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How NLP & Hypnosis Made Me a Better Doctor (And a Transformational Coach)
One of the most common questions I get asked as from future students today is how I got into NLP and why I decided to learn hypnosis. For those of you reading this who have not yet seen my previous articles, here's a little review. Neurolinguistic programming is a system of processes, language patterns, and tools that help us to be in control of our inner state and outer behavior ultimately giving us the resources to create our lives powerfully. Many people also utilize these tools to help others get past their limiting beliefs, negative thinking, stuck emotions, and unresourceful habits helping them to move past their stuck points in life.
For me, the choice to pursue NLP certification was initially purely a business decision. I felt like the NLP techniques could really benefit my patients and that I could use hypnosis to help the burned-out stressed and overworked professional moms I was seeing over and over again. However, what I did not count on is how learning neurolinguistic programming could make me more effective as a physician simply by giving me expanded personal flexibility of language, thought, and behavior. How exactly did that happen?
By giving me 4 major things:
- It gave me a deeper understanding of myself. As you learn NLP you learn about how the brain processes information. In learning that, you learn a bit about why you think the way you think and where your own behavioral patterns come from. During the process, I came to recognize some of the programming I had inherited from not only my mom, but from teachers, culture, people in my generation, and society. Learning these things about myself gave me a clear understanding of what had been stopping me from reaching the fullest and most authentic expression of myself AND it gave me the tools to UN-learn many of these programs and install new and more empowering programming that let me be me. I found that in my most authentic expression, patients gravitated toward me. My practice grew exponentially because I practiced in a way consistent with my values (and no one else's).
- It gave me tools for healing my past. When you start learning where your programming comes from it often brings up old wounds and emotions. In NLP we say the conscious mind will repress emotion and memories as a protective mechanism and will bring them back up when you are ready to resolve them. For most of the people I train, the NLP training is exactly the place where they become ready to resolve some of those old wounds. However, what's different about this work is that because NLP is about the process and not content, you don't have to relive past pain in order to heal it. So, during (and after) learning these tools the healing began, and continued. The more I practiced the tools, the more I healed. Now, it's easier to recognize the old programming without the heavy emotion attached to it. And when emotion does come up, I have the resources and tools to heal it right away. Because I was able to recognize and heal my own past, I also became keen to others' trauma responses. As a physician, that allowed me to respond in a more trauma-informed and compassionate way be with my patients.
- It gave me a new language for myself and others. This may sound strange, however, the language we speak is limited by our past. When we are limited by our past it stunts our personal growth. Up-leveling ourselves means expanding our flexibility of thinking, speaking and behavior. Part of that is learning a new and more empowering language to use not only with ourselves (meaning our self-talk), but also learning a new expression to be with, inspire, influence, and empower others. After learning this new language, it became easier to navigate past the resistance of my patients (and later my coaching clients) to help them embrace change (whether it be healthy lifestyle or life transitions) in a more empowered way.
- It helped me to get a sense of my own values. After doing my master practitioner training in NLP I really got a deeper sense of my programs and what's important to me. Having that awareness also gave me a deeper listening for others' values. I could listen to my patients and hear beyond their complaints to what their true desire was and reframe it back to them. My patients felt seen and heard and ultimately that led them to not only be compliant but to return and refer their friends and family.
Ultimately, with these tools, I was able to align my values with my actions and that is what led me to leave medicine. Not everyone makes that choice, but for me I was called to a bigger purpose which is to teach these tools to others which is why I now run my own NLP certifications and Hypnosis trainings. Many of the physicians I have had the pleasure of coaching and training have shared the benefits of this work, and it seems only logical that if I (and they) have benefited from learning the tools of NLP, perhaps I could further positively impact our field by continuing to teach this work to physicians who see their value. What other profession can you see having the NLP training could benefit?
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