Dr Matt James http://www.drmatt.com NLP Training & Huna Training Blog Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:45:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.4 How to Forgive Yourself and Move on From the Past http://www.drmatt.com/2014/10/23/how-to-forgive-yourself-and-move-on-from-the-past/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-to-forgive-yourself-and-move-on-from-the-past http://www.drmatt.com/2014/10/23/how-to-forgive-yourself-and-move-on-from-the-past/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:45:48 +0000 http://www.drmatt.com/?p=2785 Aloha,

A woman looking out over the water as the sun sets

Four simple ways to forgive yourself and get on with your life.

Many of us know that forgiveness is a good thing, right?

It frees us from bitterness and anger, two emotions that not only don’t feel good but they can also ruin our physical health and hold us back from all the good we might achieve and experience. I know that many of you have worked on forgiving others.

But what about forgiving ourselves?

Check out my new Psychology Today post How to Forgive Yourself and Move on From the Past

Even if we’ve gotten pretty good and consistent about offering forgiveness to others, isn’t forgiving ourselves often the most difficult?

Understanding why self-forgiveness is difficult can give us clues to make it easier….

How to Forgive Yourself and Move on From the Past.


Dr Matt

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Rethinking Your Path http://www.drmatt.com/2014/10/07/rethinking-your-path-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rethinking-your-path-2 http://www.drmatt.com/2014/10/07/rethinking-your-path-2/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 13:45:44 +0000 http://www.drmatt.com/?p=2776 An uphill path of stairs along a damp forest trailAloha,

You aren’t playing the hand you were dealt; you are playing the hand you picked. No one dealt the hand. You picked the cards right down to the suit. Your job is to figure out why you picked this hand, what are you meant to learn, and who you are meant to be.

I teach a concept at all of my trainings called Cause and Effect ,which is the idea that you have complete control and responsibility for your reactions to things. I also teach a concept called Perception is Projection, which basically explains that our reality is mostly in our own minds.

You can look at studies on memory and perceptions and you’ll find both of these to be true.  Some people learn these two concepts and take them to the extreme. They think that they have 100% control over everything because it’s all in their mind. “Mind over matter”, one personal growth trainer said as he was throwing up into a trash can claiming that his “flu” was only in his mind.

The issue I have with that is you do have a physical body. Thanks to philosophy, we have believed for over 400 years the mind and body were disconnected. Some have pulled the pendulum too far and now believe the mind is everything.

Find some harmony please!

Which leads to your path. If everything is in your mind, just make your path. If you are the master of creation, just create those desires. Each one of us is called to have certain things, do things that bring happiness, and be the person we always wanted to be. Sometimes when we are drawn to things that are different than what mom and dad said we needed, we are being called to our path.

Your path is your own and you are already on it.

From a Huna perspective you already have a path. You picked it coming into this lifetime. You picked all the experiences. The ups the downs, etc.. Cause and Effect is about how well you move down the path.

Imagine this: On some level you set the  target you wanted to aim for in this lifetime. Even if you believe we only live once, you still have a purpose. All the tools I teach, the ideas, and the concepts are about helping you get as close to that purpose, as close to hitting that target as possible.

Cause and Effect and Perception is Projection are all about whether you dig your heals in and fight your path, or whether you accept your path? Do you accept your purpose? Do you accept yourself? Everything begins with you.  Let’s start there. Have you taken the time today (not tomorrow or next week) to truly appreciate all that you are and all that you have achieved?

Maybe you want more. I do.  And if you truly want more, it’s important to stop and take note of just how far you have come and it’s important to feel grateful. This increases your level of trust and understanding about who you are, what you’ve experienced, and what you’re here to do. Once you accept you, you’re closer to accepting and Mastering Your Path.

Life is an aim not an end. You will get better. You will improve. Hey, look how far you have already come!


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Feeling Stuck? How to Tell if NLP is Really Working http://www.drmatt.com/2014/09/19/does-nlp-work/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=does-nlp-work http://www.drmatt.com/2014/09/19/does-nlp-work/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:45:36 +0000 http://www.drmatt.com/?p=2758 Closeup picture of Sistine Chapel“It is paradoxical, yet true, to say, that the more we know, the more ignorant we become in the absolute sense, for it is only through enlightenment that we become conscious of our limitations.” – Nikola Tesla

Every once in a while, one of my students (sometimes even an advanced student) will approach me and say, “Matt, I feel like I’m back at square one. I don’t know what’s happened. Stuff that I’d released over a year ago has suddenly popped up again. Am I doing something wrong? Does this Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) really work? Or am I just the kind of person that NLP doesn’t work for?”

And usually my answer is, “Maybe, absolutely, and nope.”

There are a number of reasons why you could feel that your growth has plateaued or that negative emotions and limiting beliefs have reared their ugly heads again. First, let’s tackle potential issues concerning “operator error” with NLP itself.

Many of the techniques in NLP can be used on yourself by yourself. However, often it’s more powerful to have a well-trained practitioner run you through the processes. Why?

When someone else is guiding you, you’re more able to just concentrate on what you’re experiencing without being distracted by trying to remember what you’re supposed to do next. A good NLP Practitioner can also help you ferret out the real issues behind your presenting issue—something that’s tricky to do by yourself. To get the best results, it’s that real, core issue you want to work with, not its offshoots.

It’s interesting that even an inexperienced practitioner can guide you through the techniques and get results. But a good one, especially if they’ve advanced to the NLP Master Practitioner level, has a better sense of which techniques would be most beneficial for what you’re working on. And they have a larger “tool kit” to work from, which includes processes like Mental Emotional Release®, hypnosis, and more. Also, an experienced practitioner with good sensory acuity can pick up clues and make sure that the shift that is supposed to occur has indeed happened.

But honestly, the most common reason people feel like they’ve plateaued or “ended up at square one” is that personal/spiritual growth is a spiral, not a straight line.

Imagine a spiral, like a circular staircase that goes upward. When you begin, you’re on the bottom “rung” of the staircase. You see your issues from that vantage point and deal with them at that level. You move upward and onward, and at a certain point as you make the turn—Yikes!–you find yourself staring at the very same issues!

But if you look closely, you’ll realize you are seeing them from a different vantage point—and you’ll be dealing with them at a different level.

Or imagine making a small hole in one side of an onion and dripping blue dye into it. You peel back the first layer of onion and will get rid of its blue dye. But the next layer has some blue dye as well so you peel that off. Then the next layer has blue dye too! Maybe the color is more faded, maybe it covers a smaller area of that third layer. But it’s still present and you still need to peel it off.

When you run into the same old issues (that you thought you’d overcome) again, odds are that you’re viewing them from a different position on the spiral. You’re facing them at a different level of depth within your “onion.”

“Wait! But how many layers of onion do I have to peel? How many times will I end up viewing and dealing with those same issues on that spiral? How long is this all going to take before I’m done?!?

Do you remember that old movie, The Agony and the Ecstasy? Michelangelo is painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. And every month or so, the Pope comes in and yells at him, “When will you make an end?!?” Michelangelo looks down and yells, “When I am finished!”

And that is exactly how long it will take. It will take you as long as you need to finish.

The truth is that we’re never finished. When you’re feeling frustrated and like you aren’t “progressing,” I know last thing you want to hear is that “life is a journey.”

But it is.

So double check for operator error. Then trust the process—and keep truckin’ up that staircase!

Until next time…

Dr. Matt


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The Worst Advice We’ve Ever Heard About Forgiveness http://www.drmatt.com/2014/09/16/worst-advice-forgiveness/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=worst-advice-forgiveness http://www.drmatt.com/2014/09/16/worst-advice-forgiveness/#respond Tue, 16 Sep 2014 13:45:20 +0000 http://www.drmatt.com/?p=2747 Picture of Psychology Today magazine cover showcasing couple sitting on couch with elephant sitting between them.Aloha,

I’ve spent a good deal of my career working with and teaching forgiveness, specifically ho’oponopono, the ancient forgiveness practice of the Hawaiian Islands.

In fact, I wrote my PhD dissertation on it.

So I’ve got some expertise in this area, and I’ve noticed that there’s some pretty rotten advice out there on forgiveness.

Check out my new Psychology Today blog to read 7 “tips” that I think miss the mark:


Dr. Matt

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Dispelling Myths About NLP http://www.drmatt.com/2014/09/04/nlp-myths/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=nlp-myths http://www.drmatt.com/2014/09/04/nlp-myths/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 13:45:07 +0000 http://www.drmatt.com/?p=2740 Drawing of hand over another person's brain

Photo: John E.

“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.” – John F. Kennedy

All through my career, I’ve had to respond to a variety of myths and misconceptions about Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). NLP has been called a pseudo-science, a cult, even a “quasi-religion.”

Most of us who are active practitioners and trainers are usually too busy helping clients to respond to everything that’s said about NLP. But let me take a moment to respond to a couple of common misconceptions:

1)    NLP is just a form of manipulation.

Let’s use the analogy of a hammer. Could a hammer be a tool of destruction? Absolutely. It could be used to smash a precious statue or demolish a window. But most people use hammers to build things, like houses and bridges. Destruction is possible but not as common. In the same way, NLP is a tool that is typically used for positive purposes. But it depends on the motivation of the person who wields that tool.

It depends on whether the intention is to manipulate or influence people.

When I think of manipulation, I think of someone who cares only about his own needs, a person who puts his self-interest above that of others. But an influencer can be very positive. As parents, we want to influence our kids to be healthy and safe. As friends, we want to influence our friends to happy and fulfilled. As business owners, we want to influence our clients to be successful and prosperous.

We want what is best for those in our “sphere of influence.”

Let’s revisit the hammer. If you want to build a house, don’t you want the best hammer you can get? Would you ever think, “Yeah, I want to build a house but I’m not going to use tools.” Would you worry that “If I use tools to build the house and learn how to use them properly, would that be an unfair advantage?” Of course not! If you want to be an effective influencer, NLP is one of the best tools you can learn.

Could someone wield a hammer and destroy things? Yes. Could someone learn NLP and try to manipulate others? Yep. But in our training courses, we emphasize the ethical use of all techniques. And people who want to use NLP for manipulation are often disappointed because “mind control” (with the exception of extreme brainwashing techniques) is a myth. You can’t make another person do something that is unacceptable to their personal beliefs or values.

2)    NLP doesn’t work.

After many years of teaching and using NLP, I actually went back to get my PhD in Psychology to see if I could find anything that worked better.

I didn’t.

Those who say NLP doesn’t work are often like Professor Aldert Vrij and Shara Lochun,  who wrote an article in 1997. In that article, Professor Vrij describes witnessing two police officers using NLP-related matching & mirroring techniques to interview a suspect. Professor Vrij wrote:

“Recently I … was asked to assess videotapes of a police interview.  My first impression was that both detectives were behaving ‘strangely.’  I then discovered that they were both imitating the suspect’s movements. The whole situation looked bizarre and the approach was not effective.  The suspect was silent at the beginning of the interview and remained silent throughout the interview.”

Professor Vrij uses that incident to conclude that NLP does not work.

Alrighty then!

Of course, we’re missing some critical information. Was the suspect a hardened and experienced criminal who had just been told to put a sock in it by his attorney? Were the two officers at all skilled or experienced at using the NLP technique of matching & mirroring? Had the suspect dealt with these officers previously? And given the situation (which we don’t know much about), was that even an appropriate technique to be using?

It’s kind of like saying a hammer doesn’t work when it’s being wielded by a two-year old who is trying to screw a light bulb into a toaster. Yep, that hammer definitely doesn’t work!

I agree that we could use more research on the efficacy of NLP (and we’re beginning to get more). But until then, I feel pretty good about the organizations who consider NLP to be a viable therapeutic and communication tool, like The British Psychological Society, the UK Council of Psychotherapy, Washington State Psychological Society, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police to name a few.

And I feel really good about the results we’re getting.

Until next time. . .

Dr. Matt

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Depression is a Disease of Civilization: Stephen Ilardi at TEDxEmory http://www.drmatt.com/2014/09/02/depression-tedx-talk/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=depression-tedx-talk http://www.drmatt.com/2014/09/02/depression-tedx-talk/#respond Tue, 02 Sep 2014 13:45:19 +0000 http://www.drmatt.com/?p=2725 Picture of happy woman running on beach.Aloha,

Did you know that nearly 1/4 of Americans will experience depression by the age of 75?

Research shows that depression is on the rise. In fact, within the past 20 years, the use of antidepressants have gone up by over 300%.


If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I don’t like to focus on the problems. Let’s take a look at the solution.

Check out this TEDx Talk I recently watched. It features Dr. Stephen Ilardi, author of “The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression Without Drugs.” He talks about what causes depression, and how to combat it through exercise, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, friendship and more:

Dr. Matt


Does this video bring up your “stuff”? Click here and let it go with MER. This process is helping my students release their depression and live happy lives. Mahalo!

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The Brains of Successful vs. Unsuccessful People Actually Look Very Different http://www.drmatt.com/2014/08/28/brain-successful-vs-unsuccessful/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=brain-successful-vs-unsuccessful http://www.drmatt.com/2014/08/28/brain-successful-vs-unsuccessful/#respond Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:45:41 +0000 http://www.drmatt.com/?p=2718 The Brains of Successful vs. Unsuccessful People Actually Look Very DifferentAloha,

Do you know the difference in habits, beliefs and strategies between successful vs. unsuccessful people?

(I’ve written about this concept previously when I talked about eliminating the word ‘excuse’ out of your vocabulary.)

According to Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, there are two basic categories that peoples’ behavioral traits tend to fall into: fixed and growth mindsets.

Read more by clicking on the link below:


Dr. Matt



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Emotional Openness VS. Rationality and Logic: – A CEO’s Perspective http://www.drmatt.com/2014/08/26/coaching-ceo-success/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=coaching-ceo-success http://www.drmatt.com/2014/08/26/coaching-ceo-success/#respond Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:45:22 +0000 http://www.drmatt.com/?p=2714 Emotional Openness vs. Rationality and Logic: – A CEO’s PerspectiveAloha,

Do you know what the best advice is to new CEO’s?

According to Eric Schmidt, the Chairman and CEO of Google, his best advice to new CEO’s is to “have a coach.”

Check out this blog I just read on Psychology Today. It’s a well-research article that details why CEO’s need coaching. Whether you’re an entrepreneur looking to take your business to the next level, or a coach who wants to work with high profile clients, this article will help:


Dr. Matt

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Boost Confidence with Hypnosis and NLP http://www.drmatt.com/2014/08/21/boost-self-confidence/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=boost-self-confidence http://www.drmatt.com/2014/08/21/boost-self-confidence/#respond Thu, 21 Aug 2014 13:45:01 +0000 http://www.drmatt.com/?p=2707 Picture of woman being hypnotized with pocket watchAloha,

Most of us pop out of the womb with a fairly high degree of self-confidence. We haven’t yet started to judge ourselves as smart or dumb, handsome or homely. We haven’t yet built up notions of possible versus impossible, safe versus risky.

And most importantly, we haven’t had time to absorb the judgments, fears, and limitations of the people and culture surrounding us.

Those were the real good ol’ days!

But for most of us, that natural, innocent self-confidence starts to erode pretty quickly. And by the time we hit grade school, the majority of us have bought into a new notion: you can only feel self-confident by earning it.

Ack! I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds like a limiting belief.

Click the link below to read my new Psychology Today blog post on how to achieve self-confidence:


Dr. Matt


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The Science of Persuasion: How to Get People to Agree With What You Say http://www.drmatt.com/2014/08/19/nlp-science-persuasion/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=nlp-science-persuasion http://www.drmatt.com/2014/08/19/nlp-science-persuasion/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 13:45:22 +0000 http://www.drmatt.com/?p=2702 Picture of notebook paper with the word "no" written many times on left, and the word "yes" written once on right.

Photo: Abhi Ryan


I just finished reading this thought-provoking article on persuasion. It talks about how metaphors, similes and analogies are key in bringing others into your model of the world.

Before reading it, I recommend checking out the video below.

For those of you who have attended our NLP Trainings, you might recognize the Selective Attention Test. If you have NOT attended our iNLP Practitioner Training yet, watch this 80-second video on my blog BEFORE reading the article! It will make sense later. ;-)

Now that you’ve watched the video, here is the link to the article:



Dr. Matt

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