While I still believe that clients can and do benefit from an outside perspective and that congruence, empathy, and unconditional positive regard encourage change, I am troubled with the traditional medical model approach, which says the problem is the client needing to be diagnosed, treated, and cured. I view clients more holistically and positively rather than dwelling on any dysfunction.
Towards that end, I became a certified coach and a certified NLP Master Practitioner. I work with inherent health rather than dysfunction and in collaboration with the client rather than as the authority figure because I know a person’s beliefs are powerful and he/she is the expert on themselves.
I first became intrigued with NLP after reading Tony Robbins’ book, Awaken the Giant Within. NLP is not for every client; someone with learning disabilities, a mentally-challenged person, or someone struggling to survive may not benefit. On the other hand, the techniques and concepts can be beneficial in a variety of areas including personal development, addictions, and even poverty. It’s a theory worth adding to person’s backpack of possibilities. Even though it may not be helpful in working with every client, it may help counselors work with certain clients and in understanding themselves.
Mike Bundrant , founder of the INLP Center says “NLP is not about the tools, although they are useful. At a higher level, NLP is all about context or which tool to use when.” I have learned that if I don’t understand the client’s underlying reason for repeating the same defeating behavior, I cannot be effective. NLP helps me guide a client to make images of problems bigger and smaller, allows them to dissociate from problems, and encourages exploration of the behavior’s positive intent
I have found the NLP approach enables me to help clients work through problems. For example, a recent client’s presenting problem was excessive worry. Her worrying was so extensive it got in the way of enjoying family, job, and the sunshine. We talked about her worries and how she denied, ignored, and lied to avoid dealing with them. She then addressed them directly and indirectly. Once she understood the positive intentions behind her worrying, she resolved the problem more successfully.