When NLP Doesn’t Work – And What To Do
The most common cause of a lack of the desired result when doing NLP – especially with yourself or someone who is also a novice or just poorly trained – is a lack of congruence – a state that signals an internal conflict. Frequently caused by unrecognized secondary gains, internal conflicts can frustrate any desired accomplishment (obvious example: the singer who won’t sing in public because of fear of criticism).
Layering a change process on top of an internal conflict results in a marginal change. By marginal, I mean it may only change slightly; it may change completely and then revert back (How many times have you given up potato chips?), or it may persist in a partial form at the cost of a lot of continued effort to maintain the change – a lot of internal conflict and cognitive dissonance. You may recognize cognitive dissonance when having to repeatedly convince yourself that something is the right thing to do.
To resolve such conflicts first you have to be able to recognize them when they occur. This is usually easier when working with yourself, to start with, with an attitude of acceptance and trust that is genuine (first, you have to simply recognize that every one of your behaviors and beliefs has some positive purpose; what we are doing here first is to discover that existing positive purpose).
This can be as simple as going inside and observing the response to your desired change as you imagine having it fully and completely, and imagine being that way naturally and automatically as you experience it moving forward through your life for five, ten, twenty years or more. Having contemplated that, simply observe. What comes up inside you? What images, sounds/voices, feelings?
Pretend for the sake of this process that those are aspects of you that have a way of expressing themselves. Invite them to do so, and note their objection(s). Then one by one elicit the positive intention behind the objection(s) and expressing your appreciation for that positive intention, ask how that might be served by the contemplated change. You may also find situations where you discover that you want to modify your desired change as a result of this type of discovery process.
Internal Congruence Process Parts Integration Process