home   Home
What is depression
Depression Q&A's
Help in your area
What's on in your area
Family and Friends
Treatments
People
Inspiration
Articles
Your contributions
Your stories
Books
In the news
Research
About Us
Feedback
Links
MESSAGE BOARD
CHAT ROOM
  contact us
Treatments

NEURO-LINGUISTIC PROGRAMMING (NLP)

        NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) can help you to:
      • Gain control of your life
      • Learn to motivate yourself
      • Remove limiting or negative belief systems
      • Release past emotions
      • Visualise your future and make it happen
      • Understand the territory of your mind

WHAT IS NLP

NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) can change your behaviour, enabling you to cope with any situation be it negative, stressful, involve feelings of guilt or depression, in a more positive manner.

BACKGROUND

NLP came about in the early 1970's. It began when Richard Bandler (mathematician) and John Grinder (linguist) posed the question "What is it that makes the difference between somebody who is merely competent at any given skill, and somebody who excels at the same skill?"

NLP

Neuro-Linguistic Programming suggests that an individual's behaviour can be changed by simply using specific language and by regularly updating a person's mental territory. NLP allows people to change, eliminate or adopt behaviours as they see fit, and provides skills to maintain a desired emotional, physical or mental state by teaching them to grow from their life experiences. NLP is a profound set of tools for mental development and an increased quality of life.

Understanding our mental territory can help us understand and improve the way we are or adjust to our experiences. We all use different mechanisms to understand and perceive the world as it is shown to us. The way we each see life differs from everyone else, so the way we handle life experiences will of course differ as well. Understanding how our mind functions and makes coping decisions allows us to change negative or inappropriate actions or responses, that fail to get us our desired result.

Perhaps you have heard the saying, "If you always do, what you have always done, then you will always get what you have always got." NLP enables you to make changes to the result by making changes to the response. Most negative responses appear when the person has no other resources available to them to be able to deal with a situation.

COMMENTS
by people who have been using NLP.

Please send us your comments and experiences with NLP to share with others.

I am a big fan of NLP and Timeline Therapy. As a former University Researcher, I understand the value of research and hope that NLP will be better researched in the future. Rather than cold statistics, here is a REAL story about how NLP and Timeline Therapy has completely CHANGED my world. 

For many years I suffered Post Traumatic Stress from a traumatic event earlier in my life. The symptoms started as anxiety in 2000-2001, then progressed onto flashbacks and panic attacks. I let this go unchecked for a 12 months or so and just lived with it. By this time, it had gotten to the point where I was almost constantly anxious and suffering panic attacks and migraines almost every single day. My most humiliating moment was having a panic attack in the middle of my wedding and running out TWICE to avoid throwing up into my veil! I eventually got through it and it felt like the longest wedding ever!  Later in 2001 I quit my job and became a complete recluse. At the time I was a Master's student at a University in Melbourne and decided to make use of the psychologists in their free student counselling service. This wasn't the first time I'd received counselling for this trauma. I had also seen a Psychotherapist several years earlier, before I developed PTSD. By the time I talked to the qualified Psychologist at the counselling service, my marriage was rocky and I was nothing short of an emotional train wreck. I saw the psychologist for an hour every week for three months. On first diagnosing my PTSD, she told me that it would take two years of therapy to come to terms with my PTSD. I felt like I'd been sentenced to two years of intolerable pain. The following three months were almost as painful as the time of the actual traumatic event. The day prior to the session I would feel anxious, then the day of the session I would come home feeling emotionally beaten. The following day I would feel bruised and emotionally exhausted. After three months, the psychologist told me that she was leaving for private practice, that the University counselling service wasn't meant to be used for long term therapy. Finally she told me that I needed to find another Psychologist in private practice. I felt like I'd been given the 'get out of jail' card and happily never went back or to another Psychologist. I plodded along, trying different anti-depressants and Xanax until I decided to wean myself off the anti-depressants and just use Xanax. 

In June 2003, my marriage was rocked by another traumatic event which lead to my husband and I separating. I moved back in with my mother and began meditation classes. These helped a little, but I was still getting major panic attacks. My husband and I both received counselling for several months. My husband had an emotional  breakdown during this time. After three months of separation, I agreed that I would give the marriage another go. But one month on, I was 90% sure the marriage was over. I found an advertisement for the same Australian NLP Centre that is so scathingly described earlier on this page. I enrolled to do the basic practitioner's course because I felt strangely drawn to it. At this point I knew nothing about NLP. My husband had read many of Anthony Robbins books, so he had some idea about NLP and also wanted to come along.

I had to take Xanax on the way to Belgrave the first day because I was so anxious about what might happen. What I found was a warm and genuine therapist who put me at ease and helped me feel like my problems could be quite easily resolved. I found this quite exciting because I wanted to get my life back. The therapist used the hypnotic disassociative technique called the Timeline Therapy Phobia model, developed by Dr Tad James. After the first day, my anxiety and panic was gone. COMPLETELY! I later took the therapist/trainer aside and told him that I was definately sure that my marriage was over. He asked me not to make a final decision until the course was over. At the end of the course, my husband had gotten over his breakdown, I had completely recovered from my panic and anxiety, and my marriage was repaired. For the last 18 months, my husband and I have enjoyed a happier relationship than when we first got together. My story, is one of the less significant successes that have come from the work of this therapist at the Australian NLP Centre. One of the fundamental principles of NLP is to lessen the seriousness that surrounds traditional therapy. The mind can get jammed on an issue if the patient thinks it is serious. So a therapist may use humour to reframe a belief that a patient has jammed in their mind. An NLP session is unlike normal counselling. Rather than spending months talking about who said or did what to you, its about the feeling you were left with during and after the event.

I have since completed the master practitioner's training and run my own therapeutic practice. I have had many clients who have also had great benefits from the numerous therapeutic techniques that makeup NLP.  Most people do not know what NLP is truly about. In general terms, it is a system of awareness. It is about getting beyond your mind and working on the deeper level of your problems that you will not consciously have access to.

I have also had traditional training in a Masters of Psychotherapy at a University. It didn't take me long to realise that many of the things that I had been trained to do as an NLP therapist, had come directly from Psychotherapy and Psychology.It shouldn't be that surprising considering Bandler and Grinder (the founders of NLP) modelled NLP on the practices of successful therapists across all psychological ideologies. So rather than being limited to one ideology, when seeing an NLP Practitioner, you have access to what really works from all paradigms including linguistics and advanced communication. As stated elsewhere on this page, if one technique doesn't work, we try another.

Personally, I would rather help someone become emotionally well in the kindest, easiest and most efficient way possible. If I come across a better way, then I'll learn that therapy too. 

In my opinion, NLP is the most powerful group of tools I've ever come across to change both my own and other people's lives.

(27/04/2005)

I am a psychologist with ten years experience in research and treating depression.  I am also a member of the Australian Society of Hypnosis.  I am thus not limited to ‘one true therapy’.

I have to disagree with the idea that testimonials can be accepted as ‘validating’ a particular therapy. Testimonials are fine for things that are of little importance.  For example if someone is swayed to buy a product from TV, like a magnetic mattress underlay because of ‘testimonial evidence’ it will cure numerous ailments, nobody really gets hurt (you can get the same magnetic radiation by standing under a mobile phone tower).  But depression is more serious.  As with any serious disorder patients/clients have a right to trust that the treatment being offered, whether drug based or counselling, has been demonstrated as safe, and as more effective than no intervention, placebo or other treatments.  NLP is yet to pass this test and professionals should not champion a pet approach independently of whether research supports it. 

Also, there are partial areas of overlap between NLP and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.  CBT has more research demonstrating its efficacy than any other psychotherapy.  NLP devotees would do well to embrace CBT interventions more comprehensively.  There is also outcome evidence that Interpersonal Psychotherapy has a contribution to make with depression.  To push one type of therapy because it is a pet approach, or because it is the particular method a counsellor has been trained in, puts ideology ahead of science and ahead of client wellbeing.  The practitioner might feel good about the work but client may be disadvantaged. So a vexed question, “who’s needs are being met?”   

Brad Desmond
Psychologist

(18/03/2005)

I have suffered from depression and anxiety for over six years now although it has only been in the last year that I have identified it and come to seek help.

In the beginning, when medication and psychotherapy did nothing to alleviate the day-to-day agony of living, a friend who had taken a short NLP course at the Australian NLP Centre in Belgrave suggested I have some personal counselling in NLP there. He really loved his training and felt that NLP could 'instantaneously' cure any affliction. His thinking is - just as I found my male NLP counsellor's to be - rather male and ego-centric. I guess my worldview and spirituality is more wholistic, is more Eastern, is more female-centred, and I do not believe that people have 'problems' that are so simple that they can be cured in an instant. Life is a journey, our minds and emotional wellbeing is a journey, and we need to train to foster wellbeing, not purchase it in an hour.

When I rang to make an appointment for a 'depression related session', the counsellor told me that the price would be $90 for an hour, although he didn't watch the clock, and to confirm the ideology that everyone is simple and every problem is simple and easily solved, he stated 'we'll just keep going until we've solved your issue'.

I, of course, after my friend's accolades and the daily dive into hopelessness, was quite willing to believe in a quick-fix, that the matrix of my emotions was not complicated, that everything was simple and could come down to an easy one-hour (and a bit) solution that would solve everything, forever!

True to his word, my counsellor didn't clock watch his previous appointment and, after driving all the way to Belgrave, he kept me waiting for an hour. When I finally met him, his first words to me in lieu of a greeting me 'Do you know what you want?' and the session followed a similar framework from there.

According to this Australian renowned NLP practioner, everything comes down to money and sex (or love, which is really sex, or money) and, perchance, which one of these did I want?, which one was my depression related to? During the times that I could understand his hectic speech, and frantic prop usage, we finally got clear that my depression was in fact buoyed by the fact that I knew *nothing* could make me happy - not sex and not money and not someone else - and only myself, self-worth, and self-love, could end this emptiness and pain and despair that I felt. And how do I find self-love counsellor?, I ask, show me now, fix me now.

Without asking me any personal questions about my background, having no information about me at all whatsoever except for the information I pushed at him about my depression, he stated that everything came from the parents. If my parents drove a red car, I would drive a red car, if my mother didn't work, I would hate working. So, if I didn't have self-love, one of my parents didn't have self-love, and which one was it, WHICH ONE WAS IT? He proclaimed that we are our own worse enemies, preventing ourselves with out-dated beliefs and emotions, developed by ourselves or inherited from others, from obtaining our heart's true desires. But, once we had accessed our true potential, we could have everything and anything we wanted, just like him, from money to a beautiful partner, and of course after prompting, happiness.

After a very confusing and distressing meditation-regression, where I could not understand a word that was said to push me back and find that 'one' moment where I learned that I was not loveable, I got to cuddle a heart-shaped pillow, he declared me well, and said that he could cure anything, and that no one person who has seen him for depression *has ever come back*. This was of course, as he said, because he had cured them. As I walked out, unable to get ten dollars change because he couldn't find any, the only things I could think about, apart from the discordance that was ringing through my body, was no wonder he was able to create wealth for himself if he ripped people off using this generic therapy and not keeping change on the presmises, and, no wonder no depressed person has ever gone back - why waste your money?!

I don't mean to sound harsh, and of course, maybe it was a bad day for this counsellor, and not one counsellor surely should indite an entire therapy. But I take umbridge at the so-called panacea cures, where an individual can be cured in a moment because everyone is the same. There are no generic solutions for individuals with complex problems. After telling my friend about my experience with his self-proclaimed 'guru', and stating, 'I just don't believe that you can be cured in a moment', he summed up NLP for me, and stated, 'Well, no, *you* can't... you can't be cured in a moment if *you* don't believe you can'. My fault, of course. Another quick-fix lurgy - if it didn't work, it's your fault, and look, oh good, something more to feel bad about.

NLP gets the big thumbs down from me.

(23/04/2004)

I am not a doctor or a master practioner, but I am a counselor and I have worked with inner city teenagers for many years. I ran across NLP a couple of years ago as I am often reading counseling techinques and therapies to help me relate to the people that I work with. I started reading NLP because of its ability to help me more effectivly communicate and ask the proper questions leading to the root of many problems. From the material that I have read, NLP does not set a scripted pattern for a stereotype of illness, but it recognizes each problem on an individual level. You can not take one of Richard Bandlers sessions to cure agrophobia and expect it to work on every person who suffers the same fear. You must find out exactly why those people sense and feel the fellings that they do, and find a way to replace those feelings with more positive ones. Not everyone will see a tropical vacation as a relaxing scene, and not everyone who see snakes or spiders are fearful. NLP is a growing field, and instead of people cutting down it's downfalls, we should contribute to it's success. I am in the field of helping people, and getting better at what I do. NLP is often helpful in many situations, not that it makes me a better counselor, but it provides me an avenue to show people how to help themselves. I don't believe that it is a cure all, but a tool that people should consider.

I don't know that NLP can cure an imbalance of brain chemistry, but it can provide people a way to motivate themselves and create positive feelings. Those positive feelings may help produce the balance needed, I'm not really sure...but I mainly deal with teenagers who have substance abuse problems and teenagers who are suicidal. Often, when you find out the root of the problems, you can change their perceptions and give them options that they had not considered previously. Remeber that people are not broke, they are victims of their own maps. When we can show them what their map should look like, it opens them up to a new world of possibilities. In my opinion, that's what NLP is. Finding new ways to reveal that territory is what NLP is becoming.

(25/03/2004)

I am skeptic who is also qualified in Time Line Therapy (TM), NLP and Hypnotherapy

I am impressed with the results that these methods can achieve but am reluctant to go with the "NLP is the best" flow.

It is good and often underrated.

It also has a tendency to overstate itself.

A lot more research would be great.

Certainly I have worked with clients with depression and it has paid off well.

One client has no memory of ever having had the depression yet it was the very reason he came to me over 12 years ago. Even now he only remembers that I performed a thing called the 6 step Reframe and he suspects it was good.

On the other hand I have had occasions where NLP went nowhere and I reverted to more mainstream therapy models.

Owen Atkins

(17/03/2003)

I was looking at your site, which I think is an excellent one, as it provides a rich assortment of therapies to choose from without bias.

I used to suffer from 'Sunday' depression about a year or so ago, that is, every Sunday I would dread going back to school, college or work. I was just getting into NLP and reading my small (but now rapidly expanding!) library of Richard Bandler and Milton books, when one day looking out of the window I started to feel low. I thought this is stupid, here I am reading about NLP, it's about time I started using it on myself. So I broke down the process by which I got depressed. I was making images in my head relating to work, which I wasn't conscious of at first, then BAM! the feelings rushed over me. So I 'smashed' the image and replaced it with an image with positive feelings (the swish technique). I don't get 'Sunday' (or any other) depression now, except when I'm physically tired. The funny thing was, that night after 'curing' myself I was reading Tranceformations by Richard Bandler about depression and what happens, and the same technique was described!

I have also used NLP on two phobics, one lady was terrified of cows, to the extent of feeling physically sick, now she wants to get near one. I have advised her not to do that just for the sake of doing it, as I was learning about the swish technique then, and hadn't given anything to replace the lack of fear (like common sense around large animals!)

The second lady was phobic of travelling alone in lifts. I used The Swish again, this time I was more polished in my treatment. I let her choose the images for the swish, and in fact she came up with a nice swish submodality herself. She used a computer screen and minimised the bad picture and maximised the good one. I 'broke state' by changing the subject and five minutes later checked her again. She couldn't get back the original image and went straight to the new one. I also checked that she had a choice of going or not going into a lift. I asked her on her next visit to come up in the lift and to make a note of details on the buttons in the lift. This way if she still felt nervous she wouldn't notice because she would be busy looking at the buttons. She did it!

I have helped my wife with confidence in group situations with NLP, and I help my kids to learn with various techniques of NLP, mainly going to sleep at bedtime!

(Mark)
(05/10/2001)

When this first became known, it swept the world of psychological counselling. These researchers studied the actions of a number of truly excellent therapists, and extracted what they hoped were the communalities among them. Then they built a system on this information.

This is a brilliant conception. Unfortunately, cross-validation studies have never, not once, found any evidence that NLP works any better than 'non-specific supportive activites' that are given to control groups. The researchers must have guessed wrong concerning the basis of effectiveness of the therapists they had studied.

I can not recommend this technique for any problem, including depression. It works no better than just sitting around and talking about your problems to a sympathetic listener. Its claims to miraculously rapid cures are simply false.

Sent in by Dr. Bob Rich
25/02/2001

REPLY TO DR BOB RICH

In reply to Dr Bob Rich's comments I would just like to say that whilst cross-validation studies are a good source to look to for the validity of new and old therapies, the power of testimonials should not be overlooked as a very important and valid form of evaluation also. Having been practicing NLP on several hundred clients for over two years, I am constantly contacted by my clients letting me know how their lives and mental health has dramatically been improved!  I challenge anyone out there to personally try these techniques with a Master Practitioner in NLP, and trust they will see and feel the benefits. I also believe that treatment for depression and other associated issues is a very personal experience and people need to find options that suit both their attitudes and belief systems. Different treatments work for different people, hence I think all traditional and alternative therapies need to be made available for people to try and judge using their personal criteria rather than being deterred by others. Treatment of any kind is a very personal experience.

Having suffered depression myself I understand the fear which also comes from facing ones issues, as well as the limiting belief patterns about ones life - NLP is a safe and effective method for both altering peoples beliefs as well as removing the self-limiting emotions of guilt, self-blame, fear, anger, and sadness. The beauty of NLP is that people need not tell the practitioner any facts or content at all, as it works on an internal level. Patients are guided through the process without needing to explain their issues – this can be very safe and reassuring for people who struggle to talk openly with people they meet for the first time. The NLP process, also known as TimeLine Therapy™ resolves people's issues within a single hour and a half session, which is unique to other treatments which can take several weeks or months.  

Hence it's time we looked beyond the typical and embrace new and effective techniques. Practitioners concerned about their clients and people in general need to seriously adopt alternative therapies as a very real form of treatment in the very best interests of their patients. These treatments need not necessarily replace the traditional therapies but can be very effective in complementing them to achieve extraordinary results. I encourage all people out there suffering from depression to consider the many alternatives and seek help which is non-evasive and effective. AND thank you to DepressioNet for their opportunity to share my views with the many people out there and congratulations on an excellent, diverse and informative website!!

Helen Zahopoulos (Master Practitioner NLP)
06/02/2002

I can appreciate Dr Bob Rich's reservations about NLP. Like he says, a lot of the processes that NLP has developed have indeed proven to be ineffective in tests. This entirely overlooks one of the main operating principles of NLP, which is to try different approaches until you find one that works. A strategy that works for one person may be entirely inappropriate for another. There's also an implicit assumption that whatever process is tried will be accomplished equally successfully by anyone who tries it. Again, nonsense: that kind of thinking suggests that a method is somehow independent of the person using it, and doesn't take into account their own experience and expertise. More importantly, it doesn't take into consideration the heart of NLP, which is finding a solution that arises from the relationship between the people involved.

I've been using NLP for a few years now, and my approach changes according to the person I'm dealing with. One of the things I've learned is to trust the changing dynamic between the people involved, rather than assuming that a cut-and-paste method will work in every instance. It won't. How could it?

NLP is fundamentally about communication, and along the way its developers learned a lot from hypnosis, realising that a lot of what we think of as explicitly hypnotic is found within everyday interaction between people. This contrasts with more orthodox views of hypnosis, suggesting that only a certain percentage of people are prone to hypnosis. How had this conclusion been arrived at? By experiments conducted by Hildegard, known as the Hildegard Susceptibility Test. And, years later, lots of people reference those tests as demonstration that hypnosis only works with some people. What they don't do is examine the facts behind that easy soundbite: the tests were conducted by playing someone an audio tape of a very basic hypnotic induction, read in a monotone. It was a minor miracle for anyone to have their state of consciousness affected by it at all, and the tape used a tiny percentage of what we now now to be effective within hypnotic communication. The tape was also obviously a one-way communication, from audio cassette to subject, whereas any effective communication is a dynamic that takes a whole range of here-and-now factors into account. NLP has expanded that model further still...but some people react to it as others responded to Hildegard's research on hypnosis.

07/05/2002

The factual information on this page was compiled from:
Universal Events (http://www.universalevents.com.au/nlp.htm)


Your feedback and input will be greatly appreciated.

If you have a service or product that may be of assistance to people with depression or a related condition, or their support people, please contact us for details on how to be listed or contribute to this site.

Contact us | Site map | Privacy | Disclaimer
Copyright © 2004 depressioNet