In the NLP Blog last week, I was talking about phobias. On any NLP Practitioner training students will learn the NLP technique for working with phobias. I outlined how important it is to do double dissociation in the last personal development blog – another part of the phobia technique is to break the pattern that leads to the phobia. A phobia is an example of a pattern. In neurological terms, we could see this as neurological pathways that have become strengthened over time. In fact every time someone avoids the stimulus that causes the reaction, they action reinforce the pattern and strengthen the neurological pathways for the reaction. Every time something is repeated it will strengthen the neurological pathways.
In fact there is a classic ‘old’ psychological technique for dealing with phobias (just to stress, this is not NLP) – it is called flooding, where you expose the person to the stimulus until they stop having the response. This is a really harsh technique and can be very unpleasant, however it is effective.
People will only maintain the strong emotional response for a certain time and at some point it disappears. A psychotherapist who was a tutor on a course I attended when I first learned hypnotherapy would sometimes assign someone with a fear of driving the task of getting into a car and driving until the response disappeared – not an easy thing for the client (and perhaps for other people on the road!), however he had good success.
Flooding is not a technique we would use in NLP. The fast phobia process that students learn on the NLP Practitioner course is far quicker and not stressful for the client.
In the next NLP blog, we will continue with exploring phobias.