And so, we’ve arrived at the Neuro-linguistic Programming Module!

Students of hypnotherapy often get a bit excited by this point, and Module Four assessments are often accompanied by notes saying “I loved learning about this!”. NLP techniques are undoubtedly popular additions to the therapists’ toolkit.

I would like to begin by saying these two things directly:

  • This is not an NLP course, it is a hypnotherapy course. They are not the same thing.
  • This module will teach you valuable understandings from NLP that you can use in your hypnotherapy work.

There was a time in the late 90s and early 2000s when NLP was everywhere. If you were a hypnotherapist but you weren't also a "Master NLP Practitioner" then you could begin to feel a little left out.

NLP offers a way of understanding a person's language structure, and a series of models for change. The therapeutic protocols of NLP are attractive because they are logical - they make sense if you understand the theory behind them. NLP techniques can be easily taught, and if you have a good memory, easily learned. When NLP strategies are taught to clients it allows them to have conscious agency over their own transformation, the choices they make, and the outcomes they seek.

And above all, the strategies and techniques can be very powerful, often very quickly.

We have already learned about the Meta Model and the Milton Model in earlier in this course. Hypnotherapists benefit greatly from adopting the skills offered in both models. For example:

  • Sometimes you need to be very specific in your communications, such as when you give instructions and when offering certain kinds of suggestions. Or often you need the skills to ask a client good questions to clarify for yourself (and often for them) exactly what they mean - unless you can do this, you will end up answering the question you thought they asked, rather than the question they thought they asked. Strategies to help you develop these skills are offered in the Meta Model.
  • On other occasions, you will want to talk in generalisations, and offer suggestions that are artfully vague, so each person can fill in just the particular experience that fits for them. These are called process instructions and really allow personal interpretation of the suggestion. Strategies on how to do this can be learned by studying the Milton Model.

Ultimately, we will be focusing on how you can take strategies from the source material of NLP and use it in your hypnotherapy work.

We will be sticking with the original models and strategies that arose directly from those, because at some point after Bandler and Grinder shared the Milton Model with the world, NLP’s relationship to trance was lost.  

And somewhere a little further down the track from that, a lot of NLP teaching and practice appears to have lost its soul: it became about persuasion and influence and selling, rather than helping, and healing, and change.

But as with all revolutions, at some point things head back to where they began. There has in the NLP training community been a return to a gentler, more therapeutic version of NLP. While many NLP trainers still couch their teaching in somewhat corporate language (or, commonly, the language of marketing) the motivation behind (most of) it is once again to promote and encourage empowerment.

But in any case you are here studying hypnotherapy. The NLP strategies we’ll show you are things we know from experience to be valuable in hypnotherapy practice.

After completion of this Module you may wish to learn more about NLP and dive into the minutiae. And there is minutiae! If you like formulas, protocols, and conscious mind strategies, you will love NLP.  There are many people offering excellent training in NLP, and we will be happy to point you in the right direction. Towards the end of this Module we offer some suggestions on some specific protocols you may wish to investigate for yourself.

But for now, let’s get on to enhancing your understanding and practice of hypnotherapy.

- Rachel