Neuro-linguistic Programming • San Jose Anxiety Counseling

Anxiety and Neuro-linguistic ProgrammingNeuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) a natural anxiety remedy that I have used for the past 15 years as a natural treatment for anxiety. NLP was developed in the early 1970s at the University of California, Santa Cruz, by John Grinder (a linguistic professor) and Richard Bandler (a mathematician).

Through extensive research, Grinder and Bandler studied what made some therapists more effective than others. Based on their observations, a set of principles and techniques used to create change during therapy were created. Three of the therapists they examined were Virginia Satir, Milton Erickson and Fritz Perls.

Reframing How You Experience Anxiety

Over the past 40 years, Neuro-Linguistic Programming is been commonly used in various settings, including psychotherapy, medicine, and personal development. In therapy, it can be useful in treating anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety disorder.

NLP is not itself a form of psychotherapy, but is a method used during the therapeutic process. Some basic NLP principles include:

  1. The map is not the territory, meaning that if you think something, it is not like actually experiencing it.
  2. All behavior is adaptive, meaning that there is a positive benefit in everything that you do.
  3. You have the resources to achieve your goals. The job of your therapist is to assist you.
  4. How you react is more important than what happens to you.

Combining NLP with Psychotherapy

A therapist using Neuro-Linguistic Programming would typically use the methods below:

  • Establish rapport with you by mirroring your verbal and non-verbal behavior
  • Gather information about your problem while focusing on what you hope to achieve
  • Consider any potential negative impact of achieving these goals on your personal or work life
  • Ensure that new behavior patterns are integrated into your daily life.

Techniques Used with NLP for Anxiety

Anxiety and Neuro-linguistic Programming

A therapist using Neuro-Linguistic Programming for anxiety will use common NLP techniques, such as anchoring, reframing, dissociation, belief change and future pacing. Below are brief descriptions of each of these techniques.

  • Anchoring: Learning how to respond differently to a triggering situation (similar to classical conditioning).
  • Reframing: Identifying adaptive behaviors that can replace maladaptive behaviors while still achieving the same goal.
  • Dissociation: Disconnecting from a painful experience from your past.
  • Belief Change: Changing beliefs that hold you back from success.
  • Future Pacing: Integrating goals into your life so that you continue to achieve after therapy.

These techniques would be used for an anxiety disorder in similar way as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). However, NLP is considerably more powerful than CBT. In treating social anxiety, fow example, the therapist might ask you to compare your beliefs about two areas of your life; one where you have difficulty and another in which you have experienced success.

The process would then involve visualization and anchoring and you would be asked to imagine the beliefs that hold you back diminishing until they are no longer important. I blend my NLP training with my education in hypnotherapy and EMDR because they are all closely related.