Neuro-Linguistic Programming – A therapy of words

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“Words have power, we know that, but sometimes we don’t realize the many ways that power can have an effect.”

Wanda Amos is a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) coach and hypnotherapist. She helps clients analyze their actions and the words they use to uncover thought patterns that are no longer benefiting them. It is a method of observing our behaviour and correcting automatic reactions and impulses.

NLP is a bridge between the way we interact (linguistics/body language) and our emotional habits (neurological). Essentially, recognizing the way we communicate – with ourselves and with each other – do our words empower us, or stand in our way. As a recognized therapeutic technique, it has been utilized in a variety of settings since the 1970s.

Amos sees clients with low self-confidence and destructive thought patterns; those looking to remove self-limiting mentality, sharpen senses, or increase awareness. She helps them recognize the weight of their words and how their inner-language affects them, laying ground-work for communication of a more productive nature.

Our behaviour is a product of our state of mind and we can get stuck in our coping mechanisms, causing us to repeatedly attract unfavourable situations. After a while, these types of thoughts and emotions can become core beliefs – directing our actions to the point of self-sabotage. When we begin examining our thoughts and patterns, we do more than elevate self-awareness – we can weave new channels through the side-roads of the brain.

This retraining is neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to change throughout our lifetime. This means specific brain synapses (gaps between two nerve cells, passing electrical or chemical information) may strengthen, grey matter can adjust and brain activity can transfer to a different region, entirely.

NLP therapy contains an element of hypnosis, wherein a practitioner develops a rapport with the client using words with key meaning for the individual. The intent is to relax them into an alpha/theta brainwave state at which time they discuss topics of concern – gently questioning the conscious and subconscious mind for deeply held beliefs holding unhealthy patterns and manifesting personal roadblocks.

Amos says a big part of NLP therapy is identifying the belief behind our actions. Belief is powerful – built on conditioning and perception, coloured by inner-dialogue. If we can uncover its roots and terminology, we can alter its influence.

“People have certain belief systems and a specific way of seeing the world. I had to refine my technique to develop a better understanding of them, as individuals, to speak their language. Then I had to respond in a way that made sense to them. It’s in the way we use words, the way we move our bodies, our inflections.”

This works in reverse, as well. Amos helps individuals look at their relationships to examine various view-points. Sometimes physically moving the session-holder so that the mind and body can experience the shift in perspective.  This form of NLP illuminates the many facets of the situation, linking it to old tensions and outdated methods of communication.

“NLP has a wonderful way of looking at your words and patterns to find out who you are, what your emotional beliefs are, how you best connect with the world. When we do this, we learn much more about other people too and this improves our relationships. I see the value in every aspect of life.”

If someone believes they are unskilled with numbers, unworthy of love, or is untrusting of affluent individuals – these feelings can stand in the way of obtaining the kind of life they desire.

“Someone will say, ‘I’m no good at this’ and we will find maybe it was an authority figure who told them they couldn’t do it, or maybe they feel wealthy people are unkind. If you can recognize that belief, where it came from, you can manage and change it.”

Neuro-linguistic technique is applicable to any scenarios – self-care, relationships, and the workplace – it is often used as an adjunct therapy to standard counselling. Observing and re-framing our words to better suit our desired outcome is a tool we can use in each and every one of our interactions.