Close this search box.

Is NLP a therapy and what is its role in Cognitive Hypnotic Psychotherapy?

Table of Contents

In this post we’ll delve into the essence of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), its association with therapy, particularly Cognitive Hypnotic Psychotherapy, and how therapists can leverage NLP techniques to enrich their practice.

What is NLP?

NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming is an incredibly powerful discipline that enables people to unlock the structures of human communication and human excellence. By doing so, people can think, communicate and manage themselves, and others, more effectively.

NLP explores the relationships between how we think (neuro), how we communicate (linguistic) and our patterns of behaviour and emotion (programs).

By studying and learning from these relationships, people can effectively transform the way they traditionally think and act, adopting new, far more successful models of human excellence. (This process is called modelling and is a key feature that distinguishes Neuro Linguistic Programming from psychology).

In effect, NLP is a powerful change management tool that transforms the way people think and act to have the greatest impact both professionally and personally. That’s why NLP is one of the most powerful skills used in business management, psychology, sales, sports coaching and all forms of personal development.

Integration with Cognitive Hypnotic Psychotherapy®?

Cognitive Hypnotic Psychotherapy® is training program that focuses on helping physical and mental healthcare practitioners develop advanced therapeutic skills. The program is based on an integration of various modes of therapy and models of human behaviours.

A frequently asked question as a result is:

Is NLP a therapy? If not, then why is it included in a course for becoming a therapist?

Before we share the answer it is important to remember that human beings do not operate directly upon reality. Every person has their own model or map of the world (or perspective). It is this map that drives our behaviour.

Among other things, Neuro Linguistic Programming is a model that helps us understand the maps that people have. In other words, it is the “Model of Human Behaviour”. It also consists of an explicit set of tools and techniques that make personal change quick and effective.

Is NLP a therapy?

The answer is no.

NLP, by itself, is not a therapy. However, it is a brilliant tool to be used in conjunction with any therapeutic process to get effective and lasting results and enhances the quality of therapy.

Simply put, Neuro Linguistic Programming is an attitude! With this attitude, NLP looks at methods of creating models (need based), the primary model being the model of human behaviour.

Application of NLP in therapies

It provides a very useful perspective on the why and how of behaviour, the various strategies which people use to continue behaving the way they behave. This helps the therapist understand the driving force behind the undesired behaviour.

Neuro Linguistic Programming also consists of various practical tools and techniques that focus on building certain skills which by themselves may not be therapeutic but enhance the effectiveness of any therapeutic modality.

For example, certain NLP techniques are very useful for building rapport. Now rapport by itself will not be therapeutic. At the same time, it is a well-known fact that the quality of rapport between the therapist and client has a big influence on the quality & effectiveness of therapy.

However, not everyone has these skills. With Neuro Linguistic Programming we have incorporated skills like rapport, asking questions (Meta model & Inverse meta model), effective observation & calibration etc. as a part of the program.

These techniques are a therapist’s delight. Mental health care practitioners, who have used it, are likely to agree!

So, while the answer to the question is NLP a therapy, “NO”, there is no denying that it is an awesome add-on for a therapist. The openness to experimentation, curiosity and zeal to work with clients to bring about a change, in general enhances the quality of the process.

Another aspect of NLP that we really liked is its focus on helping clients focus on skills they need to create the necessary change and then to use different methods / techniques to help them develop and apply these skills effectively.

One such skill that NLP can help both therapists and their clients develop is that of Mindfulness. Almost all mental health practitioners agree that being mindful can be a very important skill both for the therapist and also for the client.

Incorporating NLP Techniques

  1. Rapport Building: NLP techniques such as mirroring and matching body language, tone of voice, and language patterns foster trust and enhance communication between therapists and clients.
  2. Meta Model: Therapists utilize Meta Model questioning techniques to elicit specific information and gain deeper insights into clients’ thoughts and beliefs.
  3. Anchoring: By associating positive emotions with specific triggers, therapists help clients manage negative emotions effectively.
  4. Swish Pattern: This technique facilitates the replacement of undesired behaviors or thought patterns with more positive ones through visualization.
  5. Parts Integration: Therapists guide clients through reconciling conflicting parts of themselves, leading to inner alignment and resolution.
  6. Reframing: NLP techniques help therapists shift clients’ perspectives on situations or problems, uncovering new possibilities.
  7. Representational Systems: Therapists tailor interventions based on clients’ preferred sensory modalities to facilitate deeper understanding and change.
  8. Milton Model: Hypnotic language patterns bypass conscious resistance, accessing unconscious resources for therapeutic change.
  9. Submodalities: Interventions help clients reframe internal representations of experiences, altering emotional responses and behaviors.
  10. Future Pacing: Visualization exercises solidify desired outcomes, embedding suggestions for success and empowerment.

It is important to understand that when we talk about integrating NLP in our courses, we are not just talking only about the trail of techniques that NLP offers but more so the spirit and the attitude behind NLP.

NLP in Therapy focuses on actions, outcomes and processes, remembering that a person is perfectly capable of best performance and only has to get in touch with those capabilities.

NLP’s approach to Goal Setting and Accomplishment

NLP is a short-term, goal-orientated and practical approach to problem solving. Whatever your outcome, NLP can help.

What makes NLP different from other approaches to goal setting and goal accomplishment is that it is more about process rather than content.

The underlying assumption in NLP is that people are not broken but are simply following an incorrect strategy which is leading to the problem or stopping them from achieving their outcomes. The objective here is to help the person identify this strategy and bring about a change such that he/she can achieve their outcomes.

I am a trained therapist; will I benefit by learning more about NLP?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you worked with clients who seem to stop themselves from recovering?
  • Would you like to truly understand how your client’s language gives you important information on their illness?
  • Would it be useful to know how to communicate with your client in a way that creates positive changes?
  • Would you like to get a better understanding of how your client ‘does’ their illness or pain?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then NLP can help you.

When NLP is used in combination with other therapeutic techniques like Hypnotherapy, CBT, Mindfulness and Metaphors, the results are simply amazing.

Not just in therapy, but the application of NLP in coaching literally transforms the coach’s ability to work with the coachee. If you are not a psychologist, but a coach or someone looking at becoming one, you must search for the Cognitive Hypnotic Coaching® Diploma. It is probably the best and the most comprehensive coaching course you would come across.