vendredi, 19 octobre 2007
More information in NLP
Neuro Linguistic Programming: a history
Neuro Linguistic Programming was developed in the 70’s at the University of Santa Cruz, in California. In this multidisciplinary research center, Richard Bandler who had a strong background in mathematics and computer science/information technology was working on his Masters in Psychology, and that brought him to work with John Grinder. As a Professor specialized in Linguistics, John Grinder had studied with Noam Chomsky, the linguistics reference of the time. Soon there formed a strong team of researchers of whom, Robert Dilts, Leslie Cameron Bandler, Judith Delozier and David Gordon, with one common objective: to model and reproduce human excellence.
To discover the secrets of communication, they elaborated new and inventive ways to access the unconscious memories, to the coded inner and outer experiences, and to the behavioral strategies. With the help of new scaling methods, they systematically analyzed and observed behaviors, postures, language, the techniques as well as the habits of the great psychologists of the day such as Milton Erickson, Virginia Satir, Fritz Pearls, Gregory Bateson and Paul Waltzwick, so as to create a model of their professional skills. In the view of being practical before all, they developed a series of systematic models to reproduce the ‘savoir-faire’ of these renowned communicators.
In parallel to this rigorous and practical research, these researchers methodically explored the intellectual influences of their time; cognitive psychology, neurology, the systemic approach and cybernetics, as well as Bandler’s and Grinder’s own knowledge on general semantics, linguistics and computer science. Through the different disciplines they extracted certain concepts, which helped them establish the necessary links which enriched their approach as it became grounded into a solid scientific base.
Finally, in 1975-76, Bandler and Grinder published the results of their work in a major reference book entitled: The Structure of Magic, and it is in 1978 that this exceptional and radical model of communication and change will be baptized ‘Neuro Linguistic Programming’.
Since then, NLP has never stopped evolving thanks to the contribution of its numerous researchers and users. Today, NLP is taught all over the world and is used in diverse domains such as education, health, human resource management, artistic performance management, sports, psychotherapy and many others.
Neuro Linguistic Programming: a definition
Neuro Linguistic Programming was so named because all human behaviours are rooted in our neurological activity. It is because we have a brain that we are able to perceive, to think, to feel and to operate certain choices. The word ‘Linguistic’ is to describe that our structure of language reflects the way we think. And finally, the word ‘Programming’ was added by Bandler and Grinder because all through our life, we program ourselves and put into place certain ways of thinking, of feeling and of behaving.
NLP is the study of the structure of subjective experience, and proposes conclusions. The NLP technique of establishing a pattern helps to precisely analyze subjective experience. As explains Richard Bandler, NLP is an attitude characterized by an urge of learning how the differences in communication can influence a person. NLP is a methodology based on the fundamental presupposition that there is a structure in each behaviour and that one can model, learn or change this structure. NLP has evolved into a technology that permits us to organize information in such a way that one can obtain unthinkable results from past experience.
The objective of NLP, as mentioned above, was to create models of excellence. At first, there were only two methods in use toward this achievement, modelling language (the meta-model) and observing the eye movements, (the representational system). After some time, these two basic models became insufficient and so many other techniques and observation patterns were established and added to the science of NLP. In this way, NLP grew in content, in depth and precision to create an elaborate tool for the study of psychology.
My own training in NLP
I have always wanted to study psychology, not in the classical, traditional way, but a psychology that searches for the unique essence in each human being. NLP corresponded exactly to what I had been looking for. I attended the seminars over a period of three years while simultaneously studying music and singing at university, without knowing at the time the beneficial exchanges that would occur while studying these two subjects in parallel. NLP contributed a great deal to my progress in singing. While I was working on my expression in singing, NLP made me explore my subjective and objective sides, their importance in my life and how these two extremes interact on a philosophical and psychological level, to finally integrate my beliefs, my behaviour and self expression.
I was not solely attracted to NLP in view of improving my singing techniques and expression. I was fascinated by NLP because it proposed a “how to get started” or a “how to use” booklet about human behaviour. To my amazement, matching my profound beliefs, NLP was also efficient in the study of the deeper realms of personality such as inner values, beliefs and even the profound levels of identity in the individual. For me, up to that day, these layers of psychology had been associated with esoteric sciences and I had been longing for some way of reuniting the scientific side to the inner realities and inner development.
Some examples of applied NLP:
The meaning that one gives to an event is essentially the result of the frame used to perceive this event. When one changes this frame, one automatically changes the meaning of the event. For example, in the frame or context of defending one’s country, killing the enemy is a heroic act, acclaimed by all. In a different context or frame, killing becomes a highly immoral action, forbidden and punished. Yet, in both cases, the action is the same. The limits are not in the outer reality but in the inner representation of one’s action. This is why reframing is at the heart of NLP as an art for change.
To reframe, means to change one’s gaze on things. This enables someone to change the conceptual point of view and/or to change a certain emotional value attached to a particular situation, by placing it in another frame which will become just as appropriate or even more so. In having access to this new perception of reality, a person may change his/her “model of the world”, his/her logic of the world to embrace a wider variety of choices. Reframing is a very important concept in NLP, it is usually applied verbally and very early in a coaching session.
Used in every NLP exercise, visualization is the faculty of picturing things in the mind. Studies have shown that this visualization, most of the time unconscious because so habitual, is often the preliminary step to any feeling and action. Being the root of any action, NLP uses it as a major determining element in the process of change. If one starts to visualize differently, specifically and consciously, feelings and emotions will start to adapt, and a state of being will follow to ultimately change the final action or performance.
Visualization determines a huge step in the process of change. Yet it has its limits for it requires a tremendous conscious work and may be all the more profitable when supported by the subconscious through hypnosis.
The hypnotic state is a dream-like state during which the attention is absorbed by something and where other sources of attention are diminished. For example, when one is captivated by reading or watching television, one is more or less in a ‘dream-like’ state, disconnected, disassociated from the environment, much like being in the subway or on the bus. The intensity of the hypnotic state is often defined as profound and deep, in proportion to the degree of trance. The more the person is captivated or absorbed, the more profound the state of trance.
These hypnotic states are not disconnected from the state of being awake; many times a day one experiences this state of trance. This is in fact one of the fundamental characteristics of Ericksonian hypnosis. These dream-like states are regular, normal, trivial, and frequent. They are therefore easy to trigger.
Hypnosis is a method used to stimulate the processes that unfold in the right hemisphere of the brain, which specializes in imagery, sensations, emotions, synthetic thought, and intuition. It is also a way to work on preliminary processes, on one’s often very ancient vision of the world, on imaginative faculties and the intuition, while the other hemisphere is distracted. The left-brain is known to be rational, logical and linear. Speaking about the unconscious Erickson says, “...let us find a way to directly contact this part and work with it, since it is in control.” The unconscious can work automatically, intelligently, and positively. What Erickson called ‘the unconscious’ is the part of us where we store everything we have learned, from the moment of our birth (if not further back in time). Consequently, a great part of our resources become available to us, even though we are not conscious, as for example the act of walking. This part is in charge of the balance in our body and our ability to adapt.
Hypnosis is a term that made me feel uncomfortable the first times I heard about it. I understood hypnosis to be the spooky phenomena of becoming completely absent in the mind and letting the unconscious express itself completely without having any control over it. What I learned and experienced in NLP was quite different. The method used in NLP is called Ericksonian Hypnosis and was directly modeled on Milton Erickson, considered as the foremost expert in therapeutic hypnosis. It is a specific technique used in psychotherapy as well as in the medical field. It rests on a particular methodology of verbal and non-verbal communication, aimed at drawing a particular state of consciousness (called hypnotic state) to enable the individual to reconsider his/her experience and to discover a better state of being.
The exercise of Stepping-in pretty much explains itself. It is the ability to step into someone’s shoes, sometimes referred to as being in the ‘second position’, It gives the possibility to experience what it is like to be that other person; to understand what she/he is going through etc.
The Neuro-Logic Levels
Robert Dilts, who has contributed a great deal to the development of NLP and who works extensively with the Neuro-logic levels, describes them as follows:
“Our identity is like the trunk of a tree - it is the core of our being. The trunk of a tree unfolds organically from a seed by growing a support network of unseen roots that reach deeply into the ground to provide strength and nourishment. It has another network of “roots” that reach into the light and the air to provide nourishment of a different kind. The roots and branches of a tree both shape and are shaped by the ecology in which they exist. Similarly our identities are supported by internal, invisible “roots” in the form of neural networks which process our perception of our personal values, beliefs and capabilities as well as our physical being and environment. Externally, identity is expressed through our participation in the larger systems in which we participate: our family, professional relationships, community and the global system of which we are a member. Phenomena such as ‘healing’, ‘joy’, ‘compassion’, ‘commitment’, and ‘love’ are ‘fruits’ of the spirit as manifested through our identity and are expressed and strengthened through development, enrichment and growth of these two systems of “roots” – the unseen system of our neurology which grows in the soil of our bodies, and the leaves and branches of the larger family, community and global networks of which we are a part.”
The concept of the Neuro-logic levels has been translated into useful exercises that can be used by individuals as well as by groups. The exercises have been elaborated by Robert Dilts, according to the works of Gregory Bateson and others. These exercises have to do with aligning all the levels in oneself, or in a collective organism, so that the individuals or groups revise their approach to certain situations. They produce a feeling of integrity, of motivation, of inner meaning. It can also reveal a certain blockage situated at a given level, enabling one to eliminate it and become more productive.
Personal thoughts and relevent notes on psychology:
Arthur Janov wisely says, “Feelings are not problems that one must “administer”. They are to be felt” .
Psychology is the science of the spirit and the soul in all their manifestations. The meaning of the word ‘psychology’, integrates the human being as a whole by considering the multiple facets such as will, emotions, reason, the soul and the spirit. To the opposite of modern education, which restricts itself to intellectual knowledge, true psychology, as its etymology describes, exceeds this level of ‘instruction’ to promote the growth of ethics and character. The importance of developing the integral facets of a human being holistically is the answer to the never ending quest of plenitude and perfection, which is the cause as well as the goal of psychology.
“Psychology, science of the soul, is the scientific study of the spirit's phenomena, the analysis of consciousness and emotion.” Amongst all sciences, psychology is indeed the only one to link the exterior, scientific world, to the inner world where our spirit and soul reflect through our emotions and feelings. History witnesses this ever-lasting search for balance between the two extremes by the enigmatic words engraved on the temple of Delphi:
“Know thyself and you will know the universe”
I am certain that the above phrase is also true when inversed; perhaps if we learned to observe the universe, we could learn more about our self. I see this correspondence as a formula, a structure that is applicable in science as well as in art, a formula of analogy that takes on different colors and forms, but that is inalterable in its structure, in its laws and proportional correspondences. In this same way, NLP represents one of the multiple faces through which psychology, as a window of consciousness, unveils itself, to the unique rhythm of consciousness on the quest for plenitude.
“The most magnificent and profound emotion that one may experience is the mystical sensation, in which lies the seed of true science. To whom this emotion is unknown and who has lost the ability to be seized by admiration, lost in ecstasy, is a dead man. Knowing that what is to us impenetrable, exists nevertheless, manifests as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty that our obtuse capabilities apprehend only under a very primitive form: this certainty, this sentiment is at the centre of true religious meaning.
Cosmic religious experience is the most powerful and ancient source of scientific research. My religion consists of a humble admiration of the supreme Spirit without boundaries that reveals itself in the smallest details that are perceivable by our fragile and weak minds. It is this conviction, profoundly emotional in nature, of a powerful superior rational presence, revealed through our incomprehensible universe, that is formed my idea of God.”
A popular motto in Psychology is that we only recognize what we already know. Arthur Janov also describes this through examples and concludes that we live our present according to how we have experienced the past. In human history, alas, the past is branded with violence, disaster, fear, and trauma. Today, psychologists are discovering the memories that are passed on to us through generations. Therefore, if history is marked with such a heavy past, human psychology carries this past in the collective unconscious, as Jung pointed out.
Since the unconscious brain searches for balance, it will orient an individual to the exact activity that answers to the unconscious need, or sooths the unconscious fear. Janov writes, “certain patients of mine that have an exacerbated sexuality, see their needs diminished as the emotional suffering of the premature traumatism is eliminated.”
In analyzing this sentence I asked myself what could this behaviour balance out in someone’s brain?
The unconscious lies in the archaic brain known to regulate biological activity in the body. It is the part that makes sure we stay alive in any situation and it does not speak the language of our coded conscious brain. For the archaic, biological brain, the imaginary, the symbolic and the virtual representations that our psyche has of life, all come down to the reality of basic biological logic. In other words, it is often compared to our animal logic or the survival instinct.
Balance in biology equals survival. Sexuality in biology equals reproduction of specie. Therefore, ‘exacerbated sexuality’, would assure the continuity of a particular species, of life, as an answer to the menace of death; a survival mechanism, a search for balance.
As mentioned in the above example, "the symptom diminished as the emotional charge of the traumatism was released." To go through the process of figuring out what our pathological behaviours are an answer to, and making conscious, the unconscious triggers, unconscious representations of the world and unconscious reasons that force us to balance out with behaviours and activities that aren’t really like ourselves, is the key to one’s true freedom of choice.
This is inspiring psychology to my senses. With a precise goal of opening up to our higher, conscious self, inspired by a spirit of freedom... would this not be the true becoming of humanity?
Learning about myself has helped me discover the structure of human psychology. As everyone, I experience, but that is not enough. I believe that psychology is not only meant to discover and study the functions of behaviour and the different levels of identity in the human being. Life itself is our example and its intelligence is infinite.
Every time I experience something, I then try to see it as a mathematical formula, to see if it can be applied to different people and different contexts. My studies have led me to understand some interesting relations between the consciousness and the subconscious. What one perceives as unconscious behaviors, (at this point I do not differentiate the unconscious and subconscious), are regarded as the things in life over which we have no choice, however unpleasant, or sometimes pleasant, they may be. For example, almost insignificant behaviors such as having the jitters before a performance in public, or reacting to some situations always in the same way and feeling guilty afterwards. One can also regard illness as rooted in the unconscious. But there are other situations that are semi-unconscious: the types of situations where our consciousness may be active yet not completely agreeing with the situation. How many people complain all the time about their job, their marriage? On a more personal level, we can study compulsive and obsessive behaviors in eating or sexuality for example, behaviors that may be socially accepted, yet not a matter of choice for the individual. On this personal level, these behaviors are often referred to as pathological. One could stretch this concept to call ‘pathological’ any situation that was not made by choice but rather by obligation. Everyone must make money nowadays by obligation. But for those people who are miserable in what they do, perhaps it would be interesting to look for certain causes in their unconscious world. If the unconscious, according to Milton Erickson, is responsible for balance and adaptation, then the unconscious of unhappy people has chosen the precise activity to balance out a certain inner and/or biological situation.
The study of the Human Being is in my opinion the most important and useful study. This notion has been a priority in my education and it enabled me to grow with the desire to understand the people around me and myself. There are two main perceptions which constitute everyone’s experience and these are the subjective and the objective point of views. The balance between these two poles is fundamental for a healthy development and an adequate comprehension of the events that concern us.