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Old 03-10-04, 03:28 AM
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Attention Deficit Disorder and NLP Anyone?

Hi...need a little input.

I am looking at business/personal coaches. I found one with a million designations, seems to be well informed. He uses NLP and chain of events building to create states of mind. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Has anyone ever had this treatment, effectively? I called around in search of someone to help me move out of procrastination and into action. I was specifically looking for folks with CBA designation, which is certified behavior analyst. There are none who are coaches!! or feww.... I have not found the one or two lurking out there. but I did find this one therapist heavily into the NLP. He said it is his speciality, moving people from hesitation to action, using NLP. It sounds good, but also sounds like a sales pitch in some ways, and I try to stay away from sales pitches. So....anyone have experiece and results with NLP, good or bad?

Thanks

Jon
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Old 03-10-04, 03:54 AM
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I'm going to sound a little incoherent 'cuz it's late ... but I've worked with hypnotists that use it to good effect. I think it depends more on the practitioner than the technique. You might want to ask how long s/he has been using it, and see if they're willing to give client references ...
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Old 03-10-04, 03:59 AM
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Hi Jon,

My name is Nachi. I am from India. I have head a lot about NLP and its sounds a better solution to add problems than the meds since NLP involves participation of self..

But it has also raised couple of doubts in my mind. If NLP's success is dependent on taking cues, clues from certain actions..I am not sure about the success of such therepy going by my past reexperincces...This is not to put down NLP practices benefits..Just that I also share the interest in knowing about this therepy and if someone in this forum has tried it on..Hope to get replies, guidance from the members

Have a Great Day Ahead,

WIth Love,

Nachi
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Old 03-10-04, 08:51 PM
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Thank you MRB
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"Don't let the diagnosis buckle you at the knees." (me).

"It ain't what ya don't know what gits ya inter trouble-- t's tha stuff ya know fer sure what ain't so!" Artemus Ward, written about a century ago.


"Rescue us, oh ADD angel, if you exist - from the attention by those who seek to limit us from our own unlimitations, who bind us in straw nots with arguments that hold no hay!" (me)
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Old 03-10-04, 08:52 PM
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Thank you Nachi!
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"Don't let the diagnosis buckle you at the knees." (me).

"It ain't what ya don't know what gits ya inter trouble-- t's tha stuff ya know fer sure what ain't so!" Artemus Ward, written about a century ago.


"Rescue us, oh ADD angel, if you exist - from the attention by those who seek to limit us from our own unlimitations, who bind us in straw nots with arguments that hold no hay!" (me)
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Old 03-23-04, 04:08 PM
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So any results? Inquiring minds want to know ('cuz we respect your opinions ...)
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Old 03-23-04, 04:13 PM
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interesting. so how's the results coming mrb?
Paul
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Old 04-18-04, 02:07 PM
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Hi,
I never practiced NeuroLinguistic Programming but I do understand the concept. I have also never seen any data on NLP and the treatment of ADHD. If you find some journal articles I would appreciate it if you'd post them.

I will say this tho in terms of the treatment of children with ADHD (this excludes the Inattentive Type or old ADD), that the only proven therapy for them outside of meds is behavior modification.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the most widely practice therapy in the world,i.e.,how you think affects the way you feel. When it comes to hyperactivity and self-control, CBT doesnt work.That was a hard pill to swallow when I first saw that persented.

The best books I know on hypnotic suggestion,which comes close to NLP, are by the late Milton Erickson.He's the best known and most widely respected author in that area. His most widely read book is entitled, My Voice Goes With You. I hope I got that right as I havent loked at his stuff in years.At any rate I think you can tell how that might apply to NLP.
Personally, Im skeptical but would like to read more. Meanwhile, I wish you much luck and success.

Take care.

mctavish23
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Old 04-18-04, 05:32 PM
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NLP is a good place to start. You can learn quite a fe methods by listening to Tony Robbins tapes. Listen to them everyday and do what he tells you to do on the tapes. (They are on CD too!).
If you can't afford to buy them you can get them at your local library like I did.

He also does something that is more long lasting than NLP. It's called Neuro Associative conditioning. It's NLP on repition steroids.
Apparently NLP is a short term correction and has a tendency to "wear off" over time. NAC is a long term way to engage in NLP.
I highly recommend checking this out before you pay someone big bucks for what may just be a short term solution....
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Old 04-25-04, 01:01 AM
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Jon, et al:

This is extracted from a private message I sent in response to a question about a logic structure in the brain called a metamodel web. This has nothing to do with the NLP term “Meta Model”, but there is a relationship between elements of our research (which encompasses much more than the metamodel web) and how NLP attempts to ‘help’ ADDers.

Fundamental to our understanding of the bewildering array of symptoms associated with ADD are the social consequences of the use of this relatively new logic structure, and there is a school of thought that this is what must be ‘cured’. We believe that NLP falls into that category.

I should be specific about one thing, here: there are many therapeutic strategies that are predicated on the same misconception that NLP apparently falls prey to, and they all have proponents that can present a perfectly rational and accurate analysis that supports their view that there is an underlying flaw in the brain. That is, the view that the ‘misconception’ is in fact the only correct view of how the brain is flawed. But rational and accurate as they may be, they’re wrong.

The sense in which that statement can itself be rational and accurate is exactly the case with ADD and the misunderstanding of it that leads to therapies such as NLP. In their view, the use of the metamodel web to store information and analyze it is unstable, and therefore fundamentally incorrect and dangerous. And it has to be noted that there is a perspective in which this is true, that of a person who, for whatever reason, doesn’t use a metamodel web.

But the argument is circular and silly. If you don’t use a web, then you’re in no danger from it, and if you do, the danger is moot. The use of a metamodel web is exactly what is necessary to stabilize a web, just as the mechanisms that ensure stable function of normal brain structures are inherent in those structures. The whole idea that the ‘cure’ for ADD is to return the brain to normal use of ordinary logical structures and prevent the use of new structures ultimately decays into a kind of xenophobia.

Obviously, there is a fair sized leap from the consideration of NLP as a therapeutic strategy to talking about it as a xenophobic phenomenon. I wouldn’t expect anyone to blindly buy into such an idea, especially without support, and there really isn’t room for much of that here. Nevertheless, you may find the excerpt below interesting, and I would be happy to provide more details about the underlying theory if you’re curious.



You mentioned NLP, and I had to do a little poking around before I said anything about it. I'd hate to trash something without at least knowing what it was. I had a bad feeling about NLP the first time I heard of it, and preconceptions are a sure way to screw up. So I did a little research, and now I know what it was I didn't like.

As far as I know, the first use of the term meta in the sense we use it was by David Hilbert, a mathematician who lived in the 1800's. We coined the term metamodel about 12 or 13 years ago for a seminar on logic in which we introduced the ideas behind the metamodel web.

The seminar was a formal six part presentation on logic, computer architecture and programming we put together for our kids and some of their friends.

At that time a search turned up one or two articles in which metamodel was mentioned, but the use was as an on-the-fly construction. The intent was purely descriptive. We were the first to apply it as a name for a real thing.

I just did a Google on metamodel for the first time in a long while, and I notice that the use of the term has exploded. Everybody wants to get into the act. And NLP is one of the places it has popped up.

So it was pretty astute of you to make the connection. And the answer is, no, our stuff has nothing to do with NLP, or how they use the term.

But it does have a connection, back through our communications theory.

As I understand it, the best way to describe what NLP is about is this: NLP programmers are trying to use linguistic models to 'cure' people of using a metamodel web to reason in their everyday lives. They don’t know that this is what they’re doing, because they don’t have any rigorous scientific knowledge about the web at all. This is why the NLP is lumped in with other theories and therapies that are based purely on heuristics.

In other words, the only basis they have for their methods is that they work. As far as I can tell, all of NLP is derived from anecdotal experiential data that is the only theory behind what they do. But data isn’t theory, and results aren’t a substitute for hypothesis. You can see how it’s a bit circular when you lay it out flat like that. Always suspect circularity.

Nevertheless, the proponents claim that they know it when they see it, so to speak. And I believe them, because what I’ve been able to find is dead on aimed at stopping the use of the metamodel web, even though the only way they could recognize it is if they use it. Which I’m sure is case, because everybody does, to an extent; the differences are in how much and what one does with it.

I clipped this from the article Coaching & the NLP Meta Model (from The Pegasus NLP Newsletter Issue 11 - 20 May 2002, http://www.nlp-now.co.uk/coaching_meta_model.htm):

“The Meta Model is, in my opinion, the most valuable of the NLP skills. It provides us with a means of identifying when a person is using one of the thirteen key forms of sloppy thinking. It also provides a means of subtly coaching a person in better ways of thinking - and of reducing misunderstandings by making our own communication more clear and unambiguous. “

I don’t know about the sloppy thinking part; to me it sounds like an indictment of web-based thinking, when the NLP people give examples. But we have a very specific and rigorous understanding of ambiguity in human communication, and particularly in relationship to the use of the metamodel web. And this is exactly what the author is describing here, the use of special linguistic models that are invariant when applied in either the web based context or the in the normal context.

If you’ve read Neal Stephenson’s SF novel Snow Crash then you’ll recognize these unambiguous models as examples of the linguistic viruses central to the book. (If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.) But the NLP people appear to be trying to remove ambiguity by force, which doesn’t work. Our research predicts how a kind of Snow Crash Virus works, but the idea that they could be applied to a sinister purpose was exposed as a sham. Linguistic viruses exist, in a very real sense, but it’s only possible to construct one that is true. They’re all, well, nice.

But the unambiguous models (the communications) mentioned in the NLP article only seem unambiguous because they are arbitrarily defined. And arbitrary definition of models isn’t possible within the web, because all models have to link together, which requires a certain consistency. If you take a person who has come for advice (presumably, in a receptive and plastic state) and repeatedly suggest that they should accept an arbitrary model, what they will learn is to abandon the use of their metamodel web.

Some more from the same article:

“Let's say, for example, that Jack says 'I can tell Jill doesn't like me from her expression so there is no point in asking her for a date! That makes me sad because I never have any luck with girls.'
At first glance/hearing a fairly understandable comment. Yet when we apply the Meta Model to it we learn a little more…

§ Jack believes he can read Jill's mind. This is an erroneous belief unless he is a very gifted clairvoyant.

§ He also believes that the appearance of her facial muscles enables him to predict what her likely response will be. In reality he is looking at her expression and deciding that if he had the same expression he would be feeling certain feelings and would also be likely to react in a particular way… and, as a result of this piece of questionable deduction, that he can predict her behaviour.

§ He has a very limiting belief that he never has any 'luck with girls'. This is a generalisation - a belief which rests on skimpy and carefully selected evidence. While it is possible that it is true this is rather unlikely. What is more likely is that he has is using the memory of a number of set-backs to generalise the past, to predict that the future will simply be more of the same - and to trap himself in a prison of his own unuseful beliefs. “

(Coaching & the NLP Meta Model - The Pegasus NLP Newsletter Issue 11 - 20 May 2002)

Yikes. How many ways can one article go wrong? First off, either Jack can read Jill’s mind, or he can’t talk at all. Human communications depends entirely on knowing what’s in another person’s mind to an amazingly exact precision. Not getting this right, early in life, is related to autism and probably other similar disorders as well.

Second, Jill’s facial muscles are communicating her feelings just fine. I wasn’t there, so how could I know this? Because it’s what we all do. Jack’s imagining what he would feel if he had her expression is precisely why Jill has the expression. He learned the correct interpretation by observing, you guessed it, the behavior of others. If he can’t predict her behavior from her expression, he’s in bigger trouble than any NLP coach is equipped for.

Lastly, Jack’s evidence is only skimpy in the unkind minds of NLP practitioners, because we humans don’t have any ordinary means to ‘carefully select’ the content of our experiential reality the way the author suggests. Such a facility would cripple the mechanisms that ensure convergence of our common models, and it would never select.

There are ways to enable editing on the scale suggested, raw selection of what we will remember of our experiences, but they aren’t pretty: child abuse and rape both jump to mind.

But the teen angst that’s being described here won’t do it; Jack’s conclusions are probably correct, as far as his chances with Jill are concerned, and with other girls as well. In the end, I suppose we all can look back on a life of failure, because no male ever ‘gets lucky’ in the way our primitive urges imply we should. The real statistics are this: it’s a rare male that has had more than a few partners, when they go back over their life and count.

Most young males who have real problems about this are helped more by being told these facts, so they can understand that their experience is not only expected, but the same as what their peers are experiencing. Which reinforces the common model, improving communications skills, and increasing the likelihood that Jack will survive and eventually find a long term partner that he is happy with. Luck has nothing to do with it.

I’m sort of on a rant, here, and I apologize; it’s how we react to what we see as well-meaning therapeutic double-talk run amok. People get hurt, and we don’t see any reason to accept it, just because we should respect the ideas of others. Respect is fine, but the author should be held to the same standard, and he is completely ignoring the standard practices for one of the most widely treated problems in teen age males.

What does he think a useful belief would be, considering the subject? That Jack is capable of learning the skills necessary to get lucky on a regular basis? Even if it were possible, there’s no way that that could be considered helpful life coaching.

...

This kind of thing always seems to wind up in the dirt. We really don't want to set anybody off, and if this offends, I apologize. Feel free to complain, and I’ll be glad to remove it myself.

...

It isn’t our intent to attack anyone's ideas, especially when those ideas are a part of their developing understanding of themselves and their world. Such an attack only tears away at that person's effort. It doesn't touch the target.

We’d rather target the target, so to speak. In our opinion, NLP is wrong for perfectly good reasons. Our theoretical work predicts the circumstances, the motivation and justification for it, and we feel very benevolent about all that. But the avarice behind the organizations that have grown out of those precursors are another thing, and we are likely to always be a bit unforgiving about those people who make a buck off it, if for no other reason than they have their eye on the wrong ball.
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Old 08-27-04, 02:43 AM
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Stabile,

I loved your piece on this topic. Thank you so much. It does sound like circular mumbo jumbo when you lay it out the way you have. I had someone do a little of their own style of NLP on me and as a result I felt very anxious and tense for about 2-3 days. It bypassed all my normal logic, and that is what it felt like, and it did not feel right. I didnt accept anymore of this free NLP from a friend. It felt like it would cause me to go into a crash landing procedure, it felt dangerous.

Now, with your help, I understand why I had such a strong response. It was literally forcing me to bypass my modal web. It was also making assumptions that may be untrue, discounting the value of my judgements and experiencial learning to date.

Well, thank you for such a powerful piece of writing. Please write more! On any topic!

Jonathan

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stabile
Jon, et al:

This is extracted from a private message I sent in response to a question about a logic structure in the brain called a metamodel web. This has nothing to do with the NLP term “Meta Model”, but there is a relationship between elements of our research (which encompasses much more than the metamodel web) and how NLP attempts to ‘help’ ADDers.

Fundamental to our understanding of the bewildering array of symptoms associated with ADD are the social consequences of the use of this relatively new logic structure, and there is a school of thought that this is what must be ‘cured’. We believe that NLP falls into that category.

..... (see above for the rest)....

...ending.....
We’d rather target the target, so to speak. In our opinion, NLP is wrong for perfectly good reasons. Our theoretical work predicts the circumstances, the motivation and justification for it, and we feel very benevolent about all that. But the avarice behind the organizations that have grown out of those precursors are another thing, and we are likely to always be a bit unforgiving about those people who make a buck off it, if for no other reason than they have their eye on the wrong ball.
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Old 10-09-04, 04:59 PM
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NLP is a way for us to learn how to use our brain to our own advantage

Jon:

Simply put, NLP is a way for us to learn how to use our brain to our own advantage. Its not a quick fix, nor should it be. These things take time. But it gives ADDers, once they see the benefits of running their own brain, control over their own thinking strageties, which result in certain behaviors. That's how behaviors change -- not because NLP does it but because the individual sees the advantage in thinking about their ADD differently, which in turn changes their behaviors.

But like anything else NLP requires the person have a high motivation to make positive changes in their life. ADD is an especially difficult realm to work with, and this also true within NLP coaching. ADD is more of a challenge because many of the difficulties ADDers exhibit are internal, much of them buried over years and years of links to negative behaviors, and even when an ADD does make progress, there is a tendency to still believe "but it can't be working" or "I'll never change". These negative frames counter any progress that might be made, whether it be in therapy, coaching, or any type of help we might look to.

I believe that the power of NLP is to uncover some of these higher frames of thinking that we have as ADDers. By uncovering them one at a time, you begin to get a sense of where your thinking (of yourself as an ADDer) leads you to certain behaviors. Once these frames are uncovered, THEN you can use the power of your own brain to make a situation just as you want it!

This, by the way, is not a salespitch, for NLP or anything else. Simply stated, in my own experience and in working with other ADDers in the past, I see these negative self-images that ADDers internalize as the biggest hinderance to our overall happiness and productivity, and the ability to use our ADD to its natural advantage, instead of allowing ADD to rule how we respond to life.

I respect what others have said here about NLP, and people should always be wary of individuals who might claim to be offering "quick fixes" to any problems in life (after all, they wouldn't be problems if a lot of people didn't have difficulty getting rid of them). But the message here is that NLP is a positive approach that can offer some individuals some respite, moving them to more positive approaches to their own ADD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by healthwiz
Hi...need a little input.

I am looking at business/personal coaches. I found one with a million designations, seems to be well informed. He uses NLP and chain of events building to create states of mind. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Has anyone ever had this treatment, effectively? I called around in search of someone to help me move out of procrastination and into action. I was specifically looking for folks with CBA designation, which is certified behavior analyst. There are none who are coaches!! or feww.... I have not found the one or two lurking out there. but I did find this one therapist heavily into the NLP. He said it is his speciality, moving people from hesitation to action, using NLP. It sounds good, but also sounds like a sales pitch in some ways, and I try to stay away from sales pitches. So....anyone have experiece and results with NLP, good or bad?

Thanks

Jon
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Old 10-11-04, 01:03 PM
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Hey, roxannew:

Welcome to our forums. We were surprised to see this thread active again; since your post sort of skips back to Jon's initial question, we thought it might be appropriate to restate in a more detailed and succinct way our basic understanding of the nature of NLP, and why we distrust it.

* * * *
Your post reminds me of the story of a man out for a walk in the country who hears a cry for help.

He investigates and finds two men at the bottom of a very deep hole, in an obvious state of panic. They're both crying "Help! Help!" while they dig frantically, flinging dirt in every direction.

He manages to get their attention and calm them down a bit, and using a rope laying nearby, he helps them scramble out of the hole. Assuming the digging must have had a purpose, he asks the first man he pulls up if there was someone else still buried below.

The man replies, "Nope, it's just the two of us."

Astonished, he asks why, since they knew they were already trapped, were they trying so hard to make the situation worse?

"Geeze!" the man exclaims. "Shovels were the only tools we had!"

* * * *

They say If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

That, in an important way, is the problem with NLP. But we certainly do not mean to imply the obvious, that NLP practitioners think that it's The Answer To Everything. It's a fairly subtle point exactly what hammer it represents, and in what way things look like a nail.

We are reasonably certain that NLP is fundamentally flawed, in that beneath the good intentions the effective purpose is to relieve the stress of living with AD/HD by teaching ADDers how to use their brains in the traditional manner used by normals.

There is a kind of sense to that; normals would be largely unable to perform the converse operation, that is, to relieve the social stress of interacting with ADDers by learning to use their brains as we do.

But the idea that the normal way to use the brain is somehow opposite to how ADDers think is incorrect. We are opposite only in the sense of being on opposite sides in the conflict between us. Our use of the brain is a superset of the older methods, which are in turn simply a restricted subset of our own methods.

Our conclusions follow from the application of over thirty years of research into human communication and how brain function gives rise to the conscious mind. We (necessarily) understand in great detail the mechanisms that are at work when we interact socially, and why there are social interactions at all.

* * * *

Quote:
Originally Posted by roxannew
Simply put, NLP is a way for us to learn how to use our brain(s) to our own advantage… it gives ADDers, once they see the benefits of running their own brain, control over their own thinking (strategies), which result in certain behaviors…
We're going to pick just this first bit apart, in order to show how the intent buried in the language sets off our ADDer alarms. We mean no disrespect to you or anyone associated with NLP; we're certain that your intentions are perfectly honest and benevolent.

So, a few questions:

-- Could you list a few of these "certain behaviors?"

-- What alternative is there to an individual controlling his/her own "thinking strategies?" (Another person doing it? No control? Are either of those actually possible? We're certain each of us is all alone in here with our brains. And not controlling something does not result in a kind of control, by definition.)

-- "Thinking strategies" is one of those authoritative-sounding terms that are annoyingly imprecise. We're pretty sure of how neural function gives rise to our ordinary experience of conscious being, and presumably a thinking strategy would be some element of the conscious experience, the underlying function, or a combination of the two. But which element(s)? Does NLP specify this more precisely, or is it simply assumed that we all understand it?

-- The idea that ADDers don't "see the benefit of running their own brain" sure insults the heck out of me and Kay. But all of us here are obviously intelligent, caring people driven by a sense of compassion for others. So why doesn't this idea seem condescending and arrogant to you? ("Seeing" the benefit of a particular logical abstraction is the fundamental organizing principle of the brain itself. You can think of neural networks as performing either pattern matching or logical modeling. But both are, in a sense, just a way of making choices based on maximum benefit. We believe that most people are consciously aware of this, in form at least.)

-- What is the rationale behind the unstated assumption that ADDers are not using their brains to their advantage? How is that measured? (We assume that, if this is the primary goal of NLP, there is a standard way to evaluate how advantageously an individual seeking treatment is using his or her brain, so that the appropriateness of treatment with NLP can be determined. And so that success may be quantified as well, when NLP has done its work.)

For that matter, is there any evidence to support such an idea, or a formal theory that suggests it? (We haven't been able to find a reference to one anywhere.) Is it possible that an NLP coach simply assumes that anyone presenting with AD/HD needs help using their brain to their own advantage?

* * * *

We are quite serious about the questions, but please don't feel compelled to respond point by point. That kind of debate over details is not our goal at all. What bothers us is that the questions arise from a conflict with the basic scientific principles by which things like NLP must be defined.

NLP's definition seems to be missing some of the more important bits, and that presents us with an interesting contradiction.

One of the nice things about basic scientific principles is that they stand in the same relationship to anyone's individual reality. That requirement can make them seem slow and cumbersome at times, and limited as well. But the commonly understood nature of such principles can't be denied. We feel certain that whoever originally devised NLP must understand the rules of the game.

Thus, the conflict. How can we account for their apparent blindness to the fact that the theoretical basis of NLP is not completely described, as one would expect?

The problem appears to be with NLP itself; if I were a paranoid type, I would feel certain that the people behind it have an active social and political agenda. Fortunately, we understand how the intent we see in the verbiage surrounding NLP arises, in a way that is quite honest in it's own right. I expect that if we were to talk with almost anyone associated with NLP, we would find them sincere.

But honest is not the same as correct, or even right. And that's one of the fundamental problems facing ADDers, one that neither NLP nor anything like it will solve. Our AD/HD gives us the ability to perceive the possibility of two consistent truths in a single situation, but no comparable ability to shield that awareness from the eyes of others.

That means normals and ADDers alike share our special awareness, if only indirectly through observing our unavoidable reactions. But it takes the higher abilities that AD/HD gives us to understand which of two different truths is correct; the awareness inevitably creates a conflict in normals that they lack the tools to resolve.

Thus, ADDers become the problem. But so far, the argument is largely rhetorical; is it possible to understand the details of the actual mechanisms at work? Not by coincidence, that is exactly what our research has sought to illuminate.

* * * *

We ADDers upset a kind of natural order, one that depends on the isolation of individual abstract logical objects stored in our brains. We naturally utilize a different, more efficient and far more powerful logical structure (a metamodel web) to organize, store and analyze information.

But we sacrifice a kind of isolation inherent in older and simpler ways of organizing information, and in doing so we have revealed a form of discontinuity, a kind of disagreement in the fundamental truths that form the basis for any broad class of related abstract conceptual objects.

So what does all that (Tom and Kay) verbiage mean? (And does it reveal the intent inherent in our world view? Of course; but we're aware of it and open about it.)

The important bit is that we ADDers aren't seeing anything that wasn't always there. It's nothing new; a rigorous analysis of the structure of our perception of reality shows that we create the illusion of continuity in our consciously observed universe.

That is exactly what the personal website you list in your profile is addressing on the AD/HD Perspective page, about perception:

"They say that everything we are is nothing more than our perception of it... Our brain holds the key to everything internal and even, to a large extent, external."

(In this particular case, at least, you now know who "they" is. It's us. Howdy. Nice to meet ya'.)

The appearance of a kind of continuity of sensibility between any two different life situations (say, being at work and being at home) is manufactured by our process of conscious perception. Everything about these situations seems to be sensible, if everything is in balance. If not, we are driven to "make sense" of the situation, and failure to achieve that results in well recognized problems.

But there is nothing inherent in any two particular situations that requires the same basic truths to serve as their foundation. (In fact, there isn't any inherent truth to anything external to our perceptual reality; truth itself is an artifact of our own internal existence, as is meaning.)

Until recently, we humans haven't been able to 'see' that different situations may be different even in the deepest sense, as to what is fundamentally true. It shouldn't be too surprising, then, to find that some internal functions have arisen that exploit that fact.

Our internal common models of reality are imbued with the same sense of continuity, both over time and among different individuals. A complex mechanism (the social impulse) maintains that sense, and acts to counter anything that threatens to upset it.

So what, then, is the nature of the experience of inventing something like NLP, given the above understanding of our perception of such things?

There are two solutions to the stress inherent in social interactions between ADDers and normals, as we previously described. One is relatively innocuous, on the face of it: correct the non-conforming mental processes in the ADDer. (ADDers might have a different opinion, of course.)

But the act of simply imagining the other solution, the one that leaves intact the ADDer's vision of an inconsistent reality, triggers a profound negative response from the social impulse.

The kick of the social impulse naturally gives rise to a sense that the offending solution as inherently objectionable and incorrect. We all interpret such feelings as somehow intrinsic to being, as indeed they are.

But that is exactly what we supposed to be the case with NLP, back when we first voiced our objections: NLP seems to be founded in part on a conviction that the way that ADDers use their brains is inherently flawed. And if it doesn't seem necessary to explain exactly how our thinking mechanisms are flawed, it's simply because anything mediated by the social impulse seems inherent to being itself. It's obvious, and if we don't get it, we need the help of NLP (or something similar) by definition.

* * * *

If all you have is a hammer implies a sort of limitation. In the case of NLP, the limitation is that only the solution that seeks to normalize an ADDers thinking seems reasonable, and that fact seems so obvious that it (so far) remains unstated.

The subtlety arises because the social impulse acts in a way that cuts across any and all social and cultural barriers, by definition. The sense that ADDers should (of course!) normalize their thinking is so deep and pervasive that it doesn't seem necessary to establish it in theoretical terms.

And in normal terms, there really isn't. The mechanisms of the social impulse arose to ensure a kind of stability in our common models of reality, and as we previously noted, our AD/HD view of reality can upset that stability for a normal.

Note that there isn't a hint of the idea of malice in this analysis, on either side, or even the suggestion that anyone involved with NLP is wrong. That's a reflection of the nature of the problem itself: we're both right. You must take the context into consideration when determining which point of view is correct.

But inevitably, the ADDer's context will supercede that more primitive and limited normal context.

And so, of course, our claim that we ADDers represent the future of humankind. But what about now? Can a more complete understanding of the problem (which we believe our analysis provides) help in formulating a strategy for dealing with the social stresses we're plagued with everyday?

Of course we believe so, or what's the point? (grin…) We think that the key is understanding why the stresses arise. A thing not understood looms larger than life, and if there is a flaw inherent in the way we think, it's in the way such things can capture our attention, sometimes to our own detriment. We see exactly that kind of unhappy obsessive search for understanding underlying many of the myriad symptoms attributed to AD/HD.

* * * *

A person doesn't submit to sleeping in a bed infested with fleas because flea bites don't bother them. They sleep there because they know what's biting them, and also that they can't do anything about it for now.

But a person that doesn't know what's biting them will never sleep until the question is resolved one way or another. They could sleep somewhere else, but not everybody has that option. Or, they could investigate, ask Mom or whatever, and discover that it's only fleas, and that they're relatively harmless. (Doesn't the dog live with them?)

Or maybe they won't resolve it in the normal sense; maybe they'll fret at it until they're so sleep deprived that they doze off, to dream of monsters eating them alive. Living with ADD has been a lot like that, for many of us, simply because things like NLP don't do a thing to explain why we experience the things we do.

Just knowing there's really something biting us, that it's not our imagination, is a tremendous relief. Learning that we have/are AD/HD is just like that, for most of us. But it's not enough to let us sleep in peace.

* * * *

In the end, it all comes down to this:

We don't see any rationale for the choices NLP practitioners make on behalf of the ADDers they want to help. Despite the obvious and widely accepted need to establish such a rationale, we have been unable to find any NLP related information that addresses it at all.

That was our first clue that there's something wrong under the hood. Usually, such things are based on the assumption that everyone already knows what's right, and that is a sure sign that the social impulse is at work.

In a very real sense, the result is xenophobic and not in our best interests, even though the intentions may be benign or even completely pure. There is an inherent contradiction at work, because by definition the social impulse seeks conformity without regard for the fine points of the difference between ADDers and normal. It's triggered by any difference, by definition.

And we believe that contradiction is exactly what all ADDers would like to see resolved. Ideally, we ADDers should feel a social pressure to conform to what is normal for us, and normals should feel a pressure to conform to what has been normal for them for a long time.

We each should be true to our own natures, but in a universe that holds more than one solution to the problem of existence. If NLP could help do that, it would be a useful tool for some of us.

But until the underlying theory is tweaked to harmoniously include the inherent differences ADDers present, it doesn't look as much like a useful technique as a potential tool for repression.

That is, in our (fairly well informed) opinion, of course.

Most sincerely,

Tom and Kay
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Old 10-13-04, 03:07 PM
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Tom and Kay: I've been without a computer the past several days, so just now received this posting. I'm reviewing it now, and will respond soon And thanks for the welcome!!
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Old 10-14-04, 02:05 AM
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Lightbulb example of NLP technique and ADD focus

I decided after starting a response to the most recent post by Tom and Kay that the best way to “express my thoughts” was through an example. In this personal example, I was able to take a situation, in which I struggled daily to concentrate and focus for even 15 minutes at a time, and turn it around. I ended up being able to do 4-6 hours of reading a day in preparation for preliminary exams. This is not to say that this technique would work for anyone, and I’m not even saying that I believe it would work for a majority of people. However, for me the fact that it worked made all the difference in the world---the difference between failing very important exams! And being able to feel confident that I was prepared, and ultimately doing well as a result of my ability to focus on my studies.


I do not deny the theoretical benefits of understanding why this process works (and I have more ideas and insights into my thoughts on this as well) but instead I wanted to point out how it was the result that intrigued me, and encouraged me to learn more NLP and utilize the techniques for my own advantage. It has helped me learn what processes in my brain worked for what purposes, and how I can apply this information to other situations as they come up. It is not a “one-minute-fix” nor is it always easy; being able to change 15 minutes a day to 4-6 hours!!, however, was worth the effort for me.

So, as well as I can, here is an explanation of what we did, and the results:

1 ) My NLP coach had me “reproduce” a scenario in which I was trying to read, and felt I couldn’t concentrate. He started by asking me to sit where I would typically study, and try to read something. After I’d read a few paragraph or so, he then asked me what the reading was “like”.
My “perception” here was that I cannot concentrate, which as you’ll see, was not the reality, but just my perception of it. This is what I refer to when I mention a “strategy”—it is a perception that I’ve developed, over years, over months, or even just from one experience, that drives how I behave in similar situations in the future. It’s like a “short cut”, or a heuristic that my brain attaches to a certain situations.

This strategy was “reading is boring, I don’t like to do boring things, so as a result, my brain can’t focus.” The other “distractions” I had were ways for my brain to try to get the stimulation it really wanted, instead of doing "boring studying".

2 ) I explained to him that I heard everything around me, and it was distracting…..I’d read one paragraph, hear the crickets outside making noise, and would look up distracted by it, and by the time I got back to the book, I’d have to reread the same paragraph, or I’d have forgotten my line of thought at the moment. This was the same for several other “distractions” that I noticed at the time, including my daughter coming in and out of the room, the TV set being on, the clock ticking, the sink dripping, etc.
Further questioning, however, revealed that because my strongest “modality” is of the audio type (I typically will read out loud to myself, hearing it in my mind, as I read, write, listen to someone speak, etc.*) how I was hearing the words in my mind might be important to how "stimulating" or boring the situation of reading/studying, might be.

In fact, after looking at this more it turned out that I would hear the words in my mind as a monotone voice, slow and dull, and rather lifeless it seemed. Imagine if you were listening to someone talk, in a very dull, monotone, slow, boring way, how interesting would this be for you? Most likely not nearly as interesting as if the person had a wide range of voice tone, and inflections, and “appeared” and acted interested in what he was saying (anyone who’s had to sit through a number of boring University lectures will relate to this rather easily!).
4 ) After doing this, my coach then asked me to recall a time when I was able to focus.** Once I started remembering a time when I could focus, he began asking me the same types of questions as before---what was “that” situation like? What was different about that situation?

As I began to imagine myself being in that situation, I was able to form the context, and not only the physical aspects of what it was like, but through his particular questioning I was able to see differences that I perceived mentally as well.

5 ) In this case what I found out was amazing!! When I was focused, in my mind was an active “conversation”…. The characters in the reading literally would come to life in my mind, and were more “exciting” as if I were watching a Shakespearean play (this was an odd concept that just came to me as I was expressing myself at the time, but became a turning point in my ability to engage myself in reading without becoming bored or distracted later on).

When my mind was focused, the stimulation was different. Instead of “just reading” my mind made the words interesting and more real by making the voices more exciting, adding stimulation by putting the words I was reading into more context, as if the words were a conversation among characters in a play. Apparently, for me, this added stimulation makes reading more exciting, therefore, there is less reason for my mind to get distracted (after all, much of our ADD inattentiveness is the result of simply being bored because we, more than others, require more mental stimulation).

6 ) So how did that help? Well since this experience, every time I need to read something that I might believe will be “boring”, I employ this personal NLP method --- I sit comfortably, review what I have to read so I know where it might be going, then when I start to read I imagine the words coming to me as characters in a play, with a vibrant, interesting voice, as if two people are conversing about what the words say back and forth. In other words, I “change” the way I read, so that the reading is now interesting, and I focus FAR longer.
I didn’t just “imagine” myself enjoying it, and I didn't imagine something that was outside my own "reality", but instead I employed techniques that were the same as when I KNEW I could focus, and hence was able to simulate the same positive results.

All I did was change the way the words in my mind sounded and expressed themselves. A magic trick? Hardly, but I found it to be an amazing and ingenious “solution” to a difficulty that was causing me serious anxiety (that I would fail these exams if I didn’t read, and reading required focus).
Before this, I was having a hard time being able to sit for more than 15 minutes without getting distracted, and of course feeling like it was because I “couldn’t” focus. After I started using this concept (words in a vibrant, exciting Shakespearean play), I was able to enjoy my reading for 4-6 hours a day, minimum, and though there were still occasions that were more difficult for me to focus, my “results” were far superior to those I had previously.

Even more important, however, was that at this moment, I didn’t care what the theory behind the process was --- I could have cared less at the moment whether, as an analyst, I could “reproduce” the results, or obtain statistical significance through a scientific model (though I've since contemplated how this might be accomplished practically, and do not deny the importance of trying to find an appropriate theoretical foundation for its ideas).

At the time, however, all I honestly cared about was that now I was enjoying my reading more, and focusing on it for 4-6 hours a day, reviewing for very important exams, and feeling more and more confident in my ability to do well. The PRACTICAL results were important---and I'd achieved those results with far greater success than anything I'd experienced with medications alone, and far superior to beating myself up because I couldn't seem to do it.

That’s not to say that everyone who tries NLP will have the same type of results --- many may not. But for those who are interested in exploring, the worst result would be no results at all. For me, that’s a negligible risk, but a choice that should be made as an informed decision, gathering information, ideas, and even sitting in on one of the several free tele-seminars that are often given by NLP practitioners as a way to see for yourself what it is, how it works, and whether it may be useful for you or not, before spending money.

Trust between you and your coach is also very important, and could mean the difference between success and failure---if you do not believe for one moment that the person you're considering working with is knowledgeable, or has superior skills or practical experience in NLP, then by all means make another choice!

This is not a "try NLP at all costs" proposition---I simply express to you that there are plenty of positive experiences, that not all NLP practitioners are out to just make a buck (many really care about being able to help) but ADD is also a complex situation, regardless of how one attempts to "tackle" the challenges. Don't expect miracles, but also, don't rule out potential possibility of NLP coaching simply because there are some people who would themselves, choose not to use it.





Footnoted comments:
* This line of questioning is part of finding out the “modalities” an individual is using at a given point and time. This process, in a nutshell, involves finding out what is going on while I was trying to read. For instance, was I hearing thoughts (reading the words to myself, mind wandering elsewhere, etc.), was I feeling things? (knot in my stomach, perhaps from anxiety?), was I imaging pictures? (seeing people I need to talk to? Or seeing the words in my mind). Also important was what I perceived as the distraction I was having, and how this was being represented by the modalities--- in this case, the “audio” modality for me was a voice that was monotone and rather lifeless.
** Usually, if a person says “I can never concentrate”, if you ask them “has there EVER been a time when you could concentrate?” inevitably they will have at least one time they can recall in which they could.
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