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  #1  
Old 03-15-2003, 04:32 PM
Xavier Xavier is offline
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How effective is Neuro-linguistic Programming? (NLP)

I have come across this "strand" (if you will) of psychology for as long as I've been reading books (about three weeks). Seriously though, it seems to me that although psychologists in textbooks reference it as being studied material, none ever seem to comment upon its effectiveness.

Statistically, has it ever been proven that theories presented by (so-called) NLP enthusiasts ever work?

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, I hope this link proves useful.
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  #2  
Old 03-15-2003, 10:02 PM
Duck Duck Goose Duck Duck Goose is offline
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Quackwatch says it all: "Procedures to Avoid".

http://www.quackwatch.org/01Quackery.../mentserv.html
Quote:
Mental Help: Procedures to Avoid
Stephen Barrett, M.D.

Many types of practitioners who profess to treat mental problems are engaged in questionable practices. The following procedures should be avoided.

< snip >

Neurolinguistic programming (NLP) is a variable system of procedures purported to enable people to communicate more effectively and influence others. It is said to involve modifying the patterns or "programming" created by interactions among the brain (neuro), language (linguistic), and the body that produce both effective and ineffective behavior.

Proponents claim that NLP has cured phobias, allergies, and other problems in one or a few brief sessions. Its core postulates are: (a) people are most influenced by messages that reflect how they internally represent whatever they are doing; and (b) this representation is reflected by eye-gaze patterns, posture, tone of voice, and language patterns. The internal representation can be visual (picturing what they are involved with), auditory (hearing it sounded out), or can involve other senses. Proponents claim, for example, that someone experiencing a mental image might use the words "I see," whereas someone in an auditory mode might say "that sounds right to me.

Scientific studies have demonstrated no correlation between eye movements and visual imagery, reported thoughts, or language choices.

A National Research Council committee has found no significant evidence that NLP's theories are sound or that its practices are effective.
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Old 03-16-2003, 02:13 AM
flapcats flapcats is offline
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Duck Duck Goose
[B]Quackwatch says it all: "Procedures to Avoid".

A National Research Council committee has found no significant evidence that NLP's theories are sound or that its practices are effective.QUOTE]

My SO is covering NLP as part of her college course, & has been shown a video by Richard Bandler (sp). From description he sounds like an entusiastic salesman.

I'm very sceptical. However I'm wondering if it's practices aren't effective or theories sound - can they be dangerous? Are there any horror stories connected to NLP?
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  #4  
Old 06-16-2010, 03:31 PM
cmiller2220 cmiller2220 is offline
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NLP- Worth another look?

when I first heard about NLP techniques... I thought... there is no way this will work... and then it did... amazing things. So what if elements of NLP work with a high degree of effectiveness?

No one on this post should convince you- if you love psychology or helping people, it may be well worth your own personal experience. Bandler is weird AND get his book "use your brain for a change". you will laugh so hard and see the sheer brilliance of it all and that weirdness. then pick something you are afraid of and want to change, or an old memory that gives you pain and find a master NLp practitioner. Ask for references... talk to references... and if you think it's worthwhile... experience it for yourself. You can do the techniques on yourself- although it's a little more difficult. It doesn't work all the time (duh, surprise), and it works OFTEN. Often enough that people tell me - "I have suffered with that for x (20+) years and had no idea it was that easy to change."

I've been using it for 8 years coaching inmates as a volunteer in the prison system. It's powerful enough that the head of social services asked me "can we put the guys in the state mandated alcohol/drug rehab program in your class/coaching program? they seem to do much better when they are in your class at the same time. " The rapport and skills of influence alone are worth knowing.

I'm a former scientist... I am forever grateful that I didn't wait for the published papers to give this gift of helping so many people. I've found one paper that does show it to be as effective in relieving asthma as asthma meds, although I've not used it for that purpose. At the same time, as a scientist, I know that what is published is not always the truth and some of the best research never gets published for political reasons. I've had psychiatrists tell me "this stuff really works, but I can't use it because it's not widely accepted or understood by my peers".... How sad is that?

What if there is a way to teach a person to create a pavlovian conditioned response to generate endorphins on unique stimulus? What might happen if you fire off that conditioned response at the same time someone is experiencing fear response (catecholamine release)?

Perhaps you may find in your own experience that Mr. Barret, while well intended, may not have sufficient first hand experience to make a proper assessment of NLP. Could this also be true of our own, well intended, yet possibly not so unbiased regulatory agencies? I go with what works and what serves the greater good.

Best wishes on your journey to find what works for you.
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  #5  
Old 06-16-2010, 03:42 PM
TimeWinder TimeWinder is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmiller2220 View Post
I'm a former scientist... I am forever grateful that I didn't wait for the published papers to give this gift of helping so many people. I've found one paper that does show it to be as effective in relieving asthma as asthma meds, although I've not used it for that purpose. At the same time, as a scientist, I know that what is published is not always the truth and some of the best research never gets published for political reasons. I've had psychiatrists tell me "this stuff really works, but I can't use it because it's not widely accepted or understood by my peers".... How sad is that?
Ooh, it's the "all the studies are wrong, but my anecdote is valid," combined with "appeal to expert" for an field which by definition has no scientifically valid experts, followed by a claim of conspiracy to suppress the scientific truth for political reasons. You win the quack argument trifecta!

Flapcat, the usual harm from quack medicines is usually indirect--folks using them in preference to effective therapies. Aside from that, though, NLP seems pretty harmless.
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  #6  
Old 06-16-2010, 03:59 PM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is online now
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The Master Speaks: Does NLP work? Is it the basis of Derren Brown's "mind control" act?
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  #7  
Old 06-16-2010, 04:19 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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Does eating brains help to change the programming of your own brain?
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  #8  
Old 06-16-2010, 04:33 PM
conway conway is offline
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Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
That was actually a staff report by ianzin, but I'm sure he'll take the compliment.
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Old 06-16-2010, 04:37 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmiller2220 View Post
I'm a former scientist... I am forever grateful that I didn't wait for the published papers to give this gift of helping so many people. I've found one paper that does show it to be as effective in relieving asthma as asthma meds, although I've not used it for that purpose. At the same time, as a scientist, I know that what is published is not always the truth and some of the best research never gets published for political reasons. I've had psychiatrists tell me "this stuff really works, but I can't use it because it's not widely accepted or understood by my peers".... How sad is that?
There is no such thing as the placebo effect! If you believe in a procedure than any improvement you see can be attributed to that procedure! Science is all about who you know! Big Psycho is holding us down!

I'm a former high school graduate and I have an Internet website! I include the terms "quantum," "existential," and "cross-dressing"! You have to believe everything I say!

I say it's spinach and I say the hell with it.
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  #10  
Old 06-16-2010, 04:54 PM
astro astro is offline
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Based on most of the interest and activity surrounding the efficacy of NLP on the net, it seems it is primarily regarded as a potential tool for socially awkward, wannabe poon hounds to encourage women to regard them fondly in order to pry their legs apart and access their charms.

Given that women are far more likely to encourage and respond to attention from highly confident men, it's something of a self fulfilling prophecy, that if you believe you have a real handle on what makes people like you, you will (in essence) actually possess that tool by being confident you have that skill set.

Last edited by astro; 06-16-2010 at 04:56 PM..
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  #11  
Old 06-16-2010, 05:14 PM
njtt njtt is online now
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Originally Posted by Duck Duck Goose View Post
Quackwatch says it all: "Procedures to Avoid".

http://www.quackwatch.org/01Quackery.../mentserv.html
I do not know so much about NLP, but I do know for a fact the information on that page about EMDR is outdated and misleading. EMDR does remain controversial, but there are several more recent studies than any of those cited there that do support its effectiveness, and there is now a more plausible and experimentally supported theoretical rationale for its effectiveness than was available when the most recent critical papers cited on that page were published.

So, I would not trust that page too much. Just because someone presents themselves as a "skeptic" it does not follow that they are reliable. On the other hand, however, I do know that at least some of the claims made by NLP, such as that you can tell whether someone is thinking visually or auditorily from the direction of their gaze, have been experimentally refuted.
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Old 06-16-2010, 05:35 PM
njtt njtt is online now
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Disclaimer after missed edit window: I am not a practitioner of EMDR, nor have I ever been treated by this technique. I have no personal anecdotes about it. (I know what you guys are like!)

Here is a couple of cites of recent studies supporting its effectiveness:
Bisson J.I., Ehlers A., Matthews R., Pilling S., Richards D., & Turner S. (2007). Psychological Treatments for Chronic Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. British Journal of Psychiatry, 190, 97-104.

Hogberg G. et al. (2007). On treatment with eye movement desensitization and reprocessing of chronic post-traumatic stress disorder in public transportation workers - A randomized controlled trial. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 61, 54-61.
More upon request.

Last edited by njtt; 06-16-2010 at 05:35 PM..
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Old 06-16-2010, 06:05 PM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is online now
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Originally Posted by conway View Post
That was actually a staff report by ianzin, but I'm sure he'll take the compliment.
Ah yes.
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  #14  
Old 06-21-2010, 11:03 PM
cmiller2220 cmiller2220 is offline
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NLP- worth exploring for yourself?

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Originally Posted by TimeWinder View Post
Ooh, it's the "all the studies are wrong, but my anecdote is valid," combined with "appeal to expert" for an field which by definition has no scientifically valid experts, followed by a claim of conspiracy to suppress the scientific truth for political reasons. You win the quack argument trifecta!

Flapcat, the usual harm from quack medicines is usually indirect--folks using them in preference to effective therapies. Aside from that, though, NLP seems pretty harmless.
To present one's own experience, then to encourage someone else to explore for themselves would hardly be representative of anything more than just that. It does seem easy for someone with no personal experience to disclaim the shared experience of someone else as "non-scientific", "uncredited", "less than expert" and "quack", does it not? It's been done for centuries... and how does it make that person's point any more valid or them the "expert"?

In the early '80's a congressional study estimated 10% or less of "modern" medicine- including much of what we consider as "therapies" would meet the "proven efficacious by scientific method" test. Yet we continue to "act" as though much of allopathic medicine and many therapies as "proven" and "efficacious".

My point on the scientific side is that the effectiveness of NLP took me - a sceptic who typically lives by the numbers- by surprise. I'm not sure how one defines "expert"- even on this forum/the internet as anyone can make up anything about what they've done or not done or what data they've found. Some doubt that Mr. Barrett at quackwatch is the expert he claims to be.

So keep or toss anything I've said or will say. I've visited 20-30 of the top research institutions in the US (e.g. Harvard, Yale, Stanford, NCI, NIH, UCSF, UCSD, etc. ) and interviewed over 1000 scientists and medical professionals about cutting edge medical research and medical practices which might have given me some insight into what gets published or not and what influences medical practice. Thus I shared my perception from that experience that there may be some things worth exploring outside of what is published.

As I emphasize about NLP- It is only my experience. And I'm thrilled to have had it. And so are a lot of people who suffered for a very long time before they learned the skills to help themselves.

The point is again, to encourage someone with interest in human psychology to experience what they may discover to be an extremely interesting modality for themselves. There may be value in it far beyond using it for "therapeutic" purposes. Advertisers, sales people, and politicians use it all the time to influence your "buying" decisions and they tend to go with what generates $$, scientific studies or not. In the wrong hands any modality with the power to influence human behavior can be dangerous.

Yes, in response to another query on this post.... Darren Brown is an example of someone who has exceptional mastery at NLP, among other things. Those with interest may find it well worth viewing his videos on youtube... some are so funny... and a little unsettling!

Best wishes in taking the time to discover for yourself what could help you serve many people.
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Old 06-22-2010, 12:33 AM
ultrafilter ultrafilter is offline
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
I do not know so much about NLP, but I do know for a fact the information on that page about EMDR is outdated and misleading. EMDR does remain controversial, but there are several more recent studies than any of those cited there that do support its effectiveness, and there is now a more plausible and experimentally supported theoretical rationale for its effectiveness than was available when the most recent critical papers cited on that page were published.

So, I would not trust that page too much. Just because someone presents themselves as a "skeptic" it does not follow that they are reliable. On the other hand, however, I do know that at least some of the claims made by NLP, such as that you can tell whether someone is thinking visually or auditorily from the direction of their gaze, have been experimentally refuted.
From Wikipedia:
Quote:
Based on the evidence of randomised controlled research trials both the practice guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association and the Department of Veterans Affairs and Defense have placed EMDR in the highest category of effectiveness and research support in the treatment of trauma.
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Old 06-22-2010, 12:56 AM
njtt njtt is online now
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@ ultrafilter:

Actually the Wikepedia page on EMDR seems to be erring in the opposite direction from the Quackwatch page. In any case, both are outdated in this fast moving field. Quackwatch is relying on data from the 1990s, and the glowing recommendation of EMDR from the, APA quoted by Wikipedia, is from 2004. This 2009 assessment from the American Psychiatric Association is considerably more guarded. Still, it remains clear that EMDR should not be dismissed out of hand, as the Quackwatch guy would have us do.

To bring matters back to the OP topic, it may be telling that (unlike for EMDR) I can find no assessment of neurolinguistic-programming on the APA Psychiatry Online site. It looks like they do not take it that seriously any more.

Last edited by njtt; 06-22-2010 at 12:57 AM..
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Old 06-22-2010, 01:05 AM
BigT BigT is offline
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
@ ultrafilter:

Actually the Wikepedia page on EMDR seems to be erring in the opposite direction from the Quackwatch page. In any case, both are outdated in this fast moving field. Quackwatch is relying on data from the 1990s, and the glowing recommendation of EMDR from the, APA quoted by Wikipedia, is from 2004. This 2009 assessment from the American Psychiatric Association is considerably more guarded. Still, it remains clear that EMDR should not be dismissed out of hand, as the Quackwatch guy would have us do.

To bring matters back to the OP topic, it may be telling that (unlike for EMDR) I can find no assessment of neurolinguistic-programming on the APA Psychiatry Online site. It looks like they do not take it that seriously any more.
I'm not sure they ever took it seriously in the first place. But, as I understand it, it's really poorly defined. The only really testable thing was the eye-pattern thing, which has been disproven. The rest is just an amalgamation of hypnotherapy, conditioning, and sales techniques.

Oh, that and subliminal messages. Don't forget them.

Finally cmiller does a discredit to himself saying that Darren Brown practices NLP. He mostly does magic tricks, and use NLP as a distraction to keep them from noticing his simple tricks.
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Old 06-22-2010, 01:37 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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I'm a former scientist
What kind of science? No reason a geologist, for example, is going to have any special insight into a subject like this.
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Old 06-22-2010, 11:40 AM
cmiller2220 cmiller2220 is offline
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NLP - worth your own experience

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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
What kind of science? No reason a geologist, for example, is going to have any special insight into a subject like this.
Yes, if we have no experience, it's always best to assume that someone else's experience or knowledge is not valid, or not enough, or just not what we are looking for. That is what makes us an expert on their knowledge, capability or experience. Do they have a "degree" that helps us know they have the rubber stamp of the world's approval? Personally I'd take a PhD in results any day over the advanced degree in physiology/endocrinology and 25 years in the research and medical industry that I do have. I might have enough training to understand how to NLP leverages the plasticity of the brain, impacts body/brain chemisty and thus behavior. Possibly even how to evaluate scientific publications. And maybe not. It doesn't matter. A geologist can get results with NLP methods, or a street sweeper.

We can hope that people who have searched for 20 years in "standard of care" to resolve an "illness" or challenge like a phobia or dehabilitating memory can find a great practitioner with a PhD to help resolve it over a few months or years. Since there are no proven studies that NLP may help them find peace within a few hours, I'd best avoid it, if I were you. Pure snake oil, yes indeedy. And when someone has the personal experience to know he/she is right, perhaps he/she should stick with what you know rather than free him/herself from related challenges. I'm sure someone with a scientifically "proven" method and degree would be willing to collect $$$$ from years of working with him/her to resolve it, that is if it ever gets resolved. The backup plan is always to take a "scientifically efficatious drug" with "approval to market" despite the side effects. No use taking a chance to learn to use your own body's natural ability to generate endophins to quickly resolve it. It's unproven.

Perhaps a few questions for those who visit the forum and comment on the efficacy of NLP or what I've shared:

1. Do you personally or anyone else who has thus posted on this forum have experience or training in NLP to know what some of the methods are and how to recognize them?

2. Have you personally ever used it to know whether it does in your experience any of the things claimed? Have you ever met anyone who has used it or experienced it?

3. For those of you who have training in NLP, have you or have you not observed that Darren Brown uses a number of techniques associated with NLP, including such things as trance language (and what some call "slight of mouth"), reframing, pattern interrupts and anchoring? These are tools he uses in addition to many "magician's tricks"- the slight of hand known so well in magic. He also has an incredible trained memory, which if there is an NLP way to do it, I'd sure like to know about.

4. Have you actually reviewed the reports or scientific papers on NLP to know specifically what the experimental design was, how the study was conducted, which of the numerous described NLP methods were tested to evaluate effectiveness? The eye patterns are interesting, and a miniscule part of NLP.

5. for those of you who are not as determined to find a reason to discredit anyone you disagree with or discuss things that you've never experienced or that is not proven with your personal level of comfort by a scientific paper or willing to consider that it may not be a placebo effect or undervalue what you do not understand or you are simply curious you might be interested to search "NLP and dork police" to find a really funny example of a pair of police officers who used the NLP technique "pattern interrupt" with effective results of quickly diffusing violent situations on their domestic calls.

I do wish you well discovering by your own personal investigation and experience whether some miniscule portion of NLP that is yet unproven by scientific method may have value to serve a few people in a positive way, and the wisdom to use it well.

For anyone wishing to help inmates in the prison system change their behavior using NLP, perhaps we can find a way to connect.
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Old 06-22-2010, 01:53 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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If NLP is effective why has its effectiveness not been apparent to most people? NLP's been around for several decades now - it's had its chance to be discovered and embraced by the mainstream.
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Old 06-22-2010, 02:57 PM
code_grey code_grey is offline
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Originally Posted by BigT View Post
I'm not sure they ever took it seriously in the first place. But, as I understand it, it's really poorly defined. The only really testable thing was the eye-pattern thing, which has been disproven. The rest is just an amalgamation of hypnotherapy, conditioning, and sales techniques.

Oh, that and subliminal messages. Don't forget them.

Finally cmiller does a discredit to himself saying that Darren Brown practices NLP. He mostly does magic tricks, and use NLP as a distraction to keep them from noticing his simple tricks.
just a WAG, but could success of this "teaching" be based precisely on teaching sales techniques to people who are not familiar with them and stand to benefit from the knowledge? If that's correct, maybe that's not the best way to teach them, and maybe they also teach a whole lot of useless BS, but students might still derive some benefit from the tidbits of useful knowledge in the curriculum hence helping with repeat customers and word of mouth marketing.
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Old 06-22-2010, 05:53 PM
DocCathode DocCathode is offline
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Originally Posted by cmiller2220 View Post
There may be value in it far beyond using it for "therapeutic" purposes. Advertisers, sales people, and politicians use it all the time to influence your "buying" decisions
Cite that any of the groups you just named uses NLP?
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Nothing is impossible if you can imagine it. That's the wonder of being a scientist!
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  #23  
Old 06-22-2010, 05:57 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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The methods to define and market NLP, along with the responses to questions raised by scientific testing, are exactly the same as those used for other pseudo-science theories, and flat out fraud. It's reasonable to assume that the NLP advocates would follow a different path if their theories were actually effective. Although EMDR, mentioned by njtt, is controversial, it is at least subject to continued objective investigation based on some measureable record of success.
As for Darren Brown, everything he does in his act could be accomplished through techniques used by entertainers and frauds through the ages. Whether he uses NLP or not is irrelevant.
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Old 06-22-2010, 06:56 PM
Indistinguishable Indistinguishable is offline
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Derren Brown doesn't use NLP, nor does he even claim to use NLP. As an entertainer, he does often give intentionally misleading descriptions of the methods he uses to accomplish his magic tricks, but he neither claims to use nor actually uses NLP for any of it. There is no relation between Derren Brown's act and NLP, except insofar as quite a lot of people seem to have bought in to the mistaken rumor that there is some connection.

Last edited by Indistinguishable; 06-22-2010 at 07:00 PM..
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