Neurolinguistic programming

From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history

Neurolinguistic programming or Neuro-linguistic programming or NLP is designed to alter human behaviour by "reprogramming unconscious patterns of thought", it claims to change the relationship between a person's mind and the language they use in order to positively alter their behavior.[1][2]

NLP is communication framework that is highly commercialized and promoted for many different uses including to improve health. NLP is based upon the central hypothesis that each person has their own preferred communication style and their own mental representation of the world, and that if a person alters their communication style to match the preferred style of the person they are communicating with, they will be able to be more persuasive and effective at communicating.[3][4]

Evidence[edit | edit source]

There is no agreed definition of NLP, systematic reviews have found very, very few clinical trials to assess either safety or effectiveness within health care. It remains controversial.[4]

Pseudoscience[edit | edit source]

The use of scientific terms and vague concepts, combined with the lack of a solid evidence base to support it, has led to NLP being frequently labelled as pseudoscience. The creators developed it by studying the interpersonal actions and responses of several well-known psychotherapists.[5]

The creators of NLP described it as follows:

"NLP is an attitude which is an insatiable curiosity about human beings with a methodology that leaves behind it a trail of techniques."
Richard Bandler (co-creator of NLP)
"The strategies, tools and techniques of NLP represent an opportunity unlike any other for the exploration of human functioning, or more precisely, that rare and valuable subset of human functioning known as genius."[5]
John Grinder (co-creator of NLP)[5]

ME/CFS[edit | edit source]

There is no evidence that neurolinguistic programming can effectively treatment ME/CFS, its symptoms, or any other neurological diseases or disorders.

A type of mind-body healing technique that is partly based on NLP is the controversial Lightning Process, which has had several poor quality clinical trials on ME/CFS published; these have led to concerns about ethics, and compliance to scientific and journal standards. The Lightning Process is a secretive, commercial technique that is claimed to treat a large number of different illnesses in at a "lightening quick" speed.[6][7][8]

According to some former participants, of the Lightning Process they attend a group course where they are taught various techniques, and told to tell themselves that they are healed, and to tell others the same, and that simply practicing the techniques will heal their illnesses.[9]

Cost and availability[edit | edit source]

NLP courses are widely available, and typically taught by coaches rather than medical practitioners or clinical psychologists, and is generally expensive.[9] NLP books and self-help materials are also available and are unregulated.

Safety and effectiveness[edit | edit source]

The safety and risks of NLP in people with ME/CFS has not been established.[10][11]

It is unclear what level of physical or cognitive ability a person with ME/CFS would need to have in order to be able to tolerate NLP without post-exertional malaise or a harmful increase in crease in symptoms. People with severe or very severe ME and possibly those with moderate ME/CFS may be unable to concentrate enough to take in the information and may not be able to perform the physical movements or mental techniques involved.[9][12]

The Lightning Process which involves some components of NLP, has had safety concerns raised about it, including concerns about child protection and ethics,[7][13][9] and has been linked to an attempted suicide.[10][12]

See also[edit | edit source]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Neurolinguistic programming definition and meaning". Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  2. "NEUROLINGUISTIC PROGRAMMING (noun) definition and synonyms". Macmillan Dictionary. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  3. Reynolds, Cecil R.; Fletcher-Janzen, Elaine (January 30, 2004). Concise Encyclopedia of Special Education: A Reference for the Education of the Handicapped and Other Exceptional Children and Adults. John Wiley & Sons. p. 669. ISBN 978-0-471-23218-6.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Sturt, Jackie; Ali, Saima; Robertson, Wendy; Metcalfe, David; Grove, Amy; Bourne, Claire; Bridle, Chris (November 2012). "Neurolinguistic programming: a systematic review of the effects on health outcomes". The British Journal of General Practice. 62 (604): e757–e764. doi:10.3399/bjgp12X658287. ISSN 0960-1643. PMC 3481516. PMID 23211179.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Definition of NLP". The Association for Neuro Linguistic Programming. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  6. Hughes, Bre (October 31, 2021). "Self-styled medical leaders defend "neurolinguistic processing" as legit treatment for ME/CFS".
  7. 7.0 7.1 Tuller, David (July 11, 2018). "Trial By Error: My Letter to Parliament's Science and Technology Committee". Virology blog.
  8. NICE Guideline Development Group (October 29, 2021). "Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (or Encephalopathy)/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:diagnosis and management. NICE guideline". National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Tuller, David (August 21, 2019). "Trial By Error: Joan Parland's Lightning Process Experience". Virology blog.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Sand, Camilla (November 26, 2011). "Forsøkte selvmord etter ME-kurs". NRK (in norsk bokmål). Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  11. ME Foreningen (May 12, 2014). "Norwegian ME Association National Survey Abridged" (PDF). English.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Alice Urbino: scam 'lightning process' causes internalized gaslighting - beware of charlatans". Podbean Development. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  13. Invest in ME (October 2010). "Letter to National Research Ethics Committee".