I recently posted information about an NLP Taster Day I run onto my Facebook page and it got quite a response with people saying how NLP has been discredited, with one person citing the Wikipedia entry.
Wikipedia says that NLP has made unsubstantiated claims that it is capable of addressing problems such as phobias, depression and other psychosomatic illnesses. They go on to cite research which they claim proves NLP doesn’t work saying it exhibits “pseudoscientific characteristics concepts and terminology”.
This may or may not be true and I welcome this kind of debate as it gives the opportunity to talk about NLP and all that I believe it has to offer.
My choice of words there is actually pretty deliberate, notice I use the word believe.
I do believe that NLP works and consequently so do my clients which means they get results. Some people may call this the placebo effect and would want to research the actual NLP techniques that are used, however what is important is that the client made the changes they wanted to make. If they had a phobia before we started therapy and they no longer have it, or if they had problems with anger before therapy and those angry tendencies have gone or perhaps they had an enormous fear over the future and after therapy the fear is gone – if all these happen and the client feels better, that’s all I care about.
If a client needs to lose a couple of stone in weight and after a few days of therapy by able to start to make these changes, then keep the changes up over a period of time so little way they want to then who cares about Wikipedia entry?
It absolutely could be that if a practitioner of NLP talks with such conviction about how the techniques can have enormous change then this conviction may enable the client to make changes they need, using NLP is a way of attributing those changes for the client.
Many clients have had fears, phobias and anxieties for many years and so have limiting beliefs within themselves, believing that they can’t change. NLP may be the external mechanism by which those clients are able to change, and when they do who is to say that NLP is discredited and doesn’t work?
Doctors often debate the use of placebos (please don’t get me wrong I’m not suggesting that NLP is a placebo) and Dr Arthur Caplan from NYU Langone Medical Center seems to agree. He suggests that there are times when a medical Dr could consider prescribing a placebo, if this is the case then surely he is considering the possibility that placebos work.
If Dr Kaplan’s experience suggests that prescribing a placebo works this could indeed confirm my points above, if patients have limiting beliefs and believe they can’t change, if a doctor prescribes a placebo the patient is able to attribute those changes to an outside force and therefore make the change.
Either way, the pain, fear, anxiety or phobia has gone – and that’s all I care about!
Interestingly as I was reading the negative comments on Wikipedia my wife came back from taking the children to the orthodontist. Every person at the orthodontic practice has been on one of my NLP taster days and she commented that they were singing the praises of those days and that simply attending the taster day has changed their outlook on life and made communication at the practice so much better.
Try telling them that NLP is discredited…