Psychotherapy Lite; June 2005; Scientific American Mind; by Susanne Kemmer; 2 Page(s)
Tom's coach looks at him and begins: "The big conference room is full, and all eyes are on you at the podium. Try to picture it. Can you sense the crowd's anticipation? Who's sitting in the front row? How do you feel standing at the microphone?" These words awaken in Tom memories of earlier presentations, and the 33-year-old business manager gets queasy. He knows his company's future could hang on his upcoming pitch. So he has agreed, on the advice of co-workers, to try something called neurolinguistic programming (NLP) to steady his nerves.
Tom's coach tells him to back away from the podium, then asks, "When was the last time you felt really good? Put yourself back in that situation." Tom, an accomplished runner, pictures himself triumphantly crossing the finish line at the end of his last marathon. "Close your eyes," the coach continues. "What do you see? How does it feel?" Tom sees the crowd and his girlfriend, who is beaming. "Try to hold on to that feeling while you come back to the present." The trainer now tells Tom to imagine making his presentation without losing his feeling of elation. Because Tom cannot do it initially, they repeat the procedure several more times. The goal is to make the topic of a future presentation act like a signal that triggers positive feelings.