The NLP Presuppositions are a set of beliefs/attitudes that are the foundation of many NLP approaches. One of the ‘presups’ is, “everybody has all the resources they need.” For examples, a person might have a fear of public speaking. They have the ability to feel calm in some situation, though, don’t they? Pretty much everyone has felt calm at one time or another.
That’s the idea. Obviously, if you’re starving and there’s no food, you don’t have the resources you need. But we all have emotional and mental states and strategies we can draw on. We all have people we can use as role models. And in one case where a client had little real-world experience, Milton Erickson used the television shows the man watched as resources.
Our job as therapists is to help clients access their existing resources and then plug them in, in useful places.
Recently, I came across a discussion in an NLP forum about whether or not the statement “everybody has all the resources they need” is strictly true. But I don’t think that’s the main point.
It’s About The Resources The Practitioner Has Available
The NLP presuppositions are designed for the practitioner. In general, when we take on the attitudes reflected in the presuppositions, we’re more effective as therapists. Think for a moment about how you would act if you believed a client has all the resources they need to solve a problem. All you have to do is find them, elicit them and attach them to the right situation.
Some of the questions I ask myself as I’m working with someone are…
- What emotion or mental state would help solve this issue? Where do they already have that emotional or mental state in their life?
- What strategy do they already use in another context that would work in this context?
- What do they already do effectively in their life that could be applied to this problem situation?
- What abilities does having the problem presuppose? Where would those abilities be useful?
- What role-model do they have that would effectively deal with their problem?
Those questions all keep me oriented toward solutions and mostly out of the potential quagmires that bog down a lot of other therapeutic modalities.