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Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP)

What Is It?
How Does It Work?
What Happens During Treatment?
What Is It Used For?
Side Effects/Cautions

What Is It?
Neurolinguistic Programming is a therapy which aims to replace negative reactions to illness, which inhibit healing, with reactions that are more beneficial to the healing process. Advocates of this therapy suggest that people with illness become victims of their own negativity, to the extent that their illness becomes a part of their identity. The aim of Neurolinguistic Programming is to remove psychological barriers to healing by training the mind to replace negative thoughts and images with positive ones.

NLP was developed in the mid 1970s by John Grinder and Richard Bandler, who studied how language influences mental states. The name Neurolinguistic Programming originated from the separate disciplines which influenced the early development of the therapy; it began as an exploration of the relationship between neurology, linguistics, and observable patterns ("programs") of behaviour.

How Does It Work?
The aim of NLP is to reprogram automatic responses, replacing debilitating patterns with reactions that combat your illness. It teaches you to replace negative thoughts (especially in relation to your illness) with positive thoughts and images. This reprogramming helps remove psychological blocks which inhibit the body’s ability to heal itself. A positive attitude is thought to be beneficial to the immune system, boosting healing processes within the body.

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What Happens During Treatment?
A Neurolinguistic Programming therapist will look for ingrained, unconscious attitudes hindering your healing process. S/he may do this by analysing the underlying meaning of words you use when you describe your illness or problem, or by studying facial expressions, body language, or changes in skin colour.

Your therapist will help you modify your reactions to any problems you have by breaking the self-reinforcing cycle of negative thoughts you may have about your illness. Therapists often use a technique called “guided imagery”, which aims to replace negativity with a more beneficial outlook on your future health. This more positive, healthier image will eventually become ingrained in your unconscious mind, and allow you to deal more effectively with your problem. NLP programmers generally begin and end sessions by evaluating what you think you’re capable of accomplishing, what you’re actually doing, and how you’re going about doing it. These evaluations help a therapist to keep your treatment in balance with your basic values and beliefs. The length of treatment will vary depending on your situation and response to the therapy.

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What Is It Used For?
Neurolinguistic Programming can be useful for easing pain, speeding recovery from injury, combating allergies, promoting relaxation and improving your outlook on life during illness. It is also helpful for personal or emotional problems such as low self esteem, shyness and addictions, and can help with weight loss.

Side Effects/Cautions
NLP should not be used in place of conventional treatment for serious injuries or illness.

References

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