Neuro Linguistic Programming
As Cognitive Hypnotherapists, we use many different techniques with our clients, taking some of the best bits of proven approaches and incorporating them into our own. But neuro linguistic programming (NLP) has a central place in Cognitive Hypnotherapy - it provides the principles for many of the change techniques, as well as being a great tool for understanding the differences in the way people think.
For those who haven't come across NLP before, here is a little background information.
NLP was developed in the '70's by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. It is the end product of a curiosity which began by asking "How do people do that?"
Bandler and Grinder started by looking closely at how people who were excellent in their fields, achieved the results they did. They noticed certain patterns of human sameness and difference which could be used by others to improve individual performance in many areas.
As a result of this initial curiosity a large number of techniques have been developed which can be used by people to improve their lives, and the lives of people around them.
Think about this:
- Doing something well, consistently, is not an accident, it is a process.
- Doing something badly, consistently, is not an accident, it is a process.
NLP provides the tools to understand these processes and develop the individual's ability to adapt whatever they do that does not bring them the results they want, into processes that do.
Neuro Linguistic Programming is the study of how each individual makes sense of his/her world uniquely through different personality patterns and sensory filters.
Each person's memories, beliefs, values, decisions, favoured sense (Visual, Auditory, or Kinaesthetic), and what are called Metaprograms, develop over time into a unique 'model of the world'. Each of us uses this internal map to make sense of the world around us. This map has a profound effect on our thoughts and behaviour, and our relationships with others because we tend to think that our map is the same as everybody else's. The reality is, it's not.
By understanding the structure of our map we canidentify negative thought patterns that inhibit us (and change them); by understanding the structure of someone else's map we can assist them in doing the same thing, or use it to improve our relationship with them, whether in a business or personal context.
Why the name? - Good question, because I have known it put people off.
- Neuro - the fundamental idea that all behaviour is the result of the information we receive from our 5 senses.
- Linguistic - the fact that we use language to order our thoughts and communicate.
- Programming - the ways we use the above to create our behaviour
It can be difficult to describe 'what' NLP is without placing it in a context. It is easier to describe 'how' it can help in a given situation. Its potential application is almost unlimited. It has been used to improve performance in sport; academic performance; sales; therapy, and self-development. It has the potential to improve any situation where communication is a factor, whether between you and someone else, or just with yourself.
That has obvious benefits for those interested in hypnotherapy, because the relationship between therapist and client is a critical factor in whether you can help or not.
Understanding the way they communicate with themselves is also invaluable in assisting them to change.
NLP is a great tool, not only for enabling people to become more aware of the thoughts that direct their actions, but also to become attuned to the ways others seek to influence us, and direct our actions through us.
For health, if you accept the premise that the mind and the body communicate with one another, then the quality of the thoughts you have must impact on the stress levels within your body. If you're thinking negatively, or view the world through a gaggle of limiting beliefs, then the body's response to this places an unsustainable burden on the immune system, which can ultimately lead to illness and susceptibility to disease. In that respect, your thoughts create the conditions necessary for your ill-health.
Releasing these negative thought patterns and replacing them with positive ones, creates the conditions necessary to re-build your health. On its own NLP can provide a potent means for personal change. Incorporated within Cognitive Hypnotherapy we think it provides a cutting edge approach to modern therapy that can provide positive change quickly and permanently.