Neuro Linguistic Programing teaches skills to help people harness the power of the subconscious mind to change attitudes, behaviors and outcomes in their work, relationships and health and well-being. I first got interested in NLP at the age of 11.
Sitting in my living room, I remember hearing the front door open, as my father came home. I got up to say hi, but before I could say anything, I noticed the T-shirt he was wearing. It was black with red letters, and it said: “Fear Into Power – The Firewalk Experience”!
I remember looking at the shirt and without thinking, I asked, “What is a fire walk?” My dad immediately looked down, said “$^!%”, and ran into his room to change.
When he came out, I said, “No, I saw it!” and thus began a few hours of me nagging him till he finally gave in!. Forgive my approach, I was only 11 and I had not yet learned NLP language patterns!
When he finally explained that he had walked on a 12-foot bed of burning hot coals, I instantly said, “I want to do that!” He explained I was too young, but that made no sense to me. You see, my mom and dad always taught me that if someone else can do something, I could do it too. So when I explained that, he agreed to see if I could go.
After a few months, I was allowed to go. Experiencing the firewalk at the age of 11 changed my life. Meeting Tony Robbins at that age, who at that time had not yet become the mega successful person that he is now, was also a gift.
I ended up attending two more times and finally went to the NLP introduction that followed the Friday night event. The intro was Saturday and Sunday, and it was amazing. I learned about reframing and anchoring (NLP terms to describe shifting your thoughts on experiences, and being in charge of your state).
I asked my dad at the end of the event if I could go to the Practitioner training. He said, “Sorry, that one costs too much, and you don’t have the money to go.” I asked him about using my college fund, and he replied that the name says it all – COLLEGE fund (not NLP fund).
So I decided to practice what I had learned that weekend. I said, “Dad, you explained that NLP is so amazing for your thinking and communication. You are also going there to become a Master Practitioner. So what would happen if we took the money out of the college fund to pay for my attendance at the Practitioner?”
Before he could answer, I continued: “Because if NLP is so good, as you say it is, I will become a better communicator, and my grades will improve. That means that any money that comes out of the fund now, will be put back in by my ability to receive more scholarships because of my improved ability.”
He took a breath and stopped. He thought for a short moment, then said, “Ummm, yeah, you would get better in school. Ok, let’s see if this is possible.”
As he walked away I had a flash in my mind of Obi Won saying “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” And I thought, “WOW, these are Jedi powers I am going to learn!”
I attended my Practitioner training with Tony Robbins, Richard Bandler and Wyatt Woodsmall at the age of 13. While there, I became amazed at the change and empowerment that NLP could help bring about. My father had begun to work with Tony and Richard. At lunch one day, Richard and I talked about my experience at the training. Within a few moments, he had invited me to the Master Practitioner course he was teaching in Honolulu, Hawaii. Of course I accepted. By the age of 15, I had become a Master Practitioner of NLP certified by the co-creator.
Now, you might think everything must have been perfect right after that. However, I admit that in my teenage years, well…. I was a teenager. We sometimes forget the gifts we are given and can all take things for granted. I was no different.
While I was attending college in early 1992, my father invited me to come work for the training company, and my road back to NLP began. I re-took the Master Practitioner as a young adult and went on to Trainer’s Training. I began teaching and became a Master Trainer of NLP.
Since the late 90s I have served as the head of our training company, The Empowerment Partnership, first as the VP in 97 and then as the president in 99. I became the lead trainer for our U.S. division in 2002, and since then have directed the events the company has conducted.
In the middle of all of this, I went back to school to get my Ph.D. in Health Psychology and did my residency at Indiana University. It was not easy juggling all the responsibilities (husband, father, trainer, etc.), however, it was necessary, because I believe that you need to always continue to learn, grow and evolve.
During my studies, I took my “NLP Blinders” off and looked for another modality that could “out perform” NLP. My wife and I were clear that if I found something, we would move to that for our company.
Guess what? I found nothing that can compare. My degree has helped me to incorporate so much from mind-body-spirit teaching and from traditional psychology, yet I still teach NLP, because NLP is about results.
Here are some results we have measured:
In our NLP Master Practitioner Training, we teach a technique called Mental and Emotional Release® Therapy. This process has been modeled from many other techniques including Time Line, NLP, Hypnosis, and of course my background in Psychology. The is the technique that is used to help people release negative emotions and limiting decisions. This include anger, sadness, fear, hurt, anxiety and guilt. We have been teaching this now for over 20 years and refined the techniques to an amazing point of precision.
One of my students (who I am very proud of) took this technique as we teach it, and did research to compare MER® with CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). CBT is considered to be very helpful and on the cutting edge.
My student’s name is Dr. Patrick Scott and he works at a clinic in Nevada. He has access to work with clinically depressed patients. This is powerful, because for many of us, our problems are much less intense in comparison to depression. Therefore, if it works with something that big, it would work effectively with other techniques too!
Here is what he found. CBT as amazing as it is, took 13 sessions produce a measurable reduction in depressive symptomology. Plus there was a 29% relapse and 11% re-hospitalization with CBT. Twenty-nine percent relapsed and experienced depression!
Now this is wonderful, because it shows that CBT really works! And, now lets look at Mental and Emotional Release® Therapy:
With MER® it took five (5) sessions to release all the symptomology. That is in comparison to 13 sessions for a reduction! Five and it is gone, plus with MER® no relapse no re-hospitalization.
That means that the clinical depression was gone.
As I hope you appreciate, I have dedicated the vast majority of my life studying this. I have spent over 20 years now with The Empowerment Partnership, and I have a personal goal to make a difference in the field of NLP and in the field of Personal Growth and Development (which I call Personal Empowerment!).
I believe that what we have with MER® can make such a difference and I need your help to get this message out there!
Thank you for being a part of The Empowerment Partnership Team!
Mahalo, Matt James