Trauma affects a large number of people. In fact, it might be accurate to say that there are more people who have experienced some form of trauma than there are people who haven’t. People who struggle with trauma often develop emotional or psychological blockages that prevent them from living their life to the fullest.
Trauma can emerge from a number of different situations. Fortunately, there are nearly as many different ways that people can treat trauma. In this article, we’re going to discuss the use of neuro-linguistic programming, or NLP, to treat trauma.
What Is Trauma? Do I Have Trauma?
Trauma occurs when someone experiences a situation that is too overwhelming to cope with. Emotions, sensory input, and experiences become so intense that a person is unable to process them properly.
These emotions and memories don’t just disappear, however – they are stored in the body as trauma. The body remembers the experience, even if the conscious mind does not. And the body tends to continue reacting to similar experiences as if they were going to be as traumatic.
Many people can attribute their daily mental or emotional struggles to trauma. However, not everyone is aware that trauma might lie at the root.
For example, someone who struggles to find comfort in intimate relationships may be harboring trauma from childhood neglect. Someone who has trouble getting comfortable, for example, with very tall men may have suffered through a traumatic experience with one in the past.
If you are not already aware of your traumatic past, then it can be hard to tell if you have trauma or not. Fortunately, speaking with a coach and engaging in techniques like NLP can help you understand whether or not you have trauma.
What Is Neuro-Linguistic Programming?
NLP is a therapeutic practice that focuses on communication. One can develop a deeper understanding of NLP by breaking apart the words that make up the term.
- Neuro, which means relating to the brain
- Linguistic, which means related to language
In the simplest sense, neuro-linguistic programming is a tool that allows you to effectively ‘program’ your mind and brain, often using language as a primary basis. NLP also helps you focus on understanding the language of your mind so that you can work with it in a way conducive to healing.
One of the interesting things about the linguistic aspect of NLP is the way that you will learn to understand different “languages” that you use to communicate. You will be able to deepen your understanding of the way that you communicate with yourself, both consciously and unconsciously, as well as how you communicate with others.
The programming aspect also recognizes that the brain operates, in some ways, like a computer. You can’t program a computer game if you don’t know the programming language. The same thing can be said of the brain.
By combining these different things, NLP provides a holistic way for you – and your coach – to communicate. You can learn a lot about yourself and develop new ways of thinking.
How Can NLP Help With Trauma?
Trauma generally manifests as some sort of behavioral response.
Let’s use the example above again. Someone who was traumatized by parental neglect during childhood will develop a traumatic response to that situation. That response might be to shy away from intimate relationships for fear of being rejected.
In many cases, the traumatized individual doesn’t really realize what they’re doing. It’s an automatic, somatic response caused by the trauma which is stored, at least partly, in the body. However, this is a learned behavior – and, as such, it can also be un-learned.
That’s where NLP can become incredibly useful. NLP can help you open a better line of communication between yourself, your memories, your beliefs, and your behaviors.
Say, for example, that the belief you picked up during childhood was that you were unworthy of love. Without even being aware of it, you would proceed to self-sabotage intimate relationships before they could lead you to getting hurt again.
With NLP, you will be able to recognize these underlying belief patterns. You will be able to learn about how you developed them, and how they came to be a part of your life. And, most importantly, you will be able to grow out of them.
By learning to understand your mind, you will be able to reprogram it. You will be able to take these undesirable, automatic responses and turn them into something more positive. Instead of automatically assuming that people you become close to are going to hurt you, you could instead let go of that belief. You could start to believe that you are worthy of love, and that other people have no desire to hurt you.
It doesn’t matter what sort of trauma you have experienced. All traumatic behavioural responses can be improved and replaced. In fact, it’s important for your overall health and well-being to learn about these responses and to replace them with something more constructive so that you can live your life to the fullest.
NLP is a useful therapeutic approach that can help you learn to communicate better. By improving your lines of communication, NLP can then help you overcome and work through trauma.