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NLP and the Future of Healing

by Gina Pickersgill(more info)

listed in nlp, originally published in issue 168 - March 2010

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a serious thing when applied to healing as it presupposes that people are going to get better.[1] In this way the technology speaks for itself in that it helps determine the conditions under which people are able to provide themselves with solutions to problems that used to cause them pain. In the making of NLP it was discovered that many techniques could create changes when administered in the right way by people who were trained in the techniques.

NLP students demonstrate Richard Bandler's Hand Shake Interrupt Pattern Technique.
NLP students demonstrate Richard Bandler's Hand Shake Interrupt
Pattern Technique. Photography by

Once people had noticed what they needed to do differently, they would then be able to use the techniques to create changes in themselves without fearing the worst, because they knew the future had already happened in their minds.[2] How is this so?

Listening to your internal dialogue is one of the ways used to create awareness of the beliefs people hold in terms of getting to a better place in their well-being. The focus they attain is the key component to rising above the limitations set on them by forces other than the ones they are in control of. To make it better all they need to do is change the way they talk to themselves inside their head and focus on what they need to do to make an improvement on a scale that helps them 'be' a vision of health and well-being. I know this sounds simple, but when you think about it, you can be first in getting your own ideas in order so that you know where you are going, and will know what to look for when you get there. The first thing to notice is what are the markers that will get you the results you want? The second thing is how will you know when you get there? And so for now it is suffice to say that NLP is the technology of success. So how do we use that success in the process of healing?

It's not difficult to see the reasons why NLP is so attractive to those who have 'tried everything' and found nothing has worked. Its promise of a fast phobia cure and a long life ahead are one of the utmost important ideas related to healing. Phobias cause stress and anxiety, and life presents us with opportunities to heal stress and create happiness in all areas, including our health. So the first thing to realize is what are the useful applications of NLP to healing?

Applications of NLP to Healing

When you ask professionals how they use NLP for healing, they will answer in many different ways. The first thing to notice is the enthusiasm with which they answer, as this will give you a clue as to how useful it has been for them in their own application. The second thing is to notice what they choose to focus on when applying a particular technique to their repertoire and notice the ease with which they describe the applications they use. This will give you a clue as to their preferred method.

What ideas can you think of that would give you the means of focusing on your health? A practitioner will know what it is for them and choose the methods that most resemble a way for achieving results. The most common method in NLP for getting clients to focus on a matter of importance for their health is trance induction. This is a state where the client is no longer focused on what hurts or what is wrong, and is feeling relaxed and comfortable about finding a solution. The second most common method is that of Calibration, a process by which the practitioner notices what is there in the client before and after the intervention so that he can see what the markers are for successful change. Having some way to convince the client that change has happened will be the thing that helps them know they can believe in the process. Dr Richard Bandler uses this powerful convincer when teaching his students the fast phobia cure. His mantra regarding the utility of this method is "if you can do this, you can become anything you want". The sheer liberation felt by clients is in itself a very healing concept, and one that stays with them for the rest of their life. It is no longer possible for them to feel powerless in the face of adversity because they know they have the machinery inside of them to make a difference in all other situations. The only consideration here is whether or not they choose to use it, which leads me to the next important idea in NLP, that of adding choices.

The ability to choose between pain or comfort is, for the most part, a matter of personal choice.[3] So what is it about NLP that helps add choices to client's responses rather than taking choices away? The ability to see clearly in places that before seemed non-existent is the key contributor to how much personal power one can exert over their lives. What would it be worth to you to know that instead of feeling pain you could focus on a feeling of comfort inside and make new choices about the future instead of being focused on the past? "The best thing about the past is that it's over" is one of the most famous memes recited by Bandler and those who follow his work know there is a simple logic to that. So in the future, where is NLP headed in the field of healing?

The field of healing has long been suffering from a pain of its own. An inability to understand the basic workings of the brain has left it floundering in the dust for answers to solutions that didn't exist. In therapy, patients can see their therapists for years before making any progress, and waiting for a response to what isn't working is a futile exercise. It's not only that it has been unable to change the basic structure of the brain; the field of healing has also been unable to focus on what is important. That's where NLP comes in to play.

In changing the basic structure of the brain, NLP uses techniques to restructure the neuro-cortical pathways responsible for learning. In essence, strategies are sequenced together in ways that re-cognize the thinking patterns of old beliefs. For that to happen, the patient needs to be in a relaxed enough state to accept the suggestions to heal and get better. Using hypnotic techniques, this is done with elegance and efficiency by those who have mastered the 'handshake interrupt pattern', and can focus on what needs to be installed in the minds of those requiring change. How is this important?

The most notable method of checking how important something is, is the extent to which it can make a difference in someone's life. NLP is the study of 'the difference that makes the difference' and has spent its life mapping out the factors that contribute to change within the individual concerned. NLP is a technology of the future, as by its very nature it requires some conscious choices about which channels of communication will be most effective for healing. To give you an example, let's take someone who is suffering from a fear of learning. Exam stress is a well-known phenomena that can cause palpitations, heart-burn and nausea and those that suffer from it can end up giving themselves panic attacks, social anxiety and psoriasis.[4] By simply relaxing, they can switch off the stress response[5] and gain an insight as to how they are presenting the issue on the inside. Do they make pictures inside their heads of failing the exam? or do they 'just know' that it will be a disaster and believe it's not even worth trying? All these insights give us a clue as to which mode of communication is going on inside of them to create unnecessary turmoil. So the trick is to learn how to negotiate your skills so that they become part of what you do. In that way you can be noticed in the ways that get you what you want. So what are the ways you can become trained in healing with NLP?

Well the first thing is to undertake a practitioner training where you can learn the basic skills of how the mind works to produce changes using NLP and hypnosis. The fastest way to produce change is via the medium of trance and altered states. A good training will provide you with the opportunity to utilize trance states for making suggestions for healing and well-being for your clients. A knowledge of how language works to help or hinder a client's recovery is also essential and will form a part of your tool kit as well as learning how to manage your own state and sense of direction.  A follow up program can then be taken to improve the depth and range of skills applied to your particular area of interest. The NLP Master Practitioner program allows you to go deeper into the areas studied in the practitioner program. The more skilled you become at using NLP with your clients, the more you are able to master the nuances so that it becomes a natural part of what you do.

Of course, as healers we bring our integrity and sense of duty to our work and decide to use it responsibly and effectively with clients who look to us for help. The above courses are basic skills training programs and you may want to go deeper into healing methods with other trainings such as NHR or DHE.[6] For more details on how you can train to become an NLP practitioner I refer you to the resources list below.


1. Gina Pickersgill. Exclusive interview with Richard Bandler on Healing, The Healing Pool Magazine, Virtually Spiritual Soulutions, 2009
2. Dr Manjir Samanta-Laughton, The Genius Groove. The New Science of Creativity. Paradigm Revolution Publishing, ISBN 978-0-9563778-0-7. 2009
3. Brian Colbert, Increasing Comfort: Simple interventions to reduce pain and promote healing. The Healing Pool Magazine: Special NLP edition. Virtually Spiritual Soulutions. 2009.
4. Dean Of Student's Office. Exam Stress, Pdf online –!/exam_stress.pdf
5. Benson H. The Relaxation Response. HarperCollins. New York. p9. ISBN: 0-380-00676-6. 2000
6. Richard Bandler has developed the technologies of Neuro Hypnotic Repatterning (NHR) and Design Human Engineering (DHE). Please visit for further information.

Resources and Training Institutes

NLP Life Training
Richard Bandler's official website
The Society of NLP

Further Reading

Richard Bandler's guide to TRANCE formations -
The Healing Pool Magazine – Special NLP Edition -


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About Gina Pickersgill

Gina is a transpersonal coach who brings multimedia to her practice.  She created an authoritative eMagazine on NLP and Healing, based on The Healing Pool, a virtual sanctuary she owns in Second Life as her avatar 'Nina Lancaster'.

An NLP Master Practitioner and Certified Society of NLP Trainer, Gina assisted co-creator of NLP Richard Bandler on their London NLP, seminars from 2001-5.  Originally training as a fitness instructor specializing in fitness for the fuller figure, she gained a degree in Sports and Exercise Studies in 1999 and introduced the concept of Lifestyle Coaching to Virgin Active Health Clubs. She is a published holistic article writer and regular contributor to NLPLife Training Newsletter. Gina is now focused on working towards a new paradigm of delivering NLP training to a virtual world audience via various forms of multimedia platforms in partnership with sponsors and organizations.

Gina is passionate about raising awareness of virtual worlds, their potential for training change and personal development, where they will have the best benefit to a global audience, as well as to those who need more traditional methods of learning such as books, CDs, audio and one to one coaching.

Gina may be contacted via Tel: 07932 958 262;  Havening Techniques

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