Many of my clients have never heard of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) when they schedule their first session. They tell me they’re stuck and want to feel more alive, fulfilled, healthy or in love. They’ve tried coaching or therapy with minimal success — or with results that only last as long as the motivation and support is there.
Usually, they’ve heard from a friend that whatever happens in my office works, and that I’ve had them look different places and tell me what they see and then things are different.
That’s the simple explanation of what we’re doing on the outside, the same way that going to a dance teacher who tells you to move your feet is helping you to dance.
What happens on the inside is far more complex and profound, it’s artful; and understanding it is what’s missing from the coaching and therapy world in creating real and lasting change.
Most talk therapy work is aimed at helping you have new insight and awareness that brings about old healing. There is a need and a time for those styles, and I’ve witnessed the effects first-hand that this modality can do. They’re amazing. But there’s a limit to what we can change when the change is blocked by a direct opposition to what we believe is true about ourselves or the world.
What if I told you you could lose 10 pounds instantly, but that you’d have to believe that magic fairy dust could turn fat into water to be washed away? While you may love the idea, the part of your brain that filters for what you believe is true would code me as crazy and the process as untrue. At that point, even if I had magic fairy dust, there’d be little chance of you believing it would work.
For the parts of us that are resisting change for years or even decades, there’s very little that someone can say that will change what we believe, unless you can trace that belief back to its neurological origins. That’s where NLP becomes uniquely helpful.
NLP looks at the internal representations – the language of the brain – to understand what is happening outside of conscious awareness. Your brain speaks in pictures, sounds, smells, tastes and body-based feelings or sensations. It’s processing information and associations all the time, most of which goes unnoticed to us on the outside.
What we notice on the outside is our feelings. We then look around us for explanations about why we feel the way we do. We try to rationalize why we can’t seem to choose healthy options (despite knowing they are good for us) or attempt to explain away that burst of anger at the car that pulled out in front of us (was their driving really so awful you let it ruin your day?)
NLP does for the brain what functional medicine does for the body — it looks at the root cause and the system as a whole to understand naturally, what needs to be adjusted to bring everything internally into harmony.
Once you can interpret the body’s language, you can revise — make new neurological associations for – what is creating the triggers, responses and choices that are leading you to have an experience you no longer wish to be having — whether that’s more confidence, happiness, fertility, love or money or less stress, anxiety, weight, sadness, or frustration.
The result is less limitation, more of what you would like, and new ways of thinking that lead to naturally evolving success.