Can’t get your point across? Frustrated because no one sees things from your point of view? Then you need Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Murray Garrard catches up with two of the region’s foremost NLP apologists
Time Out Bahrain staff
Neuro-Linguistic Programming. If it sounds complex, that’s because it is. It habitually takes me all of 10 minutes to wrap my head around a subject, but after three hours of discussion with Dr Leila and Phil Edwards, two of the foremost NLP practitioners in the region, I began to realise that only something book-length could really do justice to one of the most interesting practises to come out of the field of personal development last century.
NLP was founded by Dr Richard Bandler, then a student at the University of California, Santa Cruz who, after observing sessions conducted by some of the leading therapists of the time, began to realise that particular word and sentence structures facilitated the acceptance of therapeutic suggestions. From this, and with the help of fellow psychologists and linguists, he grew it into a model for human communication and change that analyses the way in which people gather information and interpret the world around them.
Phil Edwards summarises this rather neatly: ‘We don’t live in reality, we live in our own representations of reality. And this is why people have such big disagreements, because they are not experiencing the same reality to start with, but they assume they are.’ And the reason, Phil claims, that we don’t all experience the same reality, is because we all delete, distort and generalise the information that we hoover up every second of every day. And with people imbibing such vastly different information, it is no surprise that we all come to see things from completely different points of view.
A large portion of the practise, as the name would suggest, is rooted in linguistics, and Phil and Leila run through a list of common phrases to demonstrate that what most people say does not express clearly or specifically what they actually mean. This forces whoever is on the receiving end to do a significant amount of interpretation, leaving a potentially massive gap between what the speaker intended to say, and what the listener understood was being said: the root, apparently, of most of the world’s arguments.
Phil continues: ‘The fundamental idea of this internal representation of reality is once you understand the rules about how it works then you are able to start taking control of it.’ And presumably then find yourself in a state of empowerment. And not just over yourself. One industry that has adopted NLP wholeheartedly is the sales industry. ‘Once you start to understand that other people have an internal representation of reality then you can start to manipulate theirs.’ If you want to understand why the world of advertising has been so successful, a course of NLP should fairly rapidly make their methods more explicable.
Though Leila is keen to point out that NLP is not a form of mind control, but merely has a wide range of applications. ‘Like any technology, it can be used for influence in a positive or negative way. But it was created, as Bandler would say, “to increase the sum total of human happiness and understanding.” To help you understand yourself and others better, and to communicate more effectively.’
And while it sounds like something we could all use a dose of, who in particular would benefit from learning the techniques that one can learn from NLP? I ask Leila: ‘It has huge potential for parents, teachers and in education, because if teachers give children negative expectations about themselves through the language that they use, then they are undermining children’s confidence in themselves as learners and they are actually deleting, distorting and generalising more about the information that they are getting.’ But she goes on to explain that anyone could benefit from the course, using it to get out of a rut, overcome a fear, progress in your career, or simply get a firmer grip on the way in which you communicate. My final question? ‘Where do I sign?’
Dr Leila and Phil Edwards’ company, Chrysalis Consultants, run The Makeover Experience – Human Development Middle East, of which internationally accredited Global NLP training courses form one of an array of coaching, therapies and personal development programmes on offer. The next NLP Practitioner and Master Practitioner courses run over four weekends in April and May, starting on 23rd April at the Elite Suites Hotel, Sanabis. For more information on prices and locations, visit www.themakeoverexperience.com, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, call 17 592 019 or SMS 39 667 624.
Five NLP steps to changing your life for the better
1 Set positively-stated, specific and testable goals for what you really want in life. 2 Make it a regular practice to visualise the future that you want to create: imagine what you’ll see, hear and feel when you’ve achieved it. 3 All the results that you get provide you with useful feedback; when things don’t go the way you want, see this as an opportunity to learn, not as a ‘failure’. 4 Focus on changing yourself, not on trying to change others. 5 Register for our NLP Practitioner or NLP Master and Coach courses! By Leila and Phil Edwards