A Typical Session with a Professional Practitioner
may decide to visit a professional NLP practitioner for a number of
reasons. NLP is especially good at helping with indecision,
procrastination, mild depression, lack of confidence, and relationship
issues, NLP can be useful in addiction situations, and has even been
known to help in some health issues. An NLP practitioner can help you
find your own answers when faced with a tough decision, and can let you
discover what blocks are in your way of success and happiness. You might
go to a practitioner with a very specific issue, such as "Should I
open another branch store?" Or, it could be very general, such as
"I really don't know what I want to do with my life." You may
be asked to go to a practitioner by someone else such a spouse who is at
wits end trying to get better communication, or a boss who is dealing
with poisonous office politics.
When you go to an NLP practitioner, what happens?
I will describe a typical session. Keep in mind that NLP is a very
flexible system, so your session may be quite different, but you'll
probably recognize the skeleton of it in this session.
The practitioner starts with rapport. You
probably won't notice as the practitioner calibrates
the way you speak, your metaprograms,
and even your posture, and makes an effort to act in similar ways. This
calms your critter brain, and makes it
easier for the practitioner to communicate on subjects you might
otherwise not be willing to visit.
What you may notice is the outcome frame.
It is a standardized set of questions that
help get beyond the surface, and bring into focus the areas in which you
are most likely suffering to some degree.
The first question is, "What would you like?"
Then, in any sequence, you may hear,
"What will having that do for you?"
"How will you know when you have it?"
"When, where and with whom would you like to have it?"
"How will it affect significant people in your life?"
"When you have it, what might you loose that you value?"
These last two questions are "ecology
checks." The word "ecology"
in NLP refers to the things that a person will let interfere with what
they want. Ecology is such a big subject in itself that books could be
written about it, but the general idea is that the programmer
will typically help you shape a desired
outcome that takes ecology into account. For instance, you might
hate your job, but the ecology is that you don't want to quit because
you'd hate not making money even more. So the programmer helps you find
ways change your job, or your attitude about your job, while still
As the programmer has been helping you discover an attainable, well-formed
outcome, some things are happening in the background.
The programmer will be showing you lots of respect from the first
moment. But, he is also respecting your present
state. It is better than what it replaced. Sometimes just knowing
what's good about your present state is a good place to start. The
programmer will offer reframes. These are
statements that turn things around, so you can see things in entirely
new ways. For instance, "What good things come to a person who
isn't good at making decisions?" As the programmer is guiding you
toward your own well-formed outcome, she may also be offering some metaphors
or stories. As a client, you might find the reframes and stories quite
weird, unexpected, out of place. And some will be. But others can have
The programmer is also watching your physiology, especially your
eyes, noticing in which directions you look as you access thoughts and
At some point, typically an ecology question, and often specifically,
"What stops you?" the programmer will suddenly interrupt, and
ask you to point your eyes in a certain direction. At that point, you'll
be asked to describe what you're seeing, hearing, or feeling, and old,
long forgotten memories are likely to appear. This is called "eliciting
an eye access." Typically the eye access will bring you to a
time when you were much younger, called regression.
There are other ways to get to regression, and some programmers in
some situations, such as a phone-based session, will use another
technique. A common one is called "trans-derivational
search" or "TD search."
The programmer will then assist you in stepping more fully into the
time you were a child, and were forming beliefs
about yourself or the world. Often these are "limiting
beliefs," that even today, so many years later, affect your behavior,
or limit your choices in significant ways.
If all has gone well, the programmer now has a pretty clear idea of
your present state, your desired state,
and an isomorphic relationship between
those states and your limiting belief. So, it is time for reimprinting.
This is a guided process of allowing you to understand the limitation of
the belief, come up with a better belief, and install that new belief as
an option in your mental processes.
You may notice the programmer doing some anchoring.
The most common form of anchoring is well-timed squeezes of your arm.
This helps align an external stimulus with a part of your conversation,
so that your subconscious mind will
recognize the parts the programmer wants you to recognize at the times
she wants them recognized.
All along the process, the programmer will be watching your physiology,
checking for ecology issues, and always working with utmost respect for
you and your situation.
The programmer will future pace. This
means, she'll have you step into a future version of yourself, and
determine how well the new you fits. Future pacing not only helps the
programmer see if the session worked, but also helps solidify your new
state. It's a bit like making a salad. Sure, you can eat it right away,
but the finishing touch of adding salad dressing makes it so much
At this point, you may be done, or there may be some ecology still to
be dealt with, so part of the process may be looped through again.
You will not have noticed, but you have been in a light hypnotic
trance for much of the session, probably starting around the time of
eliciting the eye access. The programmer will help you come smoothly
back to the here and now, and after some light chit-chat, the session is
If you're done ahead of time, the programmer may do a bit more
ecology work, offer another metaphor or two to cement in the work a bit
more, or may help with something else, such as a quick fix of a phobia.
What I just described is a typical session. However, there are many
variables. Some programmers prefer to mix in other modalities such as Bert
Hellinger's Family Inheritance
work, the Work of Byron Katie, hypnotherapy,
business coaching, and so on. For
some of his clients, your editor doesn't do
regression at all, but works more in a mode they're more comfortable
with - specifically, more in the realm of metaphorical storytelling and hypnotic
suggestion. Other programmers might be aghast at the idea of not
using regression every time. We each have our own styles. You may be
asked to walk backward along an imagined timeline,
step into an imagined or real circle,
move your eyes in certain directions, or imagine yourself acting in
complex scenarios such as a meeting or movie with strange characters,
such as the parts of your body. This
is all NLP, and the programmer has a wonderfully large kit of tools from
which to select what's right for you and your situation.
Have fun! - Jeff