Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is the study of how we communicate both internally with ourselves and externally with the world around us.
NLP is concerned with the examination of the structure of subjective experience and what can be calculated from that and is predicated upon the belief that all behavior has structure.
As a natural depression remedy, NLP can help alleviate the symptoms of depression by changing the structure. Because of this NLP can be a powerful tool in psychotherapy when combined with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
NLP is based on the work of some history’s finest therapists, such as Virginia Satir, Milton Erickson, and Fritz Perls. The techniques that NLP uses were discovered by modeling the behavior of such successful people in many different fields. NLP is especially useful for the following interventions:
- Fear of Exams and difficulties in passing tests (i.e. driving test)
- Fear of flying
- Treatment of Phobias generally
- Change of habit patterns (i.e. giving up smoking, over-eating, etc.)
- Goal setting
- After a bereavement
- Individual and couples counseling
The NLP therapist assumes the NLP model to be true for practical therapeutic purposes in depression treatment. The client thus presents with a ‘present state’ which is in some way unsatisfactory, and a ‘map of the world’ which embodies their perceptions of their past present and future. The emphasis of the therapist is on how the client constructs their present state, not on analysis of why.
NLP Therapy for Depression
NLP therapy is a client centered therapeutic approach. The basic remedial model for change is that the client is able to find resources in their own experience to add to the present state so they can reach a more desirable state.
The role of the therapist is that of an active facilitator. The NLP therapist helps the client: identify their desired state; be sure that this state is appropriate, or ‘ecological’, for the client as a whole; and then to identify and apply the appropriate internal resources. To be effective, the therapist builds a high level of rapport with the client using a set of techniques identified in the NLP model but widely applicable to other human communications.
In working with the client in this way the NLP therapist can draw on a broad set of techniques based on the NLP model which have proved effective in dealing with different forms of limiting present state.
Some of these techniques operate at a simple behavioral level, others involve the client in changing limiting beliefs and thereby opening up more choices.
Whilst considerable time may be taken in working with the client to gain a clear understanding of the present and desired states, the change process is typically brief compared with other types of psychotherapy.
As in all therapies there are dangers of creating expectations which cannot be realized. NLP psychotherapy stresses the concept of ecology, for client and therapist, in change work and ecological steps are built into most of the techniques. The changes sought must be truly representative of the whole person and not just appropriate to one part or careless of the potential adverse consequences of change.
Some of the methods I combine with NLP include hypnotherapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and cognitive/behavioral techniques.
An Important Note About NLP Practitioners
There are many health professionals, coaches, and lay people who have received training in NLP. I highly recommend that if you see someone who is educated in psychology as, in addition to NLP. That training in psychology should be a Masters degree or a Ph.D., and preferably a Licensed Psychotherapist, Psychologist or Psychiatrist. There is a good reason for this. When you are doing NLP, past traumas and other disturbing events can be triggered. I strongly recommend that you have someone with extensive training in psychology who is therefore capable of dealing with such a situation. Again, there are many psychotherapists, psychologists or psychiatrists who have training in NLP, so finding someone who fits this criteria should not be difficult.
My NLP Training
I received my NLP Practitioner Training and my NLP Master Practitioner Training at NLP University with Robert Dilts and Judith Delozier. I have also received NLP Health Certification Training from Tim Hallbom at the The NLP and Coaching Institute. I feel fortunate to have received my training from the best in the business.