Imagine having a child who was self-harming, had suicidal ideations,anorexic, bulimic tendencies, anxiety, and severe depression…
This is a true story of Eva, ayoung girl who had been to multiple therapists, doctors, specialists and been admitted to hospital multiple times as well as a psychiatric ward.
When I met Eva, she had accepted this was just who she was and couldn’t be fixed.
At our first meeting I explained that this is not therapy. I am not here to understand what you did, help you understand what your past thoughts or traumas are, but rather to understand how your behaviour is running and how we can change that.
If you have learned NLP, you understand the toward/away meta program, and that people are motivated away from pain and toward pleasure.
So how is it possible that the physical pain of a razor to the skin or starving yourself not painful?
One of the first things I said toEva was that I am impressed… seriously. I can’t go a day without food, or I get seriously HANGRY and I sure as heck do not have the courage to take a razor tomy skin..
So, we got curious… how is it that these are the best options of behaviour?
As it turns out, when Eva felt intense negative emotions, the cutting would reduce the emotional pain. Now,any time you can rapidly and predictably change state to a more positive state you will create a habit.
Basically, Eva had a habit of feeling better. Not a habit of cutting, the cutting was just the behaviour.
Then I asked, what happens when she doesn't want to cut… what does she do then?
She replied, “I imagine myself cutting and then how disappointed I will be and how upset Mum will be”.
BINGO! She doesn’t have a strategy for managing emotions other than to cut and feel better or to imaging cutting and then intensifying the negative feeling and wanting to cut even more!
Even worse, she has a “not”strategy which is where you think of the thing you don’t want, and you attempt not to do it.
But that almost NEVER works… Think of that time you tried to convince yourself not to at the chocolate, not to have a beer or glass of wine or that you promise you made not to be on your phone as much.
You need to think of that thing,which usually also involves intensifying the desire to do it and try to shut it off… It takes willpower and most people find it difficult or impossible using a“not” strategy.
A much better option is to use a“to do” strategy that involves the same emotional benefit with a more desirable behaviour. For Eva, all we needed was a healthier and more desirable habit to reduce the emotions.
In NLP, we call this a strategy.Together we produced a better strategy for reducing emotional pain and installed it.
We also worked on reducing the emotional load of some of her external anchors and in two sessions, she was a changed young woman.
Now when I meet her friends and family, they call me magic man… while that is good for the ego, it really annoys me…
Because if someone else had these tools, then Eva could have got the help she needed a long time ago to save her,her family, and her friends the stress and heartache.
Since then, Eva has gone on to complete NLP Practitioner & Master Practitioner Certifications soshe can share her learnings with other children who need to experience the transformation she did.
So, if you are trained in NLP, I encourage you to use it as much as possible. If you are not, check out the trainers here so you can bring some magic to your own life or the lives of others.