A New Psalm for NLP Practitioners

I need to have another little rant here.  There is a pernicious cliché afoot that is beginning to really irritate me, and just when I thought I’d seen the last of it, it keeps re-appearing fully accompanied by an ever-present level of crass ignorance and stupidity. Yes, it is NLPer bashing time once again.

The best thing about the past is that it is over” seems to be the new mantra.  It’s another Bandlerism, quoted utterly out of the original context that has become one of the New Psalms of NLP Practitioners™.  I keep seeing it posted on people’s Facebook pages, often met with large numbers of “X likes this” and supportive comments were written afterwards.

My guess is that these fools who post this don’t ever actually work with real living human beings as clients.  For so many troubled and emotionally/psychologically distressed people, the past is anything but over and to even suggest otherwise might really be rather insulting.

Here are some simple examples:

One client was raped.  Her husband couldn’t cope with this, labelled her “soiled goods” and left.  She is now depressed, taking industrial-strength psychiatric medication.  Oh, she also now has herpes.

Another client suffered the unexpected death of their child (he was 22 at the time of his demise).

That loss is unlikely to ever be “over”.

Someone else, who worked in a popular shop in a small town, worked up until a few days before the birth.  There were complications during the delivery and the child died a few hours later.  Now, everyone she meets who is unaware of this detail asks her how the baby is.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

When I was 19 and a nursing student, I had a brief placement on a mental health unit for a couple of days.  One of the ladies who was in her late 20’s that worked there was on her first day back after a prolonged absence following the accidental death of her husband (he was killed crossing the road).  It was a difficult enough day for this lady as it was, and it was made all that much more difficult when an apparently well-meaning older member of staff commented cheerfully, “Well, look on the bright side dear, at least you are young enough to get married again.

It was an awkward moment I shall never forget.

For so many people the past is not over – there are after-effects firmly rooted in the past that will continue for the duration of life, and there are some problems that no therapy in the world is ever going to be able to fix. Also, to attempt to disconnect a person from their past in an attempt to improve a person’s existence in the form of “we are doing NLP, but it isn’t therapy” is hugely problematic and is ethically highly questionable.  It’s cult-like.  It is sick.  Why not go the whole hog and get the client to change their name to “Star Child”, wear a white robe and disconnect from their family members altogether.

Oh fuck, isn’t that what so many long-time NLP trainers/assistants are doing themselves already?  It certainly seems that way to me.

I might just start stocking up on the Kool-Aid.

It’s almost as crap as the gusto with which some NLPer-but-I’m-not-a-therapist go about using dissociation with traumatic events in the vain hope that everything will be fine.  I know I’ve said it before, but I think it worth saying again, that suffering and human experience goes far deeper than the quality of the pictures a person makes in their head.  It isn’t a difficult concept to grasp really, yet so many people exposed to NLP training seem to struggle with this.

There, my rant ends.  I fully expect to receive the usual round of “he’s attacking NLP again” (I’m not, and never have “attacked NLP” – but my frustration at so many of the practitioners of NLP that I meet is obvious to all, I think) followed by a short time delay before I see those very same people posting this as their own on some popular NLP forums as an original idea.

[bctt tweet=”NLPers – damn them all!”]

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