Taking the important first step of deciding to work with a professional, whether it’s to help in your healing journey from trauma, or for any other reason, can be very daunting. For this very reason, it’s important to do research on the various modalities that are available, to find the best fit for you.
One modality that particularly intrigues me, is called Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP. This is the study of the structure of subjective experience; exploring the connection between neurological processes, language and experiential behaviors that enable success.* Throughout my research I came across NLP Master Practitioner, Mike Bundrant,who is the founder of INLPCenter.org.
In addition to being a Master Practitioner, Mike is also an IAN Fellow Trainer, retired psychotherapist, and writer for Psych Central. He became certified in NLP in 1993 and continued his journey that would include more education, training other coaches, and starting INLP Center. You can read more about his story here.
Why did I decide to reach out to Mike and have him join me on the podcast? Mainly because I was jonesin’ to speak with someone who knew NLP inside and out, and had experience working with all types of clients so we could explore how this type of coaching can help with survivors in trauma recovery.
Mike graciously accepted my request and needless to say I was excited for the opportunity, not only to share his insight with you, but also because I will be taking NLP training in the near future and wanted a first hand account of someone who is actively working in the field. As you read on, and then listen to the podcast, Mike has a wealth of knowledge that he presents in a very easy to understand way.
In learning about how NLP can help survivors, he uses the analogy of a roller coaster, and how for some, the very thought of experiencing a roller coaster instills fear, but for others it signifies excitement and a total adrenaline rush. Essentially a traumatic feeling vs an exhilarating, positive feeling. In either case the thought is of the roller coaster, but where NLP comes in, is diving into how those thoughts are playing out inside you, not only that they are present in the first place.
He goes on to explain that there is a point of leverage in our mind that determines how we are going to experience any type of thought. Once we find that leverage and embrace that power, we start to see that we have options in to how we respond to a particular situation or memory.
In terms of traumatic memories of past abuse, you are absolutely justified in experiencing feelings of fear, anger, and sadness, etc. There’s never any minimizing that takes place in NLP. It help us explore the idea that, while those feelings and emotions are justified; if we are ready to look at them from a different perspective, we can learn to react differently and thus not be bound to the relentless negative mindsets that they have previously instilled. Part of that different perspective entails using a high level, or distant point of view, which you’ll hear Mike talk about more in depth.
We also discuss flashbacks, and how because they are so random and traumatic, we can sometimes feel like there’s no way out and we’re doomed to just wait for another one to come whenever it feels like it. Through NLP, we learn that there is hope to ending that vicious cycle. As someone who had experienced flashbacks more times than I can count, this was particularly encouraging for me.
Additionally, we cover the importance of understanding that just because you are no longer letting flashbacks, random memories, and triggers run your life; this does not let the abuser off the hook. We learn that feeling better doesn’t equate justifying the trauma, minimizing it, or endorsing it any way. Your suffering is not hurting the person who abused you, it’s hurting you…and none of us deserves to live that way.
We cover those topics in more detail and much, much more…so grab those headphones or connect your phone to your car radio and let’s do this!
Thank you again Mike for sharing your knowledge so graciously. I’m looking forward to future podcasts and collaborations where we can dive into additional ways that NLP can help abuse survivors no longer be bound to our past.
*Source – http://inlpcenter.org/what-is-neuro-linguistic-programming-nlp/