NLP - The Dark Side
As mentioned in an earlier article on Mind Control, talk to people about NLP long enough and you'll soon hear comments about the so called 'negative' aspects of 'mind manipulation' and 'mind control'. Such comments usually tinged with Orwellian inspired conspiracy do produce fear on some and reservation in others. The fun Jedi-Mind Tricks of the NLP Practitioner could soon be seen as the Sith tactics of the Dark Side of The Force (to steal a Star Wars analogy).
This is certainly the stuff of fear and as we know "fear is the mind killer"
(he says stealing with Sci-Fy nerdiness from Frank Herbert's Dune)
Since NLP is about aspects of human behaviour and beliefs and attitudes shape subjective experience it follows that a student of NLP can shape the behaviours, beliefs, attitudes and experiences of others.
This of course is true!
It's called Therapy and/or Coaching!
The fear bit comes from three key sources in my opinion...
1) People can be afraid of their own dark side, their shadow - so dealing with it can be a fear-producing thing
2) People are fearful of those who they perceive and being able to reveal their shadow, to see through the mask of persona
Both of these fears could be seen to stem from those who are either hiding something from themselves or who are seeking to hide something from others.
How many times have you heard someone say that they can recognise and value the individual who is 'secure in their own skin'?
So the question becomes would such a person have any fear of being exposed to themselves or others?
What about the third source of this fear?
Well surely that is in the possibility of being 'influenced' or 'manipulated' by the Machiavellian or Svengali-an abilities of a Master of the Mind.
I was talking to a trusted colleague and fellow trainer recently who had been in a session led by someone who claimed NLP qualifications and, indeed, 'mastery'. This session, which itself was aimed at trainers and according to my colleague was 'filled with clumsy rapport building and obvious anchoring' which became at first laughable and eventually annoying.
Clearly this particular trainer was exhibiting a deep level of in-congruence in their own behaviour. They were aware of process but like that learner driver had not moved from conscious competence (or perhaps incompetence) to unconscious competence.
It is such mis-appplication of process and mis-undertsanding of technique that can lead some to dismiss NLP as Jedi Mind Tricks (at best) to dangerous Mind Manipulation (Sith Inspired) at worst.
NLP Mastery is about developing unconscious competence in terms of technique whilst having the ability to review interpersonal and intra-personal communication with conscious competence.
(Is this a description of mindful learning?)
Just as in the Star Wars Movie 'The Dark Side' attracts followers because of its promise of power, so to do some NLP Trainers and Training Courses who promise mastery over others; covert influence and persuasion...
In terms of buyer-beware, instant enlightenment of any flavour or colour is best considered as a dubious if not false promise.
NLP is about mind control - it is about personal mind control and personal development.
Dr Alan Jones PhD, FRSA