Blog Hypnosis Reviews

Review: The NLP Practitioner DVD Collection (Tad James)

NLP Practitioner DVD Collection This 16 disk DVD set is a professionally produced video presentation of parts of Tad James seven day NLP practitioner certification program. Each DVD is about 90 minutes, so there is a huge amount of material presented, especially since it is very well edited to leave out unnecessary segments and to add in commentary by the trainers on the processes. It is available at the site.
It covers all the basic NLP processes comprehensively and effectively including sensory acuity, rapport, submodalities, and anchoring. The demonstrations with participants for each process are very smoothly carried out, and Tad James shows his long experience in training by following the script closely and only demonstrating what he explicitly intends to demonstrate.
The series also includes several DVDs on Time Line Therapy, a powerful change technique for which Tad James is probably best known. In fast-paced and effective demonstrations, the trainers use Time Line Therapy to remove negative emotions and limiting beliefs from participants. Then they take the whole group on a fast floating journey to remove any anxiety in the future. They also show how to place a future goal in the Time Line in a way that is likely to maximize its possibility of success. These are all very useful processes.
Tad James is presenting the course with his wife, Adriana James, who is equally proficient in the practice of NLP, although she is less well known than Tad. The two of them work well together throughout although some of the jokes and little stories seem somewhat contrived – presumably after being regurgitated in too many seminars. On the other hand, this huge amount of practice is very useful in the superb double inductions which feature in the hypnosis training section of the course. They are a fine team and in general come across as very genuine in their desire to empower people and to spread the useful skills of NLP.
This video series is probably most useful for people who have studied NLP elsewhere and want to get a new perspective, or of course, for people who actually took the course and want to get a review. For people who have not studied NLP before, it will certainly be useful, but the necessary lack of interactivity in a video series could give the viewer the congnitive concepts of NLP without the experiential learning that is necessary to make sense of it and to realize its true value.
For me, Tad James sometimes comes across as a little arrogrant, for example when he talks about Time Line Therapy as the greatest invention in the history of mankind, and his self-positioning as ‘the expert’ for values and metaprograms. From the demonstrations, he is clearly on top of his material and an extremely skillful user of hypnosis and NLP, so this self-promotion and self-positioning probably wasn’t necessary and in my eyes at least, actually had a negative impact.
One of the last DVDs was pretty much a commercial for the Master Practitioner program. In fact, throughout the last few DVDs, there were various references and suggestions to sign up for the Master Practitioner course. Personally, I felt that it was a little too much upselling of other products, but I’m sure that some people will be happy to get the addiitional information about the higher level material that is available.
I didn’t enjoy the Huna section so much either. While the trainers emphasize that it isn’t NLP and are careful to differentiate it, I’m not sure that it sits well with the other videos and information and techniques presented in this series.
Overall, I highly recommend this video series to people who have studied NLP elsewhere. Tad James has a strong ability to condense a subject down to its essence and to present it easily in the form of small digestible chunks.

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Review: Coaching Cards

These coaching cards from Salad Ltd. are a resource that I come back to again and again. They were created by Jamie Smart who always does a very fine job of teaching NLP in his videos and other products. Previously, I have reviewed his excellent Ericksonian hypnosis cards, and this set reaches the same high quality.
These cards are mainly based around the linguistic patterns of the NLP Meta Model. The Meta Model  was the first model devised by Bandler and Grinder and it still stands at the heart of NLP as the primary tool for helping people to re-access the experiences that have become encoded in the maps in their minds, to move back from the map to the territory in orcder to eventually create richer and more useful  maps. While the Ericksonian cards aim to bring people into trance, these cards aim to chunk down, these cards aim to bring people back to reality and view it in fresh ways.
It is easy enough to learn the linguistic structures of the Meta Model, but it is only through enormous practice with a large number of examples that it is possible to get these patterns in the muscle to the extent that they flow naturally in a coaching situation. I have carried these cards on trains and planes and played with them for hours, sometimes just flicking through them as I thought of an issue in my own life, or sometimes playing card games either alone or with someone else. This is much much more fun and engaging than any other way that I have come across to learn and practice these patterns.
In addition to the cards, when you order a set from Salad, you also receive a link to a downloadable audio program in which Jamie Smart talks through the cards one by one, explaining each and giving examples taken from many different areas of life. I have often played this audio program several times in a row and it has helped me to absorb these language patterns at a much deeper level.
Salad also sells various DVD series featuring workshops by Jamie Smart and other people, and throughout the vidoes it is clear that Jamie is using the patterns effectively and congruently. I have no connection at all with Salad, but for anyone seriously interested in NLP coaching or related work, I highly recommend getting a set of these cards and a set of the Ericksonian hypnosis cards and allowing yourself the chance to have lots of fun as you take your language skills smoothly to the next level.

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Review: Richard Bandler DVD: Class of a Master

There is very little that I can say about this four-DVD set by Richard Bandler, except … get your hands on them, and watch the master in action. Bandler’s inductions get better and better, and faster and faster. I’ve watched the DVDs several times now and am still learning more and more from Bandler. As well as his astonishing non-verbal hypnosis abilities, these videos also provides a huge amount of material for those interested in Bandler’s rich use of language to produce rapid change.
The DVDs are very well created with professional camera work and perfect sound throughout. The cameramen zoom in to show us fluttering eyelids and other signs of trance and we can see all of Bandler’s smooth moves. And of course, we can also hear all the jokes and crazy stories that he tells. I’ve heard people debating about whether his stories are really true or not – is he truly outrageous enough to have cruxified the guy who thought he was Jesus, or to have waved an axe at the poor schizophrenic who thought he was John the Baptist. There’s surely lots of exaggeration going on, but it doesn’t matter at all. They are all metaphors which communicate on multiple levels, to both the conscious and unconscious mind of the volunteers on the stage and to the members of the audience who may not be talked to directly but are very much talked to on the unconscious level. And of course, the audience also extends to you if you decide to go ahead and get your hands on these DVDs. Bandler changes minds, beliefs, and lives very quickly – and while he is changing your mind and your life, you’ll also enjoy listening to a man who knows how to have fun.
Each DVD deals with a theme:
Volume 1: Instant Talent
Volume 2: Inner Beauty
Volume 3: Rapid Hypnotic Inductions
Volume 4: Fantastic Futures

I had previously seen Volume 3 which was included as a free DVD with a Bandler book that I bought a few years ago. It was well worth watching again (and again and again) to see how he brought six people on stage into trance in seconds, using a variety of techniques to demonstrate the possibilities that are available to people interested in hypnosis.
The other volumes were more focused on content (development of art, development of inner beauty, and creating a fantastic future), but through them all runs the amazing language of Bandler. More than any video of him that I have seen in the past, this set shows off his ideas and techniques at a very high level.
The DVDs are available here and probably elsewhere online.

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Review: Better Sleep Sooner

Better Sleep Sooner
by Aaron McLoughlin
Published by Rapid Inspired Change. Available from the publisher’s website.

As the title suggests, the purpose of this book is to help people to get a better quality of sleep in their lives. The author, Aaron McLoughlin, is from New Zealand and has worked in the field of hypnosis and NLP since 1996, experience that is clearly evident in this well-crafted book. The book offers a series of strategies over 8 chapters, and although it is quite a short read at 168 pages, McLoughlin has managed to squeeze in an awful lot of good ideas in a very clear way that will certainly help to achieve his aim of helping people to get better sleep sooner.
90% of adults experience insomnia at some point in their lives, but some get it chronically and it goes beyond being a nuisance to become a major disruption to a happy productive life. McLoughlin was a long-time member of that 90% and he draws strongly on his own personal experience in overcoming sleeplessness which he describes as follows:

The nights seemed never-ending. Lying in bed for what seemed like the entire night, fretting and worrying about sleep. Anxiety was the nightly ritual. Lying awake imagining the next day and how exhausted I would be having had no sleep. Imagining all the sleep I had missed. Horrendous anxiety feeding upon itself and generating more and more sleeplessness and intermittent feelings of depression.

If you see yourself in that description, then perhaps you need to read no further and can just go ahead and order the book, but for the sake of interest of the 10% of folks who always sleep perfectly I’ll give some more details of the book below!
Much of the book is written in rich hypnotic language and as you turn the pages, you may occasionally find yourself drifting off into a mild trance or even into that sleep that may have been eluding you until now. While this hypnotic language is present throughout, it is most obvious in the stoems which appear at the end of the chapter – texts which read like poetry and act as a way of learning the concepts of the chapter through hypnosis at an even deeper level. Here is a part of one of the stoems at the end of Chapter 2.

As I am reading
these comfortable words
that’s right…
I can continue to consider…
that the problem I have been having
is just a behaviour
which means of course
that as I continue to read effortlessly now
that’s right…
I can take a deep breath…

These stoems are an excellent way of presenting hypnotic inductions in written form. The formatting of these texts as poetry means that the reader naturally parses each line separately and gives it more time to sink in than would normally be given to prose. This style of presentation also accommodates the language of spoken hypnotic inductions including embedded suggestions, long or unfinished sentences connected by simple conjunctions, implied causatives, generalizations which must be completed appropriately by the reader, occasional non-grammatical clauses, and even clauses that appear illogical to the conscious mind yet act effectively on the unconscious mind. Stoems are by far the best way that I have seen of presenting hypnotic language on the written page, and the author has done an excellent job of using this form to reteach the material of each chapter to the unconscious mind.
After an introduction to the book in Chapter 1, Chapter 2 provides a classic NLP reframe, changing ‘insomnia’ from a nominalization back into a process – something that we do. The reader is shown that sleeplessness is not something that is being done to them, but rather something that they are doing themselves. Similarly, a reframe is used to separate identity from behaviour; the person is not an ‘insomniac’, rather they are doing something that is not helping them to sleep at an optimal level.
Chapter 3 continues in the mode of reframing and McLouglin also introduces what he calls the Fascination Principle: all symptoms can be seen as messages from the unconscious mind that we can interact with – if we maintain an open attitude of curiosity and are willing to respond appropriately to the message. It reminds me of one of my own favourite metaphors: a symptom is like a telephone call from the unconscious mind – you can let it keep ringing and annoying you, or you can listen to the message on the telephone and respond appropriately.
Chapter 4  explores emotions related to sleeplessness and notes that

Changing your mental state or perception with respect to your emotions is an important first step in resolving any emotion that may be fueling the sleeping problem.

It offers several useful techniques for gaining control of emotions including the Fascination Principle, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Self-Hypnosis, and Rewind the Day – all of which I tried out using the instructions specified in the book and found to be highly effective. In particular, if (like me) you are not yet familiar with EFT, McLouglin’s concise but complete instructions provide a  excellent primer.
Chapter 5 is the longest chapter in the book and contains eight useful reframes including my favourite one – “sleep is not the problem, rest is the key.” This chapter also makes nice subtle use of future pacing by having the reader imagine the time 15 minutes after they wake up, feeling fully rested. This refocusing from the problem to the solution is a perfect example of the NLP outcome frame. Like so many other problems that people face, when they can move beyond the problem to visualizing the possible solution, the unconscious mind starts marshalling the resources to make that future image come into reality.
Chapter 6 brings us to the core of the book and offers some more valuable strategies as well as a long well-constructed stoem. Chapter 7 brings us back from trance and chunks right down into the concrete details of the environment and behaviours that will support good sleep patterns. Chapter 8 completes the main body of the book with several long stoems that are again well-constructed. The appendices offer some very practical instructions on carrying out EFT, self-hypnosis, and power-napping. Any of these could have been easily expanded into whole chapters, but the author has wisely chosen instead to keep the book brief and to get to the points quickly – after all that leaves more time for the reader to just relax and sleep, doesn’t it?
Better Sleep Sooner is highly recommended for people who want to improve the quality of their sleep – and who doesn’t? Even for people who already sleep very well, that lucky 10%, they are likely to find this book useful in sleeping deeper and relaxing more in their waking lives. If one thing could be added to the book, I would suggest that the stoems could be recorded and included as a CD, or even as an mp3 download from the website. However, I am certainly willing to wait for that as I head off to drift into a deep deep sleep.
©2011 by Dr. Brian Cullen

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Review: Time Line Therapy and the Basis of Personality

Time Line Therapy and the Basis of Personality
by Tad James & Wyatt Woodsmall

I have long been a fan of Time Line Therapy and find it to be one of the most powerful techniques in the field of NLP. In this book from 1988, James and Wyatt give a very clear description of Time Line Therapy including how to elicit the Time Line, release a limiting decision or trauma, remove anxiety, or set a goal in the future Time Line. All of these are explained with clear language and easy-to-follow steps. For this alone, this book is well worth having, but it offers much much more.
In Section I, the authors explain the NLP Communication Model and the filters which we use as we process the world around us. At their best, these filters delete, distort, and generalize experience so that we can function effectively in the world. When they are optimal, they limit our options and cause problems in our lives. These filters are the substance of the NLP expression: The Map is Not the Territory. In other words, the way that we represent the world in our heads is not the same as the world itself.
The filters include: Metaprograms, Values, Beliefs, Attitudes, Memories and Decisions. The authors postulate that these form the basis of our personalities, and after the excellent description of Time Line Therapy in Section II, Section III explores Meta Programs in great detail and Section IV explores the formation, evolution, and changing of values.
The description of meta programs in Section III is divided into simple meta programs and complex meta programs. Simple meta programs are based on Jung’s work into human archetypes and also form the basis of the Myers Briggs personality testing system. These are Introvert/Extravert, Intuitor/Sensor, Thinker/Feeler, and Judger/Perceiver. In another post, I described the complex meta programs discussed in this book. Many different NLP trainers and researchers have explored a variety of Meta Programs, but the description and means of elicitation described in this book are among the best to be found.
Section IV is a very valuable discussion of Values. James and Woodsmall give a nice metaphor for values and beliefs. If beliefs are considered to be cups, then values can be considered to be the cup holders onto which they hook. In other words, beliefs are supported by values. The authors also make the suggestion that beliefs are generally conscious, whereas values are more embedded in the unconscious mind. In particular, core values can be completely invisible to the conscious mind unless we explicitly explore them in some way. Even more unconscious are meta programs which are the unconscious strategies by which we live our lives. This section also includes an excellent exercise for eliciting values and shows how the hierarchy/order of values can be changed by altering the submodalities.
The book finishes with a long transcript of a therapy session with a cocaine addict which illustrates many of the concepts of the book very well and shows how personality can potentially be changed in positive and practical ways in order to help people to live happier lives.
Much of the material in this book has found its way into NLP practitioner courses around the world, but returning to the original source is always valuable and highly recommended for anyone interested in either Time Line therapy or the nature of human personality.

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Excellent Free Hypnosis Resources

The Internet is truly an amazing resource, and amidst all the hyperbolic marketing and dubious products, I am sometimes very pleasantly surprised by the quality resources that people make available free of charge. Here are two examples of great resources for learning and practicing hypnosis that are available free.
Rene A. Bastarache carries out hypnosis trainings, but also offers his massive training manual as a free download without any commitment. It is 446 pages long and contains great lessons as well as numerous basic scripts that will help get beginner hypnotists practicing right away.
Dylan Morgan offers a huge array of resources at his website. The most accessible book for beginners is his free book:Hypnosis for Beginners. I have used it as the course book for hypnosis workshops and it has excellent exercises and explanations. It is a much more exploratory approach than other courses-the learner is asked to test everything to see if it actually works rather than simply accepting the teacher’s ideas. I am very impressed by Dylan Morgan’s ideas and generosity and would have loved to have had the opportunity to meet him, but unfortunately he passed away earlier this year. Perhaps the greatest tribute that can be paid to him now is to download and use his books-that is why he made them available–the more widely the powerful ideas of hypnosis are spread, the more people can be helped to utilize hypnosis to improve their own lives and the lives of people around them.

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Notes for Nagoya Hypnosis Workshop #3

The next workshop will be held next Saturday at Brad’s house (30th July). Details have already gone out by email.
Here is a file with some notes that Brad and I have prepared that we will be using on Saturday.
Chapter 2 Morgan
As always, have fun practicing!

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Stephen Brooks – The Art of Indirect Suggestion

Over the last few months, I’ve been listening to some audio recordings of a hypnosis training by Stephen Brooks, a British trainer with a long history of teaching hypnosis. The audio consists of eight sections, each about 90 minutes in length, making a total of 12 hours. There is a good article about Stephen on Wikipedia.
He teaches students the different types of hypnotic patterns they can use, including binds, double binds, reverse yes-sets, time binds and many more.
Stephen also offers a one-year online certification course that is available free of charge at:

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Review: Hypnosis for Beginners

There are a large number of books/DVDs etc. available to learn hypnosis, and there are many different schools. Out of the many resources that I have used to gain a deeper understanding of hypnosis, one of the most straightforward and clearest books that I have found is Hypnosis for Beginners by Dylan Morgan. Apart from being very well written, it has the added bonus of being available as a free download from the author’s website:
The website is a huge treasure trove of material about hypnosis and the author comes across as a man of great integrity who wishes to share his knowledge freely with as many people as possible to achieve the greatest benefit. Having read this book and browsed several of the others on the website, I wish that I had the chance to meet Dylan Morgan, but it is sad to see that he passed away in March 2011. His website is still preserved in its entirety and I recommend it highly.
I found this book so useful that I am planning to use it as the core text for a hypnosis workshop that I am starting up with an NLP friend in Nagoya over the next few months. Like the book, the workshop is intended to consist of simple exercises and an exploratory approach to hypnosis. Even though many of the participants will not be beginners, all come from different backgrounds and revisiting the basics in an open-minded and exploratory style will certainly be of benefit to all.
I’ve shown the contents of the book below. It is quite short (147 pages) and so cannot cover many of the elements of other introductory books. For example, Morgan starts out by explicitly stating that the book is not a history of hypnosis and it is not a collection of scripts.
1. Simple Connections.
2. Switching Systems Off.
3. The Visual Imagination.
4. Directing and Controlling the Imagination.
5. Exploring Inductions.
6. Posthypnotic suggestions.
7. Focussing Attention.
8. Resistance and Rapport.
9. Self-hypnosis.
10. Bringing it all Together.
From Chapter 1, Morgan has the reader explore their own mind and gives exercises for exploring the concepts of hypnosis with a friend or a partner. He takes a systems view of hypnosis. In his descriptions, hypnosis is a natural phenomenon that involves connections between systems within the human body. For example, words in the verbal system can stimulate or visual system, or alternatively cause it to relax and become less active. Similarily, other sensory and body systems can be used to affect systems to make them become more or less active.
It is a pleasant change from many other beginner books which simply present inductions and scripts, often wrapped up in a certain amount of mysticism. Morgan’s book takes a very practical, exploratory approach, and I look forward to using it in our workshops over the coming months.

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Review: Skinny Bitch

While this isn’t an NLP book, it is a fine example of a book that uses very persuasive language to achieve its main point: think carefully about what you put into your body. In the acknowledgements, the authors thank Anthony Robins and Wayne Dyer, both proponents of NLP, and it is clear that they have used the language of NLP effectively to get their message across.
The book is aimed at women and takes a very light tone, as if a woman were talking to her girlfriends at a cafe or wine bar. It is sprinkled with lots of effective cursing. The authors are also very aware of the power of visual images in persuasion and use some very graphic ones indeed to tell the reader about the horrors of slaughterhouses. Similarly, they use powerful language to reframe meat as rotting carcasses.
I enjoyed the book very much and while I’m not planning to become a vegan (I’m already vegetarian for most of the week) or radically change my eating habits, they have certainly made me think about what I’m putting into my body and how the food industry and overseeing governmental bodies are set up to ensure the financial success of farmers, not the safety of consumers.