Mind Control

NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a form of therapy that  explores the relationships between how we think (neuro), how we communicate (linguistic) and our patterns of behaviour and emotion (programmes). The idea is that, by studying these relationships, people can adopt more successful ways of thinking, communicating, feeling and behaving.

Critics call it ‘pseudo-scientific psycho-babble’.  But proponents argue that it’s the most effective way of breaking bad patterns and making new ones. You’ll have see some of the techniques being used by people like Paul McKenna and Derren Brown, but it’s also been used in schools to help teachers relate to their pupils.

Here’s some examples – see what you think:

1. Choose a moment or event where you experience a negative emotion. Don’t choose anything traumatic, just a simple experience that brings up a negative feeling. Once you have an image of this event, imagine it as a photo.

Change it to black and white
Push it further away from you as if putting it on a movie screen
Now move your awareness a couple steps back, and look at yourself looking at that black and white picture
Make the picture smaller and push it way back, so that it’s about the size of a postage stamp, way off into the distance
Make it translucent or transparent so you can see through it
Turn the picture upside down
Start to fill in that postage stamp picture with your favorite color that makes you feel good
Now see only the solid color that you like in that space, and zoom that forward into the place where the other picture used to be.
Notice how you feel. Try to get back the same feeling you had at the beginning.Repeat.


2. challenging internal voices:

Listen to the way that you talk to yourself. What does the voice sound like – is it deep or high-pitched or squeaky? Change the tone.  Then take the voice and put it in a different place.  What changes? How does it sound now?

If you feel drowsy when you hear it, imagine feeling hyper instead.  If it makes you angry or anxious, imagine feeling the opposite.   Take the voice imagine that you are putting it in a sound-proof box, and before you close the lid make sure that you can live without it for a couple seconds. And close the lid and see what that feels like.


3. Think about something you have to do that you’re anxious about.  Don’t look at it from the outside like watching a film.  Instead place yourself IN the situation, handling it brilliantly well.  Again, make it as concrete as possible: who is there?  What are they saying?  What can you see and smell?


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6 thoughts on “Mind Control

  1. Hi there, Emma,

    4 Christians I know have had remarkable recoveries from ME/CFS using NLP. They have used Phil Parker’s Lightning Process. I am very interested in Mind/Body interactions, and am reading up about them.

    We are trying as a family to minimize the negative things we say about each other, other people, circumstances, the weather, politics etc. “Negative thinking,” we say jokingly, once anyone comes up with negativity.

    If the negative statement we have uttered is true, we immediately try to say a positive thing which is equally true. Amazing how that changes our perspective on the same facts and people!!

  2. That’s a great idea Anita – I’m gonna give it a shot. We know a few people who’s really benefited from the lightning course too.

  3. I’ve done some counselling training and I think there is much benefit to be found in NLP in terms of working through trauma or traumatic emotions, and thinking positively. It’s a bit like auto hypnosis.

    As an ME sufferer, I am also aware of the limitations of such therapies though, particularly for ME. The Lightning Process seeks to eliminate stress and negative thoughts. So it is logical to say that if those are causing your chronic fatigue (or exacerbating symptoms) then they can be very helpful. Thinking positively can help many diseases, though it is not a cure in itself, because stress and worry put such a strain on our bodies.

    However, there is a limit to their effectiveness, and 50% of people with ME who have done the Lightning Process have reported that their symptoms were made worse, not better (see ME Association 2008 survey). The ME Association do not recommend the Lightning Process.

  4. That’s really interesting Tanya – especially your points about the distinction between help and cure – and that even good programmes also have limits.

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