*This article is designed for those with a practitioner knowledge of NLP*
Although I created the new verb, Dû, in 1999, as part of developing the Lightning Process (LP), I realised recently that I’ve yet to write about it in detail for use by those working in NLP. I hope this article fills that gap. For context, the LP is a research-based programme which has been successful in helping many people recover from chronic health conditions. It is based on NLP but has elements drawn from other disciplines combined with some new concepts. As a result, a thorough knowledge of NLP is essential to becoming an LP Practitioner, but additional training is also required. Dû, however, can be adopted by anyone.
Developing a new verb
The first very reasonable question that might spring to your mind is: “Why would you need a new verb – haven’t we got enough already?” An overview of the process of creating a new verb might be useful in answering this. A new verb is required when we want to describe a new phenomenon or radical solution to a problem that can’t be effectively and concisely expressed using existing terms. In recent years, we’ve become familiar with new phrases like ‘Google it’ or ‘I just tweeted’, where, for example, ‘google’ is the verb that describes ‘to open a browser and search a specific database for a particular term’. Once we understand its meaning, the new verb is faster and clearer and easier to use.
Dû also provides the same kind of benefits. To understand its purpose, we need to explore the problem that called for its development. It arose from a modelling project that also resulted in the creation of the LP. It focused on identifying the patterns observed in people with physical and mental health issues who wanted to recover and had tried most avenues but remained stuck.
Language and dû
Analysing the language of hundreds of modelling participants identified that many used a language pattern (called ‘passive’) that described their sense of a lack of power to make any difference to their issue. The shared Latin root of the words patient and passive (pati – to suffer) suggests this connection has been evident for some time. This sense of lack of agency confirmed the feeling that solutions would have to be delivered by external agents, such as expert clinicians, medicines, new research or maybe the passing of time. As the participants had tried so many approaches yet remained stuck, their sense that the solution must be beyond them was quite an understandable perspective. It was also clear that this needed to change, and that becoming active and empowered in the change process was a key part of the solution. I needed to find a simple way to explain ‘how to become aware of passives and restore a sense of being active in creating the solution’. As with the ‘google’ example, the answer was to develop a new verb, dû.
Dû has a slightly similar yet different meaning to the familiar verb ‘do’ and is best explained by example. If someone describes themselves as ‘being stressed about the world economy’, we notice that although this seems to be a good description of their experience, there are some inaccuracies within it. On reflection, we can see that the world economy is not what is distressing them; it is that they are stressing themselves. We know this because the world economy may be at a consistent level of trouble over a particular week, but the person’s levels of stress will vary depending on whether their focus is on the economy or more pleasant things. We can also notice the passive position they’ve taken. The world economy is cast as the cause of their stress. As they can do nothing to change the world economy they are therefore destined, according to the structure of the sentence, to continue to be stressed and have no power to change that either.
Dû is used to improve the accuracy of the sentence. It has two core components. First, it restores our active role – identifying that we are involved in the issue in some way (after all, if I am stressed, the stress is occurring in my nervous system). Second, it emphasises that this is occurring at an unconscious and unintentional level. This is the central difference between do and dû. While ‘do’ suggests we are doing it on purpose and are at fault, dû ensures there can be no sense of blame, as our response was unconscious and unintentional. But, importantly, dû still identifies that we have influence and can change what happens next.
Speak both sentences below out loud to experience the effects of using dû:
“I am stressed about the world economy.”
“I am DÛING stressed about the world economy.”
This concept of understanding that we have influence is not new. However, the use of this new verb produces some novel and interesting effects. It provides a rapid way of understanding the passive nature of our original statement and identifies how we can instantly change our sense of influence and choice. And it does this in a number of ways:
Awakening: the unfamiliarity of saying ‘I am dûing stress’ is designed to ‘sound wrong’. This helps us identify and question our sense of having no power in creating a solution.
Options: this new awareness is accompanied by the realisation that: ‘If I am dûing it, then maybe I can stop dûing it and do something else.’
Distance: the recognition that ‘I am dûing it’ removes the sense of it just happening to me or that it’s an intrinsic part of me. Instead, it provides a feeling of distance and dissociation from the experience, which builds my sense of having some power to change it.
Temporariness/process/de-nominalisation: technically, dû is de-nominalising the nominalised verb. Once a verb (for example, angry) that describes a temporary and changeable process becomes nominalised (appears as a noun), it feels like it is a more static object (the anger in me) and loses its sense of changeability, of a start and finish. The active nature of dû recovers that sense of process and restores the understanding that, although it is currently occurring, it is impermanent and there will be an end to it.
Cause and effect: as can be seen in ‘the world economy makes me stressed’ example, the use of dû identifies the cause-and-effect meta-model issue and resolves it immediately by uncoupling the two tangled sections ‘world economy’ and ‘my stress’.
Identity: dû also helps shifts identity level statements to behavioural level ones (as in Dilts’ Neurological Levels), for example, moving from the disempowering position of ‘I am a depressive’ to ‘I dû depression much of the time.’
The fact that the adoption of a single word can address multiple levels of distortion, generalisation and deletion, in a moment, is its key power. We have also found that it can be understood and adopted by anyone six years old or above and can be used in multiple languages (see www.duing.org for more).
I hope this serves as an introduction to a new branch of the importance of language so central to NLP. There’s much more to be said about how dû transforms medical nominalisations such as ‘infection’ back into more correct empowering descriptions of the ‘infectious process’, and which words alert you to passives (I am, I have, it is, etc.) elements I will be covering in the Masterclass at the 2023 conference and in my course on Inner Wisdom Techniques. In the meantime, if you want more on this, you’ll find my Dû book here…