In article <1992Aug27.firstname.lastname@example.org> email@example.com writes:
NLP is lots of different things. A few of the techniques are pretty simple. It seems to me, for instance, that almost anyone should be able to learn to use the Fast Phobia/Trauma Cure fairly easily, and it's a very powerful technique for neutralizing traumatic memories (and curing phobias).
Some parts of NLP seem so difficult (to me at least) that I question whether anyone but the leaders in the field can really do them. Certainly Bandler can do some things that few others can. (I've been hearing about his ``torpedo therapy.'' In a seminar he'll ask ``Who has a problem?'' Someone will raise their hand and describe the problem and Bandler will ask a few questions. In less than ten minutes the student will say, ``Oh, never mind, I've just realized this isn't really a problem after all.'' Apparently Bandler can accomplish this quite consistently. My knowledge is all second hand, though, so perhaps I'm exaggerating.)
>NLP is two things:
>NLP(1) - A set of specific communication skills that allow a NLPer to
>interact with another person to discover exactly how they are able to do
>something that they do very well (their ``technique''), and then ultimately,
>to teach that ``technique'' to others.
>NLP(2) - The collection of generally useful ``techniques'' that have been
>accumulated through years of doing NLP(1).
>It is mostly NLP(2) that gets published. The basic skills required to
>do NLP(1), and to effectively apply NLP(2), are best (only?) learned
>through direct training. The person who wants to apply NLP(2) must
>first achieve competence at NLP(1) so that these skills can simply
>operate unconsciously, while consciously applying the chosen
>Now, all of these skills, and all of these techniques, have been
>"discovered'' in real human beings (they are not invented), so we are
>all capable of learning them. But most of us have not ``naturally''
>learned most of them. To the extent that you already have the skills
>of NLP(1), you may be able to simply read about an NLP(2) technique and
>apply it. But training in specific NLP(2) techniques is still
>frequently helpful (in the past 7 years, I have had approximately 20
>weeks of training; and I have [another] 3 weeks scheduled for this fall).
People vary widely in their ability to learn to do NLP and also in their responsiveness to NLP techniques. Some people indeed can learn some of the submodality techniques out of a book like Heart of the Mind (by Connirae and Steve Andreas) and use them successfully either on themselves (often difficult) or others (usually easier). Watching a technique on videotape can be very useful because you can see how totally straightforward the procedure is.
You're not likely to be able to learn anchoring all by yourself, and I think even a lot of people who have been through NLP trainings feel insecure about their ability to get good anchors. (To tell the truth, I do!) This is where the NLP(1) skills above are really important.
Some people are very good subjects for six-step reframing and it doesn't take that much skill to take such a subject through the process. I had a friend/client once who I could do a reframe with in ten minutes, and I think I could have been totally successful with her by just reading the steps out of a book. With other people I've worked with, a reframe would usually take about two hours. Still other people (me being one!) have the hard time going through the process at all.
The fellow student who cured my fear of heights had rather poor skills (in my opinion) and in fact I was quite angry with her because I thought she'd totally screwed her piece of work with me. Besides, what she used was anchor collapsing, which is not the best approach for phobias. But when I went up to my office on the seventh floor the next day and looked straight out the window, I discovered that the cure had worked despite everything. (Now I live on the 17th floor and have no problem looking straight down over my balcony.) (This one anecdote is certainly not proof that anchor collapsing is a good method for curing phobias. But it does illustrate the fact that even an unskilled person can sometimes be successful with NLP techniques.)
Mostly, though, my experience in going through the NLP practitioner training eight years ago was that the techniques either didn't work for me as a subject, or I couldn't really tell whether they'd worked or not. This was especially frustrating to me because fellow students kept thanking me for the dramatic changes in themselves I'd helped them accomplish and I kept thinking ``Yeah, but when will it be my turn?''
And yet I did go through changes during the training, and most often I didn't know what the reason was. (It was a year later when I finally realized that I was no longer dwelling on the past the way I had previously, and in fact none of my ``bad'' memories could make me feel bad any more.) Often my fellow students were much more aware of ways in which I'd changed than I was.
The one really profound change I went through during the training, one that has changed my whole life, was brought about not by a technique but by someone asking me a question. Yes, it was a very good question and the fellow student who was working with me had discussed my problem with one of the training assistants for at least half an hour before they settled on that question to ask me. As soon as she asked it I started crying profusely, and for several weeks afterwards I looked at the world in a very different way, very uncharacteristic for me -- and much better.
My main teacher, Leslie Cameron Bandler, was very strong on the use of questions as interventions. So when I first started doing NLP my goal was to use questions as my main tool and keep techniques as a back-up resource. Until I discovered that with some people my questions had a real impact and with others questions accomplished nothing but techniques worked really well. And I'd fall in love with a technique that I'd used to quite dramatic effect with one client, only to have it fall totally flat when I tried it with the next once. Then sometimes I'd get so frustrated at not being able to get anywhere with someone that I'd try something I thought was really stupid and couldn't possibly work, and it would have a profound impact on them and I'd wind up with them thanking me profusely and tell me that I was the best therapist they'd ever had. (I'm not a therapist, by the way.)
I think that anyone who has done much therapy and is much good at it could tell similar stories, although with NLP the results come much faster.
For some clients, and some therapists, NLP may not be the right approach. But in any case, don't take all those wonderful stories in books like Frogs Into Princes as representing what typically happens when someone does NLP. However they do sometimes happen.
Imagination is greater than knowledge. -- Einstein