Person-centred NLP was born out of the observation of the current NLP world. NLP has got the reputation of being a quick-fix tool that can help people solve their issues almost by clicking their fingers. When I first learnt NLP, I must confess that’s exactly what I did. Got the client in, quickly run through their history, and jump in with one of the brilliant NLP tool I had in my magic box. Most of the time, it did the trick. However, when checking on some of those clients a few months later, I had quite a percentage of people reporting the changes weren’t quite as powerful as expected on the long run.
So when I saw those clients again, we started a deep conversation in order to find out what other underlying issues could there be. And the more we talked, the more we naturally created a special relationship, that seemed to be facilitating the changes in them almost as effectively as just doing some NLP processes.
With time growing, I spent more and more time developing this kind of relationship until I realized that some of my clients were getting incredible lasting changes, sometimes even without the help of NLP or hypnotherapy standard “exercises”. And it simply confirmed what studies had already shown, the fact that how the client and the therapist relate is one of the most important aspects of a successful therapeutic encounter, regardless of the therapy.
NLP person-centred therapy was born and is deeply inspired by Carl Rogers six conditions needed to produce personality changes:
1.Psychological contact or a relationship between the therapist and the client (on the professional basis of course!), where there’s rapport and respect of both persons as important individuals.
2.Client’s congruence, where the client actually is aware of the issue and genuinely wants to change it.
3.Therapist’s congruence: now I personally think this is a very important one: the therapist is genuinely involved in the session and will display honesty and care for their client.
4.Therapist unconditional positive regard towards the client, with a genuine belief that the client has all the inner resources and the capacity to change
5.Therapist’s empathy, where the therapist feels compassion and empathy for the client in order to fully understand their map of the world
6.Client’s perception of the therapist’s empathy: not only is it necessary for the therapist to have empathy, but it is essential that the client receives it appropriately.
I have been applying those principles in my personal NLP/hypnotherapy practice for a few years now and I have noticed indeed how much more effective those sessions are. I do believe that in order to change, people need unconditional support and approval. It takes time to build rapport with clients and people in general, and even though NLP offers great tools to build instant rapport with someone, nothing replaces the natural rapport building that takes place over time between two human beings that get to know and genuinly appreciate each other.
Also in my experience, most challenges people face are inter-connected ; for example their current conflicts with their children could be related to their struggle to be assertive at work and all this could stem from their poor relationship with their mother. And I always find it quite difficult when someone brings me a compartmentalized issue completely disconnecting it from the rest of their lives. I personally prefer working in a holistic way, taking into account everything that is going on in my client’s life and history in order to make sure I address everything that is significant for them. However once more, it takes time to explore a person’s history, background, environment and current challenges.Furthermore, a lot of my clients need a few sessions to start to feel completely comfortable in opening up to me, which means I could easily miss out on some important information if I didn’t take a few sessions at first to build rapport and trust.
So that is what Person Centred NLP means and it is very exiting to be able to combine the brilliant NLP tools with a more humanistic approach, as at the end of the day, what really matters, is that people get what they need to have a better life 🙂