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What is NLP?
What is NLP?
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) was devised in the 1970s by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. However, evidence-based scientists and psychologists have been highly critical of NLP, adding it to a list of so-called "discredited treatments."
I did that thing.
I earned a living listening and lending my extraordinary ability to be a Master Practitioner in the strange unexplained world of NLP.
My skills were as an outlandish observer while existing on the icy edge of consciousness.
I could capture the crispness between the breath while listening to and tracking the silence.
I walk through my process for debriefing as I continue to share what I wish I'd known for myself and others. The closest thing I can think of to why the art of listening is so natural to me is that I am a farmer's daughter.
I grew up in the prairies. My dad talked about elements of the earth every day: the direction the wind blew, the time sunrise/sunset, what the clouds looked like and what that meant, where the earth is on the axis and exactly how to know the day-to-plant and harvest based on the amount of sun and the weight of the air. He also taught me animal footprints and tracking directions. This early education in attention to fine details contributes to the finite auditory elements I can tune in.
I am a child prodigy of pattern recognition. And my brain was well-programmed to be acutely alert to emotional disturbances in people's bodies, specifically the ones that would hurt me. It is how I survived.
Subtle is most profound when I use all my senses to listen. The NLP trainers told me this was an incredible skill and I was special. I could see into people's stories in ways others couldn't. It was a gift only a few learned how to do well. I volunteered many weeks and weekends of my life and depicted an excellent example of mastery, a superb specimen displayed like a zoo animal. People would pay me money to be mirrored the memories of their life that mattered.
I spoke about this on a podcast last week. It feels messy and shady to admit. I understood that NLP was powerful, and I honoured my place to only use this skill for good. It was a weapon, whichever way it was used, for good or evil, and it was up to me to do this safely with myself and others. What I didn't know, no one told me, is that this is an icy lake, the edge of fragile glass that can be harmful, dangerous and detrimental to skate upon.
I know now that NLP is a metaphor for brain function and change. While parts lack accuracy in the narrative, they can still benefit people who want a metaphor or model that allows them to see change or excellence in such a way. NLP offers initial insights into some fascinating functions of humans. For people new to personal development and distinction, the NLP frame gives them a starting point to begin their journey. Changing the way someone feels in the moment doesn't change the underlying issues which have created the situation. It is also unhelpful and unsustainable as it teaches reliance on the coach. To the point I was taught in NLP theory, it did not ever claim to be a science. In retrospect, I needed to do homework before diving into things I knew very little about and do better than to be inspired by (the dangerous)self-help guru Tony Robbins.
I have used NLP in my writing here. The following paragraph is an example:
It's pretty incredible to be here. I genuinely enjoy writing and offering words back. These stories are about me… but ultimately, if you are here with me, they must be about you too.
Do I use NLP now?
I will use some elements in my writing – often as a prover or examples of a point or metaphor because some of the perimeters allow you, the readers, more access to understanding many complex topics. I can connect people to the metaphor and themselves, but for the sake of doing better, NLP may have a place in my stories, but I will not assume it has a place in yours.
I no longer use NLP practices in my Coaching because while most Coaches may not set out to deceive, the industry is open to abuse, and coaches cannot carry the conversations about the dangers of NLP and safety alone.
Keeping it real folx,
International Coaching Psychology Review, a group of experts, reported, "there are many critics of NLP who view NLP as a pseudoscience, pop psychology or even a cult, with no evidence base for its effectiveness." Their analysis of 90 articles on the topic of NLP concluded: "In summary, there are no empirical studies that offer evidence for the effectiveness of coaching based solely on NLP tools and techniques."
The Unconscious Influence of Mirroring is an article that you may want to explore to see how Mirroring (a classic NLP tool) creates rapport. Stating, "When two people are mirroring each other, it shows that there is comfort, trust, and rapport among them." When reading the article, I noticed nothing about consent or morality. As much as I can assume the writer intends to help build relationships, the harm of using a tool as subtle as mirroring is dangerous.
If an equitable future is what you crave, find individuals doing outstanding work. These conversations and sharing are hugely important(feel free to send me your questions or concerns)
What is Trauma-Informed Care? According to University at Buffalo, Center for Social Research, Trauma-Informed Care understands and considers the pervasive nature of trauma and promotes environments of healing and recovery rather than practices and services that may inadvertently re-traumatize.