Danger of NLP training, just because you can do something does not mean you shouldUnderstanding the power of NLP

Plus the danger of NLP Training

David was really enjoying his NLP training, but little did he know the negative impact this was to have on his life.

He had flown to America, to train with one of the big names in NLP. In one particular exercise he was asked to use his imagination to consider two contrasting situations.

Firstly to imagine the worst things that could happen in his life. David pictured:

  • His wife leaving him.
  • His children getting into trouble.
  • His business failing and going broke.

……this affected him on an emotional level.

Secondly to imagine everything being the best it could be. David pictured:

  • Loving relationship.
  • Happy and fulfilled children.
  • Great Business and wealth.

……which was nice.

Sadly, within a year his business became bankrupt and he went broke. The following year his wife left him. Then his oldest son got into trouble. You could argue that these things would have happened anyway……or was it that this powerful technique had worked, but just not as expected?


Most NLP trainers understand that this technique is built upon ‘Towards’ and ‘Away From’ filters called Meta-programs.

For the first part of the exercise mentioned above, the intention was to think of all the worse things that could happen – the idea being that this would be an ‘Away From’ driver. In other words you would not want these situations happening to you, so you’d do anything for them not to happen.

The second part of that exercise was to focus on the best life you could have – the idea being that this would pull you towards a positive future, i.e. a ‘Towards’ driver.

It is great technique, but let’s dive a little deeper into understanding what could possibly go wrong……

The strongest emotion will always win

IMPORTANT: The strongest emotion will always win.

Let’s say we’ve made up a numerical scale of emotional strength with a series of values running from 1 to 10. 1 being a weak emotion and 10 being the strongest emotion you could have. Note that I’m not saying a positive or negative emotion; it’s just based on strength.

Let’s say in David’s example that the ‘Away From’ driver created an emotional value of 8 on our scale and that the ‘Towards’ driver created an emotion value of 6.

  • Which one is going to have the strongest effect on the person?

Yes, the driver with the highest value – in this case for all those ‘worst things’ that could happen

  • Which emotion will have the biggest impact?

Yes, all the things going wrong.

  • Which images in the mind then become the strongest in the mind?

Yes, what we want to move ‘Away From’.

Now that we’ve begun to understand this simple concept, we can start to understand the effect this had on David. The strongest emotion will always succeed in our neurology. It makes a lot of sense.

How do we make sure that we are not messing with someone’s head?

You may consider it to be very easy to read the steps of a technique from a book or by watching a video. Be cautious as this does not necessary mean that you will fully grasp and understand the complexities that often make up a technique. It is so important to respect the powerful tools NLP has to offer and to be aware that training delivered by a reputable NLP training provider will be the best learning experience.

It’s no surprise then that David did seek more in-depth NLP training to realise precisely what had happened. Consequently, he has since turned his life around.

I have given you a taste of just a few basic examples from the wide range of NLP Meta-programs. Our NLP training courses explain so much more about our patterns of behaviour and how these are based on many categories into which we organise our experience. For now, however, it’s important that you appreciate the fundamental message in this article: NLP is a powerful tool – respect the techniques and use them safely.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions about using NLP. I’m always happy to help.

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