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Hypnotherapy And NLP: Unscrambling The Link

Jun 29, 2008
Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Hypnotherapy are very closely related and could be considered to come from the same 'family' of therapeutic approaches. In fact, if you are considering having hypnotherapy and are currently searching for a therapist, you will probably find that many hypnotherapists now-days, practice NLP to some level and conversely that most NLP practitioners who have completed certified training courses, will also be familiar with using hypnotic techniques during therapy sessions.

How are these therapies similar?

Hypnotherapy utilises hypnotic techniques in order to bring about therapeutic change. Hypnotherapy enables a person to solve personal problems by bringing about a deeply relaxing state of mind. When the person is deeply relaxed this allows the unconscious part of the mind to use its resources to find solutions. It also allows the person to focus their attention completely on the therapists voice in order to follow the positive suggestions and guidance the therapist is making. In hypnotherapy this relaxed state is called trance. All people experience trance states on a daily basis. Trance simply refers to the experience of being really relaxed. It also involves focusing your attention so that it is highly selective. Reading a really good book and being completely absorbed in it, is an example.

Have you had the experience of being totally immersed in the characters of the book, being able to vividly imagine what they are like, whilst at the same time being able to ignore other noises and distractions going on around you? If so, you have experienced trance. Using your imagination and day-dreaming are other examples. Any time that you 'go inside' your own head you are in a light trance. If you've ever had the experience of having a problem that is constantly with you, so that it feels like all you have or all you are, is this problem, then you will know what it is like to experience a bad trance.

Richard Bandler (a computer scientist) and John Grinder (an associate professor in linguistics) developed NLP in the 1970's. NLP was created after they spent time studying and modelling therapists who were considered to be extremely effective at getting good results. One of these therapists, was the Psychiatrist Milton Erickson. He was also an extremely talented hypnotherapist. Erikson's style of indirect hypnotic suggestion and skilled use of ambigous and vague language patterns, has become known as Ericksonian hypnosis. Since NLP was developed after modelling Erickson, many NLP techniques involve Ericksonian hypnotic approaches. Like more traditional hypnotherapy, NLP works with the unconscious part of the mind in order to find solutions to problems. NLP therapists are also trained in using Milton Model language patterns in order to induce light trance states in clients. This is very useful at getting a problem moving when a person is stuck in a bad trance. Other hypnotic techniques that are common to NLP include metaphorical story telling and utilising the client's imagination in order to bring about a highly focused state of attention during change techniques - a trance state.

How do NLP and Hypnotherapy Differ

You will find that they are more similar then they are different. During hypnotherapy you are much more likely to be seated in a comfy chair, perhaps reclining with your eyes closed! During NLP you often get more involved with the techniques on a practical level, so you may be standing, or be required to do or say certain things related to overcoming your problem. You may still get to close you eyes and you will certainly get to use your imagination. NLP techniques utilise hypnotic elements but usually in a more subtle way, the NLP therapist will empower you to draw on resources you already have in order to bring about new options in thinking.

When you see an NLP therapist you will find they often use more traditional hypnotherapy techniques as well. At the end of your NLP session, after all the hard work, you will often get to recline back in your chair and experience relaxation so that you leave the therapists office feeling positive and ready to go on with your day.

Karen offers NLP Edinburgh and hypnotherapy, Edinburgh and is trained to master practitioner level. Karen is trained to use Milton Model hypnotic techniques during NLP and Hypnotherapy, Edinburgh.
About the Author
Karen has a degree in Psychology and is also a qualified mental-health occupational therapist, with NHS experience. Karen is registered with the HPC and is a member of the BAOT. Karen practices privately and offers NLP Edinburgh and Hypnotherapy Edinburgh.Visit http://www.karenhastings.co.uk
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