Thursday, November 17, 2011

The value of NLP when serious illness strikes

By Gareth Molam

In cases of serious illness, a person's ability to cope and hopefully overcome the illness depends on more than just their physical fitness. Before, during and after treatment, a person's state of mind will have a profound impact on the capacity of their body to deal with the situation. Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) techniques are based on a model of the mind and body as an open system characterised by a continuous feedback loop. As such, it can help to provide holistic solutions for dealing with serious illness.

Physical wellbeing both prior to and following heart attacks can be improved with psychological interventions, research has shown, and recovery times are also speeded up in cases where patients receive counselling before surgery. Psychotherapy in the aftermath of a major procedure can also reduce recovery times and minimise the chance of readmission.

A range of psychological treatments have been used to help cancer patients. Evidence indicates that targeted therapy can reduce distress and depression, making it easier to manage what is often a punishing treatment process.

It's completely normal to experience intense emotions upon the discovery of a serious illness, but it's important to move beyond feelings of hopelessness if healing is going to be as successful as possible. In order to develop effective coping strategies, sources of emotional strength need to be located and tapped into. NLP can be immensely helpful in this respect.

Once an illness has been successfully treated, NLP can continue to help people deal with whatever new challenges may arise as a result of long-term lifestyle changes such as retirement or partial disability. Serious illnesses can leave people feeling like their identity has undergone a fundamental shift, but this doesn't necessarily have to be a negative thing. Many people who have survived serious illnesses say that they have emerged with a clearer idea of what is important to them, and ultimately feel their life has more purpose.

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