• Posted: February 2013
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Guest author : Neuro linguistic programming techniques

Neuro linguistic programming is characterized as an approach to psychotherapy, social communication, and both personal and interpersonal development. Neuro linguistic programming refers to the connections which occur between neurological processes in the brain and experienced based behavioral patterns. Hence, “neuro”—neurological—and “programming,” or learned behavior experiences. Neuro linguistic programming is typically referred to as a pseudoscience by the scientific community because techniques used in neuro linguistic programming often uses data based on subjective data, such as personal experiences, rather than more objective and scientific methods; however, many people have found benefits through the study and use of neuro linguistic programming and although its methods may not be scientifically proven, they are useful to those with an interest in the communication and psychotherapy fields.

Neuro linguistic programming today is often used to address personal problems such as, but not limited to, depression, learning disorders, social anxiety, phobias, eating disorders and other disorders and illnesses which originate or are linked to a mental state. Richard Bandler and John Grinder, who developed Neuro linguistic programming in the 1970s, refer to neuro linguistic programming as a set of approaches which can help people have “better, fuller, and richer lives.” It has been shown to have a measure of success in the fields of psychotherapy, such as hypnotherapy, as well as communications fields—neuro linguistic programming techniques are, for example, very popular in empowerment and business seminars. 
Neuro linguistic programming techniques

The techniques, or methods, of neuro linguistic programming include a wide variety of methods and techniques which are used within the field of neuro linguistic programming. Because neuro linguistic programming is such an open field, it would be impossible to list all of the methods which can be used within the field. However, the most common neuro linguistic programming technique involves the use of modeling. Modeling, in the context of neuro linguistic programming, refers to the overall process of changing or adopting behaviors, languages and beliefs of someone else in order to “model” the self after that other person. In most contexts, modeling is not done literally—that is, someone seeking the use of neuro linguistics programming for their problem is not told to alter their behavior in order to resemble or model themselves after a specific person. Instead, “models” are created from the example of individuals who have the desired behaviors, language skills, and so on. The final “model” used in any neuro linguistic programming method which uses modeling might be based on one person, two people, or an even larger amount of people.

The goal of modeling, in the context of neuro linguistic programming, is to deliberately alter personal behavior which is undesirable and replace it with behavior that is considered to be desirable. For example: A patient who seeks the help of a hypnotherapist who uses neuro linguistic programming might find that they avoid social confrontations in a family setting because they have anxiety about social failure. A psychotherapist using a neuro linguistic programming modeling technique might have their patient look to a “model” that they should aspire to, if they want their behavior to improve. This model would likely be someone who was adept at social situations and someone who was able to confidently converse with other people in a social setting.

A similar technique in neuro linguistic programming involves the use of the Milton model. The Milton model refers to a type of hypnotherapy which is primarily based on the hypnotic language communication patterns developed by Milton Erickson. The Milton model is intended to use the power of language to draw out underused, or possibly hidden, resources in an individual’s personality. The Milton Model can be used in various forms of therapy but it can also be used in other settings, such as social settings, or business settings; the Milton Model is often taught at business seminars or other seminars dedicated to teaching effective and persuasive communication. The Milton Model can be broken down into three parts: building rapport, overloading the conscious mind, and indirectly suggesting something to the patient, client or other intended recipient of the communication.
The first stage of the Milton Model is to generate, build and maintain report between the speaker and the listener. Rapport, or trust and empathy with another person, allows for the communication to be better received by the listener. In general, people are more likely to be susceptible to suggestive words when they are said by someone with whom they have a relationship—rapport, in this respect, can act like a mini, fast relationship which may last anywhere from a few hours to a few minutes. One of the primary keys of rapport, within the neuro linguistic model, is to mirror body language, breathing and vocal tone. Mirroring builds rapport by indirectly linking the speaker to the listener.

The second stage of the Milton Model involves distracting the conscious mind so that the unconscious mind can be tapped into; distracting the conscious mind can be done through overloading, such as using an increased amount of communicative vagueness and ambiguity. Both ambiguity and vagueness distract the conscious mind because the mind will attempt to figure out what the vague and ambiguous communication means; while this occurs, the unconscious mind can then be more easily tapped into. For example: A seminar speaker attempting to sell a product might use vague terms, such as promising a vague state of being—a higher plane, a different wave, and so on—in order to distract his audience with a vague term; the conscious minds in the audience members will be attempting to figure out what these vague statements mean and, in doing so, open their minds to unconscious suggestion.

The final stage of the Milton Model involves the indirect suggestion to the unconscious mind. These unconscious suggestions may be suggestions to purchase products or, as is more common, suggestions to improve or change behavior—a hypnotherapist, for example, will often use this final stage in the Milton model to suggest positive changes to their client’s behavior.

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  • The quality of training was outstanding, the depth of human understanding was awe inspiring, and to meet and learn from Carmen Bostic St Clair and the co-creator of NLP John Grinder was utterly mesmerising.

    John Phelan
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