Book Review: Neurolinguistic Psychotherapy, By Mack Wake

Inside my estimation one of the primary accomplishments of the book is emphasizing the significance of a broader range, beyond isolated NLP methods, to appreciate and realize possibly NLP as a psychotherapeutic treatment modality. NLP was originally formulated in the 1970’s by Richard Bandler and John Mill by analyzing and modeling the job of Virginia Satir, family systems therapist; Fritz Perls, Gestalt therapy; and Milton Erickson, ΨΥΧΟΛΟΓΟΣ ΑΘΗΝΑ and hypnotherapist. Wake suggests that much of their valuable work has not been sufficiently incorporated with NLP and is also underrepresented in some presentations of NLP and neurolinguistic psychotherapy.Related image

She also cites the work of several others which may have contributed to the rubric of neurolinguistic psychotherapy and NLP by examining and elaborating additional points gleaned from Erickson, Satir, and others. Furthermore Wake discusses neurolinguistic psychotherapy in the context of some of the new findings in neuroscience regarding the way in which psychotherapy rewires pathways in the brain, contributing to emotional and behavioral change.

Neurolinguistic Psychotherapy provides historical, theoretical, and methodological information to help the reader understand the place of neurolinguistic psychotherapy in regards to psychotherapy in general. Wake up discusses the influences that have informed the principles, skill-set, and presuppositions of NLP. Further, Wake reviews some of the fundamental presuppositions of NLP and places these in the framework of neurolinguistic psychotherapy. The girl addresses how neurolinguistic psychotherapists took the fundamental rules of NLP and modified them to work effectively in therapeutic context. Wake up places neurolinguistic psychotherapy in the context of other types of psychotherapy.

She talks about the influences of, and the interrelationships between, various schools of thought as they relate to NLP; including humanistic and existential psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, Gestalt psychotherapy, systemic and family treatment, psychodynamic therapies, and cognitive behavioral therapy. The many areas she considers set up the theoretical basis for NLP practice and brings this up to date with consideration of emerging findings in neuroscience.

Over the course of several chapters Wake discusses neurolinguistic psychotherapy’s perspective on personality, language and cognition, and patterns of programming in a highly integrative manner. She discusses numerous areas where neurolinguistic intervention shows up particularly effective, for instance through the use of chinese patterns offered by NLP. She considers findings in the neuroscience regarding emotional dysfunction and cognition. She frequently cites Shore (2003) who discusses the neurological impact of psychotherapy and information on the building brain and just how these processes can be impacted through psychotherapy and with NLP techniques.

She notes that there is evidence that neurological re-patterning occurs through the psychotherapy. She notes that “there exists an massive potential for linking research and theories in neuroscience to the current theories in psychotherapy” including NLP. She also comments that “neurolinguistic psychiatric therapy provides a methodology that facilitates new neurological patterning by changing different aspects of internal process, interior states or external behavior. ”

Wake also makes a critical distinction between NLP as an “applied psychology” and NLP’s use as part of a specialist skill-set in the larger context of psychotherapy. The particular integration of NLP technology with therapist skills such as theoretical grounding, emotional knowledge, rapport skills, understanding of process, and self-awareness essentially constitute neurolinguistic psychotherapy. The girl notes that it is important to appreciate that the therapist plays an lively role in the introduction of the brain in the clients treated, particularly where affective states are present.

She posits that if neurolinguistic psychotherapists stay within a programmatic model of working (essentially an applied mindset manner of working) they are not honoring elements of therapeutic process that have been valued by Erickson, Satir, and Perls; on in whose work NLP was built. Wake encourages neurolinguistic therapists to place the programmatic modeled aspects of NLP in context of the broader therapeutic relationship, as doing so is often needed to create lasting cognitive, emotional and behavioral change through psychotherapeutic techniques.