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A qualitative investigation into the experience of neuro-linguistic programming certification training among Japanese career consultants



Although the application of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) has been reported worldwide, its scientific investigation is limited. Career consulting is one of the fields where NLP has been increasingly applied in Japan. This study explored why career consultants undertake NLP training, and what they find most useful to their practice. Thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with six career consultants, who had attended NLP certification training, revealed that they wanted to learn action-oriented NLP-based coaching skills in addition to their active-listening-based counselling skills. NLP provided frameworks to lead their clients' thoughts efficiently, deepened their understanding of the human mind, and developed their attitude to understand others and themselves. The NLP skills found most useful were reframing and the Disney strategy.
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A qualitative investigation into the experience of neuro-linguistic programming
certification training among Japanese career consultants
Kotera, Y. (2018). A qualitative investigation into the experience of neuro-linguistic
programming certification training among Japanese career consultants. British Journal of
Guidance and Counselling, 46(1), 39-50. doi: 10.1080/03069885.2017.1320781
Yasuhiro Kotera:, University of Derby, UK
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A qualitative investigation into the experience of neuro-linguistic programming
certification training among Japanese career consultants
Although the application of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) has been reported
worldwide, its scientific investigation is limited. Career consulting is one of the fields
where NLP has been increasingly applied in Japan. This study explored why career
consultants undertake NLP training, and what they find most useful to their practice.
Thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with six career consultants, who had
attended NLP certification training, revealed that they wanted to learn action-oriented
NLP-based coaching skills in addition to their active-listening-based counselling skills.
NLP provided frameworks to lead their clients’ thoughts efficiently, deepened their
understanding of the human mind, and developed their attitude to understand others and
themselves. The NLP skills found most useful were reframing and the Disney strategy.
Keywords: neuro-linguistic programming, career consulting, the Disney strategy,
reframing, Japan
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NLP, a ‘model of human experience and communication’ (Bandler & Grinder, 1979, pp. i-ii), is
an applied psychology to analyse and reproduce excellent behaviours. It was developed by
Richard Bandler and John Grinder at University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1970 (Pishghadam
& Shayesteh, 2014; Wake & Leighton, 2014), through closely examining communication
patterns of psychotherapists such as Milton Erickson, Virginia Satir, and Frederick Perls (Tosey
& Mathison, 2009). NLP is an approach based on creating a model that maps ‘tacit knowledge
into explicit knowledge’ (Bostic St. Clair & Grinder, 2001, p. 271) to study how excellent
individuals and organisations create their outstanding results (O'Connor & McDermott, 2001).
NLP explores the structure of subjective experience by considering the subject's neurological
processes (neuro), language (linguistic), and learned strategies (programming) (Dilts, Grinder,
Bandler & DeLozier, 1980). Since its introduction, the use of NLP has spread rapidly worldwide
(Karunaratne, 2010), and in a wide range of fields including psychotherapy, business, and
education (Tosey, Mathison & Michelli, 2005; Zastrow, Dotson & Koch, 1987). This trend is no
different in Japan. Since 2003, one of the original NLP organisations, the NLP Connection,
certified 1,725 practitioners, 1,321 master practitioners, 373 trainer associates, and 40 trainers
(C. Hall, personal communication, March 15, 2016), illustrating the growing popularity of NLP
in Japan.
Despite its wide applications, however, scientific research in NLP is still underdeveloped
(Dowlen, 1996; Pishghadam & Shayesteh, 2014; Thompson, Courtney & Dickson, 2002; Wake,
2011). A literature search using EBSCO yielded just 535 academic journal articles with the
words 'neuro-linguistic programming'; by comparison 'mindfulness' yielded 32,235 articles at the
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time of the study. Indeed, Witkowski (2010) noted in his criticism of NLP that while its founders
conducted field observations, experiments, and theoretical deductions, they ignored empirical
verification, critical to social psychology (Cialdini, 1980; Mortensen & Cialdini, 2010). This
weakness was echoed by Sturt et al. (2012) who in their systematic review reported that there
was insufficient evidence of the significant effects of NLP interventions on health-related
outcomes because of the relatively poor quality and limited quantity of research. Thus,
unsurprisingly, research in NLP training is limited. EBSCO searches using the words ‘NLP
training’ and ‘neuro-linguistic programming training’ yielded 69 academic articles. Most of
those articles, however, were about non-NLP training (e.g. mental health training) using NLP
skills. The few studies that have examined the effects of NLP training have focused on: mental
health (Sahebalzamani, 2014), self-efficacy and problem solving (Zamini, Nasab, & Hashemi,
2009), and communication skills (Günenç, Devebakan, & Doğan, 2015). None of these studies
explored the experience of NLP training.
Career Consulting in Japan
Career consulting is a relatively new concept in Japanese society. Traditionally, Japanese
companies had a lifetime employment approach, where employees worked at the same company
until retirement. However, toward the end of the twentieth century, after the economic bubble
burst, Japan has been characterised by significant socioeconomic changes, as well as
diversification of individual value systems and career paths. The Japanese Ministry of Health,
Labour and Welfare (MHLW) has pointed out that the existence of external and internal changes.
The external changes include the rapid development of technology, which changes what is
required for the same job more quickly and frequently, and the influence of Western employment
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trends, whereby employees change their jobs more frequently. Gender equality is another notable
external change (e.g. the Equal Employment Opportunity Law in 1986, and the Child-Care
Leave Law in 1992). There have been more jobs for women; their working career has been
getting longer; and their life-work patterns have become diversified. The internal changes relate
to a change in workers' values, from being an obedient company employee to creating one's own
career independently (MHLW, 2007a). Companies started to review their model of traditional
lifetime employment, and individuals started to think of their own career, rather than rely on the
company's decisions (Watanabe-Muraoka, Michitani, & Okada, 2009). For example, one of the
largest consumer electronics firms in Japan, Matsushita Electric Industrial, Co. Ltd., changed the
traditional lifetime employment in order to adapt to the needs of more diversified workforce
(Senmatsu, 1999). Such shift from 'career in organisations' to 'career out of organisations'
requires individuals to be better equipped with competencies in career development (Watanabe-
Muraoka, 2007). The MHLW (2007b) survey reported that about 70% of full-time employees
would like to plan their career development on their own.
Because of these changes, workers have increasingly recognised the need for support in
their career development (Watanabe-Muraoka, Michitani, & Okada, 2009). Career education in
Japan is implemented from elementary to high school (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports,
Science and Technology, 2004), and career development support (e.g. internship, career
guidance, individual counselling) has been introduced in more than 70% of the universities
(Japan Student Services Organization, 2006). A qualification for a career consultant was
developed in 2002, and the number of qualified career consultants has been increasing in recent
years (2006: 43,000; 2008: 53,000; 2012: 81,000; Asano, 2013). In April 2016, this qualification
was recognised nationally, and accredited by the government. These movements illustrate that
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the importance of career consulting in Japanese society will continue to increase in the future.
Career consulting is defined as a consultation and support to help clients design their
professional life such that it is appropriate for them, and undertake job training to develop their
professional competencies effectively (MHLW, 2007a). Thus, career consultants provide
information, and offer psychological support to help clients achieve their ideal professional life
(MHLW, 2007a). In the field of career guidance, personal responsibility for one's own career has
been increasing recently. This has stimulated the need for more individual-oriented approaches
such as life-design approaches (Savickas, 2010) or integral approaches (Zunker, 2002). 'Private
logic' (Savickas, 2009) - how an individual constructs meaning and identity in their career
subjectively - is central to today's career guidance. Therefore the focus tends to be on narrative
truth rather than factual truth (West, 1996). For example in Japan, the job-card system was
introduced by the government in 2008; it is a training programme to work through a set of
worksheets to help individuals make their own career plans by deepening an understanding of
themselves (MHLW, 2015). NLP also explores subjective experience, hence it could provide
another avenue for development of the field of career guidance (Reid & West, 2011).
As certified NLP trainers, my colleagues and I have noticed that there have been more
and more career consultants attending NLP certification training in recent years. These
participants have often reported that this training was extremely helpful to their practice.
However, to date no study has explored the experience of NLP training among Japanese career
The study entailed thematic analysis of in-depth qualitative semi-structured interviews conducted
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with six qualified career consultants who had attended NLP Practitioner and Master Practitioner
certification training (NLP-PCT and NLP-MPCT) at least one year prior to the start of the
research (five women and one man; age range was 31-52 years, M = 44.8, SD = 7.9). On
average, the participants had completed NLP-MPCT 2.8 years prior to data collection. To be a
qualified career consultant in Japan, you need to complete 140 hours of training or its equivalent
work experience, and a written exam, which are approved by the MHLW. The 140-hour training
includes the social impact of career consulting, basic knowledge on how to conduct career
consulting, required skills, and advocacy of career consulting. The basic knowledge includes
career-development theories, counselling theories, mental health, labour market and laws; and
required skills cover counselling skills such as rapport-building and active-listening (Asano,
2013). The six career consultants all had had at least four years of career consulting practice
experience before undertaking the training. NLP-PCTs train the participants to internalise and
integrate NLP in their thinking and behaviour, and NLP-MPCTs primarily focus on the influence
they have on others (Hall, 1983).
Both the NLP-PCT and NLP-MPCT training are usually provided for 10 days over two to three
months. NLP-PCT aims to enable participants to ‘demonstrate a fundamental ability to utilise the
basic concepts, skills, processes/techniques and patterns of NLP’ (Hall, 1983) by covering eight
areas of NLP: representational systems, rapport-building, anchoring, language patterns, outcome
framing, sub-modalities, strategies, and trance. After completing the NLP-PCT, participants are
allowed to move onto an NLP-MPCT training where they develop those skills further to conduct
purposeful multi-level communication and customised interventions, build and utilise states of
consciousness and physiology, and make conscious shifts in perspective, state and behaviour
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(Hall, 1983). All the skills taught in the training entail theoretical understanding, demonstration
by the trainer, and practice. In the course of the training, participants are required to produce five
reports for reflection (Yamazaki, 2004, 2005).
In order to gather rich and varied data through in-depth semi-structured interviews, a small
number of participants were chosen. Three NLP trainers in Japan were requested to approach
experienced and qualified career consultants, who had completed certification training. Of the 10
career consultants who were approached, six agreed to have an hour-long interview on Skype. I
conducted these interviews and introduced myself as a psychology researcher to limit biased
responses. Two of the consultants mainly worked at job centres, four at universities, and all
worked partly at companies, where the majority of consultants are employed (Asano, 2013).
Another reason for limiting the sample size to six was that a point of saturation was reached after
the six interviews were conducted, and it was felt that interviewing more participants would not
necessarily add anything to the overall story (Strauss & Corbin, 1998).
Procedure and analysis
The Psychology Ethics Committee at the University of Derby approved this study. The questions
in the interview schedule were based on the Helpful Aspects of Therapy Questionnaire (HAT:
Llewelyn, 1988), which has been employed in numerous studies that examine the efficacy of
training (e.g. Smith, 2011). The HAT built upon the questionnaire used by Bloch, Reibstein,
Crouch, Holroyd, and Themen (1979) to measure therapeutic factors in group psychotherapy
(Llewelyn, 1988). These questions were particularly useful for this study as they were simple and
information could be solicited less intrusively. Also they allowed the interviewees to focus on
the helpful events in the process of change (Elliott, 2012).
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The interviews were conducted via Skype, and transcribed. The advantages of online
interviews are that they are economical, geographically flexible, and user-friendly, while the
challenges are potential time-lag or other technical problems, which could break the flow of
conversation, and ethical issues (Saumure & Given, 2010). Each interview explored topics such
as reasons why they decided to undertake NLP training, and whether and how NLP skills and
concepts were useful to their practice. During the interviews, a meta-model, an NLP verbal
model, was utilised to explore the deep structure of experience and to avoid misunderstandings
between the interviewer and the interviewees (Bandler & Grinder, 1979).
To analyse the data, I subjected the data to thematic analysis because the analysis was not
limited to any existing theoretical framework, and thematic analysis was appropriate for
exploring this underdeveloped area (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Thematic analysis segments,
categorises, summarises, and reconstructs the data in order to capture the important concepts and
patterns of experience within the data. Thematic analysis produces a description of patterns of
experience, and the common themes within them (Givens, 2008). The procedure described by
Braun and Clarke (2006) was followed. In order to create an investigator triangulation for
transparency and coherency (Hales, 2010), a psychology researcher who was familiar with NLP
training and a non-NLP-trained researcher reviewed the data extracts of each theme identified by
me, and they reached an agreement on all themes. They also examined the translation from
Japanese to English.
The steps in the thematic analysis were as follows:
1. Familiarisation
The interviews were transcribed to permit initial interpretation, which is key to qualitative data
analysis (Bird, 2005). After transcribing, all the scripts were read and re-read in order to search
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for patterns (Braun & Clarke, 2006).
2. Generating initial codes
Coding was then conducted to help organise the data into meaningful groups (Tuckett, 2005),
and as many codes as possible were created (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Twenty-four initial codes
were produced: understanding the human mind, reframing, positive thinking, sponsorship,
pacing, coaching ability, the Disney strategy, goal setting, the NLP Parts Party, resources, people
are always doing their best, specificity, position change, self-control, SCORE model,
neurological model, million model, we all have different maps, anchoring, sub-modality,
timeline, positive feedback, re-imprinting, and flexibility.
3. Searching for themes
Next, the codes were sorted into potential themes. The mind-map method was employed with the
purpose of viewing all the codes at the same time, and moving and connecting them freely
(Braun & Clarke, 2006). The 24 codes were grouped into three themes: Understanding the
human mind, flexibility and specificity.
4. Reviewing themes
Themes were refined by reviewing all the coded data extracts and themes for coherency and
accuracy (Braun & Clarke, 2006).
The data were organised into three types, addressing: (a) The purpose of undertaking the
NLP training, (b) helpful NLP skills and (c) what it was about NLP they found most useful to
their practice. The theme ‘Specificity’ was connected to the purpose of undertaking the NLP
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training, ‘Flexibility’ was changed into ‘Reframing’ in order to describe the helpful NLP skills
more specifically and ‘Understanding the human mind’ was connected to what it was about NLP
that they found most useful.
5. Defining and naming themes
Next, the essence and the range of data captured by each theme were identified (Braun & Clarke,
2006). The data extracts of ‘Specificity’ were reviewed, and it was found that they referred to the
need for coaching skills. The participants perceived the active-listening-based counselling skills
they had learned during their career consulting training were not sufficient to conduct effective
sessions. This perception had made them look for additional skills to enhance their practice. The
data extracts of ‘Reframing’ were reviewed, and it was found that there was another specific
NLP skill that the participants mentioned as particularly useful: the Disney strategy. The data
extracts of ‘Understanding the human mind’ were reviewed, and it was found that not only
information-based understanding, but also an attitude to understand people was a key aspect for
them. This resonates with the participants’ emphasis on another NLP concept, namely
Theme 1: The purpose of undertaking the NLP training.
All of the participants reported that they had undertaken the NLP training in order to enhance
their career consulting practice. They desired to learn additional skills other than their active-
listening-based counselling skills, which they had already learned in their career consulting
training. Although they acknowledged the importance of active-listening skills, they felt that
active-listening skills alone were not enough to conduct effective career consulting sessions.
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Participant 1: I’ve experienced many cases where active-listening alone didn’t produce
good outcomes. .... In my experience, it is very important to suggest something to clients.
Participant 2: It is important to actively ask them questions to give the session a sense of
direction. In counselling they say ‘the answer is within you’, and I agree with that, but at
the same time, it would be great to have a specific framework to think through. NLP
provides such a framework.
Participant 6: Acceptance, active-listening, and empathy are the basics of good listening
in career consulting, but these, at the same time, are the limitation of current career
consulting. ... You need some coaching skills additionally. By the time clients see you in
a session, they already have thought as much as they can within their thinking framework.
NLP provides me with coaching skills, which help my clients go beyond their thinking
A number of participants discussed coaching and counselling skills. Participant 6 mentioned
‘coaching skills’. Coaching skills were compared with counselling skills: while counselling was
described as 'listen’ to clients, coaching was described as 'actively ask them questions'.
Participants referred to the difference between those skills in relation to specific frameworks that
they used to help clients think about the options available to them.
Participant 3: Often my clients have time limits in their job-hunting, and being stuck is
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detrimental. NLP, however, made me see my approach from different perspectives, and
gave me a variety of different approaches to deal with diverse problems.
Participant 5: With counselling skills alone, it takes a long time to help clients get good
results. … Counselling skills alone may work for clients who are eager to get a job. ... But
my clients are NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) and hikikomoris
(acute social withdrawals). Such an approach doesn’t work for them. ... If I wait until they
say or do something spontaneously, it will take forever.
These comments brought up an important issue for career consulting: time limit. As illustrated
above, career consultants were aware of the need for their clients to get support and advice
Theme 2: Helpful NLP skills
Participants found two key NLP skills particularly useful to their practice: Reframing and
the Disney strategy.
Reframing is a skill to change the meaning of an experience by changing the conceptual
viewpoint of a situation into another (O'Connor & McDermott, 2001; Watzlawick, Weakland, &
Fisch, 1974). The participants reported it was the most useful NLP skill to their practice.
Participant 2: Many of my clients have rigid internal rules such as ‘I’m not worthy
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because I don’t have this qualification’ or ‘A successful applicant should be like this’.
These rules stop them from thinking about their ideal outcomes. ... One of the NLP
reframing skills, as-if frame, is very useful. I ask them to think about their future, as if
those rules don’t exist. … Reframing is also useful for myself.
Participant 4: Some of my clients are hikikomoris. They only see what they don’t have.
Reframing helps them start thinking about what they do have instead.
These comments related to reframing of their personal characteristics as positive; contents
reframing (Bandler & Grinder, 1983).
Participant 5: Sometimes your career may seem stuck. But NLP’s view of ‘everything is
a resource’ enables my clients to think about their career hopefully instead of
Participant 3: In my experience, often what stops clients moving forward is fear of
encountering something negative. In such situations, it is helpful to think from different
perspectives. I cognitively knew that all the resources are useful in some context (one of
the NLP presuppositions), but NLP gives me ways to feel it.
Participant 6: One of my clients had been rejected several times. She had started to fear
job interviews, and see interviewers as her enemies. We used reframing to help her see
interviews as a place where interviewers search for their work partners, instead of judge
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her critically. After this session, she had a job interview and came back to me saying
that she had a good conversation rather than an interview, which is a good sign.
These comments implied that context reframing, which considers a context where one presently,
negatively perceived quality would be positive (Bandler & Grinder, 1983), is also useful in
career consulting.
The Disney strategy
The Disney strategy was developed by an NLP trainer, Robert Dilts, from his analysis of Walt
Disney’s thinking strategy (Dilts, 1998). When creating a plan, Disney's team explored it from a
number of different perceptual positions: the dreamer, the realist and the spoiler. Dilts made this
into an NLP skill, naming it ‘the Disney strategy’. The career consultants also found this skill
useful. They used this skill to assist their clients in creating plans for their career and job-
Participant 2: My clients are mainly high school or university students. I found the
dreamer position particularly useful, where they think about their goal as if anything is
possible. ... This exercise helps them imagine what might be possible.
Participant 4: My clients are often in a younger generation. They are just excited to hear
the name ‘Disney’. ... The balance of these three positions is crucially important, and
students (Participant 4's clients) learn so through practising this skill.
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Theme 3: NLP gives people an attitude of understanding
The consultants found the most useful aspect of NLP to their practice was that it helped
them see people, including themselves, with an attitude of understanding.
Participant 1: NLP helped me deepen my understanding of people’s minds. ... This
understanding made me stop my automatic self-criticism.
Participant 3: NLP gave me a variety of skills to get out from that (‘stuckness’), and
understanding of why we get stuck, and how we can move forward. … I began to be able
to think how I feel what I feel, which helps me find solutions to my problems. … This
stops my automatic self-criticism. Now I’m able to think what’s causing my problems
without criticising myself. … In my practice, I use counselling skills ... but I didn’t know
why these skills were important, or how they worked.... NLP enables me to think (instead
of react) especially when these skills are not working for my client, and alter my
behaviour accordingly.
Participant 5: I was able to understand why sponsorship was necessary to have great
sessions. I deepened my understanding of the human mind a lot.
These statements described not only that they have gained more understanding about the human
mind, but also that they have developed the attitude to understand their clients and themselves. In
NLP this is called sponsorship, which was also mentioned by the participants.
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Participant 4: In job-hunting, students’ minds are vulnerable. They hear their peers got a
job, while they failed. They start to doubt themselves. But sponsorship messages help
them regain their morale and get mentally ready for their next job application.
Participant 5: It is imperative to have sponsorship when I see my clients. … Sponsorship
is not only a must when I see my clients, but also when I see any relationship, including
one with myself.
These statements depicted the importance of maintaining a belief in oneself.
Three themes emerged from the analysis of interviews with six qualified career consultants after
completion of twenty-day NLP certification training. They were the purpose of undertaking the
NLP training (Theme 1), helpful NLP skills (Theme 2), and NLP gives people an attitude of
understanding (Theme 3). Each theme will be discussed in turn.
Theme 1 highlighted the career consultants’ learning needs for additional skills to their
active-listening-based counselling skills, which they had already learned in their career
consulting training. Active-listening is ‘a state of mind that involves paying full and careful
attention to the other person, avoiding premature judgment, reflecting understanding, clarifying
information, summarising, and sharing’ (Michael & Hoppe, 2006, p. 6), and based on
unconditional respect for a client, and a belief in the client’s abilities to grow, achieve, and know
themselves (Hokkaido Government, 2002). In the skills pyramid model of career counselling
(Ali & Graham, 1996), active-listening skills are the foundation, which understanding and
interpretative skills are built upon. Active-listening skills are especially important in
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contemporary career guidance where the life-design approaches are needed, as opposed to
vocational matching paradigms of the early-twentieth century and development paradigms of the
mid-twentieth century (Savickas, 2010). For example, attentive-listening is central in narrative
approaches where career consultants attend to clients' subjective experiences and meaning-
making (Reid & West, 2011) by just ‘being’ in the situation (Hansen & Amundson, 2009).
Whilst acknowledging the importance of active-listening, the consultants emphasised the need
for a more active approach: coaching.
Coaching is 'a collaborative process of facilitating a client's ability to self-direct learning
and growth' (Stober & Parry, 2005, p. 14). Many of the assumptions of current coaching practice
have come from NLP (McDermott & Jago, 2006), and NLP-based approach has been frequently
applied in the growing coaching industry (Association for Coaching, 2006). As the consultants
comparatively described coaching and counselling, one of the main differences between these
two sets of skills is that coaching often employs more results- and action-focused skills, thus the
pace is faster than counselling (Bluckert, 2005). This was expressed by the analogy that
counsellors work by sitting down, whereas coaches work by standing up (Nevis, 1987).
The need for coaching skills illustrated a contextual challenge of career consulting. While
counselling often takes place for a long time (Albee, 1992), clients in career consulting seek to
be employed as soon as possible. Although brief counselling has been applied in the field of
career guidance in the last few decades, the timeframe for this counselling, one to twenty
sessions (Dryden & Feltham, 1992), can be still long for career clients. In addition, this
counselling is not recommended for a working-class population (Dryden & Feltham, 1992),
which is often seen in career consulting. Based on the participants' comments, the current career
consulting programmes may benefit with the inclusion of NLP-based coaching skills for
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producing more capable career consultants.
Theme 2 identified two specific NLP skills that the consultants found most useful to their
practice: reframing and the Disney strategy. The consultants use two types of reframing to
support their clients: contents reframing and context reframing. Contents reframing enables their
clients to perceive their personal characteristics positively. It is understandable the consultants
found it useful, because the meaning clients bring to their career behaviour and decisions is
crucial in career guidance (Savickas, 2005). In narrative approaches, for example, reviewing
their life context and identity to make sense of their experiences is key (McMahon & Watson,
2013). Context reframing helps clients take a different perspective to their context. A similar
process can be seen in SocioDynamic Counselling (Peavy, 2008), where selves are re-organised
in relation to the contexts. In sum, the consultants’ uses of reframing were motivational (Valach
& Young, 2002) and meaningful for helping clients find their narrative truth (Reid & West,
2011). That may explain why they found reframing particularly useful.
The consultants reported the Disney strategy was also most useful to their practice. In the
Disney strategy, clients create the three positions in the room, and physically move to each
position, in order to access one mode of thinking at a time for five to ten minutes. In the dreamer
position, the clients hold their head and eyes up and dream as if nothing was impossible. Next,
the clients move to the realist position, and turn their face and eyes straight ahead, in order to
make plans by considering the steps needed to achieve their dreams. Lastly, in the spoiler
position, the clients keep their eyes down and tilt their head down, and look for any gaps in their
dreams and plans, and between them. If the clients think their plans are unrealistic, they may
return to the realist position to revise the plans so they are more realistic (Dilts, 1996). Using this
skill, the consultants are able to help clients dream, plan, and review their career.
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In Theme 3 participants described the way in which training helped them see people,
including themselves, as the most useful aspect of NLP to their practice. This attitude, called
sponsorship in NLP, relates to awakening potential within others by committing to support
something that is already within a person or group (Dilts & DeLozier, 2000). This concept is
usually taught at the end of an NLP-PCT, in order to emphasise that any skill would not be
effective without a therapist intending to have sponsorship for their clients (Dilts, 2003). Clients
in career consulting apply for jobs, and receive the results. Sometimes they receive good results;
other times not. It is hard for clients to maintain confidence in, and hope for their success after
several rejections. Therefore, a career consultant who sees their unique potential, and shows
commitment to their growth, can support clients significantly. In modern career guidance,
support at the identity level has been highlighted, as identity is considered as a meaning-making
anchor (Oyserman, Elmore, & Smith, 2012), and informs one's career choices (McMahon &
Watson, 2013). This may explain why sponsorship bears so much importance in their practice.
Additionally, participants were specifically asked if there is anything in the training that
was not useful. Five of the participants reported nothing; one participant reported a problem-
solving model, TOTE (test, operate, test, exit; Miller, Galanter, & Pribram, 2013), did not
provide any specific intervention procedure.
Although the job-card system has been introduced in Japanese career guidance,
interviews with 16 companies reported the system has not been successful (Japan Institute for
Labour Policy and Training [JILPT], 2013). Given Japanese people’s collectivism, strengthening
a sense of self in clients may be useful (Banda, 2014). For example, an Adlerian psychological
approach could help (JILPT, 2016). However, what differentiates NLP from such approach is
that NLP is a methodology; NLP instructs the procedure of the skills specifically, in order for
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clients to experience their effects.
As the need for career support increases in Japan, its quality also needs to improve. This study
explored why numerous career consultants undertake NLP training, and aspects of NLP they find
useful to their practice. The findings suggest that career consultants felt that they could enhance
their practice by learning additional skills over and above the active-listening-based counselling
skills learned in their initial career consulting training. That was the primary reason why they had
decided to undertake NLP training. In the perspective of the career consultants in this study,
career consulting clients in Japan are pressured by a limited amount of time available, compared
with counselling. Therefore, career consultants desired to learn coaching skills to lead their
clients efficiently to be mentally ready for the next job application. NLP training provided such
Among the skills learned in the NLP training, career consultants found reframing and the
Disney strategy most useful. Reframing provides clients with different perspective on events, so
that clients can feel positive toward their next job application. The Disney strategy helps clients
create plans for their job-hunting. Career consultants reported NLP training deepened their
understanding of the human mind, and developed their attitude to understand their clients and
themselves more compassionately. This attitude is called sponsorship in NLP terms; commitment
to bring out clients’ potential to the fullest. It was reasonable that commitment such as
sponsorship was evaluated as very helpful in career consulting practice, since clients often faced
rejection from the jobs they have applied for.
These findings highlighted a number of areas that will be important for the developer of
career consulting training to consider for its future enhancement. For example, NLP-based
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coaching skills may be recommended as part of the training for career consultants.
There were three main limitations to this study. One was its small size, so the findings
might lack generalisability. Though the in-depth investigation was possible because of its scale,
further investigation with more participants would be valuable. Secondly, all the consultants who
participated have invested in NLP, thus their perception might have been biased in favour of
NLP. Thirdly, the findings are based on consultants’ experiences of NLP, and not that of the
clients. Exploring clients’ experiences and perceptions empirically would be worth considering
in future studies.
Page 23 of 29
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... As with any theory there are limitations. The most notable is the need for further research in the form of quantitative and qualitative data to ascertain the thoughts and feelings of individuals embarking on new physical activity regimes and how their lives have altered in the form of having new interactions with the world and what impact this has had on their mental health (Kotera, 2018). It is also important to note that while our paper aimed to expand upon the theory of why physical activity may be beneficial for mental health, it must be made clear that it does 14 not attempt to suggest physical activity is a panacea that can address all mental health issues or indeed 'cure' mental health issues. ...
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Physical activity has consistently shown to improve mental health. However, the mechanism of how those activities help mental health remains debated. Attempts have been made to explain that physical activity induces numerous molecular and structural changes in the brain that markedly improve symptoms associated with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety disorders. While studies report a generalised relationship between physical activity and mental health, which types of exercise are more advantageous than others, remains to be evaluated. Moreover, elite athletes are often considered a vulnerable group for mental health issues and targeted in this type of research, while physical activity benefits many others. This paper aims to elucidate the issue through an ecological view of cognitive science. A view that stipulates that the brain is inextricably linked via the body to its environment in an agent-environment relationship for which it has evolved for. Such a relationship makes some aspects of the environment more salient than others based on what it affords the agent. We argue that the biological adaptations associated with physical activity only tell half the story, and that the improvement of mental health stems from what these biological adaptations offer the agent by opening them to a greater number of meaningful affordances.
... Further, study homogeneity was largely absent, as studies varied in terms of the sample, geographical location, time-length of the intervention, and time-intensity of the intervention. Additionally, the majority of participants across the selected studies were self-selected [65], and therefore, may be more likely to show an interest in learning skills or to continue practicing skills following the termination of the intervention. This may bias findings post-intervention and at follow-up compared with individuals that are required to take part in the intervention as compulsory training and may incur higher attrition rates or criticisms of the intervention. ...
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secondary traumatic stress associated with, their job. Self-compassion is associated with positive wellbeing outcomes across a variety of workforce populations and is potentially an important skill for healthcare workers, as it offers a way of meeting one’s own distress with kindness and understanding. This systematic review aimed to synthesise and evaluate the utility of self-compassion interventions in reducing secondary traumatic stress in a healthcare worker population. Eligible articles were identified from research databases, including ProQuest, PsycINFO, ScienceDirect, Google Scholar, and EBSCO. The quality of non-randomised and ran-domised trials was assessed using the Newcastle–Ottawa Scale. The literature search yielded 234 titles, from which 6 studies met the inclusion criteria. Four studies reported promising effects of self-compassion training for secondary traumatic stress in a healthcare population, although these did not use controls. The methodological quality of these studies was medium. This high-lights a research gap in this area. Three of these four studies recruited workers from Western countries and one recruited from a non-Western country. The Professional Quality of Life Scale was used to evaluate secondary traumatic stress in all studies. The findings show preliminary evidence that self-compassion training may improve secondary traumatic stress in healthcare professional populations; however, there is a need for greater methodological quality in this field and controlled trials. The findings also show that the majority of research was conducted in Western countries. Future research should focus on a broader range of geographical locations to include non-Western countries.
... A compassion theory model, the three emotion regulatory systems, posits that compassion activates our soothing emotion system, which is related to psychological safety, reassurance, and calmness, leading to good mental health [57]. When we encounter stressful situations, we perceive stress (though the level of perceived stress depends on the individual's coping skills such as cognitive reappraisal [58]), and that can result in depression and/or anxiety. It is possible that self-compassion mediates these pathways (namely stress-depression, and stress-anxiety pathways) by activating our soothing system. ...
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As the awareness of mental health increases worldwide, how to improve mental health has begun to be discussed in many countries. Stress is known to cause diverse physical and mental health problems including psychopathologies. On the other hand, our previous studies identified that self-compassion, kindness and understanding towards oneself, is a key component for good mental health in many populations including Japanese workers. The government reports that Japanese workers suffer from high rates of mental health problems. However, the mechanism of how self-compassion helps their mental health remains to be evaluated. Accordingly, this study aimed to elucidate how self-compassion intervenes pathways from stress to psychopathologies, namely depression and anxiety. One hundred and sixty-five Japanese workers completed an online survey regarding self-compassion, depression, anxiety and stress. Correlation and path analyses were conducted. These four variables were significantly inter-related. While self-compassion mediated the pathway from stress to depression, it did not mediate the pathway from stress to anxiety. These exploratory insights assist in understand the mechanism of how self-compassion improves mental health, and inform effective methods to implement self-compassion interventions to the Japanese workforce.
... Sus resultados indican, que la PNL puede ser eficaz, para mejorar una amplia gama de aspectos psicológicos relacionados con el trabajo, incluidos la autoestima y el estrés ocupacional, aunque, por otra parte, el rigor metodológico de dichos estudios es cuestionable. Por otro lado, la formación en PNL ofrece además resultados positivos para otros aspectos de la vida personal y profesional como: la mejora de la inteligencia emocional de enfermeros/as de un hospital (Javadi et al., 2014), reducción de la ansiedad en estudiantes de enfermería de una universidad (Sahebalzamani, 2019), mejora de las habilidades de comunicación y de la satisfacción de sus pacientes en médicos dermatólogos (Tsimtsiou et al., 2017), mejora de la comunicación con sus clientes en consultores empresariales (Kotera, 2017). Por consiguiente, podemos esperar que una persona formada en la práctica de las técnicas de PNL conseguirá relacionarse y comunicarse mejor en la vida consigo misma y con los demás, estará más motivada, logrará más eficaz y eficientemente sus objetivos y, por tanto, aumentará su autoestima. ...
El objetivo principal de este estudio fue valorar el impacto de un curso de PNL en la autoestima. Se diseñó un estudio cuasi-experimental, controlado, con medidas pre-post. Participaron un total de 54 sujetos (21 en el grupo experimental y 33 en el grupo control). La medición de la autoestima se realizó mediante un cuestionario ad-hoc (8 ítems, los 6 primeros fueron adaptados de la escala de Rosenberg). El grupo experimental mostró incrementos de autoestima en los 8 ítems comparado con el grupo control, y en 6 ítems (5 de ellos adaptados de la escala de Rosenberg) las diferencias fueron estadísticamente significativas. El cambio porcentual entre los dos grupos osciló entre el 11% y el 36%. Este estudio aporta evidencia empírica, acerca de la efectividad y utilidad de la PNL para aumentar la autoestima de las personas. Asimismo, se describen diversas aplicaciones de la PNL y varias implicaciones de la mejora de la autoestima en el aprendizaje y la educación, así como en otros aspectos de la vida personal y profesional del ser humano.
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Awareness of mental health has been increasing rapidly worldwide in recent years, and even more so since the outbreak of COVID-19. Depression is now regarded as one of the most debilitating diseases, and wellbeing is incorporated into the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. In order for all of us to have a happy life, mental health cannot be ignored. As announced by the UK government, our health cannot be achieved without good mental health. Likewise, in Asia, the word ‘health (健康)’ in Chinese and Japanese encompasses both a healthy body and a calm mind. The Japanese government has implemented a work-style reform to protect employees’mental health. While these movements suggest the importance of mental health worldwide, a universal definition of mental health remains to be defined. This is partly attributed to a lack of understanding of mental health from different cultures. How an individual regards mental health can differ significantly according to their culture. Therefore, this Special Issue aims to address this problem by introducing alternative views to mental health through discussion of cross-cultural psychiatric matters.
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How a person perceives mental health problems impacts their mental health. Negative attitudes towards mental health problems are associated with shame, leading to poor mental health. Poor mental health is a cause for concern in Japan, especially among healthcare professionals. To date, no established measure exists in the Japanese language. The Attitudes Towards Mental Health Problems Scale (ATMHPS) is a well-used self-report measure employed in many studies, which led to the development of the short form (SATMHPS). We aimed to develop the Japanese version of (S)ATMHPS: J-(S)ATMHPS. Nursing professionals in Japan (n=300) completed J-(S)ATMHPS and J-DASS-21. Confirmatory factor analysis was performed, and the internal consistencies of subscales were calculated. The original seven-factor structure model was replicated in J-SATMHPS. Internal consistencies for all J-(S)ATMHPS subscales were high. All subscales were associated with mental health. J-(S)ATMHPS can be used as a reliable measure for the attitudes towards mental health problems in Japanese.
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Communication is an integral part of the relationship between dentist and patient. An anxious patient may feel more understood by the dentist when the communication between them is empathetic. However, dental education seems to under-emphasise the importance of communication between dentists and patients. We suggest an interpersonal aspect of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) as one approach to educate dental students to enhance communication skills. This commentary discusses key communication concepts and skills based on NLP, such as rapport and pacing. These concepts and skills can improve dental practice by improving the dentist-patient relationship. Dental educators can introduce these NLP-based concepts and skills about communication to help students better prepare for real-world dentistry practice.
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Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR) can improve cardiovascular risk factors, decreases cardiac mortali-ty and promote healthy lifestyle behaviours. However, services remain underutilized by groups of ethnic minorities. The purpose of the study was to identify patients’ personal CR experiences to identify the differences CR makes towards minorities lifestyle. An initial electronic search was performed in 2021 for papers ranging from 2008-2020 across specific databases including Pub-Med, EMBASE, APA PsycINFO, CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Lit-erature) and Medline. Google Scholar was also used to supplement the search process and to identify studies performed within grey literature. A total of 1,238 records were screened of which 41 were assessed for eligibility. The final sample consisted of 7 Qualitative design studies being identified for inclusion in this review. Based on patient personal experiences, this review identi-fied that ethnic minorities continue to remain disadvantaged when accessing healthcare interven-tions primarily as a result of cultural behaviours, linguistic barriers, socioeconomic status, reli-gious and fatalistic beliefs, and low physician referral rates. More research is needed to exacer-bate this phenomenon and address these factors faced by ethnic minorities.
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Globally, awareness of workplace mental health problems has increased rapidly. Employees need to be able to reflect on their wellbeing and ask for help if needed. Previous research has indicated mental health shame (or shame associated with mental health problems) is a barrier toward self-reflection and help-seeking. Our previous research identified that levels and types of mental health shame vary greatly across cultures, highlighting a need for a cross-cultural understanding of mental health shame. Accordingly, this perspective paper will focus on shame associated with mental health problems among male workers across cultures, and discuss differences among them in relation to cultures. Consistently, mental health shame in male workers is reported high in many cultures. Mental health literacy and wellness activities such as self-compassion training, organisational approaches to encourage connectedness and safety are recommended. Insights from our perspective can help the human resources staff and managers identify helpful approaches for mental health shame in a diverse workplace.
After 45 years of strong development, global application and ongoing criticism, the contours of what constitutes NLP remain vague, to insiders and outsiders alike. NLP experts use more or less different definitions and criteria for the tools, techniques and foundation principles of NLP. This situation has made it nearly impossible to satisfy the request for research evidence of NLP’s effectiveness in coaching. The purpose of this paper therefore is to commence a discussion of the challenges facing NLP in gaining legitimacy as a coaching approach without an evidence base. The paper critiques the extant literature on NLP coaching, and briefly reviews wider literature of NLP evidence in other contexts, notably the therapy world. This paper offers a summary of and critique of a recent Delphi Poll conducted to identify which of the tools, techniques and theoretical frameworks are considered to be NLP. The paper discusses the challenges for NLP evidencing its effectiveness in coaching and proposes empirical outcome based research utilising the core principles, skills, tools and techniques that have gained consensus in this Delphi Poll.
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Abstract In today’s world, due to competitive conditions, organizations should be adapted to internal and external environmental improvements and they need to grow and develop. In order to achieve this; organizations need an effective communication systems. In today's information society, the human or staff is the most important resource of companies. One of the most effective ways to improve the efficiency of human resource is to increase the effectiveness of the internal communications both vertical and horizontal. Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) is one of the systems which help to improve to the effectiveness of interpersonal communication. The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of NLP on hospital administrators’ communication styles, the nonverbal communication level, and interpersonal communication process. For this purpose Interpersonal Communication Process Scale, Communication Style Scale and nonverbal communication Scale with 8 socio-demographic questions is applied to the sample before and after NLP training. Results show that NLP training effects managers’ communications skills. Keywords: Health Management, Communication, NLP Training, Data Analysis
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Background: Neurolinguistic programming (NLP) refers to the science and art of reaching success and perfection. It is a collection of the skills based on human beings’ psychological characteristics through which the individuals obtain the ability to use their personal capabilities as much as possible. This study aimed to investigate the efficacy of NLP training on mental health in nursing and midwifery students in Islamic Azad University Tehran Medical Sciences branch. Materials and Methods: In this quasi-experimental study, the study population comprised all nursing and midwifery students in Islamic Azad University, Tehran Medical branch, of whom 52 were selected and assigned to two groups through random sampling. Data collection tool was Goldberg General Health Questionnaire (28-item version). After primary evaluation, NLP training was given in five 120-min sessions and the groups were re-evaluated. The obtained data were analyzed. Results: In the nursing group, paired t-test showed a significant difference in the scores of mental health (with 39 points decrease), physical signs (with 7.96 scores decrease), anxiety (with 10.75 scores decrease), social function (with 7.05 scores decrease) and depression (with 9.38 scores decrease). In the midwifery group, it showed a significant difference in mental health (with 22.63 scores decrease), physical signs (with 6.54 scores decrease), anxiety (with nine scores decrease), and depression (with 8.38 scores decrease). Conclusions: This study showed that NLP strategies are effective in the improvement of general health and its various dimensions. Therefore, it is essential to conduct structured and executive programs concerning NLP among the students.
Addressing the need for a discerning, research-based discussion of NLP, this book seeks to answer the many questions that clients, potential users and practitioners ask, including: what is NLP and what can it best be used for? This book looks at the research and theory behind NLP, also exploring claims that it is a 'pseudoscience'.
In this article the authors argue for the importance of narrative-based approaches in career guidance work in an uncertain, unpredictable world. This requires a paradigmatic shift in thinking that can be too difficult, at present, for some practitioners. The article reports on the first phase of a collaborative project with a group of practitioners – working in guidance in schools and with young people in public access points – to develop and evaluate narrative methods. Our analysis highlights the usefulness of the approach, but also reveals tensions derived from the working cultures of career guidance practitioners.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to determine if neurolinguistic programming (NLP) tools and techniques were effective in alleviating the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in clients from the Military and Emergency Services. Design/methodology/approach – This project ran at the “Healing the Wounds” charity in Bridgend. All clients were opportunistic, having self-referred to a charity specifically set up to support Veterans from the Armed Forces. In total, 29 clients from an initial cohort of 106 clients provided pre and post data using Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS) and the NLP Wheel of Life scale. Interventions included a range of NLP techniques, addressing self-reported symptoms. Findings – Differences between DASS scores before and after treatment are very highly significant. t -test analysis infers that these results are indicative of the overall response from the clients in this study. Research limitations/implications – Limitations of the study include: client group; significant levels of incomplete data for the total study group; therapist effect and therapist training; treatment methodology. Originality/value – Data suggest that NLP has potential as a therapeutic tool in the treatment of symptoms of anxiety and depression associated with a self-report of PTSD. An observation is proposed that these candidates experience an improvement in their emotional state when NLP is used which is statistically significant ( p <0.001) both for overall DASS score averages and also for each of the three DASS categories (Depression, Anxiety and Stress). Stress was the highest scoring category prior to treatment for these clients; the reduction in their stress symptoms contributed most substantially to the overall reduction in average DASS score, indicating an improvement in their emotional state.
As a result of internationalization, globalization, and a demographic change of population, Japanese people have been forced to equip themselves with competencies for adapting to a transition from traditional to post-modern employment conditions. In situations of rapid change such as these, it is widely recognized that the services of well-trained career counsellors and practitioners are urgently needed. The purpose of this article is to outline the issues relevant to the professionalization of career counselling practitioners who are expected to acquire key competencies to help individuals develop and maintain their careers across the lifespan. The authors also present a brief history of the evolution of career practitioners in Japan, and a brief analysis of groups of workers who need such professional help.