For Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioners such as myself, the Covid-19 Pandemic did us a humongous favour. It shone the spotlight on mental health, a subject seen as “nice to have” rather than a necessity. Escalated in importance overnight, as the Pandemic swept through the world with its witch’s broom, we realised globally that it wasn’t only our physical health that was under threat.
As a practitioner trained to observe trends and patterns of behaviour, for that is what NLP is based on, I spotted a few standouts;
So few put time aside to understand their mind even though it was the driver.
Could it be that the emotional, psychological, and social well-being which affected thoughts, feelings and actions were invisible hence not worthy of as much attention as the physical self?
Many told me that it was all too hard, outside their comfort zone. To see a therapist and pour their problems out. Intrusive too for those who aren’t able to communicate well.
Others hung on to the past stigma of being emotionally unstable if one sought out a coach, counsellor or therapist?
Improving emotional wellness was at the core of what it was to be human and yet these were what a large population felt. Our mental wellbeing had a direct impact on how we connect with people in our lives, cope with stress and make decisions.
Seeing myself as lucky to have reinvented myself from a career banker to an NLP Practitioner and Trainer, I knew intuitively at the time that I had to empower myself with these tools. For me today, I regard mental health as important as physical health, especially seeing that the landscape ahead is ever changing.
What is NLP?
Neurology - refers to the workings of the brain and nervous system
Linguistic - refers to how we use language and its effects
Programming - refers to changing behaviour patterns for better results
The basis of NLP is that there is a natural unconscious connection between:
How our brains work and how we use language
our behaviour patterns and life experiences
NLP founders Richard Bandler and John Grinder purported (when they created NLP) that all of these components could be changed to improve our lives. Those of us who learn NLP and teach it, know this first hand.
We know that by improving emotional wellness we most definitely possess the behavioural flexibility to for example, stay motivated at work, handle family commitments and deal with stress along the way.
NLP has been widely used in the past and especially at its inception, for psychological disorders, including phobias, depression, generalized anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Today it has traversed boundaries into the corporate world, where applications like leadership and coaching, communication and team effectiveness are the beneficiaries of this accelerated technology.
How Does NLP for Mental Health Work?
There are many NLP for mental health tools at the disposal of a Neuro Linguistic Programming coach. An adept coach would know how to dovetail into one or the other, to create a powerful outcome for the client.
So to recap, what is NLP and what does it do? The simple answer is it’s a system that addresses the root cause of a mental health problem which sits in the unconscious mind.
Addressing the root cause is the only way to permanently eradicate the problem. Not only do processes that use NLP for mental health make improving emotional wellness so much easier, the best part is that results are permanent too.
It is common for a human being to experience mental health problems at various stages of a lifespan. Crises such as the loss of a loved one, divorce, job loss, work stress, trauma or abuse could trigger a spate of mental health problems.
In such situations improving emotional wellness becomes paramount, to move through events with the least possible damage and this is where a thought to learn NLP may enter one’s mind.
Sylvia is a qualified Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Trainer. She started her business in Sydney and is now based in Singapore.