About Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)
- Neuro refers to neurology
- Linguistic refers to language, both internal and external communication
- Programming refers to the changes we can make to our experience of life when we focus carefully on the effect of internal and external language patterns on the neurology of ourselves and the people we interact with.
Have you ever tried to communicate with someone who didn’t speak your language and could not understand you? The classic example of this is when someone goes to a restaurant in a foreign country and they think they ordered apple pie, but it turns out they actually asked for ice-cream.
This is the kind of relationship that most of us have with our own unconscious mind. We might think we are “ordering up” happy, healthy relationships, peace with our family members and being able to stick to a healthy diet…but unless that is happening, then something is probably getting lost in translation.
If your unconscious mind doesn’t really understand what you want, it will keep bringing ice-cream instead of apple pie.
So, if there was one thing you could change, one habit you could break, what would it be?
- Would you remain calm during work presentations?
- Stop procrastinating and spending so much time on Facebook?
- Not devour a whole bag of potato crisps or packet of biscuits in one sitting?
Whatever it is, your unconscious mind only makes you do it because it thinks that’s what you want. (“Here is your procrastination along with a side order of anxiety followed by a portion of emotional baggage. Would you like anything else?”)
NLP is a way to find out how your behaviour is affected by what the mind hears internally and externally. You will then be able to ask the right questions and your ever-so-helpful ‘server’ that is your unconscious will start to react sensibly to life’s events and help you get what actually want out of life.
NLP is a set of tools and techniques to help you get control of your mind, your emotional state, and your life, but it is much more than that. It is an attitude and a methodology of knowing how to achieve goals and get results.
NLP and Solution Focused Hypnotherapy
Why do many therapists offer both techniques?
They are similar because:
- Both therapies require an understanding of how the brain works, in particular the relationship between the conscious and unconscious parts of the mind.
- Both therapies focus on moving ahead in one’s life and focusing on future goals and happiness using a range of techniques. Unlike other therapeutic approaches, little attention is given to a detailed analysis of the past. Many people find this positive and helpful.
- Both therapies can work with a customer, ‘content-free’. Some of the problems customers have are difficult to talk about. Content-free therapy enables us to work together with a minimum of factual information being shared. This can be very liberating and works very well for young people.
They are different because:
- During hypnosis, the customer is physically passive and the therapist does most of the work while the conscious brain is relaxed and quiet.
- With NLP, the client is actively engaged in doing activities to re-programme their brain while their conscious mind is still very active.
In the same way that two heads are better than one; many therapists have found that two different approaches combined are more effective than each taken separately.