Many lay hypnotists have seized upon "neuro-linguistic progamming" (or NLP for short) as the basis for a separate, and financially profitable, "science." There is a branch of philosophy called structural linguistics, which is the scientific study of the relationship of language and behavior, but most practitioners of NLP have never even heard of. However, because they conduct workshops which teach and certify students in this technique, NLP has turned into a "sacred cow" which simply cannot be killed.
There is an animal called the blowfish, which has the power to puff itself up to several times its size in order to frighten away potential enemies. NLP also seems to puff itself up to several times its actual size by taking credit for hypnotic phenomena which have been around for a long time by other names. (A suggested response to a specific stimulus, for example, which has long been used in the form of post-hypnotic suggestion. is re-branded and loudly touted as "anchoring," and what has always been referrred to as "waking suggestion" is now "conversational hypnosis," a secret method of influencing people without their awareness.
The poponents if NLP ithen inflate their size still further by claiming things which are already recognized by simple observation and common sense. But if NLP is really the next big thing, Why is it a phantom area which isn't even mentioned in the mainstream academic books on psychology and hypnosis? Why is there nothing which even refers to it in the annual meetings of the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, and the American Psychological Association, or in peer-reviewed journals of record such as the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis or the Journal of Clinical and Experimental hypnosis, or in the Handbook of clinical Hypnosis, published by the American Psychological Association? I was not able to find any references to NLP in the appendix or reference lists of any of the current books on hypnosis in my possession. If controlled experimentation is continuing in this area, it is apparently not of sufficient quality to meet the standards required for acceptance in peer-reviewed scientific journals or for inclusion in well-known books published by titans in the field.
Testimonials, of course are easy to obtain, because there are a certain number of people who will always improve regardless of whether or not they have received any treatment; and because of the charisma of the NLP practitioner who treated them. In the words of Irving Yalom, whose researrch in group dynamacs is world-famous, "It's the relationship that heals. It's the reationship that heals. It's the relationship that heals. My professional rosary!" There is also little doubt that the principles of NLP can appear quite plausible to non-scientists, who produce a steady stream of their own publications aimed at convincing each other of their latest findings (and which seem very convincing in scripted You-Tube demonstrations).
There is an old lawyers' adage which states, "If the law is in your favor, argue your case based upon the law. If the facts are in your favor, argue your case based upon the facts. If neither the law nor the facts are in your favor, attack the judge!: In contrast to the relative openness of the scientific community, anyone who questions the potential of NLP is about as welcome in their forums and discussion threads as a skunk at a picnic. When challenged, NLP practitioners are likely to reply with the ad hominem attack that their critics have obviously not read the right material, and that they are blinded by their own ideological presuppositions.
I generally do not reply to such criticisms, because I refuse to fight a duel with an unarmed man. But if you would to assess the scientific standing of NLP yourself, the answer is as close as your nearest telephone. Call up the college or university nearest you, and ask to speak to someone in the psychology department who teaches courses in perception. Then, ask him or her whether or not neuro-linguistic programming is a recognized body of research a plausible-sounding compilation of psychobabble. Is NLP a "sacred cow," which cannot be killed because it provides a steady stream of revenue to lay hypnotists, who spend their time training and talking to each other and to the general public, instead of submitting their articles for serious sientific scrutiny in peer-reviewed journals of record? To any and all of these questions, your answer is likely to be a resounding
But all is not lost. As I have said elsewhere, post-modern constructionism is the point of view that since we can never reqlly know what "truth" is, we should help clients to put together any type of conceptual framework which helps them to find the meaning of their existence, regardless of the personal reality that we construct for ourselves about the reality of things which are fundamentally unknowable..
How will we know, then, when we are on the right track? In the words of +Michael Ellner,
The path that the people who beat the odds take does not seem to be as important as the way they walk the path that they have chosen. This is based on extensive experience assisting people with life-threatening diseases and conditions and assisting people living with medically unexplained syndromes and symptoms like chronic pain, FMS, IBS and CFS. What they do — does not seem to be as important as how they do what they do… The people who do what they do with a happy heart, peaceful mind and playful spirit seem to have the best outcomes regardless of what they are doing.And how do they get that way? Irving Yalom, fanous for his group work, said, "It's the relationship that heals. It's the relationship that heals. It's the relationship that heals. My professional rosary." As witch doctors abd medicine men have known since the dawn of pre-history, If you construct an ideology that people accept, and if you relate well enough to your clients to get them to the point that Ellner just described, it doesn't matter much what you do, you will be regarded in some quarters of the culture in which you live as a success!