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The truth about NLP being a pseudo-science


What is the truth about NLP being a pseudo science. Last weeks article was welcomed with open arms in the NLP community, given the amount of comments we received.

Read the article here:

Is NLP a pseudo-science?

Last week we already offered a lot of information about the statement claiming NLP to be a pseudo science, or being discredited. I recommend you read that article (linked above) first.

I know it can be frustrating to have this conversation, but let’s study this more closely, from a dissociated point of view rather than the emotional experience of those comments.

The truth of about NLP being a pseudo science?

Someone is trying to make you feel bad about your experience.

The person who you are talking to intentionally wants to discredit what you experienced, something you feel passionate about and experience a sense of joy in regards to. This person, for whatever reason, wants you to feel bad for what you think, feel, believe, and know to be true, so they can claim a sense of power or superiority. What could be underlying them trying to gaslight you and cause you to doubt yourself? 

I think it is important to consider that when a person discredits your experience and calls it a pseudo science, do they want to end the conversation. Or do they want to learn and listen?

People pretend to know your experience better than you do.

It is interesting how people think they know your experience better than you do. Were they in the experience with you? Even if NLP were to be a subjective thing, is it a kind way of responding? Is that indicative of someone who can step in the different perceptual positions of NLP and understand that communication is propelled by emotion? Someone who can shift from a positive emotional state to a negative? Who knows how to build rapport, state elicitation, operate from a good value set or NLP meta-programs, understand how your brain works, or knows how to motivate you in your own personal evolution? Basically …  someone who learned NLP.

A reflection of their self-image.

What I have learned of what is really happening is that they are reflecting back, in essence, their own self-image. Their own fears, lack of self-esteem or inadequacies. The question isn’t is NLP real or not, the question is why is this person so afraid? Of you, or of the fact that there is a tool out there that could help them change and change is scary? Does it relate to self-esteem, envy, security? Does their unhappiness need to have companionship? Are they afraid of losing you, or that these new tools would diminish or threaten them? Maybe they think that you can now influence them, persuade them, read their minds? There are so many reasons why someone could be against NLP without ever having done it. It is a closed, judgmental, and cynical way to walk through the world.

A negative filter for the unknown.

When someone discredits NLP, are they trying to achieve and gain the knowledge you did through some other way? Probably not, not effectively at least or they wouldn’t be talking to you in this way.
Essentially, a negative filter for the unknown stands in the way of them getting a more positive filter. And sadly, NLP isn’t nearly as much hocus-pocus or as esoteric as they think it is.

The evidence can be seen in those who experienced an NLP training.

There is something you have to trust me about. Every single person I have trained over the decades and that have completed training believes that all, or at least many, NLP tools had a profound effect on them. Not just during the training, but also after.

The experts who read a book.

Some people are anti-NLP because they read some NLP books (not the way to learn it), experienced NLP through a not so good practitioner, teacher, or poor training. Yes, sadly, there are many poor NLP trainers out there who deliver poor training. I would even venture to say that there are some people out there who are excellent master practitioners, even great developers of NLP tools, but simply not so good teachers or don’t really care about teaching. Even some famous NLP trainers. Some trainers are great teachers, but not so great or not very experienced master practitioners. Also, some NLP trainers’ values should be questioned. I can fully understand how some people had a bitter, disappointing pill to swallow, and are rightfully angry at NLP as a result. And some people read their angry blog posts to discredit NLP, taking it without nuance or proof.

Quality of a training an a trainer does matter.

The quality of an NLP trainer, NLP training, and the NLP Practitioner can significantly influence the quality of the applied NLP tools, and therefore the effectiveness. Much like public speakers, leaders, therapists, and coaches, that can all be found at any and all quality levels.

Learn how to explain and tackle questions about NLP and pseudo science

1. Prepare to explain what NLP is to someone else.

2. Ask the question “where did you take your NLP training, as I experienced the following benefits … [be specific], and as a result made the following positive changes … [again, specifics].”

This statement on its own can quiet the entire discussion. No one can argue with the benefits and the positive changes you made.

3. Prepare to explain that NLP deals with tools for success, with who you want to become, that it’s about mental health and happiness. It isn’t about mental illness or ill-being.

4. Prepare to counter “isn’t NLP discredited.” Be able to explain this with empathy rather than a defense. If your counter is an attack, they will go on the defensive. Use NLP to answer this question.

5. Prepare to counter “isn’t NLP a pseudo science?”



Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know – Adam Grant


What is NLP?

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