Improving Relationships with MindSonar

As I’m writing this on the eve of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d take a look at how MindSonar might be useful in the work I do with clients experiencing minor, but constant, conflict in their relationship with their partner. You know the sort of thing – arguments that seem to flare up  from nowhere, over nothing.  I’ve worked with clients who tell me that they and their partner have no major differences in values, political views, religious beliefs, etc. and yet seem to end up bickering daily about minor things. These arguments, although seemingly unimportant, can gradually start to impact upon the relationship, making one or both partners unhappy.  In turn, this can lead to bigger arguments and so set up a destructive cycle.

This sort of conflict is very often due to the meta programmes being used by the individuals.   Common problems that I see are:

  • One or both partners running a Mismatching meta programme in everyday life. Constantly seeing what is wrong gets in the way of appreciating the things that are right. In a relationship this can lead to a perception that the partner is a negative thinker, down on everything – even a nag. That said, there are times when running a Matching programme can also lead to problems, particularly when a couple is planning a major change in lifestyle, with the risk of the “matcher” being seen as not being realistic about problems and obstacles that might need to be considered in order to succeed.
  • One partner is Internally Referenced and the other is Externally Referenced. In this situation, the internally referenced partner might be frustrated that, when they are thinking aloud about things that need to be done, the externally referenced partner immediately does it – taking the partner’s words as an instruction, not just a thought.  I have certainly experienced this, and the frustration that it can cause if not understood simply as a difference in thinking patterns.
  • One partner has a strong Options meta programme, and the other is highly Procedural.  This difference often causes unexpected  arguments when the couple are planning something about which each is excited – a holiday or a celebration for example.  They begin by feeling great as they start to arrange it, but end up bickering as the two meta programmes cause frustrations as they begin to plan.

In fact, large differences in any of the meta programmes can lead to feelings of being misunderstood or not listened – the basis of many disagreements.

By jointly experiencing a MindSonar assessment and coaching session, the couple can gain an understanding of the underlining differences in their thinking styles and the way that this is impacting upon them.  As MindSonar stresses the usefulness and equality  of each meta programme, the couples can learn to appreciate their differences, rather than to judge them.

Such a session could provide the couple with the following benefits:

  • Each partner can get an insight both into the meta programmes in play in their chosen context.
  • Each can become aware of occasions when they have run the other meta programmes, thus recognising them as flexible ways of thinking, rather than as inherent ways of being.
  • The couples can also “try out” the other’s meta programmes with their given context in mind to gain their perspective on the situation.

Overall, MindSonar can enable couples to appreciate each other’s thinking style and also identify how they could use such differences to complement, rather than conflict with, each other.

Couples work is just one example of the flexibility of MindSonar in working on conflict resolution, and highlights its usefulness in personal as well as business coaching.  I’ll certainly be recommending it to my clients.

Time Perception in the Mindset: Sometimes crucial in Therapy

One of the Meta programme sets that I have found can have a significant role in the thinking patterns of my therapy clients is that of Past/Present/Future. It seems that if any one of the three is very strong in the context of how they view their life, it can contribute to the issues which have brought the person to therapy. As with all Meta programmes, the rest of the profile is important and certain combinations of Meta programmes seem related to specific therapy issues. However, the time perception meta programmes are of particular interest to me in some clients. Below are some examples of how each of the time focus meta programmes can contribute to a client’s issues:


I often see a very strong Future focus, usually coupled with the Mismatching programme, in clients suffering from anxiety. These clients constantly worry about what might go wrong in the future and rarely take any time to appreciate what is actually happening in the present. They often do not learn from their past experiences. Part of the therapy work therefore is to enable the client to look back and identify both good and neutral things that have happened in their past. This enables them to recognise that the things they were anxious about in the past rarely, if ever, materialised and that, if they did, they were not as catastrophic as they had imagined and they had coped and survived them.


I frequently see a strong Past focus in clients experiencing depression. Most often I see this along with a Mismatching meta programme. Such clients look back and remember almost everything that has gone wrong for them and every mistake they believe that they have made. This, of course, reinforces their depression and the accompanying low self-esteem. By moving first to a stronger Matching pattern, they can begin to recognise times of good fortune and personal success in their past and so see that not everything has been a bad experience. Doing this in combination with strengthening both Present and Future Meta programmes can have a really positive effect on their depression as they start to feel less negative about their past life experiences whilst becoming more positive about current and future events. .

Conversely, some depressed clients have strong Past Meta programme combined with a strong with Matching metaprogramme. These clients view the past through rose-tinted spectacles and believe that all the good times are over. They tend to believe that everything was better in the past, both for them as individuals and in the World in general. They remember all the good times they’ve had and forget any hardships and conclude that those times exist only in the years behind them. Again, coaching to enable them to achieve a more balanced profile across Past/Present/Future can bring about improvements for them,.


Less often, I see a problem resulting from a very strong Present metaprogramme. Such clients tend to struggle with planning and can end up in difficulty when unprepared for events or unable to meet commitments, including financial ones. These clients also often do not learn from past experience and fail to predict what they will need to achieve the things they want or need to. These clients can often identify areas or times of their lives when they have been able to plan, and learn from past experiences. Using this enables coaching to strengthen Past and Future thinking appropriately.

Of course, as with all our work with clients, we need to consider the MindSonar profile in its entirety and work with the client’s priorities. However, as our time perception has a powerful effect upon how we perceive our life in general, I think that this particular Meta programme set worth looking at very closely. Maybe that’s true for all of us – not just our therapy clients.

Have you any experience of the time perception Meta programmes helping or hindering you or your clients? Please share your experiences in the comments box below.