful, especially with clients who have trouble with the Rewind Technique.
The theory behind the doyletic Speed Trace
I found out about the doyletic Speed Trace on doyletics.com, which says it was developed by Bobby Matherne from original research by Doyle Henderson.
I don’t know if their model of how the Speed Trace works is correct. I do know that it works.
In researching how to get rid of traumas, Doyle Henderson became convinced that before age 5, memories of somatic and state information get stored in the brain’s limbic system, separately from visual and auditory components of memory. He called these limbic somatic/state memories doyles. After age 5, somatic and state information get stored in the cortex along with visual and auditory content. But rather than storing state information directly, the brain simply references doyles or combinations of doyles that allow it to construct these states.
According to Henderson, this means that all states older children and adults experience get built from doyles.
Doyles are physical body states that can include muscle tension and feelings of movement, heart and respiration rates, blood sugar levels, “gut feelings” (what NLPers call visceral kinesthetics, the physical sensations of emotions), itching, pain, etc. Henderson thought that doyles form the basic storage unit for most of the body’s automated operations, including coughing, yawning, scratching, blinking, walking, etc.
State information stored in a doyle re-creates the state when the doyle gets accessed. But once a doyle is reprocessed into a cortical memory, it no longer acts as template for creating states. Reprocess a doyle that used to create the state of a food aversion or phobia, and the triggering stimulus no longer builds the state. Reprocess the doyles involved in painful memories, and they can no longer cause pain. Henderson thought that the doyletic Speed Trace recodes doyletic memories into cortical memories.
Whether or not he is correct, the Speed Trace works, it’s fast and easy, and it can quickly create permanent change.
What to Speed Trace
You can speed trace unpleasant doyles such as phobias, a tight stomach, food dislikes, unsteadiness, stage fright, a sound or smell or sight that evokes terror or rage, or a physical illness such as flu.
Some people have used doyletics to blow out pleasant states such as the thrill of gambling. In those cases, I prefer NLP interventions such as the Compulsion Blowout that add choices. Instead of removing the ability to experience that thrill, disconnect it from gambling and connect it to something useful.
You can also Speed Trace the trigger in an automatic strategy that’s a problem. For instance, if a person gets scared by a lot of different things, you can elicit the strategy they use to get from any of those stimuli to feeling scared. Find the common element that’s present across contexts — it might be a picture, voice, or sensation that triggers the rest of the sequence. Touch anchoring and Speed Tracing that key element will often recode the sequence so it will no longer run.
What not to Speed Trace
If you recode one doyle, all memories that use it to reconstruct states will lose that state information. Henderson claims that if you recode all doyles of a state, you can never re-create or experience that state again.
Since anger, fear, and other “unpleasant” emotions are useful in some contexts, be very careful what you choose to recode. Only Speed Trace all instances of states a person can afford to lose completely, without ecology problems. Very unresourceful states of helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness, powerlessness, and self-judgment make good candidates.
Key elements of a Speed Trace
The critical elements of Speed Tracing are maintaining an emotional or physical state (doyle) while regressing through time to before it got installed.
There are at least two effective ways to regress through time:
- Verbal age regression, where the person talks themselves backwards in time. This is the method taught on doyletics.com.
Verbal age regression is extremely easy to use on yourself and with people who have no knowledge of doyletics or NLP. However, it does not always work for people who use auditory as their most conscious representation system. For these people, use the synesthesia method below.
- Synesthesia of moving rapidly backwards through time, using a mix of auditory, kinesthetic, and visual representations. Make sure the person uses at least two sensory modalities.
Moving backward on a mental timeline and off the end of it works very well. You can help your client make the kinesthetic element more real by having them lean forward at the beginning of the Speed Trace, and shift backward as they progress.
Synesthesia works considerably faster than the verbal method, but takes a bit more setup for clients unfamiliar with the metaphor. Also, the person must regress fairly fast to make this work (usually a few seconds). If necessary, have your client rehearse by watching a mental movie of themselves doing the process, so they understand what to do.
How to do a Doyletic Speed Trace
1. Verbal method only: get your client’s current age. For our example, we’ll use an age of 42 years.
2. Access the doyle and anchor it. Have your client access and experience the state. Either you or your client can anchor it kinesthetically (using a touch or self anchor). If the state has an eye access position, have the client fix their eyes on it.
3. Age-regress your client starting from their current age:
Have your client create a representation in at least two senses of moving backward through time. Have them do this very rapidly, so they reach the age of conception in a few seconds.
Occasionally a client may need to go far past conception to get the whole doyle. Go to the Stone Age, or to the beginning of the universe if necessary. When the feeling of the doyle disappears completely, they’re done. Make sure they got the whole doyle (step 4).
Use 10-year increments for people over 40 years old, 5-year increments for those under 40. Stop at an age older than 5. To age regress, have your client say out loud:
“I’m 42, and I’m experiencing this doyle.
“I’m 32, and I’m experiencing this doyle.
“I’m 22, and I’m experiencing this doyle.
“I’m 12, and I’m experiencing this doyle.”
(Instead of “doyle,” you could have them say “feeling,” “sensation,” or whatever is appropriate.)
Once they reach age five, each time your client says the time increment, have them check whether the doyle is still present. They may get several state changes along the way, and intensity may go down a lot (and sometimes way up again) before they get to the incident. When in doubt, continue.
When the doyle disappears completely, stop, then do step 4.
Use these time increments:
“I’m 5; am I experiencing this doyle?
“I’m 4; am I experiencing this doyle?
“I’m 3; am I experiencing this doyle?
“I’m 2; am I experiencing this doyle?
“I’m 1; am I experiencing this doyle?
“I’m 9 months; am I experiencing this doyle?
“I’m 6 months; am I experiencing this doyle?
“I’m 3 months; am I experiencing this doyle?
“I’m 1 month; am I experiencing this doyle?
“I’m 1 day old, the day after my birth, am I experiencing this doyle?”
Many people have major birth trauma. Do them a favor and skip over the day of their birth.
“I’m minus 1 day old, the day before my birth; am I experiencing this doyle?
“I’m minus 1 month; am I experiencing this doyle?
“I’m minus 2 months; am I experiencing this doyle?
“I’m minus 3 months; am I experiencing this doyle?
“I’m minus 4 months; am I experiencing this doyle?
“I’m minus 5 months; am I experiencing this doyle?
“I’m minus 6 months; am I experiencing this doyle?
“I’m minus 7 months; am I experiencing this doyle?”
Henderson and Matherne say that you do not need to go beyond 7 months before birth. Apparently the limbic region of the brain is not sufficiently developed to store doyles yet. However, my colleagues and I have found that sometimes doyles get coded as if they happened before conception. Go back as far as your client needs to.
4. To get any information your client may have coded (or miscoded) as happening even earlier, finish by saying:
“Now go all the way back to the beginning.”
“Now go before the beginning.”
5: Optional: Have your client ask the plausibility question:
“What plausible thing could have happened to me at age [use the age when the doyle disappeared]?”
“What plausible thing could have happened to me when I got this doyle?”
This question often instigates further processing, sometimes in the form of muscle movements. This additional processing gets more change in some people.
Clients can often learn about the original incident that created the doyle by playing close attention to whatever feelings, sensory experiences, thoughts, and body movements that occur just after the question. Clients may access strong memories they can make sense of, or content may seem vague and incomprehensible.
6. Optional: Install a more resourceful state in the “parking space” left by removing the old doyle. I do this by stacking touch anchors: “What would it be like to go through life with a state of curiosity” (access state, set a touch anchor briefly), “resourcefulness” (access this state and touch the same anchor briefly), “and wonder?” (ditto) Build the resource state you want your client to have, then hold the anchor, have the client get the combined state strongly, and rapidly move your client forward through time back to the present. Release the anchor.
I used to routinely ask the plausibility question, but have now switched to installing a more resourceful state, as it seems to have more benefit.
7. Check your work by having your client try to re-access the original state. If some of it remains, anchor that and do another Speed Trace. Strong states may get built by “stacking” several doyles, which you may need to Speed Trace separately.
When Speed Traces don’t work
My colleagues and I have found two circumstances when Speed Traces don’t work:
- Using an auditory time increment for some people who use auditory as their most-conscious sensory modality. (These people typically use auditory language, such as “I hear what you’re saying” and “That resonates.”) You want the person’s unconscious mind and sensory modalities to do the time recoding; therefore, have them imagine traveling backward in time as a visual/kinesthetic experience.
- When the state you want to recode isn’t the first state that triggers, but is triggered by something else. For instance, if a person has a standard response of feeling frustrated about a lot of different things that happen in their life, a Speed Trace may not defuse the frustrated feeling. We don’t yet know why. (However, if you find the common element that happens each time before this client feels frustrated, Speed Tracing that may work.)
The doyletic Speed Trace provides a very useful addition to the NLP tool set, because it works so quickly, and without getting a person deeply into state for more than a few moments. That makes it better than the Compulsion Blowout for states such as suicidal depression that are dangerous to ramp up. (The Compulsion Blowout doesn’t always blow out a problem state, and some people get stuck just short of going over threshold.)
My colleague Jan Saeger and I also found the Speed Trace useful for blowing out chronic baseline states prior to installing new ones using the Global Swish.
— Joy Livingwell © 2021
originally published March 2004, revised June 2021
- Doyle Henderson, after whom doyletics is named, did the original research and developed software for eliminating doyles. The Doyletic Speed Trace was developed by Bobby Matherne.
- Bobby Matherne, “Basic Theory of Doyletics,” http://doyletics.com/doyletic.htm
- Bobby Matherne, “Doyletics Training Exercise: Learn to Do a Speed Trace,” http://doyletics.com/training.htm, and “Instructions on How to Do the MOST™ Speed Trace and a List of Actual Traces,” http://doyletics.com/most_tm.htm. Matherne developed the Speed Trace.