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5 Tips for finding an NLP-trained Coach or Therapist

This page offers tips for finding an NLP-trained coach or therapist who has the skill and experience to assist you in dealing with anxiety, phobias, anger, confidence or other issues which are currently getting in your way.

The page was originally designed to provide tips and guidance for finding a therapist or coach who could help, quite specifically, with a phobia. However it then became quite popular with the search engines so I then expanded its scope.

Can NLP help with a phobia?

Yes, properly used and in the hands of a suitably qualified and experienced NLP coach or therapist, NLP is a great way of quickly and effortlessly resolving many phobias. This is because NLP deals with the brain mechanisms, or practical steps, through which the phobia operates.

It avoids the pointless, very expensive, and very time wasting "let's explore your past" methods that have been around since the time of Sigmund Freud!  Instead the phobia is dealt with in terms of the practical and pragmatic stimulus-response pattern that it is.

(We have a section on dealing with phobias here)

What else can NLP Help with?

Just about anything - and they fall into two categories

  1. Dealing with problems - such as anxiety, anger, confidence issues, and stress related issues

  2. Improving your performance  - in areas where you are already 'quite' good but would like to be a lot better.

Find a skilled NLP coach or therapist

So were do you begin your therapist search? Who do you go to? Is a list of letters after their name an indication of their skill? (Usually it is not, by the way.) Are they insured? Will they 'mess with my mind'? How long wilol it take, How much will it cost me?

This article lists a few pointers which will narrow the search and provide some pertinent questions to ask when doing your research.

Get an NLP-trained expert

I would recommend you find a qualified therapist or coach who has also trained in NLP to Master Practitioner level. This is because a properly trained NLP Master Practitioner (see No. 2 below) will have learned specific skills for dealing very speedily with issues.

For example, in the case of a phobia, almost any 'single issue' phobia can be defused in between one and three 1-hour sessions by a suitable qualified and skilled NLP therapist or coach.

Yes, this may be hard to believe, but you can get rid of a phobia very quickly indeed and in twently two years of working as a therapist I have not found an exception to the 1-3 hour rule. (Incidentally I no longer see people individually and only work with groups nowadays).

An excellent source for trained and assessed NLP Therapists is http://nlptca.com/ - the website has a searchable database.  

You can also check the website of The Professional Guild of NLP: all of their Members will have trained in the full-length, full-syllabus style of NLP since this is a requirement for Membership.

Here on this website we have a listing of coaches who have trained in full-length NLP Certification Programmes through Pegasus NLP.

Five pointers

(1) Begin with a web search

Begin with the web and put terms such as "NLP Master Practitioner therapist coach" into Google along with the name of your town or locality and see what comes up. You could also try the local advice centres and telephone Yellow Pages but these are unlikely to provide as much advance information as a web listing.

(2) Check the quality of their NLP Training

When seeking a suitable Master Practitioner of NLP check whether they have done a full-length NLP Practitioner Training of 120 attendance-hours plus a full-length 120-hour Master Practitioner Training, too.

Although it is possible to do each of these trainings in much less time it is also likely that the NLP skill of your coach or therapist will reflect the thoroughness of their training.

A Certified NLP Master Practitioner trained in the full length, full syllabus methodology will have attended around 40 days of training and many of these will have gone through a thorough assessment at the end of their training.  Many others will have the same title of "NLP Master Practitioner of NLP" but will have acquired this in as little as 8-12 days and received their certificate without an assessment of their skills.

(3) Identify their personal preferences

Recognise that, whatever their qualifications and training, therapists and coaches are human beings and therefore come with a variety of styles and approaches. So I would strongly recommend that you phone three or four and 'interview' them.

Ask them what they think is required for you to get over your phobia. If they are evasive or begin talking about more than three sessions look elsewhere. They may be using up a more traditional approach such as "systematic desensitisation" or “hypno-analysis” which can take 10, 15 or even 20 sessions.

It is also important to ask for specific details of how they approach phobias. And if they talk about examining the past or your childhood hang up and look elsewhere - following this route is unnecessary for you although it can be very profitable indeed for the therapist.

(Incidentally, panic attack syndrome, social phobias or fear of flying are different from 'single issue' phobias. They can involve multiple fears or have a more complex process. With these expect to need a greater number of sessions.)

(4) How do you get on with them?

Remember that your relationship with your therapist or coach is a very important issue - you must feel at ease with them, feel you are treated as an equal, and feel that you can ask probing questions. This will come across - or not - in your telephone interview.

A good therapist will be quite happy for you to telephone, have a brief chat with them to discover how they work, and then go away and think about it before making a commitment. The pompous ones will talk down to you. The ones who are desperate for your money will try to get you to sign up there and then. The manipulative ones will be evasive or waffle about 'therapeutic dynamics' or say they cannot answer your questions without first having an in-depth interview with you.

(Incidentally these suggestions apply, especially, to the treatment of phobias - which is very straightforward. It is less easy for a therapist to be precise in how they might deal with a more complex issue - such as an anxiety or panic attack difficulty. In this case aim to evaluate your options after the first therapy session and, whatever the therapist says, if you have not experienced a significant shift in your experience by the end of the third session it is change-therapist-time. Yes, this may be tough on therapists but is based on my own experience of working as a therapist and is also supported by Brief Therapy research which indicates that most people gain most of the benefits of counselling and psychotherapy within the first six sessions - benefits trail off significantly after this. )

(5) Assess their helping style

When doing your initial telephone interview you should aim to gauge whether they are of the advice-giving, talk-at-you school. If this is the case avoid them! They are, quite literally, worse than useless since they will impose their views on you rather than help you seek and evaluate your own solutions. This is, at best, unhelpful…

If, on the other hand, they are of the minority who ask lots of questions which are designed to enable you to find your own answers you're off to a good start.

By Reg Connolly, Director of Training, Pegasus NLP

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More information about NLP

NLP - what's in it for me?

How to learn NLP

7 tips for choosing an NLP training provider

NLP Core Skills - our course in the New Forest

What people have said about our courses



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