Dealing with guilt, regret or shame using NLP or Timeline Therapy can be very helpful in enabling you to move on in life.

All of us, at one time or another, have had moments where we have made choices that we have later had cause to regret. Guilt for doing something, or failing to do something seems inevitable and can cause us great unhappiness and pain.

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anger issues - a picture of the incredible hulkAnger issues are among the most common themes that come up when working with neurolinguistic programming (NLP) clients.  Often when I meet someone for the first time, clients will be concerned that they are having angry outbursts or feel pent-up feelings of anger. They can’t understand why this is happening. Small things, which you would not normally find more than slightly  irritating, take on an inappropriate level of emotion.  The tendency to lose your temper can lead to difficulties in your relationships, social life, and also at work. Clients have found themselves Read more »

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various amounts of moneyWhat sort of income do you have currently? How comfortable are you right now with how much you earn? Which of these statements fits you best?

  1. I’ve got plenty of money to get everything I need, there’s no desperate need to improve my wealth;
  2. I’m generally comfortable, so long as there are no unexpected crises, and even then we could probably weather the storm through savings and temporary cutbacks;
  3. I am constantly on a treadmill, there always seems to be more going out than coming in. I need to make more money.
  4. I just can’t make ends meet and I’m spiralling into debt.

These are broad descriptions, and I bet you can recognise yourself in one of them. Working with clients I find that individually they can be on any one of these descriptors.  For some of them, money, and the lack of it, is one of their main issues. For others it is the thing that is lowest down their priorities. Money doesn’t make happiness, that’s for certain.

The interesting thing is that the actual ‘amount’ of money that clients have or earn doesn’t necessarily relate to where they are on this scale.Read more »

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One of the things I love about working as a life coach and therapist is the wonderful variety of people I meet. A key presupposition in my work is that ‘everybody is doing the best they can with the resources they have available’.

From this perspective it becomes so much easier to relate and sympathise with clients whatever their problem.

Take a case I dealt with a few years ago. Naturally I have given the client a fictitious name to protect his identity:

Case Study: Stephen Nicklaus – Father

When Stephen came to me, he was in a rut.

My first thought was that he might have a dietary problem. He was grossly overweight for his height, with cellulite that was frankly like a bowlful of jelly and although he would not admit it, I suspected, by his red nose that he had a bit of a drink problem.

He seemed to have a poor self-image and had become accustomed to wearing the same red overalls day-in day-out, black wellingtons, and I seriously doubt he ever trimmed his beard.

It is not my place to make judgements, but to listen to my clients and ask questions until I have a clear picture of their ‘map’ or model of the world. So I asked Stephen to park his sleigh outside, tether his reindeer, and tell me about his problem

Well, it turns out that Mr Nicklaus is very comfortable about his size, drinks only during the festive season, and is rather proud of his dress sense.

Stephen’s real problem is that he appears to suffer from a rare psychological condition – he is a manio-kleptic.

Closely related to a more well-known affliction, kleptomania, meaning to compulsively walk into places and steal things, manio kleptic means one who walks backwards into places and leaves things. And Mr Nicklaus had it bad.

As I questioned him a frightening story developed of a long life of nocturnal raids on poor unsuspecting families, sneaking into their homes and depositing piles of technology, toys and footwear in their living rooms and bedrooms. These poor people must have felt violated, tarnished, dirty.

I had to help him.

We established a pattern to his behaviour – it seemed to occur on only one day each year, so there was ample opportunity to reframe his actions in the context of when he didn’t have the problem.

We also had a first event of sorts, though it was a bit puzzling, a past-life experience involving some gold, frankincense and myrrh. But I always use what the client gives me – Timeline Therapy(TM) sounded like a good place to start – though I would need to deal with anger, sadness, fear and guilt first and there seemed to be all sorts of hangups about being able to see in the dark, sealed chimney flues and on one occasion the overindulgence of some mince pies and misplacing of a carrot.

I was all set to start the therapy, but then it all went belly up as they say.

Ecology, dammit!

“Is it alright with your unconscious mind to make these changes now?” I asked him, as I ask every client.

He looked at me, and his cheeks flamed an even deeper rosy red.

“Erm, no. Now I come to think of it mate. I do’t think it is. Something tells me it just wouldn’t be right for me. I think on some level I sort of need to do it. It makes the rest of me year seem worthwhile. Without my maniokleptia I would just be some bloke who keeps reindeer and dresses funny. It’s a part of me. I could just as soon shave off me beard.”

I looked at him and saw that he was right. We shook hands and he left.

Looking back. I think it went quite well – don’t you?

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There is a wardrobe in my bedroom that is full to bursting with more than just clothes.

The day I moved in to my current home I found that, after carefully putting away all the practical stuff in sensible, accessible places, I had several boxes that contained, well, ‘memorabilia’. These were the things that I had accumulated over the years and held dear, without really knowing what to do with them. There were a few things, such as pictures and photos, that I was able to put up on display around the house.

A few things I disposed of because the associations they held had become painful to me (I had recently had a break-up). The rest of the stuff I had put carefully away on the top shelf of my wardrobe…and at the bottom.

And with a very small number of exceptions they have remained there ever since, and been added to, so that the older memories and the less used have crept backwards and become a bit compressed and screwed up, while the new memories are at the front and tend to tumble out every time I open the door and try to find a clean shirt.

Anybody feel a metaphor coming on?

In my wardrobe some of the things I have are:

* thick wads of family and holiday photos, still in their original packaging
* chess sets, which I once had a notion of collecting, now mostly slightly damaged
* china ornaments that I received as presents
* a sand picture (and some sand)
* old birthday cards (very old, some would say)
* letters I can’t bring myself to read any more
* wires (yes I know)

My wardrobe is suffering from depression.

In a depressed state (and I have been there myself), our minds have often become so full of memories and experiences that they prevent us from moving forward. These memories seem to reinforce the messages we are giving ourselves, that nothing can change and there is no way out. All the bad thoughts get compressed and muddled and distorted over time and it is quite hard to find the better memories and the happier times. In that situation it can be incredibly difficult to feel that life is worth living and that you have possibilities.

Timeline therapy can be an excellent way to spring clean your mental wardrobe. The therapy works on the basis that the memories we hold, both remembered and buried are held in a ‘timeline’ and by finding the root cause of a particular mental state such as anger, fear or guilt, it is possible to let go of that and all similar experiences, through time.

I am reminded of the fairies in the Disney Cinderella, waving their wands and magicking away the dirt and grime.

It is a painless and powerful experience that can make change easy and life affirming. I have personally overcome the pain and sadness of some deeply unhappy experiences. The memories are still there, but they are in the past and I no longer feel the need to re-experience them.

The irony is – getting back to my wardrobe – that every six months I systematically go through the clothing that I keep in there and dispose of any that I haven’t worn in a year, or that are becoming shabby, or that I simply don’t ‘love’ to wear. Yet it has never occurred to me to do this with my memorabilia.

What about you. Do you have drawers full of stuff you never look at? Do you have memories that drag you down and hold you back. If you do, it may be time for a spring-clean.

Imagine how good life would be if you didn’t know anything was stopping you from enjoying it!


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