Neuro-linguistic programming, or NLP, is a healing modality that can be useful for helping people work through trauma. NLP has been proven to be useful for a number of different psychological problems, ranging from phobia treatment to trauma, depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

Understanding what NLP is and how it works is crucial to understanding how it can help you work through trauma and PTSD.


What Is NLP?

In short, NLP is a branch of therapy that focuses on the relationship between language and neurology. In other words, it relates to how words, behaviors, and thoughts are all interrelated. These relationships can dictate the way we respond to certain situations, people, and events.

NLP is primarily used to help encourage personal growth and development, communication skills, and mental health. By encouraging changes in perception by identifying certain belief patterns and working to restructure or modify them, NLP can be useful for helping people adopt new behaviors and beliefs.

NLP is another healing modality that firmly believes that people inherently possess the healing tools that they need to recover. It is merely a matter of unlocking the latent potential that we as human beings already possess.


Using NLP to Work Through Trauma

There are many different ways that one can use NLP to work through trauma. One example is as follows:

  • A coach will guide a client to recall an unpleasant memory. After closing their eyes, they will recall the memory with as much detail as possible. The intention here is to focus on the memory as if it were actually happening in the present moment: this may involve reliving some of the unpleasant feelings associated with the memory.
  • After you have the memory ‘loaded’ into your mind, you can develop an alternative mental image. An image that may be similar to what you experienced, but much more pleasant. For example, someone who is trying to overcome the trauma of a car crash may want to, instead, develop an image of a pleasant drive down a similar road.
  • Imagine the pleasant memory with the same degree of intensity as the unpleasant memory.  This will be the memory used to substitute the unpleasant memory.
  • The client will imagine a vivid picture of the undesirable image in their mind. In the corner of this image, they will try to visualize a smaller and less vivid picture of their new, substitutional pleasant memory.
  • They will then increase the size of this new memory and increase its brightness until it completely covers the unpleasant memory. By repeating this process, they can eventually replace the unpleasant memory and its related triggers with the new memory.

This is a technique known as the swish pattern. This is just one of the many ways that you can use neuro-linguistic programming to help reprogram traumatic memories.

Another form of NLP is known as the visual-kinesthetic (VK) dissociation technique, which is sometimes referred to as the Fast Phobia Cure or the Rewind Technique. The VK technique can be very useful for helping people who have struggled with trauma for a number of years.

The VK technique is a bit more complicated, and involves the use of anchors and breaking state. Anchors are certain cues which instigate certain psychological states or behaviors. Breaking state is a process which allows people to temporarily relieve themselves from the stress of the memory that they are reliving.

The VK technique is more advanced than the swish pattern, and should only be attempted with the help of a qualified coach.


Why Does NLP Work?

While NLP may seem like magic to some, it’s not. It’s closer to a form of hypnosis, although it is also quite different from this.

NLP works by allowing people to engage with their subconscious. By utilizing visual, memorial, and linguistic cues, coaches are able to assist clients in reprogramming their memories, behaviors, and other issues.

A skilled NLP coach can help someone work through all manner of difficult issues in a relatively short period of time.

Interested in finding out more? Contact me at (805) 256-0372 for a free consultation. Let’s see if NLP is right for you!


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Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)