Ian Watson – intro to Three Principles

by | Nov 29, 2015 | Inside Out 3Ps, Video Posts | 1 comment

Ian Watson – Intro to the Three Principles

If you are new to the 3Ps or if you are sharing it as part of your work, then this following presentation by Ian Watson is one of the best and clearest introductions I’ve heard. Ian delivered this talk at a Coaching Connect event. The talk has been split into four parts. The PowerPoint slides can be hard to read, so I’ve included some of them below as part of this article so you don’t miss out.

Ian Watson – Intro to the Three Principles: Part 1

In this presentation Ian starts off by describing his professional journey. If you’re interested to learn more then take a look at this article: Ian Watson – from Homeopathy to the Three Principles.

In the first part of the talk Ian shares the differences between insight-based learning and conventional academic learning. The 3Ps isn’t a new theory or technique, so it doesn’t need to be learnt through the intellect. The 3Ps is a description of how we naturally learn through insight, in other words we see something for ourselves that we haven’t seen before.

Ian Watson pointed to ‘William James’ who is widely seen as the ‘grandfather’ of psychology. In his book the ‘The Principles of Psychology’ William James realised that there were no ‘principles’ but there were many theories, many of which were at odds with each other.

William James quote

The key difference with the 3Ps (an other theories and models) is that it points to an ‘inside-out’ view of the world. Rather than us living in a world where outside events and people are seen as the source of our happiness or distress, the 3Ps shows how we are the creators of our experience of life.  Ian Watson explains that this is the ‘game-changer’ that the world of psychology has been looking for.

Ian Watson – Intro to the Three Principles: Part 2

In the second excerpt from the talk by Ian Watson, he explains about Sydney Banks’ role in the 3Ps. Sydney Banks had a spontaneous realisation when he was in his early 40’s.

It led Syd Banks to realise that no-one sees the world as it is, instead we all see the world through our thought. This explained how everyone sees a separate reality of life.

Sydney Banks


With this realisation Syd Banks saw that humans were innocently creating their own suffering (through thought). Sydney Banks went on to have a further set of realisations and insights that helped him see that everyone was connected to innate health and well-being.

Syd Banks consistently shared what he had seen. After several years of sharing his experience he settled on describing it to people as ‘The Three Principles’. This became the message of hope that Sydney Banks dedicated his life to.

The Principle of Mind refers to the life force behind life. This is the formless spiritual essence from which everything is formed (go to part 3 for the other 2 principles).

Mind Consciousness Thought

Ian Watson – Intro to Three Principles: Part 3

Ian Watson continues his description of the Three Principles in Part 3 of his presentation.  He goes on to talk about the Principle of Thought.  With the 3Ps, Thought (with a capital ‘T’) refers to the capacity to create thought rather than the individual thoughts we hear/experience in our head. It is the ‘stuff’ from which thoughts are made of.

The third Principle is the Principle of Consciousness. This refers to our ability to bring alive our thinking in the moment. Consciousness gives us the capability to know what we are thinking and feeling.

Although the 3Ps looks like three individual Principles, they operate simultaneously in the moment. They provide our ability to experience life and its rich tapestry of feelings, senses and events in any one moment.

Experiences of life

The Three Principles points to the space before we start creating individual thoughts, beliefs concepts, behaviours and actions. It is at the source of all of these things.

3P Continuum

Many people see similarities in the 3Ps with other theories, techniques and practices. It is not uncommon (for example) for someone to say, “that is a bit like mindfulness” or “this is like positive psychology”. The difference is that the 3Ps is common to every tool, technique and theory. These Principles underpin them all.

Ian Watson – Intro to the Three Principles: Part 4


In the fourth and final part of his talk Ian Watson wraps up his introduction to the Three Principles.

Ian explains how the Three Principles are completely neutral. When we start to get a sense of them then we find life takes on a slightly different perspective (without us having to do anything). The Three Principles also explain a few of the (seeming) anomalies that we can see in life.

The 3Ps explains

Ian Watson explain how he (like many other therapists and coaches) had been mystified about techniques. Before he learnt about the 3Ps he couldn’t understand how and why techniques appear to work with some and then didn’t appear to work with others.

The 3Ps explains this. In his talk Ian Watson explains that it isn’t the technique or theory that makes the difference, it is whether or not someone has an insight (fresh thinking) in the moment. Keith Blevens is a well known 3P facilitator and trainer. He points out that one of the biggest ‘game-changers’ is when we realise that thought and feeling are inseparable.

Keith Bleven

Our default setting is one of peace, calm and love. We don’t generate these feelings, they are designed to arise as part of our natural state. It is only when we get caught up in our personal thinking that we find we move away from this place of mental health and wellbeing.

The 3Ps are not an intellectual understanding. They are not a ‘thing’ or a ‘dogma’ or ‘belief system’. The 3Ps are an description of what it is to be human at a fundamental, spiritual level .When we get an insight about the way we operate our life feels very different.

The implications of the Three Principles are ones of real hope. Ian Watson finished his talk by explaining that when we start to see our world from the ‘inside-out’ then it begins to make more sense and becomes less frightening.

Implications of the 3Ps

Are you still curious and wondering What are the Three Principles? There are plenty of articles on this site to explore. Sometimes it’s useful to hear personal stories. Erica Lewis gave some considered responses in an email interview and psychiatrist Rani Bora explains how this understanding can support people with mental health issues in a talk she gave at a Coaching Connect Event.

About Ian Watson

Ian Watson is the Founder and Managing Director of The Insight Space. Ian has worked in the field of natural healing and personal transformation for almost thirty years. He was founder of The Lakeland College in 1993, and is widely known through his books and audio materials on homeopathy and related topics. Ian was certified as a Three Principles Trainer by Dr Mark Howard and Cathy Casey, two of the foremost teachers who learned directly from Sydney Banks

About Liz Scott & Stuart Newberry

Liz Scott & Stu Newberry are Coaching Skills trainers and 3P practitioners. They help develop coaching cultures within schools and organisations. Liz & Stu use their understanding of the 3Ps within their training and are experiencing great successes and results in the organisations they are working in. Download an Introduction to the Three Principles here. Find out more about Liz & Stu at Liz Scott Coaching and Training


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The Coaching Connect website is the ‘virtual’ meeting place for coaches on the internet. Leadership coaches, Liz Scott and Stuart Newberry, originally developed Coaching Connect for the UK coaching community, but it has grown over the years to include coaches from all over the world.

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