- What is neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)?
NLP is a methodology and an attitude by which we look at things that are supposed to be impossible and make them possible. We do this sometimes by following patterns of the people who have successfully done the impossible and sometimes by imagining what could be possible and empowering self to trying those out.
Neuro-linguistic programming is a way of changing someone’s thoughts and behaviors to help achieve desired outcomes for them. The co-creators of NLP, Dr. Richard Bandler, and John Grinder developed NLP as a model of excellence and went on to establishing strategies, techniques that have the power to change what people, say, think, feel and do.
It’s an interesting journey, where we enter the territory of our clients and then guide them to expand and explore their map of reality.
- How did you come with the idea of doing this? Tell us something about your journey.
Unconsciously, I had been changing people’s thought patterns and behaviors for more than a decade before I actually went on to become certified as an NLP Practitioner. As a people development professional, I had been supporting and delivering change initiatives in organizations for more than a decade. Building teams, turning around performance, and creating leaders, by changing the way they thought about “what was possible?” to “what could we make possible?”
I started working as a Personal development coach while pursuing my PGDBM. And the more I coached, the more I discovered my own talent in getting people to look beyond the horizon and explore the limitless potential of the human mind.
I worked with SBI, Future group, and then as a Consultant to the Government of India, transforming mindset and delivering change whether it was in sales, in leadership, or in organizational development. My approach was just one. Change the way people think and they will change the way they do things.
When I got to know about NLP in 2005, I knew I had to learn this, and I had to learn from the man himself who co-created it. Dr. Richard Bandler. It was after a wait of more than a decade that I could finally fulfill my dream and get myself trained and certified both as a Licensed Practitioner and then as a Master Practitioner by Dr. Bandler.
I have worked with Fortune 500 companies, with students, educational institutions, and professionals, coaching them and transforming them.
Eliciting the power of the mind had always come naturally to me, and today with the tools of NLP, I can do that even better, faster, and with maximum results.
- What are the scientific principles behind this approach and how it is different from other therapeutic approaches?
NLP is not a therapy, however, it is a tool that is used by therapists and coaches all over the world.
The approach works because it does not take a person into the problem, rather it transforms the structure of the formation of problems. To explain it in simple words, our problems are a result of a certain way of thinking, and if we stay in that same mindset, we will be limited with our options for solutions. The same mindset will not allow you to see solutions, hence when we change the way we think, our feelings change, our choices change and we “move” ahead.
For me, NLP is a tool that helps me look beyond the symptoms that usually people describe. “I have a phobia”, “I am anxious”, these are symptoms. The root cause is where I work and to get there, I listen to their words. What are they saying about their anxiety? What are they thinking that triggers these symptoms?
The most significant learning for me has been the understanding that every individual has their own “map of reality” which is based on experiences, learnings, incidents, external stimulus, traditions, culture, parental and societal influence, and so on.
To successfully implement any change, it’s important that we step into their territory and not be fixed with our version of the Map.
- There are many people who doubt this approach? What are the few pertinent questions which you think are yet to be answered? Can you please tell us few leading researchers working in this field?
Yes, I have heard and read about the different opinions that some people have of this approach. The reason for them may be because there is no proven scientific approach associated with it. But the fact is that this approach has been here for more than 40 years now and has been growing in popularity every day. I was trained by Dr. Richard Bandler and I can tell you this, he is a genius. He has made it so simple for us to understand our minds and to change ourselves. Things that were earlier painful have become quick and easy to do.
I have helped people through trauma without having them come for repeated sessions or walking down memory lane reliving the trauma all over again. I have cured phobias in one session. All this with simple steps and a simple understanding of how the mind works. The scientific approach to that understanding is very elaborate and teaches us everything that is to know about the human mind and its functions. NLP however, is focused on understanding how it works for us and against us, what makes it work that way and how to change it.
There is a lot of research work that is going on in the field by most of the leading universities in the world. However, the acceptance of it as a science is still pending.
- How neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) improves the health of a person?
There is a connection between the mind and the body. There are ample proof and studies to show that. In fact it has been accepted too and we see it in the significance that is given to mental health today.
When the mind is healthy, the body is impacted. Our thoughts do impact emotions and those emotions and feelings lead to chronic stress and negativity. These do upset the body’s hormone balance and depletes the brain chemicals that further damage our immune system. Research is done by Karen Lawson, MD, University of Minnesota, has established that when we suppress negative emotions, they can lead to health problems such as High blood pressure and digestive disorders. I have helped people who had been suffering from IBS, Migraine pains and stiffness, and aches in the body. The results have amazed us as they could “notice” the change as it happened and has stayed so till now. NeuroLinguistic Programming changes the patterns of our thoughts, feelings, actions, and behavior. And when that change happens, their health and happiness change. The resolution of the negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions leads to a healthy mindset that is more focused and fills us up with clean energy.
Disclaimer: Expressed views are the interviewee’s own views.