This comment from ‘L Street’ appeared on the Therapy page of this website but I’d like to address it here on the front page because he makes some interesting points that are well worth addressing. For simplicities sake I’m going to assume ‘L Street’ is a he, she can correct me if I’m wrong.
You charge people money for this? Good grief.
Show me meta-analyses of double-blind peer reviewed work – verifiable, repeatable and leading to predicting future outcomes. You can’t, because NLP is hocus-pocus. It was so thoroughly discredited way back in the 1980’s that you can’t even find any credible research that isn’t 20 years old.
Snake-oil for the modern world. Catharsis as commodity. Any benefits you have noticed are almost certainly merely due to providing someone with empathy, rapport, unconditional acceptance and the precious rare experience of being fully attended to. But that’s all. Anecdotes are not evidence.
People can go to any free local befriending service for the same outcome.
I apologise in advance this is going to be a long post.
As far as I know I have never met L Street. I assume from what he has written that he is very concerned that people in need get the most appropriate and effective treatment available. I happen to agree with that, however we obviously differ on how that might be done and how you would know what is effective or not.
I’ll go step by step through the comment apart from the first line which I’ll save for last.
Show me meta-analyses of double-blind peer reviewed work – verifiable, repeatable and leading to predicting future outcomes.
Peer reviewed work of what exactly? NLP isn’t a psychological theory (and never claimed to be) it’s a collection of inter-related (though not inter-dependent) models.
Coincidentally the Today program on Radio 4 just had an interview with Sir Michael Rawlins the Chairman of NICE questioning the omnipotence of the Randomised Control Trial model of figuring out what works.
You can evaluate the results of applying one of those models, eye-accessing cues, fast phobia cure, and so forth by experiment. But even if you established with good and repeatable experiments that the eye accessing model was statistically unlikely, that wouldn’t say anything about the rest of NLP. Any more than demonstrating a particular anti-depressant is no better than placebo invalidates the whole of pharmacology.
You can’t, because NLP is hocus-pocus.
You’re right, I can’t, but not because NLP is hocus pocus, rather because those experiments haven’t been done yet.
It was so thoroughly discredited way back in the 1980’s that you can’t even find any credible research that isn’t 20 years old.
Would you like to be specific about the thorough discrediting? They wouldn’t happen to be the ‘Dillingham‘ experiment and the ‘Hogan‘ experiments by any chance? Follow the links to read a critique of those ‘discreditings’. In fact if you follow the link you can read a more detailed and closely argued article about NLP and Research than I can provide here.
You could run some proper research about the effects of applying one or other of these models and get some statistically significant answers. I present a sample of published pieces of research written in the last 20 (supposedly empty) years. I’ve listed them for your convenience at the end of this post. Some of them even appear in credible peer reviewed journals.
By the way I agree with you that there is a lack of research, I’m a science geek so I’m quite interested in what science has to say about NLP amongst other things.
I think there are a few reasons behind the scarcity of published reseach.
- Most NLPers have a pragmatic, empiricist point of view, they might be mildly interested in research, but on the whole if it works that’ll do.
- In contrast to Aaron Beck, a doctor and the founder of the current therapy de jour, CBT who started his work in the sixties, in a medical school with access to all the implements of research. NLP wasn’t started by psychologists, the founders had no interest in formulating a psychological theory or testing it out, they just wanted to be able to model what other people did well. Interest in researching the effects of NLP in a formal setting by people who know something about it is a comparatively recent phenomenon. So CBT has about 20 or 30 years head start in that regard. Perhaps we could have this conversation again in 2028 and see how things have developed.
- Research is horrifically expensive – who’s going to pay for it? Drug companies have a bottom line to support, universities have theories and papers to publish. If there’s noone to write the cheque the research isn’t going to get done.
- If you look at the papers listed at the end of this post, you will find a huge variety of applications of NLP. From such a wide field coming up with enough studies about one particular area to come to any (statistically) significant conclusion is going to take a while.
Having said that there are areas of research that validate ideas that have been common currency in NLP without ever directly mentioning or having heard of NLP. For example: Research catches up with NLP
Snake-oil for the modern world. Catharsis as commodity.
Would you care to explain those, they make good sound bites but I don’t know what you mean by them.
Any benefits you have noticed are almost certainly merely due to providing someone with empathy, rapport, unconditional acceptance and the precious rare experience of being fully attended to.
Back when ‘Adam was a lad’, I took a diploma in Person Centred Therapy (the therapy de jour then), Carl Rogers the author of the ‘necessary and sufficient conditions of therapy’ you mention was one of the trainers. So I have a great fondness for empathy, rapport and unconditional positive regard. I think they are necessary but they may not be sufficient.
By the way what exactly are the benefits I would notice?
But that’s all.
Is it? I wonder how you know that?
Anecdotes are not evidence.
That’s true, they are not statistically significant evidence. However they are where most theories start whether they grow up into something more substantial is a matter of time (and money). And statistics aside everyone’s experience of therapy, yours and mine included, would ‘just’ be anecdotal but none the less important for all that.
People can go to any free local befriending service for the same outcome
Do you know what the outcomes (both what they want and what they get) of my clients are? If you don’t then I don’t see how you can make that claim – where’s your evidence?
And finally back to the beginning
You charge money for this. Good grief
What exactly is the ‘this’ that you think I am charging for?
As far as I know we’ve never met and you have never been my client. So how do you know what I do and what my clients get out of it?
“Good grief”. Hmm … in my opinion the evidence you’ve presented doesn’t support that conclusion.
Here’s that short list of post 1990 research papers related to NLP
- Duncan, R. C., Konefal, J., Spechler, M. M. (1990): “Effect of neurolinguistic programming training on self-actualization as measured by the Personal Orientation Inventory.” Psychol Rep. Jun, Vol. 66(3 Pt 2) pp. 1323-30.