One of the interesting challenges NLP faces is that some of its detractors seem to want to accept that some of NLP's presuppositions are statements of fact or demonstrable truth.
In so many cases this is, quite simply, not the case.
Take for example the idea of Eye-Accessing-Cues; the notion that looking-up to the right means that someone is visually remembering something; down to the left means they are 'into their feelings'...
This oft-quoted model of the NLP Representational System is not really a truth and is indeed far from a 'fact'.
What has been observed, as long ago as the 1940's, is that when people think (internally process) their eyes move. This is demonstrable and understandable.
In NLP the generalisation of LEFT = Create and RIGHT = REMEMBER and so on, gained traction and popularity through the 1970's.
It is, today, an interesting idea which has a 'degree of truth' about it but remains as a model around which to base observations/calibrations of individual responses to questions which demand some degree of internal processing. It is, perhaps, better considered as a reminder to 'pay attention to the non-verbal communication patterns' of another.
To seek to prove or disprove the models actually validity (that eyes do move consistently to specific points), maybe interesting, but does not disprove NLP.
In a similar way looking at some of the 'behave as if frames' NLP promotes through a number of presuppositions, as statements of fundamental truth also misses the point.
To make the statement : "If one person can achieve a thing then potentially any one can" and see that as a statement of a truth NLP Practitioners promote misses the whole point about the discussion that such .a presupposition could promote.
To suggest that because Edmund Hillary and his pals climbed Everest means that I can do it is a vast over-simplification of what this presupposition is about. To me it forces me to want to ask questions about HOW HIllary did what he did; WHAT motivated him; WHAT training/experiences did he undertake?
It is not about undermining the achievement, but about celebrating possibilities.
If simply assume that Hillary achieved what he did because is 'more special than me', then I devalue both of us and our potential.
Imagine you were to give an empowering and inspirational talk and someone says you made that look easy. Are they recognising the work, effort and (possibly) natural communication skills developed over time or are they dismissing your efforts because you're 'good at it'.
The Behave As If Frame about each of the presuppositions is not about blindly accepting human potential; but honouring, exploring and learning from the achievements of other human beings.
Of course NLP skeptics will now simply throw back the challenge that if these 'models' are not 'claims' but just questions about possibilities, how can NLP be 'tested'?
However the same could be asked of other therapeutic approaches...
How can we test the validity of Carl Rogers' Core Conditions in counselling?
Clearly, lots more to think about...
Dr Alan Jones PhD, FRSA