5 Tips for finding an NLP-trained Coach or Therapist for help with a phobia
What do you do about a phobia?
A phobia is an irrational fear - that is it is driven by our emotions. This is why huge amounts of will power, facts and reassurance have so little impact on it.
Of course this doesn't stop us trying to 'understand it' by examining the past and how it developed or trying to figure out where it has come from. This is quite normal - especially when we don't know of any other way of tackling it. And when seeking the right type of professional help can be a daunting project - hence this article on seeking a therapist who can use NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming in dealing with phobias.
Find a skilled NLP coach or therapist
If you want to get a quick result with a phobia the best route is to seek individual, professional assistance from somebody who has experience in using NLP to deal with phobias. Yes, it is possible to defuse one by your self - just - but is much easier and quicker if you find a skilled therapist And preferably one who has appropriate NLP training.
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 and 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 phobias. In fact, using NLP, almost any 'single issue' phobia can be defused in between one and three 1-hour sessions!
Yes, this may be hard to believe, but you can get rid of a phobia very quickly indeed and in eighteen 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. This site also has a list of coaches who have had their NLP training with Pegasus NLP.
(1) 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) 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 skill of your coach or therapist may reflect the thoroughness of their training.
NLP Master Practitioners 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) 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) 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) 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.
Finally, why does NLP work so well?
Why is NLP so effective and speedy with phobias? Because the V-K Dissociation Process or 'Fast Phobia Cure' works on the 'mental mechanics' of how we operate our phobia programme. It does not examine how the phobia developed, now how long you have had it, now how strong it is, nor how badly it affects your life, or other such intellectual issues. The method trains your brain to replace one set of responses with another. That's all. It is quick. It is easy. It can be fun (depending on the therapist). And it is very effective, if the coach or therapist uses a huge amount of other NLP skills in applying it.
By Reg Connolly, Director of Training, Pegasus NLP
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