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Neurolinguistic Programming

Neurolinguistic Programming is a system of alternative therapy intended to educate people in self-awareness and effective communication, and to model and change their patterns of mental and emotional behaviour.

Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) helps people detect and reprogramme unconscious patterns of thought and behaviour in order to alter psychological responses and enhance the healing process. NLP has provided positive results for people suffering from various conditions, including AIDS, cancer, allergies, arthritis, Parkinson's disease and migraine headaches.


This form of treatment seeks to replace counterproductive reactions that hamper the healing process with beneficial ones that boost it. Its proponents say that it can ease pain, speed recovery from injury, combat allergies, and even enhance the immune system. Unfortunately, despite a number of enthusiastic testimonials, there is no solid evidence that this type of therapy really makes a difference. If you try it, you will have to take it on faith that it works. There is no question that psychological reactions do have physical impact on the body, so the therapy's effectiveness remains a genuine, if unproven, possibility.

Procedure of Treatment

The theory behind this form of treatment is that people who are ill-particularly those with chronic disorders-become victimized by their own negativity. This process ultimately changes their self-perceptions and even their identity. They begin to think of themselves primarily in terms of their disease. When someone becomes 'a diabetic'. Rather than 'a person with diabetes', the disease has taken over. The more you identify with your condition, say neurolinguistic therapists, the less likely you will be able to overcome it. At the outset, therefore, your therapist will seek to detect any ingrained, unconscious attitudes that may be interfering with your body's natural healing abilities. As you describe the symptoms and health problems that have spurred you to get treatment, he will attempt to analyze the underlying meaning of your words. Have you unconsciously despaired over your recovery? If so, you may reveal it in the way you describe your illness. The therapist will also look for clues in your facial expressions and body language, and even in the amount of moisture on your lips or eyes or subtle changes in your skin colour. Drawing on the clues he uncovers, the therapist will then attempt to help you modify your outlook and reactions in order to break the self-reinforcing cycle of negativity. The goal is to break the psychological hold that your illness has established to eliminate the preconceived notions that limit your progress. Neurolinguistic therapy attempts to accomplish this by training you to approach your problems in a new and better way, replacing negative thoughts with positive images. Do you foresee only more and more illness as you look ahead? The therapist will use a technique called 'guided imagery' to replace this potentially self-fulfilling prophecy with a more beneficial vision of your future health. This image of a happier healthier outcome will eventually, it is hoped, prompt your mind, (and your body) to deal more effectively with your disorder. Neurolinguistic programmers begin and end each session with what they call an 'ecology check'. This is a sort of progress report in which the therapist seeks to evaluate what you think you are capable of accomplishing, what you are actually doing, and how you are going about it. These findings help the therapist keep your treatment in harmony with your basic values and beliefs, and serve to maintain balance in your family, social and professional relationships. Repeating this check at the beginning and end of each session helps keep the therapy on target.

Treatment Time: there is no set limit on the length of a session.
Treatment Frequency: This is largely determined by your needs and your response to therapy.


The goal of this form of therapy is to reprogramme your automatic mental and physical responses, replacing debilitating patterns with reactions that promise to combat your illness. By teaching you to substitute more positive thoughts and images for the previously negative thinking and imagery, neurolinguistic practitioners hope to remove the psychological roadblocks that obstruct the body's natural healing mechanisms. Can 'the power of positive thinking' really cure illness? Those who endorse neurolinguistic programming suggest that the brain begins to respond in kind to more positive images and behaviour patterns-just as it did to negative ones. This, in turn, is said to stimulate the body's immune system, thus improving your chances of healing. Researchers have been able to demonstrate that an image and the underlying reality do, in fact, have similar effects on the brain. However, they have been unable to show that positive imagery shortens or alleviates any kind of serious disease.

Who Should Avoid This Therapy?

Neurolinguistic programming may aid in recovery from a serious injury or life-threatening illness, but you need conventional treatment first. Do not undertake this form of therapy for any serious medical problem without first consulting a doctor.


No side-effects have been reported.