Our Health: Looking on the Bright Side

Article excerpt

IT sounds like something out of a computer manual, but it's not. Neither has it anything to do with religious cults.

Want a healthy lifestyle? Then re-programme your mind.

That's the premise behind Neurolinguistic Programming - known for short as NLP and, like many alternative therapies, created in America.

It's now being used successfully in Britain for a host of hang-ups, disorders and everyday worries.

How does it work? It's all based on words, thoughts and deeds.

By changing our thought patterns, NLP therapists claim to be able to unlock a new, more confident person from within a tangled network of neuroses.

Using the combined forces of hypnosis and psychoanalysis, a single session of NLP is said to be all it takes to cure even the most deep-seated of fears.

The technique can be used to treat anything from giving up smoking to depression, stress and phobias.

Its founder, Richard Bandler, took as his model the combined processes of psychotherapy, linguistic analysis and neuropsychology.

The American has now teamed up with television hypnotist Paul McKenna and NLP expert Michael Breen to offer courses in London.

The pounds 600-a-week modules attract anyone from high-flying salesmen eager to learn how to be more positive to new-age therapists looking for a new skill.

The benefits are far-reaching, according to Wendy Schilling, who sought help through NLP for chronic pain and went on to become a therapist herself.

Wendy, aged 41, of Hall Green, Birmingham, found that the therapy completely altered her way of thinking.

Two operations eventually cured her of her painful condition, trigeminal neuralgia - a neural disorder affecting the facial nerves - but the techniques learned through NLP have stayed with her.

'It's all about learning how to face a problem in a new way,' she says. 'And it can be done very quickly. My pain really used to get me down, but NLP taught me that I had the power to change that.'

According to Wendy, all it takes to resolve a problem is stepping outside yourself in a process called disassociation.

The technique is so simple, she says, that it may leave some people wondering why they had such a big problem in the first place. …