Edits since March 30th 2020 are in this color.

I met a man he was entertaining a group of people. He asked a girl to think of a number from 1 to 5, and he guessed it right. She thought of 3. And then he asked another man in the group to quickly think of a number between 1 to 10, and he guesses it right, again it was 7. I knew what he was doing, 3 and 7 are the most popular answers. If you create the requisite urgency, 19 in 20 will give you the same answers. I enjoyed watching him turn a simple routine into an entertaining event, but I was surprised when he said – ‘That was NLP’.

At another place, another time in my life I saw a coach coaching someone in the airplane. He leads the client to set goals using the standard corporate method of SMART goal setting. He then got the coachee to become aware of his body. The coachee was mildly entertained. The coach had an artificial voice, that tried to sound serious and yet hypnotic. He said something weird like ‘You like me, want to make this come true’. The ‘like me’ sounded out of place and unnatural just like everything else. He was trying to use a very ineffective variation of an NLP technique called embedded commands to be more likable but instead came across as sheepish.

I saw a TV program, and I saw a so-called spiritual guru, use effective hypnosis. As he delivered his speech, I said, wait I recognize that pattern, I was amused when I traced the words he used, the sequences and the patterns to an NLP trainer based in California.

And finally, I had enough when I met a bunch of so called ‘NLP Experts’ who had gathered from around the world, talking about their phobias, anger, and various issues. I saw them do a couple of demonstration on volunteers, which wasn’t more than half-baked hypnosis combined with some visualization techniques. The client in the demo felt relaxed, but there was no indication of any real change that would show up in the real world contexts. And as I heard the presenters describe what they were doing, it felt like I had walked into a circus club. When I left the room that night, I made a choice to walk out of random NLP communities, and instead when it comes to exploring NLP and it’s applications, only be in discussion and contact with the people who make a distinction in their own skills and contribution both in the field of NLP and to the world with it’s application. 

Now, think about the effectiveness and accuracy of research that tries to get empirical evidence on the effectiveness of NLP if they didn’t know to distinguish between the clowns and the genuine people who have real skills and acumen. And even more alarming is the fact, that this is common sense and we would assume researchers to be responsible. Although any sensible person can easily discern how it is silly to take anything any untrained person claims to be NLP and sillier to use it as a method to validate if the entire field is effective, shockingly it is the basis of the incongruent conclusions in the research articles that are referenced in wikipedia, to critically classify NLP as pseudo-science.  This is not even the only flaw in those academic papers. There are several other flaws and in this article, I am going to illustrate some of the other glaring flaws, so that the intelligent reader can come to their own conclusion on how much time to invest in exploring, learning, and contributing…

My name is Antano Solar John. My training has been to be a Modeler from the co-creator of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Dr. John Grinder. And in this article, I intend to expose a glaring flaw in the research that has been conducted to study the effectiveness of Neuro Linguistic Programming(NLP) by both the Pro NLP and the Anti-NLP groups.

Disclaimer:

I have the highest respect for the co-founder of NLP, John Grinder and I believe the work that he did with Richard Bandler as well as what he continues to do now, represents the finest that is available as an approach to human communication and development.  I even adapted the techniques laid out by John Grinder to do what a common man considers, ‘the impossible’ for people in the areas of health, business and relationships.

However, I do not endorse NLP as you may read in the books today or find on youtube. I tried to get on to the hat of a person who is totally new to the field of NLP. I googled, youtubed and browsed book stores, and what I discovered as NLP has nothing to do with what I have been trained on. The concepts you find in the popular, new age NLP books are a 180 degree different from the concepts laid out by the people who developed the field. In fact, I think most of what it is today (as represented by popular writing and courses), is a bunch of rubbish that seldom works. And the rest of it, I liken it to the most advanced technology left in the hands of a monkey. (skilled people lacking the understanding of consequence).

NLP – The Basket Called ‘Everything.’

Richard and John phrased the word NLP to label everything that they did that did not fit what everyone else was doing. NLP was not a science, not a field; it was merely a way of saying – I just discovered something interesting, and it does not fit anything we have seen before. And that gave the community power to do some very effective work without having to be confined to conventional methods. The problem started when more than 1 million inhabitants decided to add things into this bucket at random without any moderation and verification of what work’s and what doesn’t.

Non-Referring Noun

Linguistically ‘Neuro Linguistic Programming’ or ‘NLP’ is called a Non-Referring Noun. It means that the word refers to ‘Nothing Specific’’. Consider the example of my neighbour with very limited exposure who had just moved in from a rural village, asking me – ‘Is foreign education good’. One of her sister arguing, ‘Foreign education is useless’. What does the phrase ‘foreign education’ here refer to? The details about which country, the degree, the college and for what purpose is completely missed out. A researcher who tries to prove whether ‘NLP works’ or whether ‘NLP does not work’ is at a process level engaging in the same madness as someone trying to decide generically if ‘Foreign education is good’.

Which NLP Concepts Work?

This is the big flaw. Instead of looking at NLP as a basket, if the researchers can validate – which concepts could work. I believe it can save lives. To give, an illustration, there is this specific pattern called the Fast Phobia Cure that was documented about 50 years ago. Till date, I have seen this personally work on more than 1000 people, with over 90% success rate. 1000 successful cases between 2012 and 2018 by one single organization. I am sure, if a researcher is serious, he/she can find many more documented examples of the effectiveness of this procedure in the last 50 years. The results are black and white. The person either has the phobia after a 30 to 60 minutes session, or the person doesn’t.

Now, the fact that Fast Phobia cure has proven effective is not proof that everything that everyone claims to be NLP works. No, instead, the researcher can only say that this particular procedure works and the axioms involved in the development of the Fast Phobia Cure method, stands validated. And like wise, the researcher, can repeat the process for every single procedure, concept and methods of NLP to eliminate the stuff that empirically does not make sense and focus only the stuff that really works!

Fundamentals of Fast-Phobia Cure Pattern

  1. One can look at an unpleasant memory in their mind, but as long as they see themselves from a third person view, they will not feel the trauma that they may have otherwise felt
  2. The way we respond irrespective of our past is based on how we subjectively represent our memories and experiences at present.
  3. This internal representation determines our current internal response to a trigger
  4. It is possible to change the response to a trigger by changing how we are representing them
  5. We may not be aware of how we are representing these thoughts because they have become innate and natural process like walking. However, one can be lead to pay attention to these representations
  6. These representations are a combination of pictures, physical sensations, and auditory memory.
  7. It is possible to change the internal representation of these memories and thoughts quickly. And with enough repetition, they will stick. And hence changing the way we respond at present.

If the above concepts are true, then can the same process and fundamentals be used to help someone represent a bad memory differently so that they are not bothered about it and can look ahead for a better life? Absolutely! We have tested this too; the same procedure has helped men and women who have been sexually harassed to overcome their past and to look at the trauma differently, as a distant past, disassociated like a third person.

So, think about this millions of people are suffering from trauma and phobia that they can overcome in less 60 minutes. Scientific research up until now on NLP has been on such broad categories, and  most of it has been concentrated on a single topic called ‘Strategy Installation’. And that is so misleading because while there are hundreds of papers that claim NLP doesn’t work. Not one of them is on the specific effects of the Fast Phobia Cure pattern.  And this is what I am pointing at, what if the researchers can get to specifics and NOT waste time on concepts already established as pseudoscience and instead focus on the elements that may have some merit but are not yet researched upon. This is coming true with mirror neurons, for example, neuroscience is proving the concepts of unconscious assimilation from mirror neurons 25 years after John Grinder said it. What a waste of time? What if we validated that aspect of NLP earlier.

And if someone is really interested. I am available for producing data, volunteer or even organize specialists on a large scale for the Fast Phobia Cure Pattern. Give me 10 people with a phobia or a Trauma that has limited each of them for many years and I will get at least 8 people out of it within an hour using the same process. And that by itself is over 400% higher success rate than anything established so far and at least 100 times faster. So, I throw this challenge to any serious researcher. I can do it in front of a camera, I can do with an audience I have not known before. And I am not even throwing a challenge of something new, I am challenging to prove the effectiveness of a 50 year old pattern. If something has worked again and again and again, over 1000 times, and there is not a single research paper on it while there are several research papers on the concepts that don’t work, disguised as NLP, is it a comment on NLP or the researchers who are trying to evaluate it’s effectiveness?

The Skill Challenge to the Reader:

Here you can find in this document the steps to the Fast Phobia Cure.  I welcome you try this on someone you know who has a mild phobia. Chances are unless you are properly trained, you are likely to produce no results, although I have shared not only the process but also the relevant concepts behind the pattern that makes it work. This is the second challenge and flaw in the research done to validate the effectiveness of Neuro Linguistic Programming. Skill matters, just because someone knows the process does not mean they have the sensory acuity, calibration, and readiness to effectively produce results with these patterns. We understand this is true for any art form or skill development. However, the scientific papers so far written seems to have tolerated people with minimal or no NLP training to demonstrate the patterns when trying to prove or disprove if the concepts of NLP really work.

So, here is an example of one challenge that can repeat itself if an untrained professional attempts fast phobia cure – A  critical step in the in the Fast Phobia Cure is to look at the memory as a 3rd person (Disassociated) and change the representation repeatedly (visual or kinesthetic sub-modalities) while staying disassociated, and the risk is that when the person is trying to that,  he/she may get into 1st position (Association) and feel the trauma all over again. And here in comes the need for skill and specialization. Consider this critical competence, the acuity to notice when someone is moving from 3rd position to 1st position BEFORE they complete the transition. That demands a high level of sensory acuity from the specialist. To pay attention to non-verbal cues like shifts in breathing, posture and skin color to pull back the subject before they get associated. We are talking here about being a fraction of a second ahead of the subject which also means that the specialist is on high-performance mode combined with the requisite skills. Hence, a great pattern like Fast Phobia would be a complete joke, waste of time and a traumatic process if the procedure is carried out by a person who is not skilled in these aspects.

And, who here is the authority that can certify and accurately credit an individual to have the skills necessary for doing Fast Phobia Cure? It turns out – ‘Nobody’. There is no organization in the world that I know of, including mine (I am not in that business, anyway), that has a certification that means – person X has the skills and competency to do a COMPLETE fast phobia cure SUCCESSFULLY and has the life experience and repeated exposure to adapt it to a challenging person outside of the seminar context. Most NLP Certification programs are self-development programs. They are not designed with the intend to make every person who gets a certificate a competent therapist/counsellor/coach/change-agent. But the person being certified, (I have seen this across the globe), assumes that with such a certificate, they have been recognized to be skilled enough to help people without any further practice and internship. 

This is why you can find over a Million NLP Practitioners who can’t get a single success in curing phobias. Even though, it is one of the simplest and most practical concepts that just works every single time. And this is true with over several unique and unparalleled methods in NLP to produce transformation in minutes of decade long habits and challenges. 

Way Forward

The concepts that John Grinder has been working on, he now calls it ‘New Code’ is a powerful technology. And relatively speaking it is a 1-day baby compared to regulated industries. Engineering has been in moderation for hundreds of years, the current form of medicine has been evolving over 1000 years. The concepts that John and Richard presented are just 35 years old. It’s like a baby compared to the regulated industries. However, the potential is immense, the boundary conditions unknown. So, this article could be a call to researchers to invite them to closely look at what John Grinder is proposing, instead of disqualifying all the concepts because a couple of research failed on things he never endorsed (Ex: Strategy Installation). Come on, Richard and John, effectively documented the effects of Mirror Neurons at least a decade before it was even discovered. They did this by observing human behaviors as a black box. John even proposed that the role of mirror neurons was to aid in learning. And science is discovering that now and we have reputable papers that are being published on that subject.

And to the typical reader, I propose – these skills will take years to master.  I endorse that some of them present the finest practical tools in areas of influence, well-being and personal development. If you want to learn them – commit that time, like any technology and art – these skills that John and Richard demonstrate will take years to become yours. I, certainly welcome you to make that effort and persist in that journey. And for the others, you don’t have to become an engineer to drive a car. You don’t have to become a composer to enjoy music. And you certainly don’t have to learn all of this – to get the changes you want in your life – you just need to meet the right person and make a wise decision. And I hope that the day is not far when someone (Maybe me) or a research institute can fund a double blind test and I will be happy to send in my team of specialists who can demonstrate the Fast Phobia Cure to a large enough sample.

Following are some fun videos that can serve as proof for the effects of the Fast Phobia Cure. All of them got over a phobia within 60 minutes with Harini.

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