Posted by on Oct 25, 2013 in Blog Posts | Comments Off on Anxiety

Anxiety is a state, not a mental illness, nor a psychological disorder.

There is a social, cultural and medical story that prevails at this time in human experience, and that is that many of our minds are somehow broken, everyone is becoming mentally ill and that the solution to that is to prescribe medication.

This isn’t an opinion; it’s a fact borne out by the number of prescriptions for anti-depressants being doled out with alarming regularity. This story is keeping both the pharmaceutical companies and the psychiatric/psychological profession in business.

I think that for the health and survival of our species, we need to challenge this view. This view didn’t fit with my experience of anxiety in any way, and it also doesn’t fit with the experience of my clients.

When I first experienced the anxious state I instinctively knew that something had happened in my mind and body, like the flicking of a switch that had transformed it into a different mode. It felt unpleasant and intense, both physically and psychologically, but I knew that if I could find the key to this switching on then I could find out how to switch it off again.

The anxious state is really the ‘fight or flight’ state. The fight or flight state normally switches on and then switches off again once it has served it’s purpose. As the NPR process will teach you, the difference between the anxious state and the fight or flight state is that the anxious state outlives it’s purpose. Due to how it is triggered and how we react to it, we prevent it from switching itself off again until we learn how to do so.

As a final year Psychology student at the time that the switch switched on inside me, my search began in the Psychology books and journal articles. Here I found all sorts of labels, PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Floating Anxiety, OCD, Panic Disorder, but other than recommendations of medication, exercise, a healthy diet and distraction techniques, there was nothing that explained how the anxious state occurs, or how to change it for a better one.

This in itself was very frightening as I felt that if the Psychology world didn’t know how to help me, then who would?

None of this was very pleasant, but I am grateful that it happened, because the journey that I was about to go on would not only lead to my own return to a balanced state, but would also give me the ability to help others get there too.

My first confirmation that it was possible to alter the state of anxiety was when I went for a hypnotherapy session; this was at the suggestion of a kind counsellor who didn’t know how else to help me. The hypnotherapy session was simply an induction script read out by the therapist that talked my accelerated brain into a place of calm and quiet. The effect lasted for a short time, which was disappointing at the time, but this turned out to be my first useful clue in the search for a solution. I thought, if someone else can talk to my mind and change my state, then so could I.

I trained in Hypnotherapy, with Paul McKenna, and at the same time was introduced to the subject of NLP, Neuro Linguistic Programming; a creation of Dr Richard Bandler and John Grinder. I went on to train in NLP with Richard Bandler, John Le Valle and Michael Neill, and finally learned more about the human mind and psychology than my university degree had been able to teach me.

NLP is a comprehensive model about the structure of thought, emotion, behavior and communication. NLP teaches us about the structure of language, at the verbal, visual and sensory levels. It allows us to understand the communication of one human being to another, and also to identify the communication that a person has with themselves.

This technology is so important when attempting to understand how we all create our experience of life, at the emotional, physical, social and cultural levels. My background in NLP was the springboard from which N-P-R developed and evolved.

Neuro-Psychological-Reprogramming is not NLP, but it could only have been developed with the understanding of the workings of the mind that NLP provides. N-P-R takes from NLP the premise that if you know how you are creating something, then you can also change what you are doing to create something different, something more useful.

A combination of NLP and up to date neuro-science are the underpinnings of the N-P-R process. Mindfulness and Meditation studies have also contributed to the existence of this process. My years at University studying Cognitive Psychology and Neuro Biology helped enormously with the development of the process, but don’t worry, it’s much less complicated than it sounds.

The NPR Process has now been being used for 10 years to successfully treat those experiencing anxiety and panic. Before I shared the process with anyone else, I first of all treated my own anxious state, using all that I had learned that was useful over the years.

The main challenges were simplifying the process whilst keeping the effectiveness, and finding the precise sequence that delivered permanent and lasting results. When I first shared this process with clients, it was really just a case of me saying, look, I don’t know if this will help you, but it certainly helped me, and then if they agreed I would teach them the process.

To my astonishment time after time I taught this process to my clients and time after time they returned painlessly and easily to a non-anxious state. Even people who claim to have been anxious for their entire lives experienced peace and calm for the first time just as easily as those whose anxiety was a more recent development. So many people kept saying to me, ‘why isn’t this out there?’ ‘why don’t doctors know about this’ and sometimes angrily, ‘why have I had to suffer for so long when it wasn’t necessary?’

This is one of the reasons that I spend a lot of time getting this information out there. I have to say that people who use this process to become anxiety free, are fantastic at teaching it to others, and I really encourage that. If we taught our children what to do when they feel anxious, and how to retrain their minds away from worrying to thinking usefully, we might just change the current statistics, that 1 in 4 of us suffer from anxiety during our lifetimes.

I am thankful for the experience of anxiety that I had, and I’m thankful to all the people I have met along the way who have helped me to develop this treatment. I wish you all the best in your own return to a calm, peaceful and altogether more useful state.